Heheheheheheh. Ah, 2014: another year where I tell myself 'this is the year my obsessive show-going addiction ends;' another year where I see more shows than anyone I know who isn't employed at a performance space / venue. WHEEEEEEEEE!!!!
A quick list of locations where I've seen shows this year:
--Brooklyn (double natch)
--on a boat circling Manhattan
--Commerce City, CO
--Miami (in 7 days!)
As of this very moment, I've seen 93 concerts this year, and I've got at least three more coming up - Uncle Ebenezer at Knitting Factory Saturday night, Television (first time seeing them) at Irving Plaza on 12/28, and a little up-and-coming rock band who I think are called Assface in Miami on New Year's. The following is my totally subjective, largely meaningless, and wholly amusing (to me) recap of the best stuff I saw in '14.
Oh, and Happy Holidays to all!
The Ten Best Phish Shows I Saw All Year:
1.) Phish, 10/31/14 MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
2.) Phish, 7/13/14 Randall's Island, NYC
3.) Phish, 7/27/14 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
4.) Phish, 8/29/14 Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO
5.) Phish, 11/2/14 MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
6.) Phish, 10/22/14 Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara
7.) Phish, 7/26/14 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
8.) Phish, 10/28/14 Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Fran
9.) Phish, 7/11/14 Randall's Island, NYC
10.) Phish, 8/31/14 Dicks Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO
I first stumbled upon Brooklyn's O'Death in mid-December 2006, when I caught their set opening up for Langhorne Slim at Northsix (the current site of Music Hall of Williamsburg, kids). I found O'Death's music to be truly unique - a seemingly absurd (at least, absurd on paper) blend of country, American folk, bluegrass and mountain music, delivered with the zeal (if not the decibels) of a hungry punk band. Their ramshackle tunes and shambolic performance style lend themselves to the crowd going absolutely apeshit, which, as I've bitched about before, is an all too uncommon occurrence at Brooklyn shows. In the years since, I've seen O'Death perform live several times, and they're definitely on my short list of "Brooklyn bands who need to be seen live in order to be fully appreciated."
J to the F, and walked over to the Bell House, which, shit! When was the last time I saw a show here? According to my notes it was Come in April '11? Yeesh. Anyway, I like what they've done with the place since I was here last - they now have tables outside in front of the building which allow for outdoor chillin' and boozin'. Not too shabby - if I lived in this neighborhood - which I thankfully don't - I'd probably enjoy a beverage or two here reasonably often.
I walked in towards the end of Zachary Cale's set / I didn't hear enough of his stuff to pass any real substantive judgment, but what I did hear wasn't terribly interesting or original. Kendra Morris was up next, and her shit sounded to me like an Amy Winehouse impersonation, bursting with all of the melisma and conteporary pop vocal phrasings that make modern pop radio so very unbearable. Not at all my cup of tea, but good for her - it seemed like she had a handful of fairly devoted fans crowded up front, faithfully mouthing the lyrics to her inoffensive pap. I left as soon as I finished my beer and headed outside for some fresh air.
O'Death took the stage a little before midnight, and their set lived up to my glowing memories of performances past. These guys are nothing if not visually arresting - the drummer plays a cylindrical metal gas can instead of a hi-hat, the fiddle player hops around like a man possessed, and there's plenty of hootin' and hollerin' to make things lively. And beards. Lots of beards. The crowd was a little sparser than previous O'Death shows I've attended, but the folks up front were stirring up a righteously hellacious racket.
The band mentioned that they're working on new material, and they played several of the new songs during the set. O'Death is hoping to have a new record out this year, which would be awesome.
3 nights, 3 shows. Ain't no thang / that's how I roll, beetchez.
So, we got to Lit a bit early, and headed across the street to Kabin, one of my least favorite bars in NYC... my show-going buddy was already trashed so I had some serious catch-up to do. Several pints later (and, regrettably, a 'conversation' about evolution with a gravely-misinformed, semi-literate racist piece of garbage later) we headed back over to Lit and down to the basement.
I had missed Aminal's set when a buddy's band played with them at UC Lounge about a month ago. Anyway, tonight I caught the full set, and these bastards have got some honest to gawd straight motherfuckin' TALENT. I'm not going to tidily try to pigeonhole their music into one convenient category, because I'm pretty sure that would be missing the point entirely. Instead, what I was hearing veered chaotically between prog, funk metal, and some parts that reminded me of all the alternative rock radio I listened to in the '90s. Needless to say, I enjoyed the shit out of it.
At some point in or around summer '07 [uh, I think?] I was totally obsessed with Come's fantastic first album, 11:11. I'm pretty sure that said obsession coincided with the bizarre period of my life where I was running a door factory out on Long Island, which makes perfect sense because 11:11 is pretty damned bleak and disheartening at points (although it still manages to rock), and working at a door factory is fucking depressing shit, especially when your boss is a vicious wifebeating multiple felon scumbag. Anyway.
I totes missed out on Come the first time around during the '90s. Actually got into their shit when I saw Thalia Zedek open up for Dinosaur Jr in '05. Over the years I've seen Zedek's sol0 band several times. So, it's pretty safe to say that I celebrate Ms. Zedek's entire catalog, and I was pretty psyched when I randomly noticed that Come would be playing Bell House.
Got there towards the end of the opening act, D. Charles Speer, who were just finishing their set of what seemed to be uptempo rockabilly instrumentals. No complaints from me there.
Eleventh Dream Day took what seemed like forever setting their gear up. Not gonna lie, I really didn't care for their music. Most of it sounded like tired '90s tropes, and the stuff that didn't totally suck sounded like Neil Young retreads. Meh.
Come's set, however, did the trick. Much to my delight, they performed over half of11:11, also reaching back to several other notable highlights from their career (including personal favorite "In / Out" from Don't Ask Don't Tell). Zedek's raspy vocals effectively clawed their way into the mix somewhere between her own insistent, hard-driving chording and the more twangy, bluesy riffing of Chris Brokaw, with the ensuing turmoil driven onward by drummer Arthur Johnson's shifting rhythms. This was EXACTLY what I thought the Come live experience would be like. Well done.
[See directly below for the setlist.]
My third time seeing Monogold this year, and I figured "what the hey" and threw down accordingly. I had a feeling that my exhaustion would combine with Monogold's heavily reverbed poppiness and the splendid acoustics of the room at Union Pool to create a superior listening experience, and I was right. Yay!
Hmmmmm... today has some sort of significance, but I'm a bit foggy as to what that could be....
Yes, I'm pissed about Mogwai canceling their NYC dates, but fret not. I still get to see the Raveonettes Thursday night at Music Hall, Austerity Program with The Netherlands at Charleston Friday, and Crocodiles Saturday at Music Hall. Check them shitz out, y'all's.