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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It's Hip to be 4th

So, rather than save this for my christmas letter as I was planning on doing (yes, I wrote a christmas letter. shut up.), reading everybody else's lists of favorite shows of the year has me all antsy like. And since I'm hiding out in my office till the roves of cars allow me to escape Tysons Corner, I've got a little time to kill. So here they are, my favorite concerts of 2006.

The Walkmen @ MacRock
It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The first of four times I'd see the band between April and August (with a fifth to be added next weekend), I had the innocent elation of seeing he-who-would-be-crushed-by-a-pony wail on the drums, Paul Maroon absolutely kill his guitar like no sweater-vest loving man should be allowed to, Walt & Pete look kinda scared but somehow give the show all its emotion-plucking notes, and Hamilton Leithauser do his dreamy darndest to scream his way into my my heart for the first time. The following months turned into The Summer of The Walkmen, and played host to many more memorable experiences with the band, but no performance was quite so thrilling as that first one. Other MacRock standouts: The Wrens, Medications, Man Man, Aloha and that dude with the banjo that stomped his feet a lot whose name I never caught.

The Raconteurs @ VFest
I expected to love this band before their album came out. I expected to love their live show before I ever saw them. But the level of quality, rehersed perfection, musical chops, charisma and straight up thrashing, grab you by the red hair ROCK -- that I didn't expect. They completely surpassed all of my expectations. And they had really fucking cool gear.

I don't want to focus too much on VFest, but The Who and The Flaming Lips also put on impecable and unforgettable performances.

The Rolling Stones
I've chronicalled this experience here plenty, but it was a once in a lifetime chance to see some living legends perform in every bit of their glory.

Cold War Kids @ Fletchers (Baltimore) & the Black Cat Backstage
I really can't decide which show was better, so I won't. These guys just bleed themselves dry with everything they put into their live show. I love looking at somebody who I think might someday be driven mad by his art, and I get that from every member of this band when they're on stage.

The Hold Steady @ the Crocodile Club (Seattle)
The show that turned my mediocre feelings about this band into full on addoration. I even went and saw them again at the Black Cat a few weeks later. Many other people have said far more interesting things about them than I could embelish on here, but, these guys, they know how to perform.

The Go! Team @ Black Cat
This show was just plain fun. I went with Tyler, who always inspires me to shed my inhibitions, but even then, I was jumping, flailing, and doing all sorts of other things I would at the time called "dancing" because I just couldn't keep myself from doing anything else.

The Strokes @ DARCH
Ya know what? These guys deserved (most of) the hype. That was one of the tightest, most well rehearsed, engaging, musically on point shows I've ever seen. And rocking DAR is a very hard thing to do.

Pearl Jam @ Verizon Center
Cause it was freakin Pearl Jam and seeing them was something I've wanted to do since before I learned how to control my hair.

Fiona Apple @ Wolftrap
Another one I'd wanted to see for years, she exploded all over that stage. With ever moody shoulder shrug and feminist yawp, I loved her more and more. And man, she so pretty.

Honorable Mentions: The French Kicks @ Black Cat, Colin Meloy @ Birchmere, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin @ DC9, Belle & Sebastian @ 9:30, The Decemberists@ 9:30, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ 9:30, Art Brut @ Black Cat, the Spinto Band @ Black Cat, and Of Montreal @ the State Theater


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