Top Ten 2008

January 29, 2009

R posted his top 15 shows of 2008 (on his blog, Screen of Distance – link to the right) and it was mostly pretty accurate but there were some serious errors. He is nice and smart and funny and cute, but he also has a tendency to like some really dreadful music.

So I’m posting my list, which is similar to his except I got rid of the bad shit and added some good shit that he either didn’t see or overlooked. I’m also planning to (try to) post every week about whatever shows I saw the previous week, so that when this time rolls around next year I can look over my posts and not try to rely on my rapidly-aging brain to remember what was great and what was not.

Here goes:
1. The  Pogues at the Roseland Ballroon in NYC.
OMG OMG OMG. Anne likes Pogues. Pogues Pogues Pogues. Don’t believe what you’ve read – Shane sounded fantastic. OK, yes, maybe he’d had a bit to drink, but he didn’t fall down or forget the words or hit anyone and really – he’s Shane McGowan. Who are you?
If you read R’s blog, you will see that he stole my observation about people moshing on one side of us and making out on the other. We did some of both. It was totally amazing. Not just the best show of 2008, but also in the top ten shows I have seen ever. (Probably #2, after that life-changing Smoking Popes show at the Basement in 2006.) Also, please note that, despite R’s assurances to the contrary, they DID play Fairytale of New York.
I suppose I must’ve cried.

2. Deadstring Brothers at the Duck Room in St. Louis.
I have wanted to see this band since Starving Winter Report came out. They played the second night of TwangFest and tore it UP. Apparently Masha has quit the band since, which is a shame b/c they were even better than I was expecting (despite being about as high as I have ever seen any band play) but I can’t imagine seeing them without her. Older songs, newer songs – I’m pretty sure there were some covers in there, but I have a tendency to get drunk at these things and I don’t quite remember.

3. The Burning Brides at Ravari Room.
I missed the previous two times they played, so there was no way I was missing this show. I think it might be on the list partially b/c I was so ridiculously jacked about it. I have to admit I was a little disappointed about the song selection, but they sounded terrific, despite the fact that the bass player was VERY pregnant. Got really drunk and don’t remember it so well, but I did get a cd, t-shirt, and poster from said pregnant bass-player, and she was very cool to me despite the fact that I was a drunk geeked-out fan.

4. The Dirtbombs at the Basement.
All the complaints about this wretched venue are accurate, but if you get down close in front it’s one of the very best places in town to see a show. Unfortunately, there’s only room for maybe 35 people down close in front. Fortunately, I was one of those 35 on this night. DAMN they are a terrific live band, and the crowd was totally into it. The INXS cover was rad, and the whole drum-kit-on-dancefloor-while-drummer-plays-cymbals-while-hanging-from-rafters-thing was AMAZING. Everyone who is anyone was at this show, and they were all dancing and sweaty. YOW.

5. Baby Dee at the Knitting Factory in NYC.
She did a terrific show at Rumba early last year, but this show was totally different. This one was primarily new songs, just her on the piano or harp accompanied by an Anderson Cooper look-alike on violin. Bittersweet, heartbreaking, delicately intense. It was devastating. I cried. (Though maybe it was b/c I was utterly exhausted. Traveling in NYC with R is sometimes more than I can take.)

6. Blueprint/Brainbow at Skully’s.
I’d seen Brainbow before, and while they’re great, they’re not exactly my cup of tea. And I’d never seen Blueprint, though my brother had certainly gone on about him enough – once again, not my cup of tea. So I really wasn’t expecting much from this show, especially since it seemed like a weird and not-in-the-good-way combination. I was WRONG. It was GREAT. I wish I had more to say about it, but it was a long time ago and, more importantly, outside of my normal frame of reference. I don’t know how to talk about prog-rap, or whatever that was. Except to say, why isn’t Blueprint HUGE?

7. Wiley & The Checkmates at Ravari Room.
This whole Funk-Defy thing is terrific. They brought some great shows to Ravari last year, and I hear they’re going to be doing more of the same at Circus. Anyway, I was torn between this show and the Charles Walker & The Dynamites show, but someone’s gotta win and I’m going with Wiley, if just b/c of the amazing crowd. If Jerry Dicicca, John Petric, and Damon Zex are all dancing at the same show, you know something big is happening. Or at least something super-funky. Plus R & I managed to dance without anyone losing an eye.

8. Raphael Saadiq at S.O.B.’ s in NYC.
Wow. I was super-drunk when we walked in the door, thanks to the two-for-one beer-and-a-shot special at the Lakeside Lounge (thanks, Biggie & J), and I wish I remember this show better but DAMN – the parts I do remember are fantastic. This is who Justin Timberlake wants to be (and I like Justin Timberlake). He looked perfect, he sounded perfect, the venue was perfect, the audience was perfect. Pristine soul-pop perfection.

9. The Supersuckers at Ravari Room.
Any year with a Supersuckers show in it is a good year in my book. They sounded terrific, the setlist was a nice mix of new and old, the crowd was respectably big but not so big that I couldn’t get down in front. Nothing more to say about this really – the Supersuckers always bring it.

10. X at the Newport.
I think I’m including this just b/c I so adore Exene. That said, they looked and sounded just like I wanted them to – I was half-afraid it was going to be a golden-oldies good-time revue, but thankfully it was not. Just some veterans doing what they’re great at b/c they’ve been doing it so long. On a more superficial note, my friend flashed Billy Zoom not once but twice, and then was surprised and starstruck when he came out on the floor to talk to her after the show. Um…. isn’t getting attention the POINT of flashing, BB?
Openers the Detroit Cobras were great too. A local-rocker acquaintance stopped me between acts and asked why so many people seem so into them when they’re really just a cover band and I’ve been wrestling with that question for a while now but I think it’s b/c THEY’RE FUCKING SUPER, PAT. Duh.

OK, I’m not happy with this list b/c I’m sure there’s stuff missing and I don’t think I really explained WHY the terrific stuff was terrific and I overuse the word terrific and basically the whole problem is I get liquored at shows and can’t remember much afterwards beyond WHOOO! THAT ROCKED. But there you have it.
I’m also a little dismayed to find only one local show on the list, but I’m going to ascribe that to my 1)drunkenness and 2) bad memory. I’ll do better this year.

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