Wednesday, November 18

The CDP's Top 20 Concerts Of The Decade.

"Hi, we're The Impossibles from Austin, Texas!"
- The Impossibles, 'Eightball'


ALL/Mighty Mighty Bosstones/Leftover Crack/The Casualties/Jay Reatard
Congress Theater - Chicago, IL

Favorite Moment - I run into Kris Roe from The Ataris, who later gets thrown out of ALL's set for trying to jump the barricade. Cops shut down the show, punks spill out into the street and a mini-riot occurs on the streets of Chicago. We buzz over to the Double Door in Wicker Park, where I proceeded to get hammered during Jay Reatard's set. Meet Scott Reynolds and Stephen Egerton. RiotFest 2008 lives up to its name.

Communique (w/Tegan & Sara)
The Annex - Madison, WI

Favorite Moment - When you see a show at the Annex, it's just nice to see that your car is still around when the show is over. I had interviewed Communique earlier in the week for a local paper, and when I got to chat with Ruari afterward, he told me he read it and dug it. That made me feel good, even if he was lying to me.

Goldfinger/Showoff/The Hippos
The Rave - Milwaukee, WI

Favorite Moment - Showoff and The Hippos weren't around for very long, so I was very happy to see them both rock a stage in the same night. Saw a dude completely shatter his nose; hemorrhaging blood everywhere. Goldfinger always puts on an energetic show.

Smoking Popes
High Noon Saloon - Madison, WI

Favorite Moment - 'Megan.' And the fact that these guys are mind-bogglingly nice.

The Hold Steady
Majestic Theater - Madison, WI

Favorite Moment - It takes a band like the Hold Steady to make you realize how much you love Miller High Life. Crowd went apeshit during 'Constructive Summer,' raising a toast to Saint Joe Strummer. One of those live bands that can change your life if they hit you at the right time.

Less Than Jake/Reel Big Fish/Against All Authority/Streetlight Manifesto
The Myth - Minneapolis, MN

Favorite Moment - AAA is the most hardcore ska band ever. Streetlight is the most musically-inclined. RBF is the most cynical and underrated. LTJ is the straight-up best. End of story. Their Price Is Right-themed show had audience members come on up, spin the wheel and determine the setlist.

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players
Luther's Blues - Madison, WI

Favorite Moment - 'Look At Me.' That, or the fact that their drummer was a 9-year-old girl.

The Gadjits/RX Bandits/Edna's Goldfish
The Rave - Milwaukee, WI

Favorite Moment - The last time I saw The Gadjits, I was standing behind the Missus as she gallivanted and shook her booty...with her boyfriend. Hurt. Like. Hell. This time, she was all mine.

P.O.S./The Velvet Teen/Minus The Bear
The Loft - Madison, WI

Favorite Moment - P.O.S. can work and win over a crowd like nobody's business, and Minus The Bear can lull them to sleep just as fast. But The Velvet Teen and supremely amazing drummer Casey Dietz brought the place to their knees. Honest to God, I'm a drummer that's been to hundreds of shows, and I've never seen anyone like Casey behind the kit.

Ozma/Nada Surf/Rilo Kiley
Miramar Theatre - Milwaukee, WI

Favorite Moment - Lurching through Rilo Kiley (seriously, get over Jenny Lewis already) to see Nada Surf begin their transformation from one-hit-wonder to New Millennium Indie Powerhouse. And Ozma...where to begin with these geniuses? 'Domino Effect' or 'Natalie Portman' is a damn good start. In the 00's, nobody wrote a better pop-rock song than these guys.

The Weakerthans
High Noon Saloon - Madison, WI

Favorite Moment - 'Aside.' That, and that euphoric feeling you get just before your favorite band takes the stage that whispers, "Yes, this is finally going to happen." Couldn't have seen them at a better venue, either; the High Noon is as good as it gets.

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists/The Dismemberment Plan/The Benjamins
Mirimar Theatre - Milwaukee, WI

Favorite Moment - Every second that Ted Leo is behind a microphone is magic. Touring on The Tyranny Of Distance (easily their best album), they even overshadowed The Dismemberment Plan, who were all but on the verge of permanent breakup.

Teenage Fanclub
The Metro - Chicago, IL

Favorite Moment - Knowing that the Missus was experiencing her favorite concert ever.

Ash/Saves The Day
Congress Theater - Chicago, IL

Favorite Moment - We got to meet Ash, which was pretty rad, but I think my favorite part was me and the Missus waking up the Emo kids during Ash's monster set, shoving and moshing them out of their collective coma. We followed the Saves The Day/Ash tour from Madison to Milwaukee to Chicago, and Ash had canceled the first two shows, so just the fact that they showed up caused us to lose our collective shizzle.

Saves The Day/Alkaline Trio/Dashboard Confessional
The Rave - Milwaukee, WI

Favorite Moment - See the above photo? This was the Saves The Day that we saw. Pre-Stay What You Are, pre-lineup changes, pre-neutered Chris Conley playing lead guitar. The Dream Lineup. And it was absolutely, positively fantastic. I've probably seen Saves The Day live more than any band ever, and while they are always great, nothing could match this night. When they played 'The Choke,' it was a release that reminded you of what 'Emo' was before it became such a revolting word.

The Rave - Milwaukee, WI

Favorite Moment - I got into a fight with a hipster douchebag, threw a cup of ice at a security guard, got thrown out (but let back in), saw the Greatest Band In The World, drank and drove a little, and pretty much did whatever the hell I wanted. The only drawback? This was the first concert I ever saw all by myself.

Green Day/The Get Up Kids
The Rave - Milwaukee, WI

Favorite Moment - When you see Green Day, every second is your favorite moment. But for my money, when they unexpectedly jumped into 'Only Of You,' I hit the goddamn roof. Mark my words; Green Day are Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame-bound, and Billie Jo Armstrong will be remembered as one of music's greatest frontmen.

Weezer/Ozma/The Get Up Kids
The Rave - Milwaukee, WI

Favorite Moment - They hit the stage to the tune of the Monday Night Football theme, play the opening notes to 'My Name Is Jonas,' and I seriously started crying. A near-religious experience for yours truly.

Arcade Fire/Wolf Parade
First Avenue - Minneapolis, MN

Favorite Moment - When Arcade Fire descended onto the stage, the collective air was let out of the room as damn near everyone gasped with excitement at the same time. Then Richard Reed Parry hit that floor tom, the band launched into 'Wake Up' and the place just freaking erupted. Since that day, I've honestly turned down chances to see Arcade Fire again, as I know that no repeat concert would match the emotions swelling through First Avenue that night. It's a moment I refuse to tarnish, and yes, I'm being completely serious. Forget it, man.

The Impossibles/Ultimate Fakebook
The Globe East - Milwaukee, WI

"If we never say goodbye, there'll be no end."

It happens all the time. You stumble across a band that changes your life. Changes the way you think. Changes the way you listen to music. Changes the way you dress. Actually influences you to the point of starting your own band. Recording your own album. Even doing an entire tribute show as the very band that had influenced you so. Once, maybe twice in a lifetime, a band like that comes your way.

Only problem is that they broke up years before you discovered them, so there's no chance you'll ever see them live. Ever. Operation Ivy. At The Drive-In. Husker Du. Think of all the bands that you wished would reunite, especially in this decade of prominent 80's and 90's bands reuniting for fun and profit.

By the time I discovered The Impossibles and instantly converted all of my friends into their discipleship (and did all the obsessive stuff I explained to you earlier), they were long broken up. But alas, a miracle occurred and they got back together to record Return in 2000. The idea that we'd see them was more or less like that one awesome dream where your favorite band plays in your living room. This is what happened with me and The Impossibles. The Globe was packed to capacity; it had to have been 150 degrees in there.

Had I ran into The Impossibles at any other age than 17, they probably wouldn't have amounted to more than a blip on the radar, I'll totally admit that. But in the grand scheme of things, it's when a band strikes a chord with you (not how) that typically makes the most impact in your life. It's why I still defend Green Day. It's why I still crank Less Than Jake and Weezer. It's why I continue to follow Saves The Day across the nation, and it's why The Impossibles were responsible for the greatest concert I've seen this decade.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. More CDP Decade In Review is on the way.

Your comment of the Green Day show reminded me of when I saw them with my brother in Chula Vista in the summer of '01. The Living End opened for them (a fantastic act all in their own!), and the night got even better when Green Day closed with Macy's Day Parade (Warning is such an underrated album--way better than the albums that followed it). Tre lit his drum set on fire and moved in front of the burning set to play a second set. With the bonfire directly behind them they moved into an incredibly moving version of Macy's Day Parade that blew me away.

Saw Arcade Fire at the Greek Theater and agree with you. I too have passed on seeing them because there was something magical about that night (perhaps because I had finally graduated college that morning) that I know will not be replicated. Caught Less Than Jake at The Palace in '01. Great show, capped by them closing with Al's Song. What energy from those guys.

I think Saves the Day peaked with Through Being Cool. I've never been able to really listen to the ablums that came after that, but maybe it has something to do with where I was and who I was when TBC came out.

Insanely jealous of The Hold Steady show. One of the best bands around right now and I bet they have a killer live show. Ditto The Weakerthans. Did they play This is a Fire Door?

You have seen a lot of kick ass shows this decade. I hope that the next 10 years are just as good to you!
I forgot to mention in my above comment:

The best show that I've seen in the last decade was Bruce Springsteen, solo and acoustic, at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood in May 2005. Say what you will about Springsteen, but he is my all time favorite artist and to see him play some of his greatest hits alone was unbelievable. The meanings of many songs have been forever changed for me by this show, and I really wish a concert DVD or CD of the shows he did that year would be released. It wouldn't compare to my memories, but at least it would be out there.
Wow, I totally forgot about a lot of those shows! Seeing both Ash and Teenage Fanclub in this decade was amazing for me. The funniest thing about meeting Ash was that Tim Wheeler clearly could not understand me through my midwestern accent, nor I him with his thick Irish accent. We exchanged smiles and confused words, and it was totally worth it.

Oh yeah, and I saw Teenage Fanclub. Freakin' Teenage Fanclub, yo. This guy was yelling out "Sparky's Dream", trying to get them to play it...but again, due to accent differences Norman couldn't understand the guy. He thought that the guy was yelling "Jamiroquai", so needless to say he was quite confused by the request.
"seriously, get over Jenny Lewis already"

I am going to stab you in the throat or in your genitals good sir....

damn you
KEVIN - You're not going to believe me, but when I skimmed over this list this morning, I saw that line and said, 'Kevin's probably not going to be happy with that.' I've softened up to her a lot more now that the hype has subsided.

CELIA - Remember when Dashboard Confessional was getting booed off the stage at the ALK3/STD show? Poor guy.

MAB - Right on! I heard The Boss really gives you your money's worth.
I wept a little bit and part of me died inside.
Great List - I'm a bit jealous that I wasn't at a lot of these. I was, however, at that Hold Steady show this last July, and I blew my voice out singing along with those songs. They put on one of the most energetic live shows ever. I also saw Goldfinger with Showoff in Madison back in the late 90's - Showoff was actually a late replacement for the Promise Ring because of that van accident. I actually have Showoff's demo cassette somewhere in my closet. And I just saw the Weakerthans a couple months back. I don't know how I'd slept on them prior to that show - they're amazing. A few of my favorites:

I saw Ted Leo & the Pharmacists playing a show at Club 770 that was exceptional. They were touring on Sons of Cain and the opening band had to cancel, so TL/RX just played an extended set. It was also the first time I realized I could go downstairs and buy beer with my Union membership.

Drive-by Truckers at the High Noon back in 2004-2005. They're one of the best live acts I've ever seen, and they blew the doors off the HNS. It was only the second time I'd gone to a show there, and a whole lot of my friends wanted to come too so I ended up getting around 8 tickets. I remember they just kept playing and playing, up until and then past bar time, and didn't stop until five minutes after the house lights came on. Every subsequent time I've seen them it's been fantastic, but nothing beats that first time.

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band - I saw him just three nights ago in Milwaukee, and the awesomeness is still sinking in. It was a three hour, 29 song set in which they played Born To Run in its entirety and took requests from the crowd in the form of handcrafted signs. Wow.

Dillinger Four, Club 770 in 2002 & 2003. My favorite band playing free shows in Madison, and I could never get anyone to go with me. I basically ended up by myself at both shows, but no matter. Both times were simply great in every way.

Slobberbone w/Two Cow Garage & Icanlickanysonofabitchinthehouse @ the Abbey Pub in Chicago - my all-time favorite. Slobberbone was doing a short farewell tour and I'd just started listening to Two Cow. I picked up my buddy in Racine and drove down. IcanlickanySOB was the opener and were rock solid. Two Cow Garage were better than I could have ever hoped for, and I became a fan for life after seeing their set. But it was Slobberbone's boozy rocking finale that puts this one at the top of the list for me.
Fantastic list. I love reading, even in short blurbs, about people's best musical experiences. There's something touching about it, even if you yourself haven't seen or don't even like the band they're talking about.

I'm feeling inspired, so here are a few of my favorite concerts from the decade, in no particular order:

*Sleater-Kinney (White Stripes opened) at the Annex. I think it was '00 or '01 and it was completely amazing. I'd been in love with SK for awhile but this was my first time seeing them live. They seriously kicked ass, and are one of the few bands I actively and frantically hope will reunite soon. The fact that the then completely unknown White Stripes opened was definitely a kick.

*Monotonix, Leslie & The Lys, Dan Deacon at the Majestic Theatre. First year of Forward Music Fest and I was taking photos. I'd never seen or heard any of these bands before seeing them live and holy mother of God what an amazing show! Totally different acts, but each one was seriously fantastic.

*Sarah McLachlan (Butterfly Boucher opened) at the Bradley Center, Milwaukee. What can I say? She is and probably always will be my favorite. And is absolutely spell-binding live. Plus later that night I had the first real conversation with my now boyfriend. :)

*Buzzcocks at the UW Terrace, around '03 or so? I don't even know. I do remember that it was a free friggen Buzzcocks show at a tiny, outdoor stage, that they were late going on because of rain but the crowd eventually goaded them into playing, that it kept raining, and that since my hair was then dyed bright red, it leaked down my face and some guy in the pit with me thought my whole head was bleeding.

There are more, but I'll spare you all and quite while I'm behind. :)
Great lists/memories, everyone. I'm really glad that this inspired people to share their similar experiences. There's nothing quite like going to an amazing show.

Post a Comment

<< Home