Wednesday, February 4

My Top 10 Shows from 2008

10 ~ X in Sacramento, CA., at Harlow’s, 10/29/08.

I finally got to see X! It did not disappoint. Seeing them when they were younger and full of piss and vinegar would have been awesome too, but they are still kickin’ ass these days. Billy Zoom is a lady kissing, grinning freak. John Doe is a blue-eyed mad man on the bass and very charming. Exene is the original crazy bird and still sounds lovely. Bonebreak is a drum-bashing machine. I will definitely go see them again should they come around. The only bad thing about this show was the crowd.

9 ~ Lucinda Williams in Sacramento, CA., 9/4/08.

It was a year of firsts for me. I have been a Lucinda fan for a long time but had never gone to see her live. She’s come through Reno a couple of times, but it was always bad timing for me. I am glad I finally went. She sounds amazing live. That voice just does it for me, and of course I am a fan of her use of language and lovely lyrics. There is a lot of scuttlebutt on the Internets about how Lucinda shows can be really bad due to her temper, but I think I would enjoy it no matter what. She did lose it a bit towards the end of this show due to some mistakes made by the band, but whatever. Rock stars are supposed to have temper tantrums, right?

8 ~ The Breeders in S.F. CA., at Slim’s, 4/30/08.

Let me just start off by saying Kim deal is God! I was completely smitten with her the entire show. They sounded great, the venue was great, and those Deal sisters are funny. I was happy that the photography Nazi’s were not in full effect at Slim’s on this particular evening. My car window got broken out while I was inside enjoying this show, and it did spoil the mood and the whole next day in the bay area. Looking back with a little perspective, the show was still stellar and I’m glad we went.

7 ~ British Sea Power at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn N.Y., 5/11/08.

British Sea Power is a powerful live band. They have a very full loud sound that pleasantly assaults the body on all levels. Not to mention it was my first trip to NYC! We got to meet the very drunk guitar player at the merch booth after the show. He was a nice chap. Lara snapped photos like a champ from the balcony. Good times were had by all.

6 ~ The Gutter Twins at Bimbo’s, S.F. CA., 3/1/08.

I am pretty sure I say this on every year end list, but I’ll say it again because it’s true … Bimbo’s is my favorite place to see a live shows. Dulli and Lanegan sounded hot, the GT songs translate very well live. I think Lanegan’s vocals could have been a bit louder, but that’s just my opinion, man. We sat in the back for about half of the set but then had to move up and were very happy when we did. The sound was much more crisp up front, and I could hear Lanegan’s growl much better. Dulli never disappoints with his live show charisma.

5 ~ Lucero, Glossary, & Jessica Lea Mayfield at Bottom of the Hill, S.F. CA., 7/26 & 7/27/08.

Back to back nights of Lucero at the very small Bottom of the Hill, what a treat. My liver and eardrums hated me for weeks after these shows, but my rock and roll soul was filled with the sweet sweet sounds of Ben & the boys. I fucking love Lucero, there isn’t much more to say about it. We met some crazy boys from Chico, “there’s always a Scott.” I heard Jessica Lea Mayfield for the first time on these evenings and have been hooked ever since. I can’t wait for the new Lucero record and the spring west coast dates to be announced. I’ll be there!

4 ~ Neko Case at Hawkins Amphitheatre in Reno, NV., 8/27/08.

I have been waiting years to see Neko Case live. What a voice! She was so worth the wait! The outdoor theatre at Hawkins on a cool summer evening was the perfect setting for Neko & her band. I fell in love with the voice and bust line of Miss Kelley Hogan that evening as well. She and Neko sound divine when they harmonize together.

3 ~ Ani DiFranco at the Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa, CA., 4/12/08.

I hadn’t seen Ani perform live for over a year! What a crime. I have seen her at least once a year for the past 10 years. So not seeing her for almost a year and a half was a big drought for me. I saw her in Reno the night previous, but the venue and the crowd did not make for a great show that evening. Everything came together right the next night in Santa Rosa. I think Ani really enjoys playing that particular venue. The crowd was so much more respectful than in Reno. It made me really grateful that we went to both nights. As evidenced by the fact that I have seen 15 Ani shows over the course of 10 years, there is nothing like the lil’ folksinger live.

2 ~ Gogol Bordello at the Grand Sierra In Reno, NV., 3/14/08.

I didn’t know a lot about Gogol Bordello before going to this show, but after the show I was hooked! What a spectacle! They are so fun to see live, their enthusiasm is completely infectious. My words would be insufficient in trying to describe how great they are, you have to experience it for yourself.

1 ~ Tom Waits at the Orpheum in Phoenix, AZ., 6/18/08.

Of course this was the show of the year for me. I wouldn’t have shelled out the money for plane tickets if I was expecting anything else. It is still fresh and beautiful in my mind. We should have gone to both nights!

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