Happy new year to everyone! First off, I won't bother naming my favorite releases of the year, as my listening habits deteriorated drastically in the past 12 months. Second, I almost didn't post this list because it was so laughably, pathologically homogenous, but I rejiggered it so that it doesn't read like a bad, unsolicited PR sheet (I hope). Nonetheless, it gave me a great excuse to review the awesome concerts I saw in 2008. I'm looking forward to even more great musical memories in 2009.
1. Jon Brion, Largo, January 12, 2008
Jon's last show at Largo on Fairfax was undeniably affecting and powerful, but this gig wins out for an entirely selfish reason: They played my request for "Band on the Run"--and it was awesome. I'll coast along on that memory for years.
2. British Sea Power, Maxwell's, May 19, 2008
Chaos is de rigueur at a British Sea Power show, but I'm confident we crossed over to pure pandemonium at Maxwell's. And I mean that in the best way possible. I just hope they bring Ursine Major next time--and that there is a next time. Also, if I were ranking albums, Do You Like Rock Music would easily top the list of my favorite records of 2008.
3. The Verve, the Warfield, April 23, 2008
If I weren't so uptight, I might declare a three-way tie for my favorite show of 2008, but dammit, I need my rules. Split decisions aside, I gotta say the Verve concert packed the most powerful wallop of the year, simultaneously delivering the sensitivity and the swagger that their music, at its best, has always embraced.
4. Wilco, Riviera Theatre, February 15-20, 2008
It took me about a month to recover from standing out in the Chicago winter for five days, but it was a small price to pay for the chance to live out my dream scenario of seeing my favorite band playing (almost) every song in its catalog. Consensus says Saturday's show was the best, thanks in part to Andrew Bird's guest spot and the truly spontaneous encore, but in this case, the whole exceeded the sum of its parts.
5. Broken Social Scene, Outside Lands Festival, August 27, 2008
I'm not generally a fan of festivals, but some bands are meant for those expansive, oversize stages, and Broken Social Scene has to be high on that list. At Outside Lands, this Canadian supergroup reminded me that "indie" and "larger than life" don't have to be antonyms. Also, they brought out Scott Kannberg!
» top albums and gigs of 2007
» top 10 concerts of 2006
» top 5 albums of 2006
» top 10 concerts of 2005