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Best Live Music Experience of 2005


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What were your best/most memorable live music experiences this year?

Mine was Bright Eyes, Jim James(My Morning Jacket frontman), and M Ward, all playing each others songs live together at the Newport Folk Festival. Oh, and the fact that they were opening for Elvis Costello wasn't bad either.

Also, the Redwalls are an extremely talented group of live performers.

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Mine would have to have been The Arcade Fire in Vancouver on October 7th.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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(Smog)

Sufjan Stevens (the small Kings College gig, not the Illinoisemakers one)

both in London.

Erm... thinking about it, they were the only live music experiences I had this year. I'm particular.

"There is, it would seem, in the dimensional scale of the world a kind of delicate meeting place between imagination and knowledge, a point, arrived at by diminishing large things and enlarging small ones, that is intrinsically artistic" - Vladimir Nabokov

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Yeah, I saw U2 in November. They were good, but my nod has to go to Sufjan and The Arcade Fire.

Mine was Bright Eyes, Jim James(My Morning Jacket frontman), and M Ward, all playing each others songs live together at the Newport Folk Festival.

I'm not a huge fan of Conor Oberst or M. Ward, but put them together with Jim James and it's pure magic.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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A tie. Over The Rhine in Northhampton, MA, and seeing Pete Seeger whack a nail into a log with a sledgehammer, singing a spiritual.

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How depressing. Until you asked the question, it hadn't occurred to me just how little live music I heard last year. I had three great experiences, though, one of which doesn't really count.

Sufjan Stevens and Laura Veirs at Trinity-St. Paul's in Toronto. The sound sucked but the music and the environment were amazing. Hearing Sufjan sing "Abraham" while I was sitting in a hard wooden pew, an old hymnal at my knee, gave me a new idea about what "Church" can mean.

The John Scofield Trio and the Brad Mehldau Trio at the Tennessee Theater in Knoxville. I was sitting just left-of-center in the second row, the perfect vantage for watching Mehldau's hands. He has a mind for music like Monk's but can be as beautiful and melodic as Evans.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, 1975. Yeah, this one doesn't really count, but watching the concert DVD from the new Born to Run boxset in my absurd home theater is as good as it gets. By the end of "Thunder Road," the opening number, I'd overcome twenty years of anti-Springsteen bias and had decided to make 2006 my "Bruce Year." Since then I've picked up used copies of Greetings from Asbury Park (1973), The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle (1973), and, of course, Born to Run (1975).

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Arcade Fire at Lollapalooza in Chicago.

Drive-By Truckers at Lollapalooza.

Bill Mallonee solo at The Electric Brew in Goshen, Ind.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read.

--Groucho Marx

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What's a live music experience?

Mark (retreating back into middle-aged, too-few-funds-too-little-time-to-see-any-live-concerts-in-the-past-five-years syndrome)

"The most important thing is that people love in the same way. Whether they are monarchists, republicans, or communists, they feel pain in the same way, as well as hatred, jealousy, fear, and fear of death. Whether you are a deeply religious man or an atheist, if you have a toothache, it hurts just the same." - Krzysztof Kieslowski

"...it seems to me that most people I encounter aren't all that interested in the arts. Most of the people who are my age ... appear to be interested in golf, fertilizer, and early retirement schemes.... I will stop caring passionately about music, books, and films on the day that I die, and I'm hoping for Top 100 album polls in the afterlife." - Andy Whitman

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My top five:

1. Sufjan Stevens at Missisisippi Nights, St. Louis

2. Woven Hand at Cornerstone 2005 (David Eugene Edward's voice just howled through that tent)

3. My Morning Jacket at Missisisippi Nights, St. Louis

4. Doves at The Pageant, St. Louis

5. Warlocks at Missisisippi Nights, St. Louis

Edited by Crow
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-- Sufjan Stevens (pre-Illinoise), Bill Mallonee, and Pierce Pettis at Calvin College. My thoughts on shrieking tree Daniel Smith and the Danielson Famile, who also performed that night, are best left unexplored.

-- Jeff Tweedy at Messiah College. Much, much better than I had anticipated.

-- John Francis at Messiah College

-- Over the Rhine in Columbus

-- Sufjan Stevens (post-Illinoise) in Cleveland

-- Arcade Fire in Columbus

-- The Sun (local band, in various OSU dives and bars)

-- Brad Mehldau at The Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village

-- Son Volt at SXSW in Austin

-- Drive-By Truckers in Columbus

-- Bill Mallonee in Columbus, complete with competing whirring espresso machines

-- Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Patty Griffin, and Gillian Welch in Cleveland

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This year I had the pleasure of seeing my two favorite bands in concert-- each for the first time. Okay, their sets were about a month apart, but it was still one of the most significant and meaningful musical seasons of my life: Over the Rhine in October, U2 in November, my head still in the clouds two months later.

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Remembering the actual real experiences, there are three big shows I can think of: U2 (Fall, Great Seats, Yes SEATS), Depeche Mode (Fall, Sixth Row, Yes, Sixth Row!!), U2 (Spring, General Admission).

Reliving the experience on DVD I am realizing that the first U2 show (which is now the Vertigo Live in Chicago DVD) is not only the best show I've ever been to in my life, but the best show anyone has ever been to in any of their previous lives (so there, Reincarnates). Yes, the hyper-real experience of the DVD is better than the reality I experienced; the style greater than the substance.

Biggest diesppointment: Nine Inch Nails. He whines, he whines, and then he whines a little more. I just wish he'd make up his mind what it is he wants to whine about. There is no God, or God hates us all, or it's everyone else's fault because of God, or it's all the conservative Christians fault because they believe in God, etc etc etc. Maybe I just needed to be closer, cuz I was way in the back for that one. It was fun, sure, but wow, what a baby.

-s.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Arcade Fire at the Paramount. No doubt about it.

U2 at Key Arena was great, but not as inspired as they were in 2001.

Over the Rhine always moves me deeply, although this show at the Tractor didn't take them into any new territory. But at least they tore themselves away from the smoke-choked Crocodile Cafe and made it to the Tractor, which is easily the best Seattle venue for their style of show.

Bruce Cockburn's show at Benaroya was uniquely powerful because of the focus on instrumentals.

I didn't see half as many shows as I should have this year. Too busy. Is it too late to make a NY Resolution

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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In no particular order, because they were all splendid:

- Bruce Cockburn, at the Ram's Head Tavern in Annapolis, MD - 2nd time seeing Bruce; another transcendent experience

- Tim O'Brien, at the Down Home, Johnson City, TN - great seats, great music, funny guy

- Robinella and the CC String Band, at the Down Home, too - delightful, foot-tapping bluegrass/jazz/whatever

- Bela Fleck, Snake Oil Medicine Show, and others, at the Rhythm and Roots Music Festival, Bristol, VA/TN - a fun date with my wife hearing a variety of bluegrass music while dining well on festival food; and boy is Bela astounding to watch!

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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1. Over the Rhine in Eugene, OR: not their best show, but there were so OTR virgins along, so that made up for it.

2. Alejandro Escovedo at an old baptist church in Eugene: A subtly amazing show that took on a lot of its value it retrospect. The last three numbers were played as the group stood in the aisle completely unplugged.

3. Iron and Wine + Calexico at the Warfield, SF: I've never seen such a boisterous, drunk crowd so deftly quieted as when Sam Bean started strumming.

Worst show: Richard Buckner in Eugene: After a rough soundcheck and more sound problems during hist first, incomplete song, he cussed at us and left.

So you ladies and you gentlemen, pull your bloomers on...

-Joe Henry

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-- Sufjan Stevens (pre-Illinoise), Bill Mallonee, and Pierce Pettis at Calvin College. My thoughts on shrieking tree Daniel Smith and the Danielson Famile, who also performed that night, are best left unexplored.

-- Jeff Tweedy at Messiah College. Much, much better than I had anticipated.

-- John Francis at Messiah College

Woo - hoo! Andy, I'm not sure if this list is roughly in order starting with the best, but I was planning to list my two favorite, which are Sufjan at Calvin and Tweedy at Messiah.

I owned Sufjan's albums before that show, thought he was good, but that's it. Then that show floored me and made me a big fan.

The Tweedy show was great for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which was its being the culmination of the conference, which was so much work, and his words on stage. But it is great to know that you liked it so much, especially after our (what I considered fun) back and forth about Wilco on these boards. I'm glad you were there, Andy. But I was too busy - I look forward to the next time we are in the same place so we can spend some time together.

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Oh, I forgot one other amazing live music experience. At the San Francisco International Film Festival, I saw a screening of Frank Borzage's silent film, Street Angel (1928), accompanied by a newly commissioned score from American Music Club. As far as I know, that night is still the only time that score has been performed for an audience. Pretty cool. And it was especially great for me because it was my first trip to the west coast and American Music Club's album, San Francisco, is an old favorite.

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Iron and Wine + Calexico at the Warfield, SF: I've never seen such a boisterous, drunk crowd so deftly quieted as when Sam Bean started strumming.

This is mine, too. I caught them up in Philly at the electric factory.

Wow.

I have a blog? here at A&F that I sometimes post in.

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3. Iron and Wine + Calexico at the Warfield, SF: I've never seen such a boisterous, drunk crowd so deftly quieted as when Sam Bean started strumming.

You must have posted this while I was typing my own list, Jeff. I didn't notice until finnegan's post that you and I were at the same show.

As phenomenal as that show was, I can't think of it without first having to remember that obscenely out-of-place "comic" they had before the show and between acts. Kind of a shame, that.

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  • 4 months later...

Everybody keeps making references to "OTR" which i keep misinterpreting as Old Time Relijun, the amazing band from Olympia Washington.

Which is appropriate because Old Time Relijun's performance in a basement venue packed with 180 teenagers in Walla Walla Washington was the best live music experience I had in 2005. Absolutely visionary stuff. Talking Heads meets Tom Waits.

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My pick goes to Wilco at the State Palace Theatre, New Orleans

followed from a great distance by Of Montreal at Twiropa, New Orleans

and a little-known swamp punk band called Tiger Bear Wolf, also at Twiropa.

I saw Arcade Fire very early in the year at the House of Blues, but I'd probably still put them on the list.

Winner so far for 2006 is Explosions in the Sky, Engine Room, Houston

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  • 1 month later...

A tie.

More for it's historical significance (but not limited to), Patty Griffin at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in May 2005. Don't get me wrong, anyone who knows me will tell you how much I adore Patty Griffin. She is my numero uno. And the Ryman show was nothing short of fabulous.

However, if I rate this on overall best live experience, I'd have to say Over the Rhine at Jammin' Java in September 2005. The ambience in the room that night was nothing short of magical. A spiritual experience, if you will. I saw them again last month and they were able to conjure up the same mood. Definitely one of my favorite acts to see live.

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However, if I rate this on overall best live experience, I'd have to say Over the Rhine at Jammin' Java in September 2005. The ambience in the room that night was nothing short of magical. A spiritual experience, if you will. I saw them again last month and they were able to conjure up the same mood. Definitely one of my favorite acts to see live.

Nice to meet you, Kim. Good to see someone else from the D.C. Metro area here.

As much as I love the idea of Jammin' Java, I've only been twice -- once when I lived in Vienna (to see Waterdeep), and another time after I'd moved back to Arlington (Ashley Cleveland). Both shows were excellent, but thinking back on the Waterdeep show, and how I sat on the floor in the front row -- I can't fathom doing that now. That's the difference between 27 years of age and 35. No more sittin' on the floor for hours.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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