I refuse to whittle this down to just 10 shows. There were just too many standouts from this year, and all of them deserve to be recognized even if it means the defiance of a pretty number.
12. Kyp Malone @ Zebulon, Jan. 31st
Kyp Malone is a member of TV on the Radio, one of the most incredible bands of this decade. That he would put on a fabulous solo show is more or less a given. Read the full T-Sides review here.
11. Dirty Projectors @ Bowery Ballroom, Dec. 4th
In a live setting, the music is not only more interesting, but more palatable, somehow. Read the full T-Sides review here.
10. Heavy Winged & Religious Knives @ Silent Barn, Nov. 3rd
Whatever you do, SEE THESE BANDS whenever you can, particularly Heavy Winged. Religious Knives plays somewhat frequently, but the members of Heavy Winged are scattered in various states, so when you see a chance – take it. They have sold out of most of the copies of a lot of their material, and their live act reinforces the reasons why. Religious Knives don’t translate best on recording, but show impressive innovation in a live setting. Together, these bands put on a show that served as a reminder of where rock should be heading and why it isn’t dead. You can listen to a live track from this show on Heavy Winged’s MySpace page.
9. Two Gallants @ Nokia Theater, June 2nd & @ Blender Theater, Oct. 2nd
When I first saw Two Gallants in 2002, it was at a tiny house show in Seattle. Fast-forward five years and they’re playing opening a Times Square venue for Les Claypool and headlining a venue in New York City that gets acts as big as Wolfmother. This is only the beginning. Just you wait. Watch a video of their entire Blender Theater set here.
8. Sufjan Stevens @ BAM, Nov. 1st
Sufjan Stevens found an evolved form of expression with his multi-media classical-form ode to the BQE. Read the full T-Sides review here.
7. Devendra Banhart @ Grand Ballroom, Sept. 27
His band’s name for the night was “Spiritual Boner,” the Grand Ballroom smelled like the up in smoke tour, and Devendra Banhart sang a love song about wanting a woman to take care of him as though he were a child. This is merely a glimpse at the warped but oh-so-fun world of one of his live performances. I entered the show as a skeptic, but left as a fan.
6. Explosions in the Sky @ Warsaw, Feb. 07 & @ SEC, Feb. 20
Explosions in the Sky is one of the best live bands that currently exists. Period. Read the full T-Sides review here.
5. John Vanderslice @ Sound Fix, Aug. 17th
Vanderslice himself felt that this show went so well that HE BOUGHT EVERYONE (who wanted one) A BEER. That just says it all.
4. Harvey Danger @ Neumos, Dec. 30th / Sean Nelson & Jeff Lin @ Mercury Lounge, Aug. 26th
For their “Second Annual Last Show Ever” in Seattle, Harvey Danger celebrated the upcoming 10th Anniversary of Where Have All The Merrymakers Gone? by playing the entire album, from start to finish. Flashback! Paging: 1998. When Sean Nelson & Jeff Lin came through NYC as a duo, they more or less took requests all night long, for a good two hours. Imagine having the set list of one of your favorite bands entirely at your disposal. Exactly. The only bummer was that they still wouldn’t play “Love Bug.” Not only that, but they filled the room with enough sound and energy that they could sound almost like the full band if they needed to, but the audience still got the benefit of hearing the songs re-worked to the pared down format. Beautiful. They’ll still manage to top both of these when they play their entire catalog in chronological order at the Triple Door in Seattle in the Spring.
3. Bruce Springsteen @ MSG, Oct. 17th
My mom flew across the country to go to this with me. Enough said. Read the full T-Sides review here.
2. Feist @ Town Hall, June 12th
The woman behind one of the most memorable albums of 2007 was also behind one of the most memorable concerts of 2007. Heavy on audience participation and the kind of quirks that make Leslie Feist who she is – a mini choir, a music box that plays “Mushaboom” – her performance was also just full of gusto, the kind that shows you that the performer is giving their all throughout every word, every note.
1. Beyoncé @ MSG, Aug. 4th
There’s a reason why it costs an obscene amount of money to see this woman. For three hours, she danced, sang and went through costume change after costume change. She had an all-woman backing band, and an all-male dance troupe. It wasn’t just about how empowered Beyoncé is (and she is), it was about empowering everyone in the audience, especially the women. As sentimental as it sounds, it worked.
B Drew says:
Jan 8, 2008
When I saw Vanderslcie in D.C. he passed out his drink tickets to the audience. He didn’t have many, but like 3-4 people got free drinks. Not quite as cool as him personally buying people beers.
T-Sides » Blog Archive » T-Sides’ 2008 in Review: Concerts says:
Jan 10, 2009
[…] As with last year, when it comes to listing amazing concerts, T-Sides refuses to be bound by the number 10. Also, for the sake of fairness, I’ve compounded bounds I saw multiple times. […]
T-Sides » Blog Archive » New John Vanderslice Single: “Fetal Horses” says:
Apr 24, 2009
[…] who’s developed a reputation as being a really nice guy in his interpersonal interactions (and he is – see item #5), and, perhaps partly because of that fact, Vanderslice is especially affecting when he’s […]
T-Sides’ 2007 in Review: Top Albums – the “Best” | T-Sides says:
Mar 21, 2011
[…] reason I didn’t overplay it this year is because I discovered it late, just a few days before I saw them perform live. After that, I’ve listened to it consistently. It’s not quite as accessible as Rubies […]