My Five Favourite Shows Of The Year

>> Friday, 26 December 2008

17 concerts this year! Wow!

Wait a sec. How many does the average person attend? How many does a person who follows music go to?

While I have no data backing this impromptu figure up, I suspect a reasonable estimate for the second question would be around one a month. That would mean my 17 is slightly above average. Slightly above average - that has a nice ring to it! I wouldn't mind having that inscribed on my tombstone.

For the record though, the number 17 doesn’t account for the near-daily summer concerts staged on my apartment’s front lawn by admiringly bad buskers who perform upsettingly awful covers of Radiohead’s ‘Karma Police’. Including these, my concerts attended number would spike to around 70 (they don’t possess enough artistic temerity to play on rainy days. Oh how I now love the sound of the rain.)

Further playing with numbers, I estimate I spent $452.50 Canadian and $42.50 US (Sigur Rós in Minneapolis) on shows this year, two numbers which when combined (and converted) come to slightly more than a month’s rent.

My concert experiences, however, was remarkably varied. Bob Dylan proved spectacularly disappointing; Islands were spectacularly dull; Sigur Rós spectacularly surreal; and Kanye West was spectacularly, well, spectacular.

Anyway, these are my five favourite concerts of 2008:

1. Kanye West w/ Rhianna, N.E.R.D, and Lupe Fiasco
Venue: MTS Centre
Location: Winnipeg
Cost: ~$107
Date: May 26, 2008

I rank Kanye at #1 knowing full well that doing so has the potential to shock and alienate my blog readers. But, of my four blog readers (my magnanimous pal Phil; my poet-uncle who just loves reading anything family members write, even lowly blogs; Lord L-7, head of the Kanye West fan club, Winnipeg chapter; and Shawna, a polite, but rather vocal hip-hop naysayer), I really only risk losing Shawna, so this stays at #1.

Kanye was awesome. Ego matched talent. If he comes back, I will definitely shell out $100 to see him again.

2. Sigur Rós w/ Parachutes
Venue: Orpheum Theatre
Location: Minneapolis
Cost: ~$42.50 US
Date: September 25, 2008

My second time seeing Sigur Rós was not as conscious-altering as the first time, but still an impressive, surreal experience. Parachutes were this year’s winner of the Opening Act I’ve Never Heard Of Who Blew Me Away Cup.

3. Josh Ritter w/ Emm Gryner
Venue: West End Cultural Centre
Location: Winnipeg
Cost: ~$19.75
Date: March 1, 2008

I can’t recall ever seeing someone who loves performing so much. The talented singer-songwriter from Idaho is clearly a passionate and confident musician.

4. Neil Young w/ Death Cab For Cutie & Everest
Venue: MTS Centre
Location: Winnipeg
Cost: ~$107
Date: October 16, 2008

Death Cab exceeded all expectations. Despite standing in front of 10, 000 partisan Neil Youngers, Ben Gibbard & co played like everyone in the audience was there to see them.

And as for Neil Young, well, the sexagenarian appears not to be slowing down with age. Sure he has more wrinkles and thinner hair, but the Winnipeg-raised singer defied his aged by putting on a helluva wicked show.

5. Born Ruffians w/ Plants and Animals, Slim Twig
Venue: The Pyramid
Location: Winnipeg
Cost: ~$15
Date: October 4, 2008

My first exposure to Plants and Animals was overwhelming. I loved them, bought their record and it subsequently made my top ten albums of the year list. Unfortunately, they lost the inaugural Opening Act I’ve Never Heard Of Who Blew Me Away Cup to Parachutes by the slimmest of margins (it was a bloody battle).

Born Ruffians were solid too.

What were some of your favourite/least favourite concerts of the year?

Infinite Playlist: Painting Over 2008's Silence


oooolivia 26 December 2008 at 13:59  

What, Dylan didn't make the cut? :P

Anonymous,  26 December 2008 at 18:44  

josh ritter is not from texas

Mykael 26 December 2008 at 20:15  

Idaho! Corrected above.


Anonymous,  27 December 2008 at 01:35  

i loved sigur ros's show too!
i saw them in LA back in the summer....
parachutes was such a cute band, opening for sigur ros, good job!
im surprised tho, not seeing radiohead's tour on the list

Rieds 29 December 2008 at 09:31  

Favorite Show: Neil Young & Death Cab For Cutie
Venue: MTS Centre, Winnipeg
Cost: $107.75
Date: Oct 16, 2008

Best Value: Awkward Stage
Venue: Music Trader, Winnipeg
Cost: FREE
Date: Oct 4, 2008

Worst Value: Bob Dylan
Venue: MTS Centre, Winnipeg
Cost: 92.50
Date: Nov 2, 2008

Coolest Segment: John McCrea of Cake giving away a 6 foot tree sapling to the first person who could guess the exact type of tree it was.
Venue: Sound Academy, Toronto
Cost: $39.50
Date: Sep. 25, 2008

Anonymous,  31 December 2008 at 13:02  

Josh Ritter was my favorite concert of the year, hands down. This is not at all surprising, as Josh Ritter actually happens to be my favorite person in the WORLD.

Feist was really great too. And I caught Okkervil River in Fargo - AMAZING.

Unknown 6 January 2009 at 10:27  

My girlfriend and I fell in love with Cadence Weapon when we saw him at Virgin Festival Calgary in June 2008, so we jumped at the chance to see him again at the U of M in September. Even though we were by far the oldest people at the outdoor UMSU show, he blew our lids off. Again.
You. Must. See. This. Guy.

Jeope 10 January 2009 at 13:51  

Amen to Ritter; have you ever seen a singer more happy to sing for you?

Metric's component of Jingle Bell Rock makes me want the new album now.

Elliott Brood at the Pyramid; what a party.

Weakerthans, Calexico and Hayden together at the Folk Fest. Does that count?

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