Man, 2009 was the year of the show for me. I saw about 35 shows in 3 different states, catching everything from Bob Log III with 8 people to Katy Perry with 3000 12 year olds. To be honest, by the end of the year I was suffering from live show burnout and I am currently on a concert hiatus through the remainder of the year. I thought I’d take a day to talk about some of the awesomeness I saw this year….
I managed to catch Malcolm Holcombe here in town on an exceptionally cold night last winter. At some point during the show I texted my wife saying I was at a concert and a comedy show broke out. Live Malcolm was nothing short of awesome, but it’s his between-song banter that immediately comes to mind when I think back on that show. Catching Old Crow at the Tampa Theater also turned out to be a lot better than I expected. Being a seated show I was expecting a lot of pent up energy, but fortunately no one sat. Next up in the review is the Counting Crows / Michael Franti show, another seated show. I’ve said this before and it bears repeating, I am an unapologetic Counting Crows fan and that was my first time ever seeing them. They which met and exceeded every expectation I could have ever had.
The year wasn’t without its disappointments, though. There’s a long list of shows that came through town that were ruined by a lack of attendance. The awesomeness that is William Elliott Whitmore came to town and played for about 10 people, and barely any more than that showed up for the life-altering event that is a Bob Log III show. The few of us that made it to those shows are better people for it.
I made it to four festivals this year; Tropical Heatwave, Nerdapalooza, Deep Blues Festival and the Suburban Home 14th Anniversary Party. Tropical Heatwave was saddled with terrible weather, but made up for it by giving me The Pack A.D. and Eileen Jewell in the same room. Nerdapalooza was just silly, and I mean that in the best way possible. The fest itself suffered horribly from being behind schedule, but that annoying fact was more than made up for by the good people in attendance. Since Nerdapalooza takes place a couple of hours down the road from my home base I will almost definitely make it back in 2010….even if it means bunking with Funky49 and his girlfriend (they don’t know that yet, though). The Deep Blues Festival this year featured an much better venue but was a minor step backwards when it came to the lineup this year. That said, the wife, our friend and myself had a great time. Unfortunately, the Deep Blues Festival is in danger of not existing anymore. Chris (DBF founder) has incurred a silly amount of debt trying to keep the fest afloat and this year’s Fest may not happen at all. I’m deeply saddened by this, ’cause not only do I love the Deep Blues Festival, I also love Minneapolis in the summer. My last festival (if you can call it that) of the year was easily my favorite, The Suburban Home 14th Anniversary Party. Knowing a lot of the bands and a good collection of the people (via the internet) just helped push this one over the top. Everyone I met was awesome, the city was awesome and the lineup just killed…Tim Barry, Two Cow Garage, Jon Snodgrass, Chad Price, The Takers, Austin Lucas….hearing Josh Small for the first time….shit. Upon arriving back home from that weekend I told my wife if we only go to one festival next year, the SH party would be it. So, join us this year. It’s gonna be a.w.e.some.
All of the great shows aside, one show stands out as the best of the year. And when I say stands out I mean there was no competition. The best show I saw in 2009 was, without a doubt, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club in St. Paul, Minneapolis. That show is the kind of shit fish tales are made of. I knew it was the best show of the year as soon as it was over, but now, some 7 months later, I can officially crown it. As a Floridian I’ll probably never get another chance to see them and I’ll be forever grateful that the stars aligned just right so I could catch them in Minneapolis. Their sound was just as big and robust live as it is on cd, while Slim & Jay’s back and forth banter is even more enjoyable in a live environment. They sang on the stage, they sang in the middle of the crowd and they sang at all points in between. Honestly, it was the best show I’d seen since the North Mississippi Allstars/Drive-By Truckers Thanksgiving show @ The Tabernacle in Atlanta way back in 2004 before this blog existed, and might be the best for some time to come…unless I happen to go to Colorado next year for their annual New Year’s Eve show.