Best Of 2017 :: 10 Shows

I haven’t crunched all the numbers yet, but I’m fairly certain that in 2017 I saw the most shows ever in one year… out of anyone who’s ever lived. Joking aside, I truly have not seen more shows in one year than this year. That’s what living in NYC will do for you, I guess! To keep myself occupied and to fend off the evil spirits that were haunting me in a major way for most of this year, I attended as many concerts as I could. There was a stretch through January and February where I may have seen only two or three shows max, but things really kicked into high gear later. My longest streak was in September, when I saw nine shows in eight consecutive days. I almost matched it later in October. You can see my full listening stats down below my Top 10.

I got to see artists like Colin Stetson, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Daniel Bachman, Julianna Barwick, St. Vincent, Nai Palm – all masters of their craft. They ooze talent and skill and left me in awe while watching them. Then there were shows like Washed Out, TOPS, El Guincho, Jessy Lanza, Pond; which were all massive parties and everyone was having a great time. You’ll see me say this a lot throughout the post, but feeling very lucky that I was able to see this many great artists perform in my own city! Excited to see more in 2018.

TOP 10 SHOWS:

1. El Guincho @ Le Poisson Rouge
El Guincho put on the most fun show I attended all year, perhaps the most fun show I’ve seen in NYC thus far. They played a career-spanning set that mainly focused on material from their 2016 album Hiperasia, which featured the fantastic “Parte Virtual” as the finisher (you can check out a video of that song from this exact show below!). The new songs were met with warmth from the crowd, but when they broke into classics like “Bombay” or “Palmitos Park,” everything lit up. This was the band’s first show in NYC since 2010, so the audience was clearly riled up and ready to dance to all these now-classic electro-pop songs. This energy all came to a head in the encore after the soundboard shut the stage down & turned the lights on after one song. The band was clearly upset and confused at the sound dudes, which inspired folks in the audience to cuss out the folks upstairs and demand they let the band play another. Eventually they caved, letting the band play an elongated version of “Antillas,” a song that get the entire audience dancing and singing (you can check out a clip of that at the end of the video below). Everyone came together and had a real fun time. Can’t ask for anything more out of a concert.

2. Colin Stetson @ Baby’s All Right
Seeing Colin Stetson perform was unlike anything I had ever experienced in my life. How can it be? It’s just one man with a saxophone. The sheer volume of sound being emitted onstage was enough to tap into some kind of hysteria within me. There were points where I was just laughing, since I didn’t know what to do with this excess of stimuli that I was being dowsed in. One friend compared it to watching an olympic athlete compete. Definitely feel lucky to have seen him.

3. Mount Eerie @ Murmrr Theatre
I got demolished. My entire emotional infrastructure was hit with a large moving object & burned to the ground. Phil’s new material was just as sad and just as good as his most recent record. Expect more of that coming soon.

4. Nai Palm @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
One of the rawest showings of musical talent I’ve ever seen. Nai is the bandleader of Hiatus Kaiyote and packed Music Hall of WBurg to the gills on a Monday night. Just her voice and a guitar. She played her own songs, reworkings of Hiatus songs and a bunch of covers, including the mind-blowing Angel Olsen cover you’ll see below. Goosebumps.

5. Jessy Lanza & Kate NV @ House of YES
A big dance party! Jessy definitely played the hits and worked the room – so much more superior than when I saw her at Baby’s All Right in 2016. Bigger room, more folks dancing, overall less bro-y crowd (as is Baby’s), and a great opener in Russia’s Kate NV. Can’t beat just a plain old fun time!

6. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith @ Knockdown Center
Beautiful, moving, inspiring, lovely, incredible. I definitely teared up a little bit from KAS’s masterful synth manipulation. I saw her another time after this but it was at my least-favorite venue in the city and could only stay for a bit because of the heat and cigarette smoke. Very thankful I had this previous experience to tape over the second one!

7. TOPS @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
I’ve now seen TOPS more than any other band. This was the best I’ve ever seen them, with a fuller band and a practically-sold out Music Hall to iron their spines onstage. They played most of their new album Sugar At The Gate, but delved into a few older ones too. I had so much fun and it really seemed like the band had a ton of fun too – isn’t that what it’s all about in the end? Such a great band.

8. Giant Claw, Kate NV & Foodman @ Cape House
The most unique show I saw all year, with two international artists (Kate NV from Russia, Foodman from Japan). It was actually a segment of a showcase for the Northside Festival, put on by Orange Milk Records – other artists performing were death’s dynamic shroud.wmv, Honnda, Machine Girl, and more. Legit $5 for hat bill at a venue a few subway stops away. Can you say #blessed? Giant Claw was the first I caught, creating a dynamic, perplexing soundscape with just a drum pad sitting on his lap. It confounded me – how can this dude have so many insane sounds coming from that small thing? It was dope. Then was Kate NV, which was the third time I saw her this year. She played more or less the same set as the two previous times, but it was still super fun and engaging. Foodman closed things out for me, spinning his bizarro take on footwork, which continues to push the limits of electronic music in general. It was totally bizarre and unlike anything I had ever heard, as you might imagine. I especially did not want to miss this show because it was a collection of artists that challenge me to go outside my usual listening bracket and I know wouldn’t see this kind of lineup ever again. Feeling lucky to have seen these amazing artists practically in my backyard!

9. Julianna Barwick @ First Unitarian Church BK
Second time seeing JB, first in an actual concert setting (actual first was at a public school fundraiser). This was in a gorgeous church with great visuals filling in the massive centerpiece behind Barwick, molded somehow to fit in alongside the molding and decoration of the church walls. A perfect setting for Barwick’s meditative songs.

10. Daniel Bachman @ Baby’s All Right
Totally mesmerizing American Primitive style guitar playing and just a genuine onstage presence. Another display of shocking musical talent seen this year, joined by such great company! Unfortunately pretty sparsely attended. Y’all missed out on a real treat. He seems like such a solid guy too, told a few funny stories onstage. Yeehaw!

Honorable Mentions:

  • Aldous Harding @ Bowery Ballroom (for being a treat to see as always)
  • Hand Habits @ Park Church Co-op (for putting my mind at ease)
  • Kelela @ Bowery Ballroom (for making me feel at home despite being surrounded by 1000% more fashionable and attractive people)
  • New Order @ Radio City Music Hall (for playing the hits and making old people around me dance awkwardly)
  • Pond @ Bowery Ballroom (for being the biggest Aussie goofballs out there & having an adorable 60+ year old superfan)
  • Sam Amidon @ Union Pool (for blowing my mind with free jazz & bluegrass)
  • Sneaks @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg (for being a two-person wrecking crew)
  • St. Vincent @ Kings Theatre (for being the most overwhelming one-person spectacle)
  • Washed Out @ Brooklyn Steel (for being incredibly entertaining and great visuals)
  • Yo La Tengo @ Bowery Ballroom (for playing my favorite song!)
  • Zola Jesus @ Rough Trade (for being an empowering, badass performer & human)

ALL BANDS:

(120 individual performances, 112 different entities, 71 shows overall, 27 alone)

  • Active Bird Community @ Baby’s All Right
  • Aerial East @ Bowery Ballroom
  • Aldous Harding (x3) @ Rough Trade, Park Church Co-op & Bowery
  • Alvvays @ BK Steel
  • Amber Coffman @ Women’s March
  • Anamanaguchi @ Elsewhere
  • Anna McClellan @ Park Church Co-op
  • Ariel Pink @ Le Poisson Rouge
  • Baroness @ BK Bazaar
  • Belle Game @ BK Steel
  • Big Thief @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • Black Marble @ Good Room
  • Blanck Mass @ Rough Trade
  • Body Of Light @ Good Room
  • Bonobo @ BK Steel
  • Broken Social Scene @ BK Steel
  • Buck Meek @ Union Pool
  • Chastity Belt @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • Chino Amobi @ Saint Vitus
  • Cigarettes After Sex @ Park Church Co-op
  • Colin Stetson @ Baby’s All Right
  • Colleen @ Good Room
  • Cool Maritime @ Good Room
  • Daniel Bachman @ Baby’s All Right
  • Deradoorian @ Knockdown Center
  • Diet Cig @ Bowery Ballroom
  • El Guincho @ Le Poisson Rouge
  • Elise Jef Barbara @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • Embaci @ Saint Vitus
  • Ex Eye @ Saint Vitus
  • Extraperlo @ Le Poisson Rouge
  • Flying Lotus @ The Riviera Theatre (Chicago)
  • Foodman @ Cape House
  • Forth Wanderers @ Baby’s All Right
  • Geneva Jacuzzi @ BK Bazaar
  • Germans @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • Giant Claw @ Cape House
  • Glaze @ BK Bazaar
  • Gracie & Rachel @ Mercury Lounge
  • Half Waif @ Baby’s All Right
  • Hand Habits @ Park Church Co-op
  • Have A Nice Life @ BK Bazaar
  • Honnda @ Cape House
  • Hundred Waters @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • Hurray For The Riff Raff @ Baby’s All Right
  • Jacques Greene @ Warsaw
  • James Elkington @ Rough Trade
  • Jessy Lanza @ House Of YES
  • JFDR @ BK Steel
  • Jon Porras @ Good Room
  • Julianna Barwick @ First Unitarian Church BK
  • Julie Byrne @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • Julien Baker @ Rough Trade
  • Justin Walter @ Baby’s All Right
  • Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith (x2) @ Knockdown Center & Good Room
  • Kate NV (x3) @ House Of YES, Union Pool & Cape House
  • Kelela @ Bowery Ballroom
  • Kelsey Lu @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • Kirin J Callinan @ Bowery Ballroom
  • Knox Fortune @ Lincoln Hall (Chicago)
  • Lafawndah @ Bowery Ballroom
  • Las Rosas @ Baby’s All Right
  • Liars (x2) @ Alphaville & Warsaw
  • Los Straitjackets @ Bowery Ballroom
  • M. Lamar @ Park Church Co-op
  • Maria Usbeck @ Good Room
  • Mas Ysa @ First Unitarian Church BK
  • Matthew Dear @ Public Works
  • Mew @ Bowery Ballroom
  • Mount Eerie @ Murmrr
  • Mount Kimbie @ Warsaw
  • Nai Palm @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • Nathan Xander @ Union Pool
  • New Order @ Radio City Music Hall
  • Nick Hakim @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • Nicolas Jaar @ BK Steel
  • Nite Jewel @ BK Bazaar
  • NOIA @ Le Poisson Rouge
  • Nosaj Thing @ Warsaw
  • Palehound @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • Planning For Burial @ BK Bazaar
  • Pond @ Bowery Ballroom
  • Public Memory @ Good Room
  • Rachel Baiman @ Union Pool
  • The Radio Dept. @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • Ratboys @ Bowery Ballroom
  • Reduction Plan (x2) @ Pianos & BK Bazaar
  • Remember Sports @ Bowery Ballroom
  • Saint Etienne @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • Sam Amidon @ Union Pool
  • Sam Evian @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • Sannhet @ BK Bazaar
  • Shout Out Louds @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • Skylar Spence @ Elsewhere
  • Sneaks @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • Stars @ Rough Trade
  • St. Vincent @ Kings Theater
  • Surf Rock Is Dead @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • Thundercat @ BK Steel
  • Tiny Hazard @ Park Church Co-op
  • Tonstartssbandht @ Park Church Co-op
  • TOPS @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • TR/ST @ House Of YES
  • Washed Out @ BK Steel
  • The Weather Station (x2) @ Union Pool & Rough Trade
  • Weekend @ Saint Vitus
  • Weyes Blood @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • Will Stratton @ Baby’s All Right
  • Yo La Tengo @ Bowery Ballroom
  • Yves Tumor @ BK Steel
  • Yvette @ Warsaw
  • Zola Jesus @ Rough Trade

About Very Warm

Usually cool dude stuff.
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