30 December 2009

Favorite Shows of the Year

Another great year of live music! Almost got to the century mark, but hit a wall of inertia, weather and holidays in early December and haven't been out in 3 weeks. That's OK, had my fill. One more show to hit this year tomorrow night, Bad Plus on New Year's @ Village Vanguard. Something tells me there's room for that on on this list.

The raw data:
Number of shows: 95
Number of different bands seen: 180+
Number of bands seen for the first time: 119
Band seen most often: Phish (12)
Number of different venues: 39
Venue hit most often: Mercury Lounge (15)
Number of cities hit: 16
Number of states hit: 7
Number of festivals: 4 (in 4 different states)

Here are my favorite 50 or so...

  1. 6/11-14/2009 Bonnaroo: Manchester, TN -- every year I've looked at the Bonnaroo lineup and thought about how amazing it would be to go; this year I confirmed my suspicions. Would love to be a regular, but glad I've made it at least once.
  2. 10/31/2009 Phish: Empire Polo Grounds Indio, CA -- Phish on Halloween. In a perfect setting. Not much more to say
  3. actually let's call this 2A -- for every other time I saw Phish this year. The band is back and sounding great and would likely litter the rest of this list. I've listed/ranked my favorite Phish shows I saw this year below.
  4. 2/25/2009 Krantz/Lefebvre/Carlock: Sullivan Hall -- I've seen these guys play together plenty and am always blown away. This might have been the best yet. No words.
  5. 2/7/2009 The Dreamers/O'o: Abrons Arts Center -- in my opinion the most talented band out there playing at the highest level imaginable. Pity they don't play more often, but more special when they do.
  6. 8/5/2009 Portugal. The Man: Mercury Lounge -- my new favorite band. Saw them 5 times this year, this was easily the best. Review here. More PTM love here.
  7. 2/20/2009 Medeski, Martin & Wood: City Winery -- looks like I saw a lot of mind-melting shows in February. Wish I had seen all the intimate MMW shows during this week, but this one will suffice.
  8. 1/1/2009 Surprise Me Mr Davis|Benvento/Russo Duo: BB King's -- 2009 was barely an hour or so old when this party got going. Masterful weaving of sets by two distinct bands with that distinction getting blurrier and blurrier as the morning went on.
  9. 1/10/2009 The New Mastersounds/Rana: Southpaw Brooklyn -- there's always room for the Freaks Ball on this list. Was also my 35th birthday which meant extra fun... until things went black.
  10. 3/23/2009 Allman Brothers Band: Beacon Theater -- the Allmans went extra large every night this past March and the show I caught was no exception with JB and Jimmy Herring highlighting some exceptional sit-ins and stellar jamming.
  11. 7/13/2009 Wilco: Keyspan Park Brooklyn -- Wilco playing the best rock show you ever saw is like you tying your shoes. They just know how to do it and do it every time without fail. Great spot for a show, great weather, great people, great music.
  12. 8/1-2/2009 Newport Folk Festival: Fort Adams State Park, Newport, RI -- killer line-up straddling all sorts of musical boundaries. Such a wonderful festival. Can't wait to go again in 2010!
  13. 10/16/2009 Portugal. The Man, Hockey, Drug Rug: Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ
  14. 11/22/2009 Bela Fleck and the Flecktones: Tilles Center, Brookville, NY -- the original Flecktones with Howard Levy and no saxophone... superlative playing of all old-school Flecktones material. A hop, skip and a jump from home. Now that's a Sunday night!
  15. 10/20/2009 Bustle In Your Hedgerow: Brooklyn Bowl -- old standby favorites at the best new venue in town.
  16. 5/14/2009 Bill Frisell Trio: Village Vanguard -- the Wilco of brain-probing post-jazz guitar music. Never miss Frisell when he's in town @ the Vanguard... never!
  17. 6/18/2009 Andrew Bird: Radio City Music Hall -- review here.
  18. 2/28/2009 Clutch/The Bakerton Group: The Crazy Donkey, Farmingdale, NY -- thanks to C-Dawg for inviting me to this one! Always a pleasure to stand at the fringe of a most pit down route 110.
  19. 2/17/2009 The Bad Plus w/ Wendy Lewis (Yacouba Sissoko opened): Bowery Ballroom -- TBP in a rock club doing amazing covers/standards with Lewis on vocals. Awesome!
  20. 10/23/2009 Portugal. The Man, The Temper Trap: Bowery Ballroom
  21. 4/15/2009 Of Montreal (Janelle Monae opened): Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn -- review here
  22. 4/29/2009 El Ten Eleven: Mercury Lounge|11/20/2009 Pianos -- love these guys. Do not sleep on El Ten Eleven!
  23. 8/27/2009 Widespread Panic/Allman Brothers Band: Jones Beach, Wantagh, NY -- did I really see the Allmans more times than Panic this year? Guess so. This was fun.
  24. 5/14/2009 The Bad Plus|Benevento/Mathis/Barr: Merkin Hall -- somehow in my mind this combination was more awe-inspiring... but it was still pretty damn good.
  25. 7/17-18/2009 Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival: Oak Hill, NY
  26. 9/5/2009 The Black Hollies: Mercury Lounge -- another one of my new favorites. review here
  27. 11/12/2009 White Denim (Brazos opened) Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn -- review here
  28. 10/17/2009 Avett Brothers: Terminal 5 -- review here
  29. 10/16/2009 Bonerama: Sullivan Hall
  30. 9/10/2009 Do Make Say Think/Charles Spearin's Happiness Project: Miller Theater
  31. 11/9/2009 Wolfmother: Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn -- review here
  32. 10/13/2009 Clem Snide: Mercury Lounge|3/18/2009 Bowery Ballroom -- review here and here
  33. 2/27/2009 Blitzen Trapper (Plants & Animals, Alela Diane opened): Bowery Ballroom
  34. 2/6/2009 Masada Sextet: Abrons Arts Center
  35. 3/28/2009 Les Claypool, O'Death, Secret Chiefs 3, Saul Williams: Terminal 5
  36. 7/15/2009 Emergency Party/The Stationary Set: Mercury Lounge -- review here
  37. 6/26/2009 The Slip: Bowery Ballroom -- review here
  38. 9/8/2009 Mike Gordon (Marco Benevento (solo) opened): Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn -- review here
  39. 11/21/2009 Surprise Me Mr Davis/Land of Talk: Mercury Lounge -- review here
  40. 11/4/2009 Thao & The Get Down Stay Down (Portland Cello Project opoened): Bowery Ballroom -- review here
  41. 10/7/2009 Rana, Chris Harford, American Babies: Brooklyn Bowl
  42. 11/21/2009 Serena Jean: The National Underground
  43. 8/13/2009 NOMO: Mercury Lounge
  44. 10/18/2009 Bustle In Your Hedgerow: Studio House, Middle Island, NY
  45. 7/28/2009 Jenny Scheinman/Robbie Fulkes: Barbes
  46. 12/9/2009 Krantz/Lefebvre/Carlock: Sullivan Hall
  47. 10/16/2009 Ben Allison Quintet: Jazz Standard
  48. 9/25/2009 Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band: Mercury Lounge
  49. 11/20/2009 Jonah Smith: Rockwood Music Hall
  50. 10/8/2009 Thee Oh Sees: Mercury Lounge
...I think that's enough, although I could go on. (More shows reviewed for Bowery listed here.)

Ned's 2009 Phish shows
  1. 10/31/2009 Indio
  2. 12/4/2009 MSG
  3. 3/6/2009 Hampton
  4. 3/7/2009 Hampton
  5. 6/2/2009 Jones Beach
  6. 11/1/2009 Indio
  7. 5/31/2009 Fenway
  8. 12/2/2009 MSG
  9. 6/12/2009 Bonnaroo
  10. 10/30/2009 Indio
  11. 6/14/2009 Bonnaroo
  12. 8/16/2009 SPAC

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