Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Top 20 Live Shows of 2008

I feel spoiled that I get to see Henry Clay People, Le Switch, The Movies, Radar Bros. and The Broken West all the time. So those bands are probably needlessly penalized as the list skews national. I wouldn't be surprised if I'm forgetting a few too...

Top 20 Live Shows of 2008:

20) Spaceland’s 13th Anniversary – Radar Bros., Earlimart, The Broken West, Wiskey Biscuit, The Tyde, The Movies, 400 Blows @ Spaceland on 3/2/08 – This was a fantastic lineup, but the crowd was very light (negative points). I think it was the only time I saw 400 Blows all year (positive points).
19) Throw Me the Statue @ the Echo on 9/10/08 – I really dig their record and they put on a really fun show. It was my first time seeing them, which always helps too.
18) The Movies @ Spaceland on 12/15/08 – They all have their highlights, so it’s really hard to pick out one Movies show as the best, so I’m going with the most recent.

17) Le Switch / Les Blanks / The World Record @ The Echo on 8/19/08 – I saw Le Switch so many times, it’s hard to pick out one show. I’m going with this one since it made me a fan of two bands – Les Blanks and The World Record.

16) Jay Reatard @ the Echo on 7/30/08 – The guy came off a lot more metal in the live setting. Really good stuff. My first time seeing him.

15) The Whigs / The Henry Clay People / Le Switch @ The Echo on 6/4/08 – I saw a little bit of the Whigs as SXSW this year and was totally impressed. They just have a professionalism and energy that’s hard to describe. Making it even better was the support…

14) Secret Machines @ Viper Room on 7/27/08 – I was apprehensive about the new lineup, but they delivered. One of the loudest shows all year. I really enjoy watching Josh Garza drum.

13) My Bloody Valentine @ Santa Monica Civic Center on 10/1/08 – I can’t say that I was totally blown away, but I never thought I’d get a chance to see them.

12) Brian Wilson @ Hollywood Bowl on 9/13/08 – My favorite BW show was Smile at the Disney. I also loved the Pet Sounds shows. This had a lot of the new album and the Beach Boys greatest hits.

11) Dr. Dog @ Hotel CafĂ© on 5/13/08 – This show came before I’d heard the record, so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I might have. Their show at El Rey later in the year paled in comparison.

10) Bon Iver / Phosphorescent @ The Echo on 3/20/08 – It was way mellow and the Echo was way packed, but both artists pulled it off. My first time seeing both. Negative points for Phosphorescent charging me $20 for a copy of their record on vinyl (MSRP = $12 or so).

09) Charlie Louvin @ Stagecoach Festival on 5/4/08 – This was the highlight for me at this year’s Stagecoach. I felt really privileged to see the country legend.

08) My Morning Jacket @ the Greek on 9/21/08 – Such a fantastic live band. This would have ranked higher had I not seen them so many times before (and if I was more into the new record). Positive points for winning free tickets. Negative points for mediocre seats.

07) Dungen @ the Echo on 11/12/08 – My third time seeing them and they finally delivered on what their albums promise. Great stuff.

06) Radar Bros. / Brian Aubert / Everest / Adeline & the Philistines @ the Echo on 1/28/08 – This was the last night of the Radar Bros. residency and the last night that Senon played with the band. Lots of emotion in the air. Putnam even came out and did a song with Brian Aubert. The other bands were an added bonus.

05) Ray Davies @ the Wiltern on 3/29/08 – Davies is my favorite songwriter of all time. This time around his band was younger and more energetic. If those Kinks reunion tour rumors are true, I may have to finally get my ass back to Coachella this year.

04) Okkervil River @ the Fonda on 9/23/08 – I caught half sets twice at SXSW, but this was my first time seeing a full set. Will Sheff stirs up some weird emotions.

03) Sigur Ros @ Greek Theatre on 10/2/08 – I don’t sit around and listen to their records that much (they’re just too intense). But they’re a fantastic live band that brings so much emotion – and all without writing real lyrics. Positive points for a beautiful night at the Greek.

02) Spiritualized @ the Echo on 9/19/08 – I’d just seen them do a show a couple of nights before at the Hollywood Bowl. Of course, the Echo’s about 2% of the size of the Bowl, so this was much, much better. It was my fifth or sixth time seeing them, but the new record’s really good. Negative points for the girl flinging her hair around for half the set.

01) Fleet Foxes @ Palm Door in Austin on 3/15/08 – This was a SXSW party and my first time seeing them. I was so impressed with their voices. Was it really the best performance of 2008? Probably not, but I walked away with that unmatchable feeling that I’d discovered my new favorite band. They were great at Spaceland on 6/29/08 too.

Shows I regret missing: TV on the Radio, David Vandervelde @ Troubadour, Kelley Stoltz @ Troubadour, Dolly Parton @ the Greek, Stevie Wonder @ Hollywood Bowl, The Dodos (all 4 times), Andrew Bird @ Largo, The Raconteurs @ Greek Theatre, Cornelius @ Walt Disney Concert Hall
photo: Fleet Foxes @ the Palm Door - photo credit = me


nb said...

i wouldn't worry too much about missing TVOTR @ the wiltern. both times i've seen 'em they can't live up to the record. a good live band, not a great one. and word is they'll be at coachella.

missing Cornelius, on the other hand, you should worry about.

Duke said...

i've seen cornelius four or five times and it's always great. unfortunately that show was on my bday and it just wasn't going to happen....

nb said...

motion for more rock shows at disney hall. cleanest sound i've heard in LA.