2008 Showstopper

2008 Showstopper: Best Concerts of '08


In 2008, my concert viewing spanned 3 states and many stages.  Here is a brief run down of my favorites:
6. Jessica Lea Mayfield/An Horse – Pike Room, The Crofoot, Pontiac, MI – 10/29/08

Jessica Lea Mayfield put on one of the most intimate shows I’ve ever seen in October.  Unfortunately, I don’t think she had hoped it would be.  Mayfield showcased dark, contemplative songs from With Blasphemy So Heartfelt in impressive fashion.  She batted her smoky eyes, plucked her guitar and sang from the soul, but for fewer than 15 people.  I left the show impressed, but felt Mayfield would have been happier with a packed Crofoot audience.  Australian imports, An Horse, almost stole the show with a fervent opening set.  The energy the drummer/guitarist duo put forth had the small crowd drooling over indie pop hits like “Postcards” and “Company” that will make them stars in 2009.

Jessica Lea Mayfield – The One That I Love Best

An Horse – Postcards

5. Girl Talk – Eagle Theater, Pontiac, MI – 11/11/08

girl talk pontiac
Girl Talk concert #4 was good, but paled in comparison to past show.  The audience was as amped as ever, the visual effects were entertaining, but sound problems plagued the entire show.  Openers CX Kidtronik (not really my style) and the Death Set (I was impressed by the nonstop approach) were barely listenable, while Mr. Gillis plowed through pushing the crowd into a frenzy, despite the troubles.  On the positive side, I noticed more new material featuring MGMT and a rendition of “A Milli”/”Say It Ain’t So” that stuck in my head weeks later.

Girl Talk – Play Your Part pt. 2

4. Vampire WeekendBlind Pig, Ann Arbor, MI – 2/12/08

vw ann arbor
My caravan of fans and I almost died on the way to Ann Arbor for the Vampire Weekend show, but it was worth the 2 hour + drive (should have been 1 hour).  This concert was just after their debut album was released and the blog hype was nearly at its peak.  After we reached the Blind Pig, we waited in the standard line wrapped around Washington St. Snowflakes clung to skinny jeans and North Face jackets, as we overheard people had driven as far as Kalamazoo in hopes of scoring tickets for the sold out show.  Vampire Weekend played a short (11-12 songs), but crisp set to a crowd that nearly knew every word to hits like “Oxford Comma” and “A-Punk” and rowdy renditions of “Walcott” and “I Stand Corrected”.  The string section was clearly absent on “M79” and the band admitted they didn’t have any songs left for an encore, but Vampire Weekend put on an all around good performance.

Vampire Weekend – The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance (Chromeo Remix)

3. Mates of StateVinyl, Atlanta, GA –

mates of state atlanta
I started my new move to ATL off right with the Mates of State show at Vinyl.  It was my first concert in ATL and I was glad I overcame the nerves of going to a show by myself in a new place.  Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel showed their near perfect chemistry throughout the night with spirited performances of a variety of tracks from their catalog.  Kori handled the electric organ and keyboard, while Jason manned the drums.  The married duo sang their hearts out while “making eyes” and playing off each others energy on songs like “My Only Offer”, “The Re-Arranger” and “Ha Ha”.  Brother Reade and Harrison Hudson helped close the show with extra drum work on “Goods (All In Your Head)”.

Mates of State – Now

2. Girl Talk – Metro, Chicago, IL – 1/26/08

This concert was the second time I had seen Girl Talk and it was probably the best.  Maybe it was being in a historic venue (Metro) I had never been to before.  It might have been the good Samaritan who gave someone in our group a free ticket in line.  It was most likely because it took place in the best city I’ve been to, Chicago.  We saw the second show of Girl Talk’s doubleheader at the Metro and it was everything you would expect and more:  A rowdy, sweat-filled, bass-pounding dance-fest with neon glasses, track suits and other ’80s Thrift store finds.  Mr. Gillis “shut the club down” with Journey’s “Faithfully” in what is now a staple of his shows.

Girl Talk – Pure Magic

1. Lollapalooza – Grant Park, Chicago, IL – 8/1/08 – 8/3/08

chromeojpgGirl Talk finalekanyelolla
It might not be fair that my first trip to Lollapalooza is number one, but how could it not be?  I kicked myself constantly for missing Lolla ’07, combed over the line-up rumors and recruited anyone I could to go way before the early bird tickets were available.  I’ve already wrote at length about every sight and sound I consumed at Grant Park last August, so I won’t repeat myself too much.  All 3 days were great, but Day 3 had the most highlights.  Kid Sister started the day with a spirited and speedy run through of her early career, Chromeo played a fun, danceable hour, Flogging Molly brought their Irish Pub flavor to Grant Park, Kanye electrified his hometown and Girl Talk rafted through a sea of fans.  It was an all around fantastic event with more experiences than I can count.  Though unlikely with my recent move to ATL, I hope to be there in August ’09.

Girl Talk – All Points West ’08 album – Thanks to The Music.FM
Flogging Molly – Requiem For A Dying Song
Kid Sister – Control
Chromeo – Momma’s Boy