Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Top 25 Live Songs of 2013

In 2012, I made a list of the Top 20 Live Songs I'd seen.  I went to even more concerts last year, so here's 25.

25. "Snake Farm" - Sometimes We Sing Together, 07.17, Rockwood Music Hall, New York, NY
Adorable and hilarious.

24. "I Thought You Were My Friend" - Incidental Animals, 11.21, Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY
I'm not even sure if this is the name of the spunky number, but I hope it's on the next ALO album.

23. "Wild Places" - Chris Mills, 02.16, Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
From the first note, Mills made it clear he was an opener you couldn't ignore.  Stunning.

22. "If Only" - Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, 09.21, SPAC, Saratoga Springs, NY
The first time the duo performed the song.  The pain in the lyrics was all over Dave's face.

21. "Patience" - Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, 06.28, Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas, NV
It may have been 100 degrees, but Jr. Gong delivered this one with cool precision.

20. "Woke Up This Morning" - Dragon Smoke, 06.24, Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY
A funktastic tribute to James Gandolfini mere days after his death.

19. "Flake" - Jack Johnson, 09.21, SPAC, Saratoga Springs, NY
Lukas Nelson plugged in and reinvented this one with complementary flourishes of electric guitar.

18. "State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)" - Jim James, 02.19, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
Perfect opening cut, which built steadily to its electrifying conclusion.

17. "Is This Love" - Allen Stone, 08.02, Rockwood Music Hall, New York, NY
So good that even his bandmates didn't want him to stop singing.

16. "It's Not Over ('Til It's Over & Done)" - Bleu, 09.18, Bowery Electric, New York, NY
Eat your heart out, Jeff Lynne.

15. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" - Penguin Prison, 06.26, Commonwealth, Las Vegas, NV
It was a DJ set, so he was basically doing karaoke, but he fucking crushed it.

14. "Miss Pretty" - Shuggie Otis, 08.08, Metrotech Commons, Brooklyn, NY
Saw three Shuggie shows.  He annihilated the solo here.

13. "Bulls on Parade" - The Revivalists, 11.22, Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY
It's not every day you hear a Rage cover with baritone sax AND lap steel.

12. "Doesn't It Remind You of Something" - Ken Stringfellow, 02.16, Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
Hard to pick a favorite from this excellent show, but this duet with Darling Cait was superb.

11. "The Big Bad Wolf" - The Heavy, 08.24, Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY
I'd already seen them play it earlier in the night, but this time the stage couldn't contain Kelvin Swaby, who leapt into the crowd.

10. "Does It Really Make a Difference" - Galactic, 04.13, Terminal 5, New York, NY
If Galactic toured with a vocalist aside from David Shaw, it most certainly would make a difference.  He absolutely killed it.

9. "Third Stone from the Sun/If You Love Me Like You Say" - Gary Clark, Jr., 05.05, Beale St. Music Festival, Memphis, TN
Best guitar solo of the year.

8. "I Feel So Bad" - Steve Kimock, 02.23, Stage 48, New York, NY
This had very little to do with the Chuck Willis tune by the time Kimock and his friends sent it out on a journey through the solar system.

7. "The Road" - Frank Turner, 03.04, Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY
Sometimes one perfect scream is all you need to turn a good song into a great song.

6. "Always" - Broken Anchor, 02.15, Rockwood Music Hall, New York, NY
Impossible to believe it was only two dudes pumping out such a huge anthem.

5. "Spiderweb" - Jimmie's Chicken Shack, 01.11, Rams Head Live, Baltimore, MD
H1 may have flubbed some lines, but the energy was off the charts.

4. "Running Red Lights" - The Postelles, 05.14, Standard Hotel, New York, NY
Daniel Balk had enough swagger and soul in his voice to make Mick Jagger blush.

3. "Ghost" - Phish, 12.30, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
In a run full of improvised heady excursions, surprisingly this type-I jam was my favorite.  The joyful energy that radiated throughout the remainder of the second set could not have been there without this friendly "Casper" to guide it forth.

2. "Everybody's Brother" - Cody Chesnutt, 06.13, SOB's, New York, NY
"Oh... my... goodness!"

1. "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" - They Might Be Giants, 08.10, Prospect Park Bandshell, Brooklyn, NY
Over the past 11 years, I'd grown accustomed to seeing the song performed by the full band, but the Johns defied expectations with this amazing turn as a comedy duo. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard at a concert.

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