Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My best gigs of 2007

This has been a funny old year for gigs in the world of The Daily Growl. First five months I carried on my regular gig-going habit, albeit with a little more urgency knowing that frequent time spent in London’s live music venues was drawing to a close, all due to the imminent arrival of The Baby Growl. The remaining seven months saw me eagerly taking the few opportunities I had to get out to see some shows. Given the lack of options available, I had to be selective and fairly sure it was going to be a good ‘un. From the months in brackets below, I’m pleased to say that the quality control in the planning was pretty high. Anyway, here’s the list.


1. Joanna Newsom / Alasdair Roberts @ The Barbican (Jan)


One of the first gigs I went to this year, which has never been surpassed, even given the high quality of live entertainment that followed. The opener was excellent, but in my memory he's totally surpassed by Newsom. Her performance of Ys with the London Symphony Orchestra was amazing enough, but it was the other songs, stripped down with her two-strong band that really blew me away and even brought a tear to my eye.

Read my original review.


2. The Boredoms @ Shoreditch Town Hall (Oct)


The Boredoms are one of these bands for whom album releases and live gigs bear little relation. They have a large recorded output for sure, but live they just play, and (it seems) go wherever it takes them. This gig, in the round, was an amazing display of percussive mayhem – three drummers, plus main man Yamantaka Eye orchestrating proceedings, screaming and bashing a wall of guitar necks with a broom. Just astounding.

Read my original review.

Download: The Boredoms – (Star)


3. Akron Family / Phosphorescent @ Cargo (Dec)


A wonderful double bill. The (mostly) quiet beauty of Matthew Houck, followed by the full-on assault of the Akron/Family live show. I can forgive Akron/Family the unnecessary moments of noodling and noise for the free-form delights when they really got going. I’ve not seen a gig go off like this for quite a long time.

Read my original review.

Download:
Phosphorescent – Joe Tex, These Taming Blues


4. End of the Road Festival @ Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset (Sept)


Like last year, another fantastic festival from the End of the Road team, even if it was one that I felt slightly less engaged in due to a small baby present and staying off-site. There were so many good performances that I’m including the festival as a whole, even though it’s more than just a gig. However, if I was forced to choose, I’d single out Yo La Tengo’s storming Friday set headline set, my introduction to the live tour de force that is My Brightest Diamond, the Young Republic – particularly their joyous Dylan covers set and my discovery of the festival, maybe even year, David Thomas Broughton.

Read my festival reviews – Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Click back here to download Yo La Tengo’s whole EOTR set.


5. Electrelane/ The Early Years @ The Scala (May)


One of the great disappointments of this year is that we’ll not get to experience gigs by Electrelane any time soon. I missed their London ‘farewell’ gig last month, but at least I have this searing show to remember them by.

Read my original review.

Download: Electrelane – I’m on Fire


6. Arcade Fire/ Electrelane @ Brixton Academy (March)


I know all the fuss was made about the St John’s and Porchester Hall shows. Well, I was at the first St John’s one (yes, the one with Wake Up on the steps outside) but although AF were good, the atmosphere was somewhat lacking. Maybe it was the standing in serried rows. For all my general dislike of Brixton Academy as a venue (yes, the sound was still dodgy) the atmosphere was electric, and the band were on total top form, much more warmed up than they were on that cold January evening in Westminster.

Read my original review.


7. A Hawk and A Hacksaw and the Hun Hangar Ensemble @ Bush Hall (May)


This is a band who make even more sense live than on record, and especially so now Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost have got their Hungarian buddies together as the Hun Hangar Ensemble. Not that their self-titled album of the year was a duffer, it’s just hat live it’s a total riot of folk fury, but with many smiles all round. Heck, even the bagpipes sounded good and who’d have thought that we’d be discussing cimbalom solos afterwards?

Read my original review
.

Download: A Hawk and A Hacksaw and the Hun Hangar Ensemble – Oriental Hora


8. James Yorkston & The Athletes / Martin Carthy @ The Union Chapel (May)


Beautiful venue and wonderful music from the Scotsman with a fine repertoire of understated folk music and a cracking dry wit.

Read my original review.

Download: James Yorkston – Blue Bleezin' Blind Drunk


9. Emmy the Great / Laura Groves / Noah and the Whale @ Hoxton Bar & Kitchen (Jan)


The start of 2007 showcased three sets of bright young things for whom greater things will surely come in 2008. I’ve long been a fan of Emmy’s fine array of folk-pop tunes, but the other two show certain promise as well.

Read my original review.

Download: Emmy the Great – Gabriel (Radio 1 session)


10. St Vincent / Fireworks Night @ The Slaughtered Lamb (Sept)


I was meant to see a gig featuring both these artists on 5 June, but due to the Baby Growl starting her journey to the outside world a couple of days early, I spent the night in the labour ward of the Royal London Hospital instead of the Luminaire. How inconsiderate. Thankfully I got to see a repeat performance three months later. And how very good both of them were.

Read my original review
.

Download: St Vincent – These Days


4 comments:

Mr Rossy said...

Holy crap, you've been to some good shows this year...i would av loved to have seen the Akron Family / that boredoms gig looked wicked and st.vin !!!

Unfortunatley my camera ran out of batteries so i couldn't film the jeff l show...i got that stuff from youtube.

av a great xmas dude !!!

zapawarrior said...

my top 5 gigs this year:

1. st vincent @ bush hall
2. dirty projectors @ gramaphone
3. crystal castles @ barfly
4. low @ shepherds bush empire
5. scroobius pip with adele @

my no.1 music blog:

1. daily growl

keep it up dude! merry new year!

ps - check out laura hyland - saw here at the gladstone last week and she was great:

http://www.myspace.com/vixenmews

Tom OMG said...

I really want to see Emmy live!

The Daily Growl said...

zapa - oh, you flatter me - and another laura for 2008. Groves, Marling and now Hyland. Any more Lauras anyone?

Tom - yes you absolutely should. Thanksfully there are always quite a few opportunies to see her in London if you can make it in...