So, now it's December -- time to start looking back. This year's a bit different as it's also the last month of the decade. The rest of the month I'll be sprinkling a couple year-end and decade-end lists on the ole blog. As always, these only reflect my personal opinion or experience, nothing more, nothing less.
First up, I'm anointing my own personal "artist of the year" for each year in the decade. Last year was the first year I actually picked one, but fun to go back and see who was making it happen for me over the course of each year.
- 2000 Widespread Panic -- I saw these guys 29 fucking times in 2000 in 17 different states and one District of Columbia including possibly ill-advised trips to Richmond, VA and a frigid November midwest. That's flippin' insane!! More than I've ever seen any other band in any other year by a long shot. But I loved every minute of it and the band was at another level from the moment struck midnight on the decade to the moment it ended 12 months later. (runner up: Phil Lesh Quintet)
- 2001 Robert Randolph -- undoubtedly, 2001 was the year I fell in love with the Sacred Steel. Robert played on my birthday at the old Wetlands and the first Freaks Ball in January and I couldn't get enough of him the rest of the year.
- 2002 Benevento/Russo Duo -- Thursdays in 2002 meant just one thing: Joe and Marco in the Tap Bar... for free!! That was the old Tap Bar which was tiny and intimate and the perfect cauldron for these two to mix some magic. Best deal evah!!
- 2003 John Zorn/Marc Ribot @ Tonic -- it only took Zorn one month to make him the man of the year. His birthday celebration at Tonic in September 2003 was the stuff of legends. I only regret not being able to be there every single night. Of course, the star was Ribot and I saw plenty of him the rest of the year. End it all up with another stellar New Year's with Electric Masada and... and... MAN I miss Tonic!
- 2004 Broken Social Scene -- "You Forgot It In People" didn't come out in 2004, but it burrowed deep into my soul around this time. I will never forget being in a small auditorium with my 7+-months pregnant wife and about 100 people half my age getting absolutely blown away by BSS. A triumphant ACLFest appearance and small club show in Austin and my concept of what a sick live band could be was permanently redefined.
- 2005 Rana -- The Rana resideNYC(tm) at Tribeca Rock Club is the stuff of legends for those few who "got it." But there was plenty of at-their-peak Rana all year long, with the absolute peak being the Joyce&Bret wedding insanity up in Whitehall. Not coincidentally, 2005 also marked my peak drunkenly-spilling-whiskey-on-myself performance.
- 2006 Jimmy Herring -- almost the same week it was announced that Jimmy would be taking over the lead guitar slot in Widespread Panic, I saw him play with Rodgers and Sipe in Teaneck. The show was off-the-hook -- we are strolling through the halls of the gods level goodness. A month or so later, I saw him singlehandedly reach into the fiery wreckage of Panic and save a band I so sorely loved and missed. For the first notes of that first show at Radio City, he made my year.
- 2007 St. Vincent -- It's a rare thing to go see one band and then be so taken with an opening act that everything else is incidental. Annie Clark, solo on the stage, opening for Midlake was one of those moments. I bought her EP on the spot then caught her again to make sure I wasn't nuts. By the end of the year, she had a brilliant debut album under her belt and was headlining the Bowery Ballroom herself. I was smitten. (runner up: Jenny Scheinman)
- 2008 Apollo Sunshine -- read last year's post on Apollo Sunshine
- 2009 TBA soon...