Wednesday, December 21, 2011

RtBE - Favorite Live Shows of 2011

The live show is a slippery thing.  There are lots of variables at play most having little to do with the performance itself.  Does the venue have enough bathrooms?  Is it going to rain?  What day of the week is it on?  Did I have a shitty day at work before hand?  Did tickets cost waaay too much? All of this effects one's opinion of a live show before the band even tunes up and with reason, but when the stars align, there is no place RtBE would rather be then in the moment of magic occuring spontaneously from the stage.
Live Music Has No Equal.     

While we can't see every show that is out there we try our hardest to see as many as we can (and more then most) here at RtBE.  Sure there are a few left, we have Phish and a possible NYE show, but for now here is a listing of of the best concerts we were fortunate enough to have seen in 2011, and one show at the bottom that took the top prize as this RtBE's 2011 Show of the Year:

Honorable Mentions:
Jazzfest and Voodoo Experience-
RtBE never hides our love of the crescent city and these two festivals are major reasons why, and really should be their own entry as they are events more then just shows.  The trips as a whole are looked forward to and planned for months in advance but it is the collection of raw talent that plays these gatherings that elevates everything.  Jazzfest this year was a sunshine soaked love-fest with great sets by Maceo Parker and others as well as a day long gathering at the Louisiana Music Factory off the fairgrounds that had RtBE rubbing shoulders with jazz bad asses.   

Voodoo made it's return to the RtBE world this year and the festival has rarely been better.  Amazing sets from The Raconteurs, Mastodon, The Meters and others were all highlights, as was the City Park location of the festival.  The lush greens and weeping trees gave Voodoo it's own magical glow in the Southern fall air, return visits are in order and hopefully future lineups can compete with this years acts.

Band of Horses 8-10-11 Hammerstein Ballroom NY, NY

The only 2 bands that RtBE caught more then BOH in 2011 were The Screaming Females and The Hold Steady and all three are worth your time, this show by the group almost didn't happen.  After touring summer sheds with Kings of Leon the band was not scheduled to play NYC at all, then KOL decided to burn on out and Band of Horses had some free time on their hands.  The group announced and promptly sold out Hammerstein Ballroom with the quickness providing fans a headlining set of almost all of their songs.  The opening J. Mascis semi acoustic set also propels this show over others this year as J stripped down and buzzed around the ballroom with riffs and licks.  A midsummer magical night that reaffirmed BOH don't need help with drawing fans, they let their amazing music do the work.        

The Hold Steady - Beekman Beer Garden, NYC, 9-17-11

The Hold Steady have a distinct party vibe to them, and this warm fall night on the rivers of NYC was an event that hit the right notes.  Playing for charity, outdoors, a group primed from touring, happy to be home, perfect sound and setlist caused all things to pop on this night.  It doesn't hurt that it was the first opportunity RtBE had to meet the fellas in the band and they proved to be genuinely nice people who cared about the music and the show as much as the fans did.  NYC Taper was kind enough to capture the moment live and you can download the show yourself to get a sense of the evening unfortunately we can't go back in time and relive it. 

RtBE Show of the Year:
The Rough Seven - Checkpoint Charlie's, New Orleans, 5-8-11

When the show finally ended at 4am in the morning on Sunday RtBE knew it had been something special.  When we reviewed it for this site it was tagged as such.  While there were competitors nothing has topped that feeling walking back to my hotel alone down Decatur...Wow the power of fantastic live music...

It caused singer Meschiya Lake to literally hang from the rafters (click the above pic for full effect) and sing her lungs out.  RtBE was lucky enough to catch the group do their thing in the Spring and Fall, but their set that extremely late night in early May was the cream of the crop with everyone sounding exuberant and vital.  An amazing night of tunes that brought up the holy sun on that Sunday with flair.  Those in attendance would be hard pressed to disagree, pure Boosh!

Got shows that we missed?  Disagree with the choices?  Feel Free to sound off in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. Completely agree. I was not only at this amazing show but at also at many others by Rough 7 and they always deliver a sonic and emotional punch like no other. The combination of Ryan Scully's sandblasted voice coupled with the soaring beauty of Meschiya Lake and Erika Lewis are further intensified by the ebullience of pianist Ratty Scurvics and ferocious spark of Rob Cambre's brilliant guitar work. Their original material deals with the emotional scars of daily life with a combination of hope and rage. I love this band. New Orleans NEEDS this band.