Tuesday, January 04, 2005

How novel - a "Best Shows I Saw in 2004" list

Yes, it's cliche and everyone who blogs about music has one, but did they publish their list on January 4th!!! I think not. So here's mine, starting with the best:
  1. Kasabian at the Bowery Ballroom on November 18th - A truly amazing show. They just came out and rocked, and had a good time doing it. They played all the great's off their self-titled debut ("Cutt Off," "Processed Beats," "L.S.F.") and the crowd danced around the whole time. It was just a fun show - plain and simple. I'm looking forward to their return in the Spring. Interesting fact - Kasabian is named after Linda Kasabian, Charles Manson's getaway driver.
  2. The Bravery at the Bowery Ballroom on December 9th - Although they were co-headlining with Moving Units, The Bravery went on first, and boy did they outshine M>U. Opening with "Honest Mistake" (my favorite track), and plowing through "Unconditional," "No Brakes," and "Out of Line" among others, they really rocked (and electro-ed). I think that most of the crowd was there to see them and left following their performance. (N.B. - this was one of the most attractive crowds I've seen at a show in NYC in recent memory - seriously, plenty of gorgeous women in attendance). Although I think that their New Year's Eve performance at the Motherfucker Ball was a better show, that occurred at 3:38am - thus disqualifying it from the 2004 list.
  3. The Cure at the Curiosa Festival on July 31 - The Cure is probably my all-time favorite band, and yet this was the first time that I've seen them live. I thought they played a great set, even though some of the other Curiosa dates had better playlists. I managed to be 5 or 6 people in from the front rail for their performance (I staked out my territory by the main stage all day, sorry Muse) and was amazed at the show they put on - hard and loud. At one point, I turned around and was just amazed by the sight of thousands of people with their arms up in unison for the band. The highlight was definitely the first encore - "M," "Play for Today," and "A Forest."
  4. Morrissey at the Apollo Theater on May 3rd - This was the Mozzer's 2004 opening night in New York, prior to the release of You are the Quarry. I know it has great history and all, but the Apollo is not a great place to see a band in my opinion - it's just shaped weirdly in the mezzanine and kind of hard to see. Nevertheless, Morrissey and his mates put on a great show. He previewed numerous songs from YATQ, while throwing out classic Moz tunes and even Smiths songs in between. The highlight for me was hearing "The Headmaster Ritual," "There is a Light That Never Goes Out," and "Hand in Glove" live. And I thought that "Let Me Kiss You" and "Irish Blood, English Heart" sounded the best off the new album.
  5. Get Loaded featuring Shaun Ryder and Peter Hook at Turnmills on November 4 - Ok, so this wasn't a live rock performance, but seeing Ryder and Hook dj, as well as telling tales of their sordid musical history, was just an amazing experience. It was really cool to see Hook dancing around to Joy Division and New Order songs.
  6. Moving Units at the Bowery Ballroom on December 9th - This would have been a better show if it had not been for the equipment malfunctions, which may be why The Bravery (who went on right before M>U) upstaged them. M>U opened with my favorite song of theirs ("Anyone"), but the microphone wasn't working for the first couple of verses. They later had trouble with the guitar amps. Nevertheless, they played their best dirty-disco and the crowd responded by getting down to the funk. I was disappointed that they didn't play "Available" though.
  7. The Rapture at the Curiosa Festival on July 31 - A homecoming performance for NYC's The Rapture, and they didn't disappoint. They probably had more fun than the crowd did. And even though it was still light out when they went on, they had the crowd grooving to their dirty disco. Love that cowbell!
  8. Franz Ferdinand at the Bowery Ballroom on February 19 - I'm sure that most people would have this show near #1 being that it's the world's current favorite band playing at a small venue, but I didn't think that Franz would be the greatest thing ever when I was at this show. I must say the show was very good, but when I later bought the album, I was shocked at how great they were. Anyway, just beginning their American invasion, Franz regaled the Bowery crowd with tales of mischief in wee Scotland set to an electro and rockin' backdrop. I was mightily impressed with the Jarvis Cocker-moves that Nick threw out behind the keyboard.
  9. UNKLE at the Canal Room on October 25 - Again, not a live rock set, but James Lavelle and co. put on a great performance. The crowd was mesmerized by the beats and visuals. I walked out of the Canal Room extremely impressed with such a strong performance.
  10. Interpol at the Hammerstein Ballroom on November 12 - Of the 6 times that I've seen them, this was probably their weakest performance even though they had 2 encores. Their performance at Curiosa would have made the list, but due to equipment malfunctions ("That was our new song Evil, without bass") it was sub-par musically. I think that their final Hammerstein performance was hampered by the fact that it was the most crowded show I've seen of theirs and the fact that there was no animation by the band whatsoever. I know they are not big talkers, but usually Sam will at least get up from behind the drum kit and say a few words ("Are you looking forward to the Cure?" at Curiosa; "You are such a good-looking crowd" at the Hammerstein on October 15, 2003). I was disappointed that they didn't play my faves - "Untitled," "the Specialist," and "Obstacle 2" - but good show nevertheless.

Honorable mentions: The Libertines at Webster Hall on October 12 (no Pete Doherty, but a loud, raucous show); Athlete at the Mercury Lounge on March 16 (first show in America and free Astralwerks samplers!); Elefant at the Bowery Ballroom on February 21 (much better live than on the cd); and On!Air!Library! at Tonic on September 21 (it was nice to see them prior to the larger venue Interpol tour).

And there you go.


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