Narrowing the massive group of 55 shows I saw this year down to ten was no easy task, but I’ve come up with a list that I feel good about. I have written about each of these before on this blog, so I will keep it short and sweet. The original posts (and setlist playlist links) are still out there in the “Live Music” thread if you are interested…
#10 – Shakey Graves / Jose Gonzalez & the Bright Lites / Rayland Baxter (Knitting Factory 8-28)
Three talented musicians/bands, and Rayland even joined his buddy Alejandro Rose-Garcia (aka Shakey Graves) onstage towards the end of the night. My main attraction, Jose Gonzalez, was fantastic but in the end not the highlight of the night. This thing ran nearly four hours, and although I was pretty sick I enjoyed every minute of it.
#9 – Gregory Alan Isakov / Shook Twins (Egyptian Theatre 9-24)
Greg + his band + the sisters Shook + great company + the acoustics of The Egyptian = one incredible night.
#8 – Built to Spill (Main Stage) / Helvetia (El Korah) / Skinny the Kid (Prefunk) / Wild Ones (Main Stage) / Nick Delffs (Neurolux) (Treefort VII Day V 3-25)
This one is all about BTS and the headlining set they played at the Main Stage. When they opened with “The Plan”, I was stoked. Then, they followed up with “Center of the Universe” (yay!) … after the first chord from “Carry the Zero” was strummed, I knew what I was in for: one of my favorite albums of all-time, being played front-to-back, about ten feet from me. Holy balls, this was awesome. Built! To! Spill!
#7 – System of A Down / Alice in Chains / Incubus / At the Drive-In / Bullet For My Valentine / Dorothy / Slothrust / The Jacks (Aftershock Day II Discovery Park – Sacramento, CA 10-14)
Wow, what a day! My musical crush, my favorite screamo band (now, again defunct), Jerry F-ing Cantrell, and SOAD – all in one afternoon/evening, and with my lil’ bro! Hard to top that. Somehow, six others did…
#6 – Ryan Adams / First Aid Kit (Red Rocks Amphitheater – Denver, CO 6-14)
The gals from Sweden put on a spirited set while the sun started to set behind us, and then my man Ryan came out and played until well past curfew. This was my first time at this legendary venue that lived up to its reputation, and not my last, that’s for sure.