Memorable concert moments of 2013

As I’ve discussed before, I’m incapable of ranking things like favorite or best concerts… but I do like to think back and remember all the most amazing, bizarre, and important live music moments of the year. A lot of them are more personal than musical, but I think they generally speak to the power of a live music performance anyway. So… in no particular order, some of the most memorable concert and concert-related moments of the year:

• Matana Roberts at the Issue Project Room, using the audience vocals as a third instrument along with her voice and her saxophone; combined with the acoustics in the room it was beautiful bordering on sacred.

• Not one, but two concerts where I was the only audience member to show up. Awkward…

• Sean Rowe & co. covering “That Feel” at Cafe 939, coming down into the audience and doing a perfectly imperfect acoustic three-way harmony of guitars and vocals.

• Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys’ incredible cover of “I Put A Spell On You” in the Spiegeltent at the Outside the Box Festival – it didn’t just make my day, it made my whole week.

• If it hadn’t been the Year of Zorn, it would have been the Year of Ceramic Dog – I saw them five times and every one was a memorable, unique show. My second most popular Youtube video of the year was from the second Ceramic Dog show I saw:

• Every time I convinced someone to see a show and they loved it. I convinced a surprising number of people to travel out of state or even to a different country for bands they’d never seen and/or heard before. (What can I say – I’m contagious.)

• Seeing the ever-intense Woven Hand at max volume from point-blank range at a little club in Boston when I felt devastated inside, but figured it was better than sitting at home and being devastated alone.

• Deciding less than 24 hours in advance to go to New York and Philadelphia to see two Ceramic Dog concerts because I couldn’t stand the thought of being at home for the next two days. It turned out to be a very weird trip, but it helped a lot.

• The Marc Ribot Trio shows at the Village Vanguard were full of beautiful moments, old friends and new friends and great music. One of the best weekends I had all year.

• Almost every minute of the trip to Minneapolis, which was ostensibly to see the Zorn@60 marathon at the Walker. Concertwise, it is a strong contender for the best day of live music of 2013. It is also a strong contender for best hanging-out-with-friends day of 2013. Maybe it was just the best day of 2013, period. Music sample:

• Towelling off in the ladies’ room at the Issue Project Room (as my friends were wringing out their clothes in the men’s room) when we all got caught in a rather violent downpour on our way to see Marc Ribot and Matana Roberts.

• Getting an unexpected big sweaty hug from Amanda Palmer at Redstar Union.

• Moritz and I getting an early copy of “Your Turn” at the Ceramic Dog concert in Fontenay-sous-Bois and, when we got back to our flat, playing it loud with the windows open at 2AM in February. (And our whole Parisian adventure, really – from that weird walk through dark suburbia, to the chocolate croissants and ham sandwiches, to the night we spent wandering around Paris asking locals if they knew where any jazz clubs were.)

• Staying up all night at Marco’s house after the awesome show we all went to at the Bimhuis. Good friends, a sprained ankle, snow, jet lag, and no sleep…

• The night I made a friend at the Village Vanguard, and the night I had no friends at the Village Vanguard.

• Os Siderais at HONK! – everyone was having so much fun every time they played!

• There were so, so, so many memorable Zorn@60 moments that I hardly know where to start… I must have written ten or fifteen thousand words about those shows and I still left everything out. You had to be there, I guess. If I tried to pick “moments” it would be a whole blog post.

• • • • •

So… that was 2013. It was the best year I’ve ever had for live music. Which is a good thing, because if you removed all the concerts and concert trips, it was easily one of the worst years of my life. Thank goodness for live music, right?

Now it’s your turn – what were your favorite live music moments of 2013? Let me know in the comments!

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9 Responses to Memorable concert moments of 2013

  1. I’m so glad to have been a part of that brilliantly wonderful day in Minneapolis, to spend time with great friends. Music that I never thought I would hear performed, New musicians to obsess and crush over. Best corned beef sandwich ever (out of a total of 1). Sub-aural tectonic organ music sans cackling laughter….and once last chance to spend time with a RainStrayDog; or at least a lovely spouse of one.

    I hope for more in 2014, when possible!

    • Sarah V. says:

      I’m so glad you could be a part of it, too! And special thanks to Ron for assisting with the conspiracy… 😉

      I’m sure we can find you another corned beef sandwich in NYC.

      • rodrigo says:

        Not the best musical moment, but maybe the funniest moment going to a concert was the stereophonic sound of two different persons sleeping and snoring at the same time at the Zorn classical concert at the Miller theatre. Cheers mate!

  2. Great concert moments for Mike in 2013:

    1. The whole Zorn@60 experience, but particularly the day at the Met. What a real once in a lifetime experience.
    2. Seeing Pearl Jam with a friend from high school who I’d lost touch with for years, but who I reconnected with through the magic of the Internet. She was hip to Pearl Jam before they were cool. I think it had been around 18 years since we’d seen a concert together.
    3. Zorn playing the organ at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Sacred spaces always make for an intriguing atmosphere, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a performance in a venue quite this magnificent.
    4. Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck. What a great double bill. And shockingly natural despite my initial misgivings.
    5. Every year, the keepers of the Mingus legacy run a competition for high school students, the winners of which are invited to sit in with the Mingus Big Band at the Jazz Standard. I’ve done it two years in a row now, it’s a seriously fun night.

    • Wait, I thought of one more.

      6. Running down Mass Ave. in Boston to get the Berklee Theater and see Steven Wilson because my friend didn’t believe me when I said Boston is impossible to park in whenever the Red Sox are in town. His moronic aversion to public transportation won. Still, there’s something that accentuates the performance when you’ve broken a sweat to get there for the opening number.

  3. stefan says:

    2 feelings
    …..Sitting in the audience for ‘Avishai Cohen’ in France, seeing everyone around going wild even before 1 note was played. We never heard of him, so we didn’t understand. 2 hours later we where converted…..
    …..Every time I hear Joe Henry since the concert in Dublin…..

    • Sarah V. says:

      I was listening to “Reverie” while I wrote this blog, Stefan! :-) I want to see another live show of his very badly…

      It is always a surreal feeling when you show up to the concert of someone you don’t know, and find a room full of maniacs…that “what have I gotten myself into?” moment. I’ve had that experience before a few times.

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