Monday, May 23, 2011
Love you live...
Inspired by Matt’s recent posts about Hammerbox and Everclear, I started thinking about the best live shows I’ve seen. A great show can be a magical thing and it’s often a combination of elements that coalesce into a cocktail of awesomeness. For me, that list may include:
a) Any band being ‘on’ and playing a devastating show
b) Being at the height of your fandom when you see a gig
c) Seeing a band/artist you’ve loved for years but haven’t had the opportunity to see before (a common occurrence for fans in Australia)
d) Never heard the band/artist before but having that feeling that your life has just being changed.
e) Something special happens that night either on stage or with the venue
f) It ties in with a memorable moment in your life.
For example, my number one gig is Queens on the Songs for the Deaf tour. I don’t think there’s anything as special as standing second row watching your favourite band at the height of their powers play your favourite album while PJ Harvey dances at the side of the stage. Sometimes a show just clicks and it transcends the ages. Anyhow, these are the shows that live large in my memory:
1. Queens of the Stone Age – Metro Theatre, Sydney, 2003
2. Bob Mould – The Zoo, Brisbane, 2002
3. Sleater Kinney - Gaelic Club, Sydney 2002
4. Mogwai – Newtown RSL, Sydney 1999
5. PJ Harvey – Enmore Theatre, Sydney 2001
6. Superchunk – Livid Festival, Brisbane 1994
7. You Am I – Livid Festival, Brisbane 1992
8. Built to Spill – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney 2008
9. Jesus Lizard – The Globe, Sydney 1998
10. Dirty Three – The Metro, Sydney 1999
All are memorable for different reasons ranging from Superchunk having a terrible gig technically but being all the more entertaining for it to seeing the Dirty Three on a combination of flu tablets and beer and starting to hallucinate to the music. Shows that just miss out are Faith No More (1995), Jawbreaker (1995), Fugazi (1997), Shihad (about 20 times), Mark Eitzel (2008) and Metallica (2010, such a good time). The one thing about all those shows, they all sounded amazing (except Superchunk) so tip your sound woman/man at the door.
Then there are the disappointments such as Radiohead, Ryan Adams, Iron and Wine, Stereolab and Sigur Ros – the main crime being that they were boring or bad. Oh and those fucking gigs I was dragged to being assured me a good time – Steve Malkmus and the oh so pretentious Tortoise. If I wanted to spend the night watching an aloof dude twiddle on his guitar while ignoring the relentless screams for Gold Soundz, I’m sure I could have arranged that at home. Tortoise’s ploy of refusing to play until the room went silent seemed like bullshit to me and then they played their monotonous post-rock to the Wire (magazine) set who were having orgasms at every xylophone solo – dull, dull, dull…
Anyhow, just thinking on it. I don’t get out to shows too often at the moment but of the hundreds of shows I’ve seen, it makes me think of all the enjoyment, nourishment and positivity music has brought to my life. I think we can all agree, music rocks. But also here's hoping my favourite concert event is yet to come...