Top Ten Live Shows of 2008
Happy New Year everyone! This is definitely a personal list for me and I hope you’ll find something to take away from it! I’d like to hear about some of your favourite shows from the past year as well so please don’t hesitate to comment!
It was really hard to choose just 10 shows for this list because my 2008 calendar was filled. Not only had I been to a lot shows, they also spanned many genres, which made it that much more difficult to narrow them down. Rather than say more than is necessary I’ll add here that these 10 performers were chosen for their exceptional musicality, their dynamic within the group and with the crowd and their shear presence on stage and palpability.
*all photos were taken by me unless otherwise credited. you can view more of my photos here.
10. Golden Triangle
Golden Triangle is an unstoppable force of rhythmically driven tracks that allow for effortless and almost unknowing crowd participation. You’ll be moving around in a possessed state of mind before you know it. I also love how they jump into the crowd after their set to dance to whoever is up next. Awesome.
9. The Naked and Famous
I had actually never heard of The Naked and Famous when I saw them live. They played a show at The Delancey with a band I was already going to see and all I can say is that I’m glad I got there early. I don’t know when they’ll be back in the States but you can catch them in their hometown of Auckland, New Zealand.
8. Uh Huh Her
Dueling synthesizers. It doesn’t get much better than that. But then you start to pick out the complexities of Uh Huh Her’s layered tracks on their latest release, Common Reaction, and realize their affinity to maintain the integrity of the tracks when they perform live. Suddenly, they become living, breathing, and evolving entities that seem authentic and unique each time they play them.
7. Lissy Trullie
Lissy Trullie may very well be New York’s underground sweetheart. Her voice drips over her comfortably familiar melodies with an unparalleled sense of honesty. She is familiar in a way that evokes the past but she is fresh. Go see her now while you can because I fear when her album drops you won’t be able to say you saw her way back when.
6. Bad Brilliance
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, Bad Brilliance is here to show you a good time. He is so good that he’ll get that one person in the back of the room to dance. You know the one I’m talking about. Alone, huddled over a drink with a brooding look on their face. Totally done for. Also, you never know who will show up and join Mr. Brilliance on stage. Andrew W.K. and Chris Glover have appeared with him in the past. He’ll let you rub his balloon head too if you’re nice.
5. Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt
Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt is just that. They thrive on crowd participation and they throw the best dance parties I’ve ever been to. Hands down. Expect to see a bunch of crazy costumes and be prepared to wear some of them because they bring enough for everyone. They also have their own lighting scheme for each song and props to go along. They’re heaps of fun!
4. Bang! Bang! Eche!
Thanks to their wonderful management I caught Bang! Bang! Eche! in New York City during CMJ at The Delancey. Straight from New Zealand they were a breath of fresh air with their mash up of Dance/Punk/Pop. Their carefree and energetic stage presence had everyone buzzing.
3. Liquid Liquid
80’s post-punk was alive and well this past November when Liquid Liquid came to Santos Party House. They played an ultra rare set to a packed house and left everyone wondering when they would return. I hope this isn’t the last we see of them. Truly amazing!
2. Quintron and Miss Pussycat
The Drum Buddy + Puppets. Quintron and Miss Pussycat combine homemade drum machines/samplers/synths with theatrical elements including puppets. Crowd participation is a must! And look out because these two love somersaulting off the stage.
1. Gang Gang Dance
And the best show I saw of 2008 was Gang Gang Dance. Tribal rhythms meet atmospheric dance tracks. They will put you in a euphoric trance and you’ll never want to go home. There are no words.
Thanks to my good friend Liz, aka El Dangeroso, I am now aware of Astronautalis.
American Gothic meets Hip-Hop. Astronautalis is a masterful storyteller and rapper and I believe every word that comes out of his mouth. His tracks are so vivid and heavy that new elements emerge with each listen. Buy his new ablum Pomegranate.
Lissy Trullie has been a bit of a New York sensation the last couple of years and her debut EP isn’t even out yet. She’s played tons of shows and just came off a much-hyped stint during CMJ here in New York.
It’s generally hard for me to describe music and Miss Trullie is no exception. It’s not a bad thing. She’s genuinely unique but at the same time her music has a sense of familiarity to it. Her voice is warm and comfortable and compliments her guitar driven style.
Very much looking forward to January when her album is finally released.
Every buzzword possible has been applied to this band so I’m not going there. You just need to listen and be patient.
I saw Gang Gang Dance at Santos Party House the other night. I’m pretty sure they took my soul and cleaned it up nice and gave it back to me. It was absolute bliss. If you give them the chance, they will scoop out everything that makes you tick, your insides, all your vital organs, until you’re mush [no doubt, a very glowing pile of mush] and then they will slowly pick you up and begin to operate, piecing you back together in such a way that you’ll never want to return to your original being. You’ll get a new heart made out of bass heavy tribal beats and bloodflow will be restored by trickling synths. Not to worry about your brain, you don’t need one where they’re taking you . . .
Their latest endeavor, Saint Dymphna, was released last week. Buy it here.
With the release of his new record just around the corner, Kevin McGinnis, of Guided By Voices, Dopo Yume and Bloodthirsty Lovers fame, has kindly set us up with not only a sneak peak but three tracks available for download!
Aptly titled, Slow Hope Parade culminates McGinnis’s self described journey “between and during blackouts, benders, moments of bliss, philosophical isolation and spiritual derailment” into accessible, minimalistic, electroacoustic pop.
The album is crisp like a packet of chips and organically executed by McGinnis, who recorded it in nearly one take making it look effortless.
Look for a Limited CD release in UK shops in November and Online CD/iTunes mid October.
NOTE: Apparently, the Kaysh track I posted is an old version. Check out beatport for the released version of “Don’t Touch,” as well as other tracks by Kaysh.
I decided to do three random picks for this post. I stumbled upon these artists and have had them in my library for quite some time.
Listen up . . .
Hailing from Christchurch, New Zealand, Bang! Bang! Eche! has a keen knack for dance punk. Propulsive bass, thrashy guitar, and nearly spoken vocals are brought together with something other punk-based bands don’t usually possess – musicianship and dynamics. Think Dead Kennedys with synth, strip away the political overtones and add lyrics about partying and you’re all set.
B!B!E! lands in the states in October for this years CMJ Festival in New York City.