Open Thread

Top Five Tuesday: Live Music

No fancy intro this time, I just want to know the five most badass, rockin’, amazingly cool concerts you have attended. Mine are as follows:

  1. Ministry at Lollapalooza. It was a nearly religious, life changing experience.
  2. The Reverend Horton Heat. He is all kinds of fun and a consummate performer.
  3. Bikini Kill. Small venue, crowded show, I was about three feet from Kathleen O’Hara throughout. It’s the closest I’ve ever been to playing the role of groupie.
  4. The Jim Rose Circus Side Show. I had a huge thing for the Enigma for a time. He has very pretty blue eyes and a gentlemanly manner.
  5. Beastie Boys and Cyprus Hill on Halloween, 1992. Seriously, need I say more?

Honorable mention goes to The Pietasters and Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Bad Religion. Oddly enough, The Violent Femmes is in my bottom five list. I don’t know if it was me, or the crowd, or the band, but it was like listening to a very loud record with a huge group of stoners. I was kind of bored throughout, which was disappointing, because I really love their music.

By [E]SaraB

Glass artisan by day, blogger by night (and sometimes vice versa). SaraB has three kids, three pets, one husband and a bizarre sense of humor. Her glass pendants can be found at if you're interested in checking it out.

37 replies on “Top Five Tuesday: Live Music”

So I’ve been to waaaaaaaaaaaay too many concerts in my life to pick a top 5, so I’m just going to list all the really good ones I can think of:

The Bouncing Souls — I’ve seen them 14 times, the most of any band, last summer I went four nights in a row to watch them play their entire catalog. I also saw them at ABC No Rio (TINY little DIY space) which was really incredible
Rancid — 5 times, twice this year, always awesome
The Who — first concert ever, so basically I win at concerts
Star Fucking Hipsters — not as well-known, but always a fun show (I’ve seen them 5 times) and one of the few acts I still get really flat-out excited to see
Anti-Flag — they did an acoustic set at Occupy Wall Street and that was pretty much the best thing ever
They Might Be Giants — I was in the photo pit (thankfully not when a microphone fell on Gothamist’s photographer) and they kept goofing with us a little
Against Me! — they did this tiny last-minute club show when they were touring with Dropkick Murphys, and I managed to snag a ticket. It was awesome. This was pre-transition Tom Gabel; I wouldn’t mind seeing them again now that she’s Laura.
OFF! — I was at their first NYC show ever, I managed to get a spot right on the side of the stage, and it was awesome.

In May I was at Punk Rock Bowling and I went to one of the after shows. I watched Dead to Me and Good Riddance, but decided to leave before No Use For a Name came on because I was so exhausted. Then Tony Sly passed away a couple months later, and I’m kicking myself for not seeing them when I had the chance.

I’m beyond jealous of your Beasties show. I was supposed to see them in 2009 but they canceled because it was when MCA first got sick, and I had always hoped I’d get to see them at some point, but now I won’t. :(

In no particular order:

1. The Avett Brothers, a few weeks ago. I am a recent convert and they put on one hell of a show. I’ve never seen so many broken guitar/banjo strings.
2. fun., House of Blues. This was in 2010, a good year before “We Are Young” launched them into the stratosphere. Nate can really wail, and “All the Pretty Girls” remains one of my very favorite songs.
3. The Beach Boys. My second-ever concert, in sixth grade at the Illinois State Fair. I still love them so much.
4. Ben Folds. I’ve seen him live twice, but this second time was just him and a piano. And when he sang “Landed” (which got me through a very tough time in my life), I cried.
5. Big Time Rush. Yes, the boy band on the Nickelodeon show. My sister and I are unironic fans and she took me to see them for my 32nd birthday this past summer. And we had an absolute blast.

And I can’t believe I missed this — sorry @SaraB but I can’t limit it to 5 — but I saw The Dead Milkmen at their fundraiser after Dave Blood committed suicide. They played literally every song they ever recorded. It was a hometown show and I and everyone around me had tears in their eyes throughout the whole thing. That’s a band that loves their town and the town loves them back.

I’ve seen Tori Amos in concert 4 times and every time was amazing. Skinny Puppy put on a really amazing live show. The David Bowie/NiN tour was practically a religious experience. Bowie! Bowie! I saw Public Enemy on tour with Anthrax in a tiny gym on a college campus and stood an arm’s length from the stage. I saw Diamanda Gallas perform in a tiny restaurant in Northhampton where I sat 5 feet away from her piano and was completely overwhelmed and blown away by the energy she puts out. And finally seeing Nick Cave on tour was unbelievable. He has got the sexiest sleeze vibe ever.

As a side note, I’ve seen Sister’s of Mercy 4 times and each time I see them it gets more and more depressing. On the other hand, I got to see Bauhaus on their reunion gig and it was like they never left touring.

I don’t go to a crap ton of concerts but a few that stick out in my memory are:

Tally Hall at the Blind Pig circa 2006 or so. I remember there was this huge time gap between the opening act and when Tally Hall came on and they hung up a sheet and started showing all these early 90s toy commercials and the audience sang along with all the jingles. They also played Free Bird for their encore and had a bunch of marching band guys and someone dressed in this goofy bird costume come in from the back of the audience in the middle of the song. I think this was the same concert anyway. I’ve seen Tally Hall at the Blind Pig a lot, so maybe I’m running two together.

Puffy AmiYumi at Saint Andrew’s Hall 2006. Aside from the fact that the middle of Detroit is kind of an odd place to catch a concert for Japanese pop stars, there were these massive drunk dudes that kept shoving other fans out of the way and screaming “PUFFY!” until finally Yumi looked at one and said “Arigato” in a tone of voice that would make you think the word translated to “The fuck are you doing? Stop. It’s embarrassing.” I also had to keep my best friend from starting a fist fight with one of them because she has a tendency to hit above her weight. It was a pretty fun night though.

Roger Daltrey and Eric Clapton at DTE Energy (a.k.a. Pine Knob, you can’t fool us corporate buyout people. We know what that theater should be called) 2010. It was pretty much the best Dad Rock concert of all times.

Oooh, this is too hard for me, but it’s nice to see a lot of the bands that I’ve loved live mentioned (Tool, Oasis, The Cure…). I’ve known people in several of the bands mentioned, and met quite a few others. This is just one of those categories I could go on about for days on end, really. We went out for a work-people lunch yesterday and most every song that played in the background was someone I’d worked with or met at some point. I miss it :(

#1 Dave Matthews Band, maybe the 5th time I’d seen them (cause I was one of those who saw them like 30 times. Don’t judge me, I was in college) and I had front row seats. It was amazeballs. Spoiled for everything else.

#2 Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band during The Rising tour. Pretty much what going to church should be like. I may have cried.

#3 Nickel Creek. Small venue. Flawless musicians. There wasn’t a note out of place.

#4 The National a couple of years ago. Also flawless. Also pretty emotional for me.

#5 Over the Rhine. My favorite husband and wife duo, no one seems to know about. First time seeing them was magical. It was the shittiest venue in all of Orlando, but they sounded so great.

In about a week, #1 is going to be Noel Gallagher in Portland. So let’s just pretend for the moment that it is. *knocks wood*

#2 Seeing Oasis and Ryan Adams play the same gig in Seattle. Because Ryan Adams is also one of my favorites, which is NOT NEWS if you’ve been following Alphabet Soup

#3 Bush in Denver. Their last proper tour before this current reunion… thing. It was fantastic.

#4 30 Seconds to Mars and Incubus in Spokane, WA. Don’t hate. Great, great show. Also, pretty people.

#5 Fleetwood Mac in Spokane, WA, since I never thought I’d actually see them. Christine McVie wasn’t with them, but otherwise it was the regular 1975-era onward group.

1. Linkin Park at Madison Square Garden. This one inched out the two times I saw them at Jones Beach because Jay-Z came out for the encore and the house fucking came down. Jay-Z singing the “from Marcy to Madison Square” line inside Madison Square was about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.
2. Chris Cornell on the Projekt Revolution tour at Jones Beach. I love him and he did an amazing show. Chester from Linkin Park sang “Hunger Strike” with him, and then he came back later to do “Crawling.”
3. Everyone on the Summerland Tour. I can’t pick just one. Mark McGrath shook his booty all over the stage; I got a high-five from the lead singer of the Gin Blossoms; Lit and Marcy Playground were great; Everclear did an awesome set. It was nice because they all had so much fun, and it was at freaking Woodstock.
4. AC/DC at the Garden. The first real show I went to.
5. Motley Crue was actually really fun, mostly for the people-watching. The super-dressed-up groupies were hilarious. And I probably should have been offended by the Titty Cam, but it was just so ridiculous I had to laugh.

Runners up: Pearl Jam at the Garden (though we had awful seats behind the stage), My Chemical Romance at Jones Beach, or Papa Roach at Jones Beach (Jacoby Shaddix jumped off the side of the stage into the ocean; that was fucking wild!).

Oh God how can I choose? I screenprint gig posters and live and breathe concerts, THERE’S JUST SO MANY FAVORITES

Okay in no particular order because I can’t okay:

1. Andrew Bird, solo, at a tiny Italian restaurant in Hong Kong in Jan 2010. I’ve seen him three times since (once in HK, twice in Boston, once in Northampton, dude tours a ton), but that one’s still my favorite because it was the first proper rock concert I went to, and I mean Andrew Bird puts on a fantastic show anywhere but the crowd was ridiculously enthusiastic (it was a huge fucking deal he was there) and he was definitely feeling it.

2. Lisa Hannigan at Bush Hall in London in July 2011. Since she put out her first solo record I had literally missed at least two of her shows every single year because I was in the wrong country by just a month. Like, who HAS that problem? But last summer I finally got to see her after missing another show earlier that year, and it was magic. I also got to see her again in October in Boston, then two more times earlier this year with that Joe Henry tour.

3. Hop Along at WWTA (DIY venue in Allston) last month. I kinda stumbled into Hop Along by way of Algernon Cadwallader (their debut record was produced by Joe, the guitarist) and some punk friends who asked me to do a small gig poster for their show at Trouble Ahead earlier this year and I’ve been hooked ever since. But when they were coming up last month they had some booking issues, we were all trying to find them a place to play, and finally a week before the show was supposed to be they got something at WWTA. I go, and on a week’s notice we had about a hundred people there? All super into it and it was awesome.

4. Lost in the Trees at the MFA in April. While I wasn’t a fan of this one in terms of logistics (I don’t like seated venues generally, and I did the poster and was working merch and the MFA kicked us out after about fifteen minutes while trying to sell stuff to a sold out crowd), God was that a show. Lost in the Trees’ music is incredibly powerful on its own, their most recent record being a way for frontman Ari Picker to pay tribute to his mother who battled depression, cancer, lost two twins, and finally took her life shortly after he got married, but holy hell was I not prepared for him to be singing about it in front of me. That was something else.

5. Ben Sollee at the Jamaica Pond Boathouse in August. I hadn’t heard of Ben until two days before this, when he did a video interview thing with Andrew Bird and all my friends got super excited about the two of them talking together and were all completely horrified that I hadn’t heard of him. But I started listening to him, liked him, and then found out that he was doing a group ride thing with the Boston Cyclists Union that would culminate in a free show at the JP Boathouse. Apparently in addition to liking bikes (which I knew about from the Bird interview), he actually tours on a bike. Like, his cello case was strapped to the side of a bike trailer. Anyway, it was awesome, the free show was in a gorgeous location during sunset, and I talked to him afterwards and he was really nice and generally great, so.

I have FEELINGS about shows okay.

I love working merch. It’s definitely the highlight of doing any poster for me, as well as doing Flatstocks at the various music festivals (Pitchfork, SXSW…). I’m starting to see my generation of printers getting gigs from him, so maybe next Massachusetts show? And that definitely is cool! I joke that I’ve met so many of my favorite musicians and found out they’re not assholes that SOMEBODY has to be, but he’s one I’m definitely not worried about.

1. The Mars Volta at a tiny venue – they went straight through De-Loused and it was pure magic.
2. Tool at Radio City Music Hall. We flew out to the east coast for this one and our tickets weren’t at the box office – so they put us in the 7th row. Bliss!
3. Zoe Keating opening for Amanda Palmer – first time I hear her and saw her insanity in action.
4. NIN at the Gorge – sometimes it’s about the location – watching the sun set behind the stage was fantastic – Tool at the Gorge also a contender
5. Marilyn Manson on the Antichrist tour – gotta throw it in there. Was my first concert (age 16), tiny venue, front row of the balcony – people were spitting on me. It was insanity.

One of the more unique experiences I had was seeing Maynard from Tool perform the song ‘Passenger’ live with the Deftones at a festival in Vancouver. That was a rarity! Saw The Mars Volta again on their next tour and was utterly underwhelmed. That was a bummer for sure! Gogol Bordello was also a show to remember. Bat for Lashes sounds amazing live as well. Okay I’ll stop now!

ETA: PS – I just ate a smoked salmon omelette with capers, mushrooms and sour cream. I can’t stop eating omelettes right now. I don’t want to. Ever.

I haven’t been to that many shows, but there are two that stand out in my mind. First of all, I went to see the Dave Matthews Band play at the Gorge Amphitheater over Labor Day weekend back in 2006 and caught two of their three shows over the weekend. They are a great band in concert with all of their improv. Plus, watching a bunch of drunk/stoned people dance was pretty entertaining. The other show that is worth mentioning was when I went to see Fink perform at a small local tavern. I was in the second row of people, and it was awesome. It was also the first night I drank alcohol (like a whole drink, not just a sip of communion wine), so it stands out overall.

Guys! Guys! GUYS! I get to move back home for my last two years of med school! :D I can’t wait! I’m so excited! :D Okay, it’s not truly back home, but it’s 2hrs away, which is the closest I’ve been in 7 years. I can finally make a day trip home, and won’t miss out on birthdays any more! :D I’m so excited. And I just can’t hide it!

I’m not sure about residency programs yet, but probably not. They have a good ER one right now, but their IM one is only so-so, and I think I want to do a fellowship, so I might need a more prestigious one. Right now, I’m 9 hours away, so this is a huge move for me.

Tough, tough choices. In no particular order:
1. The Cure in Chicago for my 30th birthday, second row and Robert Smith grinned directly at me twice.

2. Leonard Cohen a couple of years ago. I actually got tears in my eyes at one point.

3. REM I’ve seen a couple of times and they were always magical

4. Aerosmith years ago in that it was just a total, old fashioned ‘rock show’. They still knew how to work the crowd and I swear everyone, male and female, left there needing a cigarette, Tyler did that crowd so well.

5. Foo Fighters because Dave Grohl is my future ex husband and bad ass front man.

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