BEST SHOWS OF 2013
1. Grinderman – Coachella 2013 (Indio, CA)
Truth be told, I got WAY into Grinderman…right after Nick Cave made the announcement that he was retiring the band. You can imagine my disappointment but also the load I dropped in my pants after the 2013 Coachella lineup was released. I cant remember the last time I looked so forward to a show and had it IMMEDIATELY SURPASS every expectation. One song in and the man was already in the crowd, grabbing people by the skull, and sucking the life out of them. Without a doubt, the best show I ever saw or will see.
2. Kanye West – Staples Center (Los Angeles, CA)
Felt a little guilty for how much we spent to be on the floor. Shouldn’t have. I’ve waited for hip hop and rap shows to have the audience energy of a rock show and I think we’re in that era. Loud, bizarre, ugly, honest, raw. Glow In The Dark tour was one of the worst performances I have ever seen, but the Yeezus tour was one of the best.
3. Queens Of The Stone Age – Wiltern (Los Angeles, CA)
My favorite hard rock band in all the land. Preview show for the new record. The band was ON, which is and always has been the case (exception: NYC 2011 Self-titled show at Terminal 5. Joey C was dropping the beat. If I could notice that after a few whiskeys, it must have been much worse to more sober people.) The new songs translated well live and the band was happy to finally be playing them. Also, they have one of the hardest hitting drummers around now. Always a blast to hear “Millionaire,” and “Song For The Dead” leveled the place. Even the people sitting down got sweaty.
4. Garth Brooks – Encore Theater (Las Vegas, NV)
A one man show. This was a totally different experience for me. Not the fireworks full band extravaganza I thought we were getting into but he DID have a Britney Spears mic. No Fences has been one of my favorite country records for as long as I can remember (although my dad only ever played “Friends In Low Places”) and I knew he would put on a good show. And he did. First half was other people’s songs, the last half consisted of his own hits. A lot of stories. A lot of jokes. I saw a bit of his special last weekend of TV. It was cheesy, but it wasn’t as cheesy as that special made it look. Anyway, had a blast and went out on the town after blah blah pffttttttt
5. Melvins/Honky – Pappy & Harriet’s (Pioneertown, CA)
What a venue. Had some great BBQ while Honky laid into a greasy set. I’ve seen the Melvins a ton in the past few years and this was one of the most powerful sets I’ve seen them play (the other was the Casbah in San Diego for the first show of the Bride Screamed Murder tour.) Jared was temporarily replaced by Pinkus from the Buttholes earlier that summer, but you’d never be able to tell. Classic songs like “Hag Me” and “Night Goat” had a fresh fire to them. We also got to watch the whole show from 2 feet away.
6. Iron Maiden/Megadeth/Anthrax/Testament – San Manuel Amphitheater (San Bernadino, CA)
All of the bands just absolutely killed it. Maiden makes every cent worth it, Megadeth makes every second count, Anthrax looks like the most fun band to be in (I’m happy I made the call to wait until Joey Belladonna came back before seeing them), and Testament had the tiniest, handheld microphone stand of the day. Overkill was the silliest band I’ve seen (and I’ve seen Steel Panther.) They didn’t get mainstage privileges.
Cant go wrong with 2 of the big 4, but the people watching was worth the price of admission alone. The fans are something else. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of nice normal people there. But they are WAY outnumbered by the trash people that light heaps of garbage on fire and dance around them while the second of six bands is on in broad daylight. Lots of missing and broken teeth. Even more unfortunate tattoos. I saw a great fight between two shirtless dudes on the lawn that went on for 15 minutes only to be broken up by a golf cart chasing 2 completely different people across the lawn.
6. Earl Sweatshirt – Coachella 2013 (Indio, CA)
I was all wound up after Grinderman. Earl was the perfect show to see after that. Next time they need to turn his mic up though.
7. Savages – El Rey (Los Angeles, CA)
EVERYTHING WAS BLACK AND WHITE. LEAD BASS WAS PLAYED. The opener was rad too. I like the El Rey a lot. I should stop in more often.
8. Nick Cave – Coachella 2013 (Indio, CA)
You would think after his epic chill bro album, Push The Sky Away, it would be a mellow show right? Not a chance. Though he did close with the atmospheric title track of that record, how could a show that included “Stagger Lee” possibly be described as chill bro? Augemented by a string section and a children’s choir, Nick Cave put on a throbbing, spectacle at the mainstage. Like the Griderman set, he was IN the audience for most of the show but I guess that’s his thing and it absolutely works. Warren Ellis once again proved he’s the best thing that’s happened to that balding skeleton’s music. Let’s all go see him at the Shrine next year and hold hands.
9. Glass Elevator - Whisky A Go Go (Los Angeles, CA)
Worst venue in LA. Location, owners, and staff make this place the hellhole it is. That said, you can imagine how much I would have to like a band for me to actually pay to enter this dump. Glass Elevator is one of my favorite pop bands and they’re a long way from Olympia, WA. They were only given 35 minutes, so you think they would rush the show, right? Wrong. They took their sweet time and let some of the most beautiful songs unfold. They took the audience to space and back. One of my favorite bands to watch and they would be higher if only they had a longer set.
10. Umphrey’s McGee – House of Blues (2 nights) (Los Angeles, CA)
Does any band work as hard as Umphrey’s? The level of musicianship and interplay is out of this world. They make literally every other jamband look like the laziest stony shlubs that ever farted out of a Beatles cover. Next year they are moving up to one night at the Wiltern and I really wish they wouldn’t. Nothing like a small HOB party especially when its one of your favs and they have 2 nights.
BEST ALBUMS OF 2013
1. Yeezus – Kanye West
2. Push The Sky Away – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
3. Shaking The Habitual – The Knife
4. Random Access Memories – Daft Punk
5. …Like Clockwork – Queens of the Stone Age
6. The Next Day - David Bowie
7. Battlefields Forever – Big Business
8. The Big Dream - David Lynch
9. Silence Yourself - Savages
10. Feel Good – The Internet
Biggest Letdown: Regions of Light and Sound of God - Jim James
Album I Didn’t Get But Everyone Else Seems To: Overgrown – James Blake
I like how Joe Dirt says he’s into Van Halen but not Van Hagar when he’s totally the kind of person who was into the 5150/0U812 era. Just look at his Hysteria shirt