|Syd And I BOTH were in attendance for Swans and Xiu Xiu! Were you?|
There were a lot of great shows this year and a ton, some that we were fortunate enough to attend, and plenty that for one reason or another we weren’t. There was that amazing Swans show that Phil and I both attended, marred only by that rather heinous sonic introduction by Xiu Xiu comprised of brutal, ear-splitting feedback. I mean, it set the PA on fire or something, which ought to tell you it probably wasn’t meant for humans. Or Terminators. And while the Swans were something special to behold, Phil and I had a different top three, and we share our reasons below.
Did we miss your show? Possibly. Do we regret that? Sometimes. I know I would’ve murdered to see that Om/Watter/Shedding show, but it just wasn’t in the cards with a four week old baby in the house. And there were plenty more that I’m positive were worth mentioning, like this amazing hip-hop show that neither of us could attend mid-January with Jalin Roze, Bird Zoo, Touch AC, 1200, and Dr. Dundiff. I kick myself for that one. But every year and in fact, every day is a new beginning, so here is to 2015 and us getting out to as many amazing shows as possible, and at least in my case, to playing a few myself. Read on to read our top choices.
5/15 @ The New Vintage: Young Widows, Anwar Sadat & Helms Alee
For me, there was a lot of anticipation for not only this show, but the release of the new Young Widows record Easy Pain (hot damn, it’s fucking good). I’d heard the album already, but hadn’t seen the band play in a few years. On top of that, I’d never seen Helms Alee, and openers Anwar Sadat always put on a brilliant eardrum-melting performance. Every band fucking brought it, and everybody watching seemed mutually appreciative. I enjoyed myself to the point of actual head-banging, so much that my neck hurt like hell the next morning. It was worth it. [OUR REVIEW]
9/19 @ Headliners: Tennis & Pure Bathing Culture
I’d seen Tennis once before at Forecastle ’13, but obviously seeing a band in a major outdoor festival setting is a completely different experience than seeing them in an enclosed space like Headliners. Aside from Tennis being fucking killer (as usual) this show was my introduction to Pure Bathing Culture, who I’d describe as a Cocteau Twins/Beach House hybrid. After the show I bought their record, fucking loved it, and it hasn’t left my rotation since. They’ve become my new favorite band more or less. Also, it’s worth mentioning how smooth this show was: It started on time, the sound quality was superb, and the bands slayed. Can’t ask for much better than that. [OUR REVIEW]
7/19 @ Forecastle Fest: Outkast
For years now, Forecastle has been Louisville’s favorite music festival, but to me personally it felt second tier to other major fests. Seeing Outkast perform outdoors on The Great Lawn in front of tens of thousands of people changed that feeling, giving the entire weekend the sensation that Forecastle finally was a part of the “major leagues.” There wasn’t a dull moment as Andre 3000 and Big Boi ripped through a huge setlist comprised of Outkast hot tracks, as well as a few solo favorites. If you missed this, I feel bad for you. [OUR REVIEW]
5/15 @ The New Vintage: Young Widows, Anwar Sadat & Helms Alee
There was really no way this show could not be amazing, given how fan-fucking-tastic “Easy Pain” is, so I was pumped going in. And Young Widows delivered exactly what I wanted. The show started on time, Anwar Sadat and Helms Alee were both pleasant to my ears, and YW slayed. It wasn’t that the show was in any way unique -it was, after all, just three dudes playing traditional instruments without much accouterments, but it was so wonderfully executed and solidly performed that it was undeniably flawless. All I know is that I walked away with a bangover and definitely want to flip a table while they played, but I didn’t because I’m not a fucking caveman. [OUR REVIEW]
5/1 @ Dreamland: Skull Defekts & Ma Turner
I like the Skull Defekts pretty well, and was certainly looking forward to this show, but had no idea that they would be both this energetic and playful. Before the show, I talked to Joachim Nordwall, who shared stories with me about his time spent in a band named Kid Commando (which is a fucking boss band name if I’ve ever heard one), and who used to tour with Arab on Radar. He had some good Arab on Radar stories too, and even commented on this, which is one of my favorite music pranks of all time. This show was my introduction to Ma Turner too, which was on this evening an esoteric, electric singer-songwriter kind of thing that really set the table for Skull Defekts, but while standing on it’s own as a fantastic performance. And Skull Defekts killed. Guitarist Daniel Fagerström was like a Nordic pixie man, prancing around the stage to hypnotic Swede metal with this weird one leg up strut. It was a righteous experience and one I feel privileged to have witnessed. [OUR REVIEW]
6/17 @ The Louisville Palace: Nick Cave
In almost every way this was the king fuck of shit mountain of all BCYMI shows this year. The thing is, a ton of you were likely there, but if you missed out on this (PHIL) then you really, truly dropped the ball. Warpaint opened the show and were seethed with a quiet kind of beguiling rage, one that relies on groove as much as melody to be conveyed. They were fantastic, and as a stand alone show would’ve been worthy of your attention. But it wouldn’t matter who you are, if you open for Nick Cave, you play second fiddle. Cave is a force in indie music and has been since his hellraising days in The Birthday Party. And goddamn he brought it. If I have half his energy when I’m in my fifties, welll… I don’t know where this analogy is going. I’ll what? Hunt a Predator? Fight a dictator? Jump kick the sun? I don’t know, but if you told me Nick Cave did all those things, I’d believe you, especially if his ace homie Warren Ellis was on board. Holy shit these guy slayed so hard, and brought such an unmitigated joy to my ears that I have difficulty articulating how important this show was. This may very well be the BCYMI show of the decade, especially if you dropped the ball like Phil. Way to go, Phil. [OUR REVIEW]