Favorite Concerts of 2008

I saw A LOT of shows this year. There are almost 70 sets of concert photos on my Flickr page, and that’s only counting the shows I took photos at. And 3 days of Coachella and Outside Lands, all lumped into 6 sets. A bit ridiculous, eh?

You’d think that with all that concert-going, I’d be a little tired of live music. However, that is very much not the case. I saw some incredible shows this year, and I look forward to many more in 2009.

What follows is a list, in no particular order, of my top 10 shows of 2008.

Spiritualized @ Street Scene
“Everything was perfect. Loud, but perfect. The wall of sound came rolling out of the speakers, and on their second song (“Shine a Light”) I almost started crying. In the photo pit. While shooting.”

Spiritualized @ Street Scene, 09/20/2008

My Morning Jacket @ Coachella
“This was the set that absolutely blew me away this year – one of those perfect moments in time, with the sun setting and the air getting (a smidgen) cooler, great music floating through the air, knowing that I was entering the homestretch.”

My Morning Jacket with M. Ward @ Coachella 2008, 4/27/2008

Radiohead @ Outside Lands
“And it was awesome. I think I had an emotional melt-down during “Fake Plastic Trees.” No tears, but shaking all over…Thom Yorke’s voice is absolutely amazing and ethereal floating across a crowd like that. I managed to lose myself in both the crowd and the music for a good part of their set.”

Radiohead @ Outside Lands, 08/22/2008

Okkervil River @ Belly Up
“”Black,” in particular, was killer. I remember turning around afterwards, a huge grin on my face (few things in life are as cathartic as yelling out, “You should wreck his life/the way that he wrecked yours”) only to see P, looking shell-shocked and blown away by it all.”

Okkervil River @ Belly Up Tavern, 09/24/2008

Frightened Rabbit @ Casbah
“Maybe it was because I was feeling angsty anyway, maybe it was the Scottish accents, I dunno. The most obvious answer is that the music is just that good.”

Frightened Rabbit @ Casbah, 06/23/2008

Nada Surf @ HOB
“I loved every minute of it, singing along and rocking out with a huge grin on my face, even when I was taking photos during the first three songs.”

Nada Surf @ HOB, 3/18/2008

Sigur Ros @ Copley Symphony Hall
“Maybe it’s because they manage to produce this crazy, ethereal, almost spooky sound that always explodes into massive relief. Whatever it is, it was just what I needed that night. I can’t think of another band that could have properly put a cap on my crazy 7-shows-in-8-nights week.”

Sigur Ros @ Copley Symphony Hall, 10/01/2008

Mountain Goats @ The Independent
“It quickly became evident that Darnielle was absolutely thrilled to be there – I’ve rarely seen a performer have such a huge grin on his face during most of the show. The sound, lighting, and entire atmosphere of the place was perfect – the rapt audience singing along to all the songs and soaking up every syllable of Darnielle’s stage banter.”

The Mountain Goats @ The Independence, 3/1/2008

Bon Iver @ Che Cafe
“It’s really nice to walk into a show having an idea of what the night’s going to be like, and then to have that idea blown completely out of the water. After breaking a string on one of those ridiculous guitar solos, Justin decided to end the set a song or two early – by bringing the whole band out into the middle of the seated crowd to play my favorite song off of the album, “Skinny Love.””

Bon Iver @ Che Cafe, 3/19/2008

The Hold Steady @ Casbah
“I was drunk, much of the audience was drunk, and we were all bouncing up and down, belting out the words. Or at least I was. Thankfully the front of the Casbah’s stage is padded, but even so, my knees are completely bruised over from banging into it. The Hold Steady is the only band that has ever made me feel the urge to mosh.”

Damage from the Hold Steady show
(thanks, Casbah stage)