Saturday, January 3, 2009

'Cause I'll rip the mike, rip the stage, rip the system

List time continues. And we still have music to talk about, though in a live setting this time.

2008 was a good live year. I got to see friends in killer bands play small venues and I got to see huge bands play festivals and big indoor places. Not the best year by far, but still pretty damn impressive, at least compared to the CD year, which was kind of disappointing, with a few exceptions.

So. Live list of 2009. I tried to get it down to three, but I couldn't, so here are the four best live gigs of 2009.

4. Wovenhand, at the Peace & Love festival in Borlänge.
We went to this festival with the explicit purpose of seeing Wovenhand. Mah Girl and I are both fans, and we felt it was time to make up for that Debaser gig we missed back in 2006. Why we missed it? Because I listened to “Consider the Birds” once, and decided it was no good. I had a bad day, and Mah Girl bought my opinion, for some reason. She has learned to be more critical of me since then, especially when it comes to anything Wovenhand.
So we went, and we had a great time, not only at the gig but at the festival itself. My kind of festival, right smack in the middle of town, with open restaurants, real bathrooms and even a Systembolaget on the festival grounds. And they had a Ben & Jerry's stand.
But back to Wovenhand. The crowds were pretty thin at the gig, and we could stand right at the front, though a bit to the left of center stage. We're not much for crowds, so that was cool. We were expecting at most a Wovenhand duo, with David Eugene Edwards on guitar and vocals, and maybe a percussionist or something backing him up. We got a full band. Reverend Dave, as he should be known, seemed to be in a bad mood, but that didn't matter. They played songs spanning their entire catalog, and managed to be more intimidating than The Haunted, who we saw at the same festival. And that's saying something.

3. The Cure, at the Globe Arena in Stockholm.
I've seen The Cure twice before, in 1992 at the Globe and 1996 at the Hultsfred festival. They've delivered both times, but weren't that memorable either time. This one, however, was one for the ages. 36 songs, three hours on stage, and the fact that we didn't get to hear either “Burn” or “Fascination Street” was completely nullified by a spectacular rendition of “If Only Tonight We Could Sleep”. Fantastic.

2. Rage Against the Machine, at the Hultsfred festival.
We did the adult festival thing for Hultsfred 2008, my brother and I and some friends, and went down for just one day. Why? Some would say 'cause we're not in the festival spirit. That's always been true for me, if by “festival spirit” you mean living on a muddy field in a tent surrounded by 10,000 drunk teenagers. I can't handle two drunk teenagers, and I've never been able to, and tents? Please. I'll take a bed, a shower and proper breakfast any day over that.
So we rented a minivan, plugged the cooler into the lighter socket, and off we went. We saw some other bands as well, but all that was just warm-up, opening acts for the main show. And what a show it was.
There are few things that can be compared to being in a crowd of 15,000 going completely apeshit, jumping up and down, making the ground literally move, in beat to live music. As rock shows go, it was one of the most energetic I've been to. We discussed, my brother, who's even less the festival type than I am, and I, how a band can end the show with the same damn song they've ended hundreds of other shows with, and still do it at 100 percent energy and with big smiles on their faces. The answer? The fans. Of which I remain one.

1. Dillinger Escape Plan, at Klubben in Stockholm.
I managed to see Dillinger and their two opening acts twice in three days. Work put me in Gothenburg two nights after I watched them completely destroy Klubben, and I got to see it all over again. I'm amazed no one was killed or at least maimed on stage, the way the Dillinger boys fling themselves and their instruments around. I'm amazed Greg Puciato can belt out throat-rending screams one second and hit pitch-perfect notes Mike Patton-style the next. I'm amazed I got to see the whole thing twice.

And that's it. Again, challenge extended. List your live year 2008.

Footnote: there was one show, that in retrospect, I really regret not going to. This Will Destroy You opened for Japanese madmen Boris in Stockholm in April. I missed it. Then again, I was in New Orleans then, so no real biggie. In fact, screw it. I was in freakin' New Orleans then!


Martin said...

I'm glad someone shares my appreciation of This Will Destroy You, and don't worry to much about the gig. It was good, no more.

My greatest this year, and possibly ever, has to be Cult of Luna at Debedis, closely followed by Oceansize at the same venue and Sonic Youth at Way Out West.

Damn, this has been a ridiculous year for live music. Here's to 2009 keepin' it fresh.

beardonaut said...

Thanks. And thanks for accepting the challenge. Not many others have. I will keep at it, though.

mistlur said...

i'm not even writing a list because this is how futile it would be: THE BRONX!!!!!!!!!!! (swiftly draining a bottle of beer into stomach) DEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the end.


mogylest - the most mogy of them all.

mistlur said...

and oh, for 2009 i have two words: THE BRONX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

beardonaut said...

A big thumbs up, as you know, on DEP, and a big thumbs down, as you know, on The Bronx. Though I haven't seen them live so I couldn't say really...