I posted this on the LimeWire music blog last week, but I’m re-posting here for the edification of anyone who missed it. 2008 was a great year for concerts! As far as I’m concerned, these were the 10 best:
10. Rufus Wainwright @ Radio City Music Hall (2/14)
What’s not to like about seeing Rufus, in a beautiful theater, on Valentine’s Day, with the one you love?
9. Deerhunter, Times New Viking, The Vivian Girls @ Bowery Ballroom (11/8)
Sometimes it all comes down to a perfect lineup. There’s nothing like going to see three bands — and three bands only — that you really love.
8. 88 BoaDrum @ Williamsburg waterfront (8/8)
I stick by what I said at the time about the Boredoms’ celebration of eights: “It occurred to me later that a few thousand young people had just sat through 88 minutes of instrumental music and, judging from the silence and transfixed stares of everyone around me, loved every minute of it. Now, I’m as guilty as anyone of complaining about image-obsessed hipsters in Williamsburg and the shallowness of my generation as a whole. But 88 BoaDrum gave me a semblance of hope. If we can appreciate an hour and a half of noise and music together, we can’t be all bad. Right?”
7. Baltimore Round Robin (both nights) @ (le) Poisson Rouge (10/17-18)
A who’s-who of the Charm City music scene (with the notable absence of Ponytail – see below): Beach House, Thank You, Double Dagger, Adventure, Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez, Jana Hunter, Future Islands, Nautical Almanac, and many more. The only unfortunate part of the Round Robin was the very end of Feet Night, when someone stole Dan Deacon’s iPod. Lame.
6. Marnie Stern, Double Dagger, Ponytail, Indian Jewelry, et al. @ The Yard (7/4)
If there’s a better way to celebrate our nation’s independence than with an all-star show at a venue that looks like summer camp, on the banks of the odiferous Gowanus, I don’t know what it is.
5. Xiu Xiu @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (3/23)
Last night, Xiu Xiu played in New York with Michael Gira. Instead of going to that show, I was in my last graduate school class ever. No fucking fair.
4. Jarvis Cocker @ Terminal 5 (7/23)
I think I already said everything I have to say about this in the link above. All that’s left is to plead for Jarvis to come back to the States more often.
3. Of Montreal @ Roseland Ballroom (10/10)
Yes, there was a horse onstage. Yes, Kevin Barnes had a noose around his neck. Yes, there was a large and bizarre cast of brightly-costumed, vaguely medieval-looking characters. Yes, the crowd was full of teenagers from New Jersey. But it was fun as hell anyway.
2. Elephant Six Holiday Surprise Tour @ The Knitting Factory (10/11)
It was a good weekend for show: Julian Koster’s Elephant Six Holiday Surprise Tour hit New York the night after their fellow collective members stopped by Roseland. The evening was a grab bag of fun acts, from the Music Tapes and the Olivia Tremor Control to the Circulatory System and the Gerbils. They even showed the Major Organ and the Adding Machine movie. Oh yeah, and Jeff Mangum took the stage for the first time in a few years.
1. All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival @ Kutsher’s Country Club (9/19-21)
It was the mother of all music-nerd outings, and it took place at the mother of all kitschy, Catskills summer resorts. While I found the My Bloody Valentine set somewhat disappointing, performances by Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Harmonia, Low and a slew of others totally blew me away.
Did I miss anything?