Another banner year at the site and seeing shows in NYC (and sometimes beyond). This “best of” only encompasses the shows that I, nyctaper, saw. Remember that the site has had nine contributing tapers this year, and I did not even record and post the most shows — that honor goes to the indefagitable acidjack, who we hope will come along soon with his own list.
I’ve also attached an mp3 compilation to this post. Its mostly of a mix of “honorable mentions”, just really cool songs I recall from this year, some new songs, some older songs, but all performed and recorded in 2013. Enjoy!
nyctaper Top 10 Concerts of 2013:
1. Wilco – June 21, 2013 Solid Sound Festival North Adams MA
PSquared and I drove a long way in a short time to see this show, and then drove all the way back almost as soon as it was over. And it was infinitely worth it. Wilco playing an entire two and a half hour show of covers, some popular classics and some fairly obscure, but all in their own style and all requested by fans. This one-off is very unlikely to happen again and we’re so fortunate to not only have been there to but have captured an “event” of this kind. Our recording got us mentioned in Spin Magazine, Paste Magazine, Fuse TV, WXRT radio, Pitchfork, Stereogum, Consequence of Sound, The Examiner, Prefix Magazine, Gothamist, and a hundred other smaller sites. 20,000 people have downloaded this recording from our site. There are 24,000 plays on the “Marquee Moon” soundcloud sample (posted below). Its my own personal highlight of the year, and one of the best moments in the history of the site.
2. Yo La Tengo – December 16, 2013 Bell House Brooklyn
Sure, they appeared on the site six times this year, including the final four shows of the year at Bell House and of course the historical final YLT show at Maxwell’s (RIP) in June. But I believe this show was the most fully formed, most inspirationally played, and including some absolute classic selections. I’ve seen this band live about fifty times, and this may be the most completely realized performance of all of them.
3. Thee Oh Sees – October 27, 2013 285 Kent
In a cruel bit of synchronous irony, on the same day this month that word spread that the venue 285 Kent would soon close, Thee Oh Sees announced an “indefinite hiatus”. It was only about six weeks previous that this band played this venue on the day that Lou Reed died and it was a moment in time that anyone in attendance will not soon forget. One of the best live bands around played with an enormous amount of energy and inspiration and the packed crowd responded with equal energy.
4. Deervana (Deer Tick) – September 13, 2013 Brooklyn Bowl
This is another show selected because of its historical signifance. If perhaps the performance wasn’t technically perfect, the spirit and energy that Deer Tick brings to its “Deervana” performances is clear. On the 20th anniversary of the release of In Utero, the album was played from start to finish. It was a celebration, not some mournful exercise, and the love of the music was obvious from both the band and the crowd. In terms of the importance to the site, this recording also saw us get mentioned all over the web, including Spin, Consequence of Sound, The Examiner, MTV, Stereogum and a bunch of other places.
5. Superchunk – September 28, 2013 Bowery Ballroom NYC
They are indie vets both as a band and as a label, but Superchunk continues to produce excellent material. And this year’s new album I Hate Music was one of their best. This show at Bowery, the first of two sold-out shows in NYC was like most Superchunk shows a kinetic and crazy run through material old and new and their was a celebratory and special air in the room. Perhaps the most fun show we saw all year.
6. The Complete Last Waltz – November 27, 2013 Capitol Theatre, Portchester NY
The original Last Waltz was perhaps the greatest concert in the history of rock music, so a complete performance nearly forty years later would have to be a pale comparison, right? Only it wasn’t. We were absolutely stunned at the quality of the performances and the reverence with which the entire ensemble treated the material.
7. Deafheaven – February 22, 2013 Saint Vitus Brooklyn
Yes, I realize that Deafheaven has appeared on virtually every best of 2013 list compiled on the web in the last month or so, but this is different (aren’t we always), this is a concert that we recorded early in the year before their game-changing album Sunbather had even been released. We saw them again in July, which was also a phenomenal show but we’re sticking with the first experience of this “take your breath away” band who are destined for bigger places than the great Saint Vitus in 2014. But we were there then. As it ever was.
8. Kevin Devine – November 22, 2013 Webster Hall NYC
He released two of the best records of the year, and unless you read Paste Magazine every day or saw our post about Kevin in November, you wouldn’t even know it. He is perhaps the best current purveyor of power pop and his prolific songwriting ability is a thing to behold. This concert was the home show after a lengthy US tour and Kevin and band were in a fine form from start to finish.
9. Ty Segall – August 30, 2013 Bowery Ballroom NYC
Ty Segall released a true departure album this year, the somewhat-quiet and contemplative Sleeper. This Bowery show was a seated affair, with the new album performed almost entirely to start the show. Ty is a performer of great proficiency and this show highlighted his maturity and versatility.
10. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead – January 26, 2013 Brooklyn Bowl
Easily the best single performance of Grateful Dead material since the demise of the original band nearly twenty years ago. My review was pretty harsh regarding “post-Jerry” projects and that generated a bit of a comment war, but thankfully most people agreed with me — and nearly everyone agreed that this show was immense.
This is a 16-track MP3 mix of songs from other excellent concerts I attended this year. Its by no means a comprehensive list of musical highlights, but consists of tracks that caught our ear this year. We included three tracks from the Top Ten because fit they thematically, but 13 songs are from shows that were certainly important enough to deserve mention. Download [HERE].