While we’re almost done with thinking about the year that was, we can’t let it go by without recapping the year in our favorite concerts. Most of the shows we saw were in the LES (’cause it’s closer than say LA), but if we were there, it was eligible for inclusion on this here list of our top 15 gigs of ’06:
15. SPANK ROCK @ ØYA FESTIVALEN, NORWAY 8/10/06
Our time in Norway meant first encounters with The Knife, Noxagt, New Violators, and an incredible, secret 120 Days gig, but nothing outshone Spank Rock in a torrential downpour, leading a pack of drenched Norwegians into a booty-shaking frenzy. Party? Started. [Original Post]
14. THE STROKES @ HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM 3/1/06
There was as much buzz as curiosity in the air as the trust-fund stylers prepared to hit the stage in support of the year-end forgotten First Impressions Of Earth, and we suspect they’d been in band practice every day since Room Is On Fire. Sober, grateful Julian was a welcome replacement for entitled, mumbling Casablancas, and the band was a rhythmic juggernaut, ripping through its set with a mix of VU cool and studio sheen. Surprisingly awesome. [Original Post]
13. KEVIN FEDERLINE @ WEBSTER HALL, 11/4/06
To make this list, the concert in question has gotta be memorable. Fed-Ex getting excited to hear half of the 150 people in Webster cheer at his “How many of y’alls gots my album” query? Unforgettable. [Original Post]
12. THE CARDIGANS @ KNITTING FACTORY, NYC 10/31/06
Our first show of CMJ. Tough to believe, but Nina sounds even better than she looks, and the stripped set of Super Extra Gravity and Long Before Daylight tunes was … well, just watch for yourself. [Original Post]
11. RYAN ADAMS @ BOWERY BALLROOM, NYC 6/24/06
Lots of Cold Roses, as Batman and The Cardinals were firmly in the Dead’s mixolydian mode, but if you were there, the night has left an indelible (if soggy) imprint on your cranium. The show started at 1AM as we waited in a two-hour line (down Delancey, around the corner, and up Bowery), through a pelting thundershower, while the Keane kids cleared out of the Ballroom — and followed that by being packt like sardines in the Bowery basement for another 45 minutes. (No ice breaker like dripping rain from your hair into your neighbor’s beer!) Objectivity was compromised, but Ryan kicked a whole lotta ass anyway. [Original Post]
Top 10 after the jump!
10. GRIZZLY BEAR @ BOWERY BALLROOM, NYC 9/26/06
A road-honed Grizzly Bear, a cameo from Owen Pallett, and a reverent, sold-out Bowery hanging on each note of the Gummy-loved Yellow House. In a word: fanfuckingtastic. [Original Post]
09. SUNSET RUBDOWN @ MERCURY LOUNGE 5/22/06
There are a few distinct memories we carry from that night at Mercury: Spencer sweating disproportionately to the Lounge’s room temp, Carey Mercer’s spazztastic set with Frog Eyes later in the night, and thinking at the Sunset set’s close that, no matter what, we’d be there at their next Merc gig: two nights later. Maybe one of the reasons we think y’all were right on in giving Shut Up I Am Dreaming a nice Gummy spot. [Original Post]
08. EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY, AUSTIN CITY LIMITS
The post-rock titans of Texas were unflinchingly epic at their ACL gig. We’re talking shimmering crescendos, limb-flailing guitar assaults, and enough musical drama for a film soundtrack about high school football in the Lone Star state.
07. THE HOLD STEADY @ IRVING PLAZA, NYC 10/1/06
‘Twas the night before album release, and the literate drunks of The Hold Steady splashed classic rock riffage in equal parts with their Budweiser chugging, and the result was a frothy, hometown, celebratory show honoring the release of the record y’all loved to love — and loved to hate. [Original Post]
06. ¡FORWARD, RUSSIA! @ MERCURY LOUNGE, NYC 6/24/06
How Tom Woodhead doesn’t bust his larynx nightly is beyond us, but his histrionics — mixed with mic cord nooses and the violent, incisive, number-loving post-punk — were a skull-crushing and fist-pumping good time. No show of theirs we’ve seen since has compared, but with Brit bands, it’s all about first impressions, innit?
05. HOT CHIP @ BOWERY BALLROOM 3/11/06
The morass of chords jumbled beneath the buffet of vintage synths looked like a mess, and sure enough technical issues plagued the night. But when your chord tech dude is James Murphy — and you’re pulling material from The Warning — equipment-repair intermissions are the only thing capable of stopping the dance party. Converted on the spot. [Original Post]
04*. LOVE IS ALL @ KNITTING FACTORY 3/24/06
Through a night of kitsch-cowbell, skronk sax, chanted choruses, and propulsive kit work, we wore shit eating grins, barely surviving the crowd surfing, mosh-pits, and Red Stripe benefaction in each of the Knit’s corners. Single most “fun” show of the year. [Original Post]
04*. EDITORS @ MERCURY LOUNGE, NYC 1/20/06
At the time, Editors were the latest model of Brit hype-mongered acts attempting to make a statement in NYC — and they simply killed it. They may lose luster in the studio, but live and in a confined space, Editors always seem like legends. Not sure what that’s about, really. Best “translation of advance press” gig this year.
03. BEACH HOUSE @ CAKE SHOP, NYC 11/1/06
This was a simple case of perfect room, perfect band. Beach House’s narcotic pop was masterfully understated, and their one-mood style cast a wide net over the Cake Shop patrons and held ‘em close, warm, and cozy. Wish we had this one on TiVO so we could instant replay it over and over. [Original Post]
02. SUFJAN STEVENS @ LINCOLN CENTER, NYC 1/14/06
Take whatever set of high-fidelity, sound-isolating headphones you exchange your shit gifts for, listen to Soof’s most sweeping compositions, and you’d at least have an idea of the sonic wonder that was a suited Mr. Indie Rock accompanied by horns, strings, and the stunning acoustics of Allen Hall. Add in the 50-foot glass backdrop overlooking Columbus Circle, and it was high-class hipster fare. From this list, this is the one show we wished someone had taped. (Anyone?) [Original Post]
01. BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE @ LOLLAPALOOZA, CHICAGO
What we rushed to dub the “Best Set Of Fest” has grown in our minds to legendary proportions; Broken Social Scene’s set was universally hailed and immediately recognized (in the moment by fellow fans, on blog posts and in interviews later by bloggers and musicians alike) as a classic. What made it special? Dunno. That thing they do, we guess. Emily Haines (and others) say they’re due for a long break and lots of solo records. Before long we’ll clamor for the perfect follow-up to You Forgot It In People and BSS; for now, we’ll dig on the Lolla aftertaste. [Original Post]
Definitive list? Of course not! Just pulled from the shows we managed to make it to this year (and shows for which we had posts with pics). What were your favorite gigs? Tell us what we missed in NYC, and definitely fill us in on what shows came to your town and helped you party down.
ADDENDUM: Duh, we forgot Radiohead! We were busy choosing between the Philly, MSG, and Bonnaroo shows and just like that *poof* the list was done. Consider ‘em all “list”ed.