Since January is almost over and that pretty marks the end of “Best Of…” season, at least on the amateur level, I thought I would try and provide my favorite musical stuff from 2005 — at the very least, I know Chuckles can benefit.
My number one Top 5 for 2005 has to be live music. I got back in to it in 2004 and it continued pretty well for 2005.
1. Dinosaur, Jr. @ Lollapalooza, (photo here ).
As I said at the time
Dinosaur, Jr.: I can never badmouth the Rolling Stones again. J. Mascis looks so old but he plays so good. So good. Actually, both Dinosaur, Jr. and The Pixies caused me to want to jump around like mad but then watching the band calmly standing there playing their songs I wasnÃ‚’t sure how appropriate it was. This was my favorite set of Lollapalooza. It was an hour of pure rockÃ‚’nÃ‚’roll and it was amazing. They’re loud and fast but very little feedback. Tight, three piece power punk. The forerunners of grunge music.
2. The Walkmen @ Schuba’s (Lollapalooza after-party) (pic here)
And here’s the capsule I wrote at the time:
The Walkmen (Schuba’s): Wow, what a way to end the day. We were seven or eight rows back for most of the show and Schuba’’s is so small theyÃ‚’re right there with you. They were intense. They played for over an hour and then there were two two-song encores. They covered The Monkees “I’’m Not a Stepping Stone.” It was a blast. We moved up to the front for the encore and jumped around like crazy. I doubt I’’ll ever get to see them up close and personal like that again and I am so glad I did. I got a poster off the wall and got to shake the bands hand outside afterwards. If only I’’d brought a Sharpie!
We were beat by the time this show happened (after already seeing 12 hours of rock’n’roll) but we went and had a blast. They played a great set and everyone was into it. I was also with the rest of my Chicago showgoing group (the Fearsome Foursome) and it was great.
3. Architecture in Helsinki @ Cafe du Nord 5/25/05 (someone elses’s thoughts here)
This was a fun show by a fun band. Pinko Punko wouldn’t be able to resist their live show. I had a good time at this show (even though I went solo). They were still trying to figure out how to convert the studio production into a live show and it just felt so honest and enjoyable that how could you not have a good time. If you ever played in a school band, this band shows how that could have been 10x as fun (unless Jack Black was your teacher)
4. The Ponys @ Bottom of the Hill (8/12/05)
Other than wishing I had seen them @ Cafe du Nord, this show was spectacular. These guys rocked hard. So hard. Seriously great garage rock that was filtered through some beautiful and not too overwhelming distortion. This show wasn’t too crowded but it was great except for the violation of the “only play an encore if the audience deserves one” rule (exception granted because I was still glad to hear an extra song). Also see initial review here.
5. Olivia Tremor Control @ Great American Music Hall (9/8/05)
Another band that was more or less defunct and made glorious music again in 2005. Any band that successfully integrates a saw into indie rock music is fine by me. If you don’t know who these guys are, learn because they are awesome. They also brought along a touring tuba player which is A-OK in my book. Besides, at the show in about the third song, someone pointed at it and whispered “tuba!” to their friend. So now it is used as a codeword for super-obviousness.
Other shows I quite enjoyed:
Architecture in Helsinki (in October)
The New Pornographers (even with Pinko Punko in attendence)
The Arcade Fire (@ Lollapalooza)
The Pixies (@ Lollapalooza)
I’ll try and provide some others later but at least this way one will get up tonight.