teach me sweetheart
From Blown Speakers' End of Year Listfest, Vol. 3: Shows
Consider this the final installment (I think) of every music blogger's favourite past time, the masturbatory end of year lists. I saw somewhere in the range of 75 shows this year, which is somewhere between 150-200 bands (although some of them were repeats). The venues ranged from art galleries to clubs to theatres to stadiums. Some of them were awesome, some of them were terrible, some left me wanting more, and some drove me out the door early. But these were the ten that I enjoyed the most. Actually, these are the ten that happened in Vancouver that I enjoyed the most. Sleater-Kinney's second last show ever might have been the best thing I've seen in my life.
1. The Fiery Furnaces @ Richard's (June 12th)
If I never see the Fiery Furnaces again, I'll be disappointed that this was the lone time that I managed to catch them. Not because the show was sub-par, but because it was so very different from what I expected. Sans any keys, the Furnaces ripped through a loud, snotty, punked up set that left my ear drums buzzing. Not everything worked when it was driven by a fuzzed out guitar, but the things that did (almost everything) were taken to a whole different place and a whole other level.
2. The Hold Steady @ the Plaza (October 20th)
I had more fun at this show than at any other show in Vancouver the entire year.
3. TV on the Radio w/Celebration @ the Plaza (May 6th)
Their Commodore show was good, but their hastily rescheduled-after-a-shooting-at-richards show at the Plaza was transcendent. To top things off, rather than Grizzly Bear (snoooooooore), Celebration opened and got the party started properly.
4. Final Fantasy @ the Norm Theatre (September 19th)
No matter what you think of He Poos Clouds, if you missed this you should be kicking yourself right now. The music was exquisite, but it was an experience for both the ears and the eyes. The nation's inaugural Polaris Prize winner was silhouetted against a shifting backdrop of cutouts and colours as he recreated songs of sorcery and soothsaying. The result, fittingly, was pure magic.
5. Akron/Family @ the Media Club (March 4th)
During Akron/Family's first visit to Vancouver they managed to tread the line between "freak" and "folk," never meandering to far into Phish territory, nor playing it too straight. The result was one of those shows that leaves you explaining yourself to friend's from various locales who weren't fortunate enough to catch the hit or miss band on a good night.
6. A Silver Mount Zion @ Richard's (August 16th)
This show was a pleasant surprise. For one reason or another I'd lost interest in ASMZ, only picking up a ticket a few days before in some vein attempt to fill the musical void left by godspeed you! black emperor's hiatus. They weren't godspeed, nor could one have rightfully expected them to be. What they were, however, was fantastic in their own right. The encore rendition of "Blind, Blind, Blind" was one of the finest single moments I witnessed this year.
7. Jeff Tweedy @ the Commodore (January 31st)
The thing about a Jeff Tweedy solo show is that in addition to Wilco standards, a healthy dose of covers and more neglected numbers from all of his bands' catalogues, you also get Jeff the comedian. And while he's not likely to quit his day job anytime soon, he was way funnier than Janeane Garofalo was at the Comedy Fest.
8. The Constantines @ the Pit Pub (January 14th)
I'm pretty fond of their recorded output, but on a stage the Constantines are truly something else. I totally regret hugging the barricade at Sasquatch while Neko Case gave in to Mother Nature after two songs, when the Cons were up the hill rocking 'til the power blew out. As a consolation, I can remember being crammed into the dingy confines of the Pit while a couple hundred people shouted along to "On to You."
9. Jolie Holland @ St. James Hall (June 18th)
This show was special because it didn't feel like you were watching a performance, as much as you'd just found yourself privy to the jam session of some very talented friends. The former Be Good Tanya was joined by her former bandmate, Samantha Parton, CR Avery, and Geoff Berner, as she ran through a set that spanned her three full-lengths and beyond. No setlist or carefully rehearsed sequences, just a couple of hours of beautiful, spontaneous music.
Mike Relm @ Richard's (February 25th)
Apparently Mike Relm's shtick gets old after you've seen him a couple of times. I can definitely see that happening, but the first time you catch him with all the bells and whistles, you'll undoubtedly catch yourself during a hundred odd moments of disbelief - did he actually do that? Yes, yes he did.
Worth a mention: ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead with Blood Brothers and Celebration @ the CCC (December 10th), Man Man @ the Media Club (September 30th), the Rapture @ Richard's (November 14th), Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins @ Richard's (March 7th), Matthew Good @ the VECC (April 20th), Spank Rock @ the Plaza (June 7th)
now playing: Sleater-Kinney - Rollercoaster
you might be the only person I've ever met who preferred the celebration to grizzly bear.
no accounting for taste I suppose
By 8:36 AM, at
i somehow managed to miss all of these shows.
and - confused by no mention of Cat Power w/ Memphis Blues Band @ the Commodore?
By 11:49 AM, at
no Broken Social Scene (Commodore or Deer Park) and no New Porns?
I'd have to throw in Yo La Tengo at Richard's and Wedding Present, also at Richard's
By 12:36 PM, at
- grizzly bear literally had me nodding off
- i actually liked the solo CP shows more... and probably should've mentioned those.
- wasn't the Commodore BSS show last year? and i didn't get tickets to YLT in time (long story)
yea, BSS at the Commodore was 2005. I agree that the Tweedy show was awesome; I'm sad I missed ASMZ.
Books@Richards, Michael Hurley+Vetiver@MediaClub, Joana Newsome@St.Andrews, Psychic Ills+Blood On The Wall@MediaClub, Califone@MediaClub, Liars@Richards, Music Waste, Victory Square Block Party,
why isn't your list more like my list???????
Nice call, Graham :)
So, Quinn, if you had to choose, would you say The Hold Steady was the best in Vancouver this year? I had a hard time singling any one out.
Fiery Furnaces.. best show I saw.
The Hold Steady was more fun.. as in, everyone in my general vicinity was drunk (which didn't result in jerkiness), jumping around, hollering, and having a good time.
I also would have added the first four shows from Sean's list. Michael Hurley was the nicest surprise I had at any concert this year, especially since I managed to catch Dan & Emma opening for Jana Hunter before I headed over to the Media Club for Vetiver and Michael Hurley. That was a great night. Joanna wasn't quite what I'd hoped for, but still glorious, the Books were the same as last year (but perfect), and Psychic Ills opened my head like a bottle of champagne.