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 bands I saw multiple times.
Full review here. Excerpt: In their recordings, the Notwist might give off the impression of being a sleepy little electro-pop band, but don’t let that twist your notions of what their live show is like. Sure, they hide behind the gentle guise of glasses (four out of the five touring members wear them), but in a live setting, their post-rock and hardcore roots really start to seep out.
Full review here. Excerpt: A Joanna Newsom album has never sounded as good as she did when she played at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last Thursday. Even the most middling of fans, the most ardent of critics, could not possibly have walked away unswayed by the remarkable skill and charm she emanated throughout the evening.
Full review here. Excerpt: Wearing a vest with a hot purple bra, short shorts and heels, Phair was sexy, but not forcibly so. Often labeled as having stage fright, but looking comfortable, she acknowledged her worries in past terms, “This tour is a big deal to me–I was nervous.” She was talkative and flirtatious. “I need a guy,” she remarked, when she needed help adjusting a mic stand. “I love guys.”
Full review here. Excerpt: The music also takes on an anthemic quality in a live setting, whether it was the chemistry of the band and the crowd, or simply hearing it while it was being created is hard to say. But every song was a fist-pumper, an ass-shaker, a shout-a-long, including their 10-minute long masterpiece “Kissing the Beehive,” which closes out their new release, At Mount Zoomer, and closed out their set before the encore.
Full review of Siren here. Full review of Brooklyn Masonic Temple here. Their set at Siren was incredible, despite Kevin Drew being sick. Their set during CMJ was incredible, despite Kevin Drew being an asshole.
Full review of SummerStage show here. I’ll admit it, I didn’t review their show at the Southpaw because I was thoroughly enjoying the drink special ($2 Singhas!). But believe me, it was awesome. Excerpt: Dengue Fever are one of the most exciting, energetic and interactive bands currently performing. With constant smiles on their faces, they jump up and down, have special parts for audience sing-a-longs, and Nimol enchants with swirling hands and exotic dance moves. The group communicates through facial expressions and body language, like a group of longtime friends or even family. In a way, watching them feels akin to being in some sort of secret club.
Full review of Bowery show here. Full review of Webster Hall show here. Whether sick or healthy, Fleet Foxes are talent-wealthy. Excerpt: If Fleet Foxes can do this much with just 16 songs in their catalog, they’ll prove to be a band worth seeing again and again and again for years to come.
Some concerts just can’t be put into words. Some concerts can only be summarized in twitter updates.
Full review of SummerStage set here. Yeasayer gets the distinction of being the band I saw more than any other this year… and they didn’t even put an album out! There’s a reason why I saw these hard-working gents from Brooklyn so many times. Excerpt: Even just frontman Chris Keating is fun to watch because he’s so spastic. Contorting his face into painful expressions and twisting his fingers and hands in this or that way, one would guess he was high on something or simply losing his mind. But when they took to the mic between songs, the men of Yeasayer spoke like any other guys from Brooklyn, chill and down to earth.
Full review here. Excerpt: Seeing TV on the Radio at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple on Wednesday wasn’t just about how amazing TV on the Radio is, it was about how exhilarating music can be in general.
Full review here. Excerpt: Blige uses two words to describe Jay-Z: “Brooklyn swagger.” Anyone expecting otherwise from the wildly successful rap star and entrepreneur would have been disappointed.
Full review here. It’s incredibly unfortunate that there won’t be a DVD of this. When Trent Reznor broke the bad news, he said, “This was FOR SURE the best show of the year and any bullshit end-of-the-year poll you may read in the next few weeks that says otherwise simply has it wrong. Those of you who saw it know I’m right.” And you know what? He is. Excerpt: It would go against the trail-blazing spirit of Trent Reznor to use him as any sort of guideline, but it must be said that any arena rock band should turn to Reznor’s live show for inspiration.