One of the big tasks I've been busy with has involved with evaluating the best films of last year. (If only my individual list were finished...) Since I need to get around to putting a wrap on several things here, I figured I'd start with the concerts I attended in 2009. The best albums will have to wait until a later time. (To check out the back catalog, see what I put down as the best in music for 2008
Looking over the list of shows I attended, what I'm left with is the ability for the music to transport. Yo La Tengo were like magicians with their pretty songs and feedback squalls. Leonard Cohen and Lambchop each played low key shows, but you could have heard a pin drop at either concert. The Decemberists brought their dense concept album to life and then came out for a rousing victory lap. Not quite co-headliners Andrew Bird and St. Vincent played transfixing sets that did a lot with a little.
For me 2009 was a pretty great year seeing live music. Here's to 2010 being anywhere near its equal.
1. Yo La Tengo
at Stuart's Opera House (Nelsonville, OH)
One for the books, in my mind.
2. Leonard Cohen
at The Palace Theatre
Let's face it, this may well have been a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was reported that Cohen had never played Columbus, and at his age, chances are he won't be back. He did not disappoint.
3. Andrew Bird and St. Vincent
at The Southern Theatre
Other than when he invited St. Vincent, the recording/performing name of Annie Clark, on stage at the end of his set, it was just Bird on stage with his violin, which he played, plucked, and looped, yet his music was totally mesmerizing, sort of in a hushed, religious manner. St. Vincent was a fine opener, playing her arty songs with angular beauty.
4. The Decemberists
at The Lifestyle Communities PavilionThe Hazards of Love
has a fairly convoluted narrative, but presented as live theater it made much more sense. For a band with lyrics like literature and, let's face it, would be mistaken for nerds than rock stars, they brought a powerful sound and did a smoking Heart cover.
at Newport Music Hall
Nothing flashy but who needs that when you've got this French band turning out solid, tuneful pop-rock in a professional manner. (That is a compliment.)
6. Lambchop at the Wexner Center Performance Space
The amalgamation of soul, country, rock, and perhaps some jazz probably shouldn't work, especially with the offbeat lyrical content and singing that sometimes borders on speaking, but it does on record and did in a live setting.
7. St. Vincent at Southgate House (Newport, KY)
8. Los Campesinos!
at Mershon Auditorium-Black Box
at Mershon Auditorium
Not the best show of theirs I've seen but still a good one. It may be better in retrospect since it spurred me to relisten to their latest album and realize that it stronger than I thought.
10. Bruce Robison
at Columbus Maennerchor
11. The Flaming Lips
at The Lifestyle Communities Pavilion
Far too familiar to what I've seen before, although once I heard their new album, unreleased at the time of this concert, it made sense why they didn't play more from it. Still, I'd virtually seen this exact same concert a couple years ago and didn't have a lot of patience with my fellow concertgoers.
12. Times New Viking (heart) the Velvet Underground
at Mershon Auditorium-Black Box
Labels: concerts, lists, rock 'n roll, year in review