Wednesday, July 02, 2008

2008.5, part 2

Following up with the second part of the rundown of the first half of the great ¡El Ocho!:

Best shows:
1. Tom Waits - El Paso, Plaza Theatre, June 20
I thought my best opportunity to see Waits melted when two shows in Phoenix sold out in a matter of minutes. But then came the only redemption that El Paso, Texas will likely ever inject into my life. The man is a performer extraordinaire and just owned my being completely for two plus hours. We're talking about possibly the top show ever, and the more live music I see the rarer those declarations become.

2. Fleet Foxes - Solar Culture, June 30
This is why you never decide to sit it out for a while after catching a show so awesome that it can't possibly be topped for quite some time... If I'd have let that Tom Waits high ride as long as it could've, I would have robbed myself of the swirling and soaring magic of the Fleet Foxes, a band that is more advanced and more captivating vocally than any I have ever seen.
I put together a short preview, but haven't properly reviewed the show, so I'll just say that Robin Pecknold is an amazing talent and the Fleet Foxes are a uniquely transfixing combo that will never play a room as small as Solar Culture again.

3. Arlo Guthrie - Fox Theatre, April 26
The Solo Reunion Tour had Arlo playing alone for the first time in ages, a format that let his storytelling take center stage. Arlo's versatility also stood out, as he played blues songs and ragtime piano and Hawaiian guitar... And I got to meet him afterward, a moment that I'll always treasure.

4. Kathleen Edwards - Club Congress/The Independent, May 13 & 20
Probably my newest favorite performer, Kathleen Edwards is a Canadian singer in the mold of Lucinda Williams, skilled enough go from rough-and-tumble to heartbreaking within a chord change.

5. Chango Malo (acoustic) - Club Congress, June 1
The Bad Monkey Blokes sent Mr. Jennings off in style, and brought the house down with a show that put heart and passion on the line to resounding success. Check out their cover of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come":

6. Dean & Britta - Club Congress, Feb. 20.
7. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Plush, April 24.
8. Suicide Kings - Hollywood Alley, March 14.
9. X - Rialto Theatre, June 7.
10. The Swim / Fourkiller Flats - various shows, but especially the Che's Lounge performances.
They're my two favorite bands to see in Tucson's best watering hole.

Best albums of 2008 (so far):
1. The Helio Sequence - Keep Your Eyes Ahead
2. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
3. Kathleen Edwards - Asking For Flowers
4. Portishead - 3
5. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes / Sun Giant
6. The Swim - Random Walk
7. James - Hey Ma
8. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
9. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Real Emotional Trash
10. The Suicide Kings - The Suicide Kings

(Acknowledging of course that there is plenty more to hear this year, including a great many records already out that I have yet to catch up to.)

Best new-to-me music so far in 2008:

1. Eric Bachmann - To The Races
2. Avett Brothers - Emotionalism
3. The Capstan Shafts - Euridice Proudhon
4. Tracy Shedd - Louder Than You Can Hear
5. Otis Redding - Otis Blue (why I stuck to just the greatest hits for so long I'll never know)

Tom Waits - Way Down in the Hole (live, El Paso)
Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal (live)
Arlo Guthrie - In Times Like These (live)
Kathleen Edwards - I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory (live)
Dean & Britta - Night Nurse (live)


D. said...

Ahh, Sometimes a Great Notion. THE Great American Novel, in my H. Op. WATCH OUT WATCH OUT... indeed.

comoprozac said...

It's good to read that FF are just as good live as on record.

I liked your top 10. However, I didn't get the inclusion of Stephen Malkmus. Don't get me wrong. I am a long-time fan of SM and Pavement. I just didn't care for this record.

Either way, I like the blog. Stop by and visit Misery sometime.