Music in 2006 – Favorite Concerts
December 24, 2006
I saw more concerts in 2006 than ever before – a great lineup of bands came through San Francisco (and I managed to be in town for them!). Some were lively and fun (The Decemberists at the Warfield), while others were disappointing (The National at the Great American Music Hall); two short reviews of my favorite shows of the year after the jump.
Colin Meloy (solo acoustic) – January 20th – Great American Music Hall
My first Decemberists show was last September, at the Fillmore. After braving a combination of Caltrain and SF buses, Dave and I arrived halfway through Petra Haden’s barbershop rendition of The Who Sell Out (cute, if a little tiring) and weren’t able to get anywhere near decent places to see the show. Though the band played great (and even performed The Tain!) I left feeling a little disappointed; it’s hard for me to enjoy shows from that far.
We weren’t going to let the same thing happen this time around; when we heard Colin Meloy (Decemberists frontman) was coming through SF on a solo tour, we bought tickets the second they were available, and drove up with hours to spare. We were right up against the stage (or better, right up against the circular tables they have at the GAMH…) and this made all the difference. Colin was funny – asking us to name his onstage props (which included a ship, a skull, and some wine) and the venue was perfect for setting the mood. We couldn’t have asked for a better selection, either – he even played “Oh, Valencia”, which Dave and I had heard from a 2005 concert bootleg, and dutifully sang along to. He treated us to a cute song about his newborn baby, and then to his infamous “worst song ever” – “Dracula’s Daughter” (you can watch him perform it with a few other musicians at one of the 867 Valencia benefits from earlier this year). It was a great start to the year, and an unforgettable show.
Dirty Pretty Things – August 8th – Slim’s
About as different from that Colin show as is possible was DPT live at Slim’s later in the year – they were loud, their banter was unintelligible (mixing a British slur with whatever pain medication Carl Barat was on for his broken arm), and they had a pretty limited palette to draw on – their first album, along with any Libertines songs Carl saw fit to resurrect. This was, however, the most fun I’d had at a show in a very long time.
I’d always heard that the album recordings didn’t really do the Libertines justice; while I’ll probably never know if that’s true for the Libertines, it’s most definitely true for DPT. Their debut album had been on constant rotation on my way to work over the summer, but I hardly heard it after the show. It’s hard to go back to the studio recording after you’ve heard Anthony Rossomando raggedly play the trumpet riff to “Bang Bang, You’re Dead” right before the crowd explodes in a mass of jumping, moshing and singing. I couldn’t hear properly for a few days (and the car we came up to SF in was broken into!) but it was one of those shows where you’re absolutely sure whether it was “worth it”.