Sunday, December 27, 2009

Top 10 Live Shows of 2009!!!

...that I attended.

10. Thee Oh Sees / Young Mammals / Wild Moccasins
March 16 - Notsuoh - Houston, TX [poster]

"Block of Ice" from Thee Hounds of Foggy Notion (2008)

A couple of local H-pop bands open for someone I never heard. All brought the energy and sounded good, despite playing directly into a brick wall just across from the stage. I bought Thee Hounds of Foggy Notion LP/dvd (2008), from whence the video above. The Fresh & Onlys cancelled - never heard them either. Cook attended.

9. Baroness / Dark Castle
December 8 - Warehouse Live - Houston [photos]

"A Horse Called Golgotha" - Baroness live, SF, CA (12/1/09)

I was expecting this to be top 5 material, but the guitar-weak mix and endless arty interludes wore thin... Still a very good show when it was rockin'. Two-piece opener Dark Castle was heavy, hilarious, outrageous, and seriously entertaining. So I bought the Spirited Migration cd (2009). Missed Texan metal maniacs Iron Age, though. CNL, MR, TN and BB were there.

8. MV+EE / Linus Pauling Quartet
January 31 - Rudyard's - Houston [poster]

"Drone Trailer," MV+EE live, NYC, NY (1/20/09)

More local heroes opening for unknown touring bands. This time, the quieter, droney, freak-folkers MV+EE headlined by playing before the heavy noisemaking of LP4. It worked well. I liked the mellowness, the occasional noise, the steel guitar, the folk and the freak. Linus raged hard. I bought a couple of live cd's: Black Ark/White Egg (L.A., 2007) and July Cottenflower ("Psyraguse" NY, 2006). Alone.

7. Mono
September 22 - Walter's On Washington - Houston [poster]

"Lost Snow," Mono live, Walter's, Houston (5/21/06)

You can read the original review of a great show. I bought the vinyl for You Are There (#5, 2006). MS went with me.

6. Bob Dylan / Willie Nelson / John Cougar
August 2 - Mitchell Pavilion - The Woodlands, TX [setlist]

"If You Ever Go to Houston," Bob Dylan live, 2009

My only complaint was too many legends! A looong show, got there at 5pm for an unknown country-ish band, who were pretty decent. Mellencamp was better than expected. He's a real showman, and his adult contemporary folk mixed well with the crowd-pleasing roots-rocking. Willie Nelson had a weird band set-up, but he's the man (as always). Dylan actually played guitar on the first couple of songs, then switched to his now-usual keyboards. Probably the best I've seen him since the first time, also at Cynthia Woods Mitchell. D&E made it to this one!

5. Isis / Pelican
May 21 - Meridian - Houston [poster]

"Hall of the Dead," Isis live, Atlanta, GA (5/28/09)

Pelican was so-so, remaining at the periphery of my musical interest. Isis was spectacular, everything was so perfect. Definitely one of the best-sounding concerts I've heard recently, and probably the best of the year. All the quiet stuff was super-clear, and the heaviness pummelled - without ever becoming painful. They played really well, all together the whole way. I bought side-project releases: taiga's hsheal LP (2008) and House of Low Culture's Submarine Immersion Techniques, Vol. 1 CD (2000). MR attended.

4. Dungen / Woods
August 21 - The Mohawk - Austin, TX [poster]

Dungen live, The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY (8/14/09)

I went in with high expectations for Dungen (#5, 2008), but Woods blew me away with their skewed psychedelic-folk-rock-pop. Dungen then exceeded expectations with a sprawling, diverse mass of live jams, pure pop, and excellent playing in the band. We also saw several groups beforehand do a Pink Floyd cover-fest next door. I bought the vinyl release of the full "Samtidigt" jam (2009), available on the first Astral Headspace comp! DB made the trek.

3. Jandek
April 5 - Rudyard's - Houston, TX

Jandek live, Rudyard's, Houston (4/5/09)

Jaw-dropping. The first hometown show ever by independent underground avant-garde weird-music icon Jandek. And it's three epic funk jams, with serious-style backing band. My jaw was quite literally dropped! MS in the house.

2. Maserati / Golden Cities
October 19 - The Mink - Houston

"Monoliths," Maserati live, Denton, TX (10/16/2009)

Sure, I liked Maserati (#2, 2007) already, quite a bit. But I could convince no-one else to go with me. Having been burned by super-early starts, I went at a normal time. And waited... then grabbed dinner, and went back... and waited. Then the first of three bands wasn't sounding so good. More downtime. Ok, I liked Golden Cities' album okay, and they were good live, but there were several times I thought about giving up and going home. But I was so glad to have stuck it out. One of the best (albeit short) shows I've seen in a long, long time! Read the original post from just afterwards. I stocked up, buying both vinyl LP's and a rare 7", plus the nice poster from their previous show in Austin opening for Mono. (Still regret not going... but I would have been all alone there too.)

1. Roky Erickson
June 24, 2009 - Continental Club - Houston, TX [review]

"You're Gonna Miss Me," Roky Erickson live, Houston (6/24/09)

Having been a fan of Roky Erickson's for well over 20 years, loving the music, empathizing with the man, expecting never to see him live, then watching him right there on stage, maybe six feet away... playing and singing with a strength I could never have expected... it was huge!! Many times more than just seeing a favorite performer and/or living legend. One of the most unforgettable, magical, and stunning experiences of my life - nevermind live music, nevermind 2009. Fortunately, a ton of friends got to share the experience.

I bought a poster, which hilariously misprints the date as "2008!"

Roky Erickson

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