Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 10 Live Performances of 2013

This year was a tame one in terms of concert-going for the husband and I. Apart from Newport, we really only went to a couple of other shows. Still, I will try my best to condense my feels into a top 10 performance list so that I can remember the highlights in years to come.


10. New Kids On The Block at The Times Union Center, Albany, NY





Yes, I went to this show, with my sister and my cousin's wife. And you know what? It was kind of spectacular. Boyz II Men opened the show, followed by a performance by 98 Degrees. Nick Lachey wore a denim vest. So? It was fun! The New Kids still have it, man. Abs.


9. Houndmouth, Newport Folk Festival, Newport, RI




The husband will likely have something to say about this one, as I'm pretty sure Houndmouth was his favorite of the weekend this year, but you know. Peoples is peoples. 


8. Andrew Bird + Tift Merritt, Newport Folk Festival, Newport, RI




This wasn't the Andrew Bird that I am used to, with his etherial rhythms and isolated fiddle and his loop machine, but I really enjoyed his set with Tift Merritt this summer. They go together well!


7. Lianne La Havas, The Iron Horse, Northampton, MA






The husband and I went to this show right on the heels of our Newport weekend, as part of his birthday celebration. Lianne is spectacular live - her voice is gorgeous, her guitar playing admirable, and her songwriting is everything you could want: brutal, joyful, and honest. This was one of the most special nights of our year!


6. Amanda Palmer, Newport Folk Festival, Newport, RI




I was genuinely surprised by how much I relished in Amanda Palmer's performance at Newport. We sat for the whole set, which is unusual for us - we usually spend a few songs with a band and then move on to see a bit of someone else. I don't think I took my eyes off of her for her entire set which also included a song by her husband and one of my favorite people, Neil Gaiman, and a lovely Leonard Cohen cover which she played with her father. I laughed. I cried. It was better than Cats.


5. The Felice Brothers, Newport Blues Cafe, Newport, RI




The Felice Brothers: a Newport staple, and a band that you Must See Live. We saw them play the Quad stage on Sunday, and then we saw them again that evening at the Blues Cafe. For me, the smaller the venue you can see them in, the better. They have an energy that will fill the atmosphere. 


4. The Silks, Newport Blues Cafe, Newport, RI




Okay, so. THE SILKS. They played the Blues Cafe *briefly* (and my god, do I mean *briefly*) on Saturday night. THEY ARE AMAZING. The lead singer is hilarious, and reminds me of the brother from Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead. Here is a direct quote for you: "If you liked what you just heard, we love you. If you didn't like what you just heard, USE YOUR IMAGINATION." This clip is from a show they did in Providence in 2012, almost as if their Newport debut was but a food poisoning-induced hallucination.


3. Lord Huron, Newport Folk Festival, Newport, RI




Hands down, this was my Performance Of The Weekend 2013. This had to have been a game-changing set for this band - what started out as a hypnotic and innocent enough performance, somehow exploded, and it took the entire audience in its grasp. I have come to really love Lord Huron, and I am so thankful that I got to see this very special afternoon in their career.


2. Dawes and Friends, The Jane Pickens Theater, Newport, RI




The Milk Carton Kids, Nikki Bluhm and Tim Bluhm, Houndmouth, Phosphorescent, Dawes, and Old Crow Medicine Show. We were front row. My feelings can best be expressed with the above video.


1. Tegan and Sara, Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park, NY




They played Heartthrob in its entirety. Then some classics. Then a medley. They did a live 80s remix of Alligator Tears. We have seen Tegan and Sara several times now, and this? This was the best by far.

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