2014 Year in Review: Concert Highlights

The holidays got the best of me and I didn’t manage to write any reviews for the last … (counts on fingers) eight concerts I saw. My concert attendance is an unsustainable lifestyle, what can I say?

Anyway, it’s January 1, and for those of us with a smidge too much OCD to write year-end blog posts before the actual end of the actual year, that means it’s time to write a year-end blog post!

I saw lots of shows this year, including many kinds of music – bluegrass, metal, rock, folk, soul, experimental/avant-garde, country, classical, lots of flavors of jazz, and occasionally something truly indescribable. I always find it beyond impossible to pick the best concert, I can’t even begin to compare such different kinds of music – who can decide which is “better” between a marching band and a free improv jazz set? They’re worlds apart and I enjoy them in almost unrelated ways.

What I’ve been doing for the past few years is coming up with a year-end list of memorable concert moments – the best, the weirdest, the craziest and most amazing things that happened in 2014. So… here goes!

• The highlight of the early part of the year was undoubtedly the Marc Ribot residency week at the Stone at the end of January/beginning of February. Several friends and I went to every single set, twelve of them in six days, and we just about froze our toes off waiting in line every night to get the best seats. It was a real bonding experience! And the music was amazing – most of the sets were excellent, but the set featuring the Marc Ribot Trio with guest Cooper-Moore was one of the best things I saw all year. The encore especially will stay with me for a long time, with Henry Grimes heartbreaking violin solo and Ribot’s bluesy guitar. Also worth a mention were the gorgeous solo acoustic interludes in the 8mm film set, and the “Songs” night where he debuted a bunch of songs that I am absolutely dying to hear on a studio record. Maybe some of the best songs he’s ever written, what a pleasure it was to hear them live for the first time. E.g.:

It’s funny, watching the video back I can almost taste it, I remember where I was sitting and who was sitting next to me and how the place smelled and how cold we were and every little detail… memory is such a strange phenomenon.