One last list…and here we go. I saw a few shows in 2009, not as many as the previous year, but don’t think I wasn’t tempted. I still say Detroit has better overall venues, but Atlanta draws better names (1st Quarter of 2010 looks ridiculous too). Below are 4 shows I saw worth writing about (I’m sure he could be great, but I’m not going to relive the Dan Deacon “experience” here). Notice, I didn’t attend one Girl Talk show or a festival in 2009. I certainly hope that will change this year.
4. Asher Roth/Kid Cudi – Tabernacle – August 2, 2009
I don’t know what fans who came to see Asher Roth thought, but as a Kid Cudi fan, I couldn’t have been happier. Walking into the Tabernacle to the sounds of “Down n Out” was a perfect way to start the festivities (its helps that is samples OutKast’s “Chonkyfire”). Flanked by bright digital screens, Cudi was lifted on the short, but sweet “Sky High”. “Day n Nite” was damn near classic with the original and later the dance-ready Crookers remix. Six months later, it blows my mind that he had such a good performance without using any of his best album tracks from Man On The Moon: The End of Day or “Memories”. How was he that good with a couple singles and mixtape cuts?? My favorite quote of any concert I’ve been to also happened that night. Courtesy of Laura: “Do rappers normally smile this much?” I imagine he’ll be smiling more next time.
As for Asher Roth, meh. I have high hopes for his next album, but I’ll skip the show.
3. Vonnegutt – The Loft – November 6, 2009
I’ve seen Vonnegutt three times in 2009 and I’m pretty sure they just get better each time. This time they opened for Heavy Mojo and I’m pretty sure Kyle and co. stole the show. The numerous hits from the Vice Nine EP sounded even better with tighter practice time. The previews of new tracks from Falling Up The Stairs (especially “The Ode To Whats Left of Hope”) gave encouraging signs for their debut album. And lets not forget the arsenal of covers (“The Seed 2.0”, “Heartless”) that they seemed destined to do. “Bright Eyes” continues to get fans as hyped as can be and should be at a venue near you in 2010.
2. Black Kids – The Loft – May 1, 2009
I’ve seen more shows at The Loft in Atlanta, GA than any other venue in the city. At this point, its my favorite too. Reggie Youngblood and crew had the sell out crowd eating up every indie-pop chorus the band sang. Kevin Snow’s drums had the place pulsing with the perfect opener, “Listen To Your Body Tonight”. On the keys/organs the ladies of Black Kids, Ali Watley and Ali Youngblood were equally engrossing on “Love Me Already” and “I’m Not Gonna Teach…”. Reggie was a sight to see though. Arms flailing, floppy afro and pouring all his emotion into “Hurricane Jane” was emphatic way to close the show.
1. Neko Case – Variety Playhouse – April 2, 2009
I expressed my admiration for the talents of Ms. Case many times over that past few years and wrote a lengthy post about this concert in particular. I’m still amazed at what a great performance I witnessed. Neko Case is a veteran performer, so it shouldn’t have been a surprised how attentive her fans were. There were epic story-telling (“Margaret vs Pauline”, “Hold On, Hold On”), vibrantly swaying vocals (“Red Tide”, “Middle Cyclone”) and spirited band work throughout (“That Teenage Feeling”, “This Tornado Loves You”). I was basically in a trance for the entire set.