Best of 2011: Concerts

As usual, I attended quite a few live shows this year. Picking the best was difficult, and in all likelihood it’s a mood-based decision: no doubt if I make this list again a week from now, it will be different. But here goes.

The Church – Despite what I wrote above, this one would remain on any revised list. A semi-acoustic and toned-down musical travelogue backwards through the group’s vast catalog, this was a show that was both intimate and exciting. That I interviewed Steve Kilbey in advance of the show no doubt helped enhance my enjoyment.

Paul Revere and the Raiders – Technically, this was 2010, but I didn’t pen an essay covering it – as well as a number of related pieces – until 2011. Say what you will about the kitsch and whatnot; well into his 70s Revere still knows how to put on a show.

Two of a Perfect Trio (Stick Men and The Adrian Belew Power Trio) – I saw this show at the start of their tour, and interviewed Adrian, Pat Mastelotto and Tony Levin for a big feature designed to run in advance of the tour-ending Moogfest date. The trios’ original material was great, and their double-trio “covering” of King Crimson was a thing to behold.

The Fleshtones – Dubbed “America’s Garage Band,” the Fleshtones carry on the spirit of rock’n’roll with their own brand of “super rock.” I interviewed Peter Zaremba and then got to see them perform in a tiny (I mean tiny) venue that held no more than fifty-sixty people. They dedicated a cover of The Guess Who‘s “It’s My Pride” to me(!) and let me play Peter’s Farfisa on one song. In that light, how could this not make the list?

Moogfest 2011 – I attended no less than twenty shows over the Asheville festival’s three-day run. Prog, ambient, rock, soul, electronica…you name it. In general I avoid crowds, but this was worth the trouble. It certainly helped that the venues are all within two miles of my home.

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