Saturday, December 23, 2006

The music junkie tries to narrow it down

Best concerts of the year! It's a tough one coming from the "live music capital of the world", I logged in 56 concerts, but count a day at a festival as "1" so it's skewed on the low end, I could add another 50 or more shows if I counted each festival show.

I will try to narrow down some highlights, and there are too many highlights to bother mentioning stuff that didn't impress me or a "worst list".

Top of the list is being on the front rail for the Rolling Stones at Zilker Park. It takes the entire SXSW music week to equal the intensity of that one. The rest are in no particular order. A lot of what makes them the best is purely personal. Sometimes it's a band I know or work for, and sometimes it's just the quality of the experience, the venue, and/or all of the above.

Saw James Hunter twice, but I have to go for that short acoustic show at Waterloo Records sitting cross-legged three feet away from him and his abbreviated band. He is really growing on me.

The Greencards at Momo's for SXSW, I have never heard them play any better than that, it was just smokin'. Saw them a few times, but that's the pick.

Nickel Creek: they played unplugged behind Yard Dog for SXSW where the audience is about a foot away (back up or you might get a fiddle bow in the eye!), and that was awesome!! Neil Young was nearby in the audience. They also played a fantastic sold-out show at Gruene Hall a couple of days later, I never saw them play any better than that. They played until the house pulled power, get on home now. Fantastic. Click on the Nickel Creek label for more posts on this band.

Steve Wynn and the Miracle Three are one of the best live bands I've ever seen. Check them out. Saw them several times at SXSW.

It was pretty sweet seeing Rosanne Cash at Waterloo Records.

Sonny Landreth and Cindy Cashdollar (with guest Redd Volkaert) at the Cactus Cafe. Great show in a great venue, and nice to chat with Sonny for a minute while he signed an autograph. A show at the Cactus is like seeing someone in a living room.

South Austin Jug Band, it's hard to decide between their show at ACL and the one right before at Mean-Eyed Cat in the drizzling rain. You get a dancing audience for them and it charges things up, mud, dust, sweat and all.

Clifford Antone's memorial at his club was about a 12 hour show and we only did 7-8 hours so we missed Eric Johnson (my favorite guitar player in the world) but did see an incredible heartfelt tribute. More here.

Eric Johnson, I have to pick the Antone's show with Ant B (a little extra jazz fusion flavor than usual), Mike Keller and Double Trouble, with honorable mention to a bluesier show 2 weeks previous with Keller, DT and Malford. Made extra special by having the opportunity to introduce Jeen Lilly to Eric. More here.

Calexico at Emo's, great venue for them, very up close and informal. They played Garden Ruin and more, and were super friendly at the autograph table.

Del Castillo... I'd have to pick the back-to-back nights at Antone's in July. Monte Montgomery strapped on an electric guitar and played with the electrified DC bros for the encore. I'll bet you never saw THAT before. Thought not.

You may find more pictures of these events here.

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2 comments:

HillCountryGal said...

I am SO jealous. I have not been to ONE concert in years. The one I would love to go see I would have to go to England to see, and that would be my adored Gary Moore. And his guitar.

Blueberry said...

He IS great, I agree! But there is so much great guitar right here practically in our backyards. He must play here once in a while. I will let you know if I hear about it, and maybe go myself if I have a couple extra bucks.