1. Dry the River at The Music Hall of Williamsburg
I've written about this show extensively, and yes, I'm still pretty heartbroken but I'm glad I have the memories of this show. And that's all there is to say about that.
2. We Were Promised Jetpacks at Pier 83/The Mercury Lounge/Warsaw
Yes, I ended up seeing We Were Promised Jetpacks three times this year. And my goodness, has my opinion of their live shows changed! In fact, I've now seen them five times in total and they have gotten better each time. WWPJ are a solid band, and I am really excited for their future because they're still young and they're getting stronger.
3. Frank Turner at Irving Plaza
I've been to a lot of shows, and I've seen a lot of different artists but I don't think I have as much at anyone else's show than I do at a Frank Turner one. He seems to always be giving 100% from the very start, and nobody has more fun at a Frank Turner show than Frank Turner. I've talked about how off-putting it is to watch someone on stage who just does not want to be there but with Frank that's never a problem. He is loads of fun, especially when you're the type of person who likes to shouts along to songs like I do. I've seen him three times now and he never disappoints. The best thing about this show was that I brought someone who had never seen/heard him before and LOVED him.
4. Andrew Bird at Le Poisson Rouge
I'm pretty much ride or die for the Birdman at this point but this show was still a treat. Getting to hear "Anonanimal" for the first time since 2009 should've been good enough but getting to hear "Tenuousness" and "Armchairs" for the first time EVER (I know, you didn't think there could possibly be an Andrew Bird song I haven't heard live) was so exciting. And then he played new songs! That sounded like Armchair Apocrypha stuff! I'm just so happy that it seems like he's gotten out of his old-timey, one microphone phase and will start making great pop songs again. And guess what? I get to see him again in April!
5. Beirut at Dansforth Music Hall
Yes, I flew all the way to Toronto to see Beirut. And it was completely worth it. The only other time I had seen Zach Condon live was in 2011 at Central Park Summerstage. And I wasn't close at all. He was great but I felt very disconnected. Well, Dansforth is small, and we were right at the stage. And Zach and company were FANTASTIC. I wasn't a fan of the new record at all but the new stuff came off so good live. It was worth getting up at 6 after going to bed at 2 (after the EL VY show the night before) to fly to another country. Zach Condon is one of the most talented musicians making music today.
Honorable Mention: My Morning Jacket at The Beacon Theater
I don't even think I was enjoying myself at this show while it was happening but once I left I was like, "ALL THE MY MORNING JACKET! ALL OF IT!" Jim James is so fucking great, you guys. The whole band is so fantastic. This was a bit of a religious experience. Even though I've seen MMJ already, and I've been listening to them for years. But with religious experiences, you don't know they're happening until they're over and you're like, "WHOA! What just happened?" Well, that's what happened at the Beacon.
Most Disappointing: Glen Hansard at The Beacon Theater
Ah, jeez, I hate to be negative on this post but I haven't been this disappointed after a concert in a long, long time. And I know what you're thinking: Glen!? Really? Really. And don't get me wrong, he was giving it his all but his setlist and the crowd were a major disappointment. He primarily did his solo stuff, which I guess I should've expected but I could really take or leave his solo stuff. I don't mind it but it's nothing I want to listen to regularly. And holy crap, the crowd. I've never felt so young and out of place, and I've been to a MTC matinee! The crowd sat the whole time and didn't say a word. I've hear more noise during a Broadway play! I think what was even more disappointing is the fact that I know he can put on a fantastic show. Some of my fondest concert-going memories are courtesy of Glen Hansard. But now I have to reconsider shelling out big money to see him again.