top gigs of the year

lists. you love em. you hate em. you love to hate em. so yeah, in no particular order, here's mine:

@ bimbo's 365 club
i was expecting a couple guys with laptops. wrong. it was a full band and man, they fucking rocked the house. i loved the "dead cities" album, but i wasn't keen on the new "before the dawn" album. this show converted me; the new stuff sounded fucking great live and i now love "before the dawn heals us".

neko case @ the bluebird (in denver)

my buddy rick lives in denver. we hadn't hung out since he moved there about three years ago. we were talking on the phone when he mentioned neko was playing two nights. what better excuse does one need to go visit? not only did i get to hang out with a good friend, i got to see neko case twice in a weekend. the goddess did not disappoint. i even pulled a fanboy move and chatted her after the second show. i also got her autograph. i don't usually do things like that, but hey..it's neko.

puffy amiyumi @ the fillmore

their songs are pure power pop. stylistically, they borrow from everything and anything but they make it their own. ami and yumi are both super cute, which doesn't hurt. yeah, it's kinda geared towards the kids (see the hihi puffy amiyumi show on the cartoon network), but who fucking cares when you're having that much fun.

mono @ bottom of the hill & lobott gallery

more japanese goodness. the third and fourth times i'd seen them in less than a year. each show was totally worth it. my favorite quote about mono was on the shrinkwrap sticker on the "walking cloud" album. it said "i had no idea a guitar could be so loud". these guys (and girl) gently walk you up to the edge and let you take in all the beauty, then they push you off. go see them. get an album. something.

the chemical brothers @ coachella

i admit it, i'm not a huge fan. i have a couple albums and i like them okay. i wasn't planning on seeing them, but nobody else was really playing during that time slot and cc wanted to go, so i tagged along with her. holy cow, these guys were absolutely badass. they had the crowd going crazy. if i weren't such a lame ass dancer, i woulda kicked up a storm. fuck, i should have anyways...that set rocked. end of story.

bauhaus @ coachella

peter murphy. upside down. singing bela lugosi's dead. nuff said.

the go! team @ bimbo's 365 club

fun! fun! fun! i dragged a bunch of friends and hockey buddies to this one. the only problem i had was that the vocalist, ninja, was turned up in the mix. one of the things i love about their album is that the vocals are hard to decipher. but that's just picking nits. it was a bouncy good time.

ted leo/pharmacists @ the el rey & bimbo's 365 club

saw him in los angeles in february, and then here in san francisco in september. his melodies are really catchy and the lyrics are thoughtful. ted leo is great. that is all.

seu jorge @ bimbo's 365 club

like most anyone else, i discovered seu jorge from the wes anderson film, "the life aquatic". his david bowie covers are heartfelt and he shines a new light on these classics. i picked up his album, "cru". it's kinda all over the place (in a good way). the guy's voice is amazing and he's charismatic onstage, but kinda humble at the same time (if that makes any sense). my buddy karen was sposed to come with me, but she flaked at the last moment cuz of work or something. karen, if you're reading this...well, you already know you missed out. i brought my brother along and he really enjoyed it (and i thought we couldn't be musically further apart).

the new pornographers @ bimbo's 365 club

the pornos rock some catchy melodies and hooks. oh yeah and they have some chick named neko case singing for them. how fucking cool is that? their between-song banter is hilarious. get their latest album, "twin cinema". "sing me spanish techno" is the best pop song you've never heard.

the pixies @ the san jose civic auditorium

i got a free ticket to this. for some reason, this show didn't sell well at all so the promoter (bgp, i think) sent emails out for free tix to try and fill the place. the civic is like a high school gymnasium. it's a shitty venue and it's an hour away from san francisco. however...IT'S THE FUCKING PIXIES. c'mon people...WTF. yeah, they may have oversaturated the market with their seemingly endless tour, BUT IT'S THE FUCKING PIXIES! so i went alone. they fucking rocked and i bopped along for the whole show. so now i can say i've seen the pixies twice and can happily die.

sigur ros @ the paramount

i nearly didn't make it to this. i was gonna skip it because i'd seen them a couple times before. that changed when i got the new album. i couldn't stop listening to it. the show was sold out but i had to get a ticket. i tried for two days before finally contacting someone about 3 hours before showtime. getting to the paramount (in oakland) proved to be a nightmare. there was major bridge construction going on that weekend and four of the five entrances were closed. i sat in traffic for 30 minutes before abandoning my car near the waterfront. i ran to the BART (train) station and arrived in front of the venue in less than 20 minutes. why hadn't i fucking thought of that before? anyways, i met up with the nice couple who were selling their extra ticket and went inside. the show was beautiful, ethereal, and magical. pretty much all of the above and definitely worth the time. go, if you have the chance.

wilco @ the greek theater

this is perhaps my fifth or sixth time seeing wilco (they seem to play here a lot). another band i'm not obsessive about, but i like everything i've ever heard of them and i've never been disappointed by one of their shows. i also saw them earlier in the year at coachella. these guys know how to rock. go, go, go!

slint @ the great american music hall

i didn't really know much about them except that they were considered to be groundbreaking and influential, despite a short-lived career. they played three sold-out nights here and were very intense.

dirty three @ the great american music hall

warren ellis is a madman. these guys are almost the opposite of what i'd expected, judging by the albums i have. the albums are kinda soft and warm, to me. i kinda got lucky. i had no idea they were playing and my friend michael emailed me that day saying he had an extra ticket. fucking hell, i was really lucky to see them...and it was very good.

tortoise / daniel lanois @ the independent

second time seeing both of these artists. tortoise are amazing musicians, man those guys can play. and omg, the two drummer thing fucking kicks ass. john mcintyre must have a pact with satan in order to be that good. and after tortoise's set, daniel lanois comes on and tortoise is his backing band. christ, talk about an embarrassment of riches. lanois' beautiful, haunting songs backed with the virtuosity of tortoise. it really doesn't get much better than that. now if daniel can take care of his krusty the clown hairdo...


Stef said...

You went to see Bauhaus? Fantastic, would have loved to see that!

However I don't believe they toured here and I don't know anyone who would go with me!

Chemical Brothers are great live aren't they?

You must go to a hell of a lot of gigs! I think that's more than I've been to in the last 5 years! Note to self: go to more gigs!

robot_hero said...

yeah, i like to go to the occasional gig ^_^

also helps that i have a friend who works the door at one of the cool venues in town, and he usually lets me in if i ask nicely.

and yes, the chemical brothers were amazing!

Stef said...

Always handy knowing the staff...