Let’s face it, I go to a lot of shows and in 2014, I was actually trying to cut back. Truth is, going to shows is what keeps me writing and I find out about more new bands that way, by talking to musicians than on using any social media platform. It’s in the moment and you’re drinking and smoking and everyone has a new favorite band, then I write them down and check them out. At some point I know I said I was going to cut down on the amount of shows I would see, but I think it was Angel Martinez of B.O.T.S who pointed out to me quickly, “You said you weren’t going out as much, but I see you everywhere I go.” Fair is fair. This one will be short and sweet, one per venue at my favorite haunts, in order of occurrence.
March 22nd at The Sail Inn-The Madera Strand Dam Failure EP Release Party
This was an impossibly great lineup with both a band and a venue that were doomed for extinction last year. I’m not sure any of us knew that we would end the year without The Sail or The Madera Strand at that point last year. I will probably miss the Sail Inn more than any other venue ever because of it’s unique layout and indoor/outdoor stages that was so perfect for festivals like this. I will miss The Madera Strand because know one has ever sounded like them and they would play me a special Police cover. Seriously, though look at that lineup!!! This was a unique place and time and while most of these bands are still around, M0NST3R is not, Underground Cities is in doubt, and we haven’t heard a peep from Northern Hustle in far too long for my own comfort. All the rest are doing better than ever.
March 28th at Parliament- Small Leaks Sink Ships, Leonardo DiCapricorn, Snake! Snake! Snakes!, Playboy Manbaby
Speaking of hanging out at doomed venues, here’s another one. I think we all knew that Parliament would eventually go away, that wasn’t a real surprise, but it was goddamn great while it lasted. The funny thing about this show is that I believe I was drinking whiskey in the parking lot when I got a phone call from someone at the New Times asking me if I wanted to write a review about the show I was at. I did indeed. Why the hell not. It was a stunning lineup and an amazing night, plus Small Leaks Sink Ships release their Living Room Sessions cassette that evening. For all the rest of the details you can read about it HERE!
June 6th at The Rogue Bar- Lawnchair EP Release Party
I practically lived at The Rogue Bar last year so it was damned difficult to pick my favorite show from everything I had witnessed there. This is the one I kept returning to though. It had four of my favorite bands in attendance and a band from the UK that knocked my socks off. Seriously, the show also gave birth to the EP that was the soundtrack for my Summer. Every band gave their all, everyone got drunk, Lawnchair, The Redemptions, Day Before Plastics and The Thin Bloods stunned everyone there. So why the fuck wasn’t Field Tripp there? I don’t know but that would have made the decision a lot easier if they had been. Never the less it was a magical, sweaty night.
June 14th at Crescent Ballroom- Cover The Crescent: Radiohead/Portishead/Wilco
It turns out that my favorite show at Crescent Ballroom last year was also a show that the New Times paid me to cover. I feel almost bad because it is a covers set, but it was one of the most amazing covers set that has ever graced the Crescent since Mark Erickson made the precedent with Colorstore and their Tom Waits set years ago. I just feel bad for anyone that wasn’t there. Again, I don’t have to get into it here, you can read the review HERE! Needless to say, everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
August 29th at The Yucca Tap Room – Fairy Bones, Harper & The Moths, Sedusa, Leonardo DiCapricorn
I kind of feel bad about this being my favorite show at The Yucca last year, because in all honesty, I only saw half the bands on the bill. They are the half listed in the headline above. That being said, it was the greatest string of four bands together that just built into an amazing apex of profound aural enjoyment, I’ll probably never be able to shake it. It was my first time seeing Sedusa’s new lineup, my first time seeing Harper & The Moths at all, add Leonardo DiCapricorn and Fairy Bones to that mix and it was just unreal. It was a triumphant night for everyone and for me, I had dragged a few friends there that hadn’t heard of any of them and instantly fell in love. One of the best things was that some members of Harper & The Moths were as blown away by Fairy Bones as they were of them. And both bands absolutely gave it their all. One amazing night indeed.
November 15th at Last Exit Live – The Constellation Branch Reunion Show
It was both their reunion show and their final show, but that’s a goddamned classy think to do. I was late to The Constellation Branch while they were vital and then they faded away and then I was sad. Soon various members were showing up in other bands and I just assumed nothing like this would ever happen, but it did and it was probably the best show of the entire year by anyone, anywhere. I really hope the entire thing was filmed, because it should have been. It was the perfect way to go out. Not only that, but it was Small Leaks Sink Ships first show after moving to Oregon, which was a very, very long time to endure. Add to that stellar performances by Sundressed and Lastronauts and it was the perfect evening. Also, I think it was the first night that Last Exit Live was serving liquor, so everything was super extra fucking special. This was my favorite show of 2014, I’ve been pondering it for weeks and this is always what comes out on top.