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
It's taken me a few months, but I have to finally admit that this is a pretty damn good l'il rock n' roll record. My first reaction to ...Like Clockwork was that it's a calculated effort to fill the arena-sized "middle of the road alt-ish rock" void opened up by the Foo Fighters' hiatus. That may or may not be the case, but one needs to remember that QOTSA arrived fully-formed, putting out subversively radio-friendly stuff as far back as their first album. So, while ...Like Clockwork may seem lightweight at first, it compares favorably to Josh Homme's more recent output; it's more streamlined than Lullabyes to Paralyze, hookier than Era Vulgaris, and less boringly generic than the Them Crooked Vultures album.
Future Bible Heroes - Partygoing
First album in eleven years by Stephin Merrit's electropop side project. Like most of Merritt's releases, this one is a decidedly hit-and-miss affair, and occasionally he ditches catchiness in favor of cleverness (as is his wont), but Partygoing still boasts the sweetest hooks of anything he's done since Magnetic Fields' great Distortion album.
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - Mind Control
Probably the most disappointing album of the year thus far, although, truth be told, it's still not all that fuckin' bad. Mind Control largely ignores the uptempo hookiness of Uncle Acid's first two albums in favor of lugubrious, molasses-slow stoner grooves that seem pretty stock at times. Could be a lot worse, but still check out Volume 1 and Bloodlust before you bother with this one.
Hmmmm. I have very little experience describing / reviewing "Soul Clap Dance-Off"s, so I think I'm going to just steal as much as I can directly from the horse's mouth at the New York Night Train website:
Soul Clap and Dance-Off 6 Year Anniversary Party with JT playing the all-time SOUL CLAP CLASSICS and guest selector JIM MORRISON (The Doors!) via medium IAN SVENONIUS (Chain and the Gang/The Make Up) and LIVE SEANCE ON STAGE! 1AM DANCE-OFF judged by Willismburg’s DELUXE SALON for $100/$75 METROPOLIS VINTAGE CERTIFICATE – followed by Brooklyn Brewery’s NYC CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND FOR $500 CASH PRIZE plus Metropolis certificates for the second places, $5 Espolon tequila drinks all night long, and other great surprises, 11:30PM-4:00AM, $7
That works, no?
Anyway, my pal Cindy and her friends were in town from Buffalo, and I met up with them at Brooklyn Bowl for this shinding shortly after leaving the Liquor Store show at Matchless. Truth be told, I was still exhausted from Thursday night's post-Tyondai bacchanalia, and having worked up a decent sweat at Liquor Store, the prospects of dancing my fat ass off for 3+ hours seemed dim at best.
This, of course, was before I discovered that 1.) Brooklyn Bowl was selling $18 pitchers of Brooklyn lager, and 2.) the music played during said Dance-Off Extravaganza would be exclusively vintage '50s / '60s era seven-inches, the very vast majority of which I'd never heard before. Yup, right smack dab in my oldies-fetish wheelhouse - all the doo wop and early R&B you could handle. Fuck yeah, sock hop!
And dance we did, until nearly 4 AM. I'm told that prizes were awarded, and although I wasn't commended at the time, I'm just going to have to assume that my award for "Sweatiest Bastard in the Room" is in the mail. Thanks in advance to the judges for that one! Apparently there was also a seance (?), but again I will point you, the reader in the general direction of the New York Night Train website for the "official" wrap-up and pictures.
Fortunately, the party continued for some time after we schlepped back to my place, and with Uncle Acid's awesome stoner bullshit as fuel, my Christmas tree was (finally) no more (see below). Fuckin' awesome time, y'alls.
Yeah, I've already written about these guys / posted this elsewhere, but so what. [FWIW I'm still recovering from multiple injuries sustained while rocking out to this song this past weekend. Huge thanks to those who joined me during this, and my condolences to any Christmas trees who may have been harmed in the process.]
No, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats' excellent Blood Lust didn't come out in 2013; depending on who you ask, it didn't even come out in 2012. So why am I mentioning it now? Two reasons: first, it's been my most listened-to album this year so far, and second, face it, there's been a lack of truly worthwhile releases thus far in early '13.
This album RAWKS; it's just that simple. As slight recastings of the hallowed Black Sabbath template go, this is probably my favorite thing I've heard since the first Witch album in 2006. The production and the instrumentation are reverentially faithful to the first few Sabbath records, from the squealing, double tracked guitar solos to the vintage analogue "warmth" of the recording to the Leslie-esque effect that's applied to the vocals to the boogie-friendly beats to the vintage-esqe album art (see above).
And, just in time; my recent Best Albums of '12 list was noticeably lacking in "heavy-ish" stuff. Blood Lust is supposedly written as a sort of concept album, based on an imaginary slasher flick and composed with each successive song representing a "scene" from this non-existent movie. If you like that idea, well, great; if you don't, fret not; the songs function well as individual entities.
So, thanks to the internet's seamy underbelly, I was able to go back and find Uncle Acid's debut album (I don't think it's had a major release yet), and I took a particular shine to the first three tracks, which you can listen to below (conveniently combined into one YouTube video).
For more stuffs, Here's an interview with the mysterious Uncle Acid, and here's their super-creepy website... ENTER IF YOU DARE, MUAHAHAHHHAHAHHA.