Best of 2019 :: Live Experiences

I saw a lot of shows this year. The most out of any year period. There were multiple weeks where I went to a concert every night. Was it healthy? Maybe. I probably didn’t eat very well those weeks. I definitely stopped going to the gym once my schedule got loaded up with shows every night. That’s my fault. But was it fun? Oh hell yeah. I had a ton of fun this year going to shows. SO many artists seen for the first time (128 in fact) thanks to the advent of SXSW and Merge 30. NYC is a beautiful place and allows me to see this many shows. I should really start doing show coverage, but I’m lazy it turns out. Check out what my top 10 favorite shows I saw this year were below, along with seeing all the artists I saw throughout 2019 + stats.

1. Joanna Newsom @ El Museo del Barrio

If you know me personally at all or follow me on Instagram, you know this was gonna be my favorite show of the year, no question. There are many factors going into this placement, first of which is that I love Joanna Newsom. That’s an easy one to check off first. Second, I went with my partner, who also loves Joanna Newsom. We bought these tickets before she knew if she was going to get into medical school and move to NYC or not. Not that much of a gamble since she’d come in on Metro North if not, but still. It’d have more weight. Third, is that we both saw her on her last US tour, albeit in different locations. Mine in NYC and hers in Paris. This show had a lot of emotions pre-wired in.

Getting to the music part: hoo-wee. Joanna is still on point even after a long performing hiatus, switching between piano and harp (sometimes mid-song!!) with ease. Her voice sounds great and at one point she took questions from the audience. News flash: having a kid means pretty much everything you do after that point has to do with said kid. I don’t know why people kept asking certain questions even though it was gonna be clear, based on her previous answers, that she’s been super busy taking care of her child. Come on y’all! But back to Joanna’s music. Man I teared up or cried at least 5 times, with “Baby Birch” and “Sprout and the Bean” being the heaviest hitters. She’s a real queen for this one.

2. Kelly Moran @ Bushwick United Methodist Church

I’m in a HUGE Kelly Moran zone right now so I’m likely biased, but then again it was an Ambient Church show with amazing visuals backing up a rising virtuosic talent, so it was probably naturally awesome anyways. Moran plays prepared piano, a version of piano that utilizes placing objects on the strings of the piano like screws that affect the sound of the keys. If you haven’t listened to her 2018 album Ultraviolet, I cannot recommend it enough. She played that album all the way through and had according visuals backing up the music being projected across the church walls. It was absolutely gorgeous and a shock to the senses. I definitely got emotional with this sensory overload. I’m so happy this was my first time seeing her perform as well – what a special evening.

3. Charli XCX @ Terminal 5

Holy smokes – Charli can perform with the best of them. High energy throughout the set, playing the hits and a few deep cuts. She even played her unreleased song “Taxi” over the speakers before she went on. She made a Terminal 5 show bearable. She made dealing with faded stans bearable. That is something not a lot of places can accomplish. Shout out to Charli. Also the bass in “I Got It” was perhaps some of the most shaking I’ve ever felt in a live concert.

4. Mr Twin Sister & Ava Luna @ Warsaw

Mr Twin Sister always puts on a good show. This is a known fact! Their show with Ava Luna at Warsaw was no exception. What was best about this show I think is that the past few times I’d seen MTS they played almost all new songs, before their 2018 album Salt was out. Now that I had time to marinate with these new songs and more time for the band to integrate them into their set – man it’s OVER. Brilliant, groovy and so much fun. If you haven’t seen MTS or Ava Luna yet, do yourself a favor and GO.

5. Stereolab @ Brooklyn Steel

I bought these tickets in… February? March? And the concert was in September. I was waiting for this and guess what? It was worth it. Stereolab played the hits and I was happy. The band was tight, Laetitia sounded great and had a good sense of humor about the ruckus the crowd was making after every song. I was surrounded by dad-lookin dudes and stood in a merch line for 30 minutes just to find out the one thing I wanted was sold out. And it was all still worth it.

6. José González @ The Apollo Theater

I’m gonna be honest and say I’m not a José scholar by any means, but the chance to see him perform at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem was too good to pass up. I’m so thankful that I ended up going, because this was a show I’ll never forget. He was joined by a string ensemble, making his already lush folk songs even better. I think the highlight for me though was when he covered Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”. That was so sick.

7. Little Simz @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Little Simz is a star!! She comes out with “Boss” singing through a megaphone. She cycled through the whole new album with ease and even hopped on bass for a minute. She hopped in the crowd for 101 FM and started rapping to folks. The whole venue was on fire and applauded like crazy after every song. Everyone was on the same wavelength and it was beautiful. If you take anything away from reading my blog in Best of 2019 season, it is to listen to Little Simz. Come on now!

8. Sacred Paws @ Rough Trade

Didn’t think that this show would be as good as it was, but holy hell Sacred Paws are such a good live band. This shouldn’t be surprised, since singer/guitarist Rachel Aggs is such an electric personality on-stage. She was jumping around, doing little dances and was generally a lovely person in and in-between songs. The band was all smiles and it felt like the whole audience (full of people that looked like their favorite band was Belle and Sebastian) was dancing along. I saw them again at Merge 30 and guess what – still amazing.

9. Haruomi Hosono @ Gramercy Theatre

The legendary Haruomi Hosono (of Yellow Magic Orchestra + Japanese songwriter & producer fame) performed a few dates in the States this year and I was lucky enough to snag a ticket to his first show. He played “American-ized” versions of his revolutionary work with effectively a blues/country band. Hearing “SPORTS MEN” as a country rock song was lovely. And to make it even better, he brought out city pop / Jpop legend Akiko Yano for the first song of the encore. Feeling VERY lucky, again.

10. Mount Eerie & Julie Doiron @ St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church

Mount Eerie and Julie Doiron played all of their new album Lost Wisdom Pt. 2 and a few songs off their first collaborative album Lost Wisdom. Never thought I’d hear those songs performed in my life. “Lost Wisdom”, “Voice In Headphones”, “What?” and more. They even covered “I Will Always Love You” which resulted in some laughs and lots of applause from the audience.

11. Friendly Fires @ Elsewhere

This was Friendly Fires’ first NYC show in eight years I believe and it was clear their fans needed a release. Everyone was dancing and singing along to all the hits. The new songs fit into the set seamlessly. Singer Ed MacFarlane dances like everyone’s watching and lost his voice near the end of the set. The band really put it all out there. What a blissful, fun, healing night.

12. Waxahatchee @ Cat’s Cradle

Chances are high that a Waxahatchee solo set with additional accompaniment from harpist Mary Lattimore will yield widespread tears. This was definitely the case here tonight. Her voice was pristine and hearing some classic songs (mostly off her last two albums) solo was beautiful.

13. U.S. Girls & Badge Époque Ensemble @ Union Pool

U.S. Girl will forever and always be one of my favorite bands, especially in a live setting. Put them in the smallest venue I’ve ever seen them in? Now we’re talking. Put a band that’s essentially the U.S. Girls backing band in as the opener and have that band put out one of my favorite records of the year? Maaaaann now you’re out of bounds! This was a wicked show that saw lead singer Meg Remy get into the audience and try and dance with people, but man it was LATE on a Sunday, so people were tired. But still, this band is still a must-see when they come to town.

14. Daughters @ Brooklyn Steel

Last show of the year, last show of the decade!! So happy to have seen Daughters on what’s likely their final tour around their 2018 album You Won’t Get What You Want. They were ripping hot, torching the stage and leaving the rapt audience in disbelief. They also played “Guest House”, of course, which continues to be one of the best songs of the decade.

15. Black Midi @ Alphaville

After a ton of hype from their SXSW performances (one of which I saw, albeit outdoors) they proved that they were the real deal at Alphaville their first(?) NYC performance. They blew the roof off and showed that they were going to be one of the best live bands. I didn’t even know most of these songs but my head was in the game. Also I have to mention the drummer, because you can’t not mention the drummer when talking Black Midi.

THE STATS:

  • 226 individual performances (31% increase from 2018)
  • 197 different artists  (23% increase from 2018)
  • 93 shows + 3 festivals (Pitchfork Midwinter + SXSW + Merge 30)
  • 128 artists seen for the first time
  • 22 artists seen more than once in 2019
  • NYC venue breakdown (highlights / leaderboard):
    • Brooklyn Steel – 19 performances
    • Elsewhere (all rooms) – 15 performances
    • Rough Trade – 13 performances
    • Music Hall of Williamsburg – 10 performances
    • Warsaw – 8 performances

 FULL LIST OF ARTISTS SEEN IN 2019:

  • 100 gecs @ Elsewhere Zone One
  • Adult Mom @ Baby’s All Right
  • Air Waves @ Rough Trade
  • Aldous Harding @ Rough Trade
  • Altin Gün @ Elsewhere Hall
  • Andrew Bird (x2) @ Barracuda Outside + National Sawdust
  • Angel Olsen @ Brooklyn Steel
  • Apex Manor @ Orange County Social Club
  • Ashnikko @ Warsaw
  • Automatic @ Bowery Ballroom
  • Ava Luna @ Warsaw
  • Badge Époque @ Union Pool
  • Bailen @ Bowery Ballroom
  • Barrie @ Bowery Ballroom
  • Baroness @ Terminal 5
  • Battles (x2) @ Max Fish + Music Hall of Williamsburg
  • Bea1991 @ Pour Choices
  • Beach House @ Brooklyn Steel
  • The Beths @ Mohawk Outside
  • Big Thief @ Elsewhere Hall
  • Bitchin’ Bajas @ Brooklyn Steel
  • Black Belt Eagle Scout (x3) @ Cheer Up Charlie’s Inside + 3Ten ACL Live + Rough Trade In-Store
  • Black Marble @ Bowery Ballroom
  • Black Midi (x2) @ Cheer Up Charlie’s Outside + Alphaville
  • Black Pumas @ Barracuda Outside
  • Body Meat @ Gramercy Theatre
  • Body Type (x2) @ Union Pool + 3Ten ACL Live
  • Bodywash @ Alphaville
  • Bonobo @ Brooklyn Mirage
  • Boy Harsher @ Elsewhere Hall
  • Brandon Coleman @ Brooklyn Mirage
  • Broncho @ Mohawk Outside
  • Brutus @ Saint Vitus
  • Carly Rae Jepsen @ Hammerstein Ballroom
  • CHAI (x2) @ Hotel Vegas Outside + Cheer Up Charlie’s Outside
  • Charli XCX @ Terminal 5
  • Charly Bliss @ Cheer Up Charlie’s Outside
  • Christina Vantzou @ The Schoolhouse
  • Chromatics @ Brooklyn Steel
  • The Comet Is Coming @ Empire Garage
  • Common Holly @ Trans-Pecos
  • Daniel Bachman @ Art Institute of Chicago
  • Danny Brown @ Warsaw
  • Das Body @ Las Perlas
  • Daughter of Swords @ Union Pool
  • Daughters @ Brooklyn Steel
  • Deafheaven @ Terminal 5
  • Deerhunter (x2) @ Brooklyn Steel + Webster Hall
  • Desire @ Brooklyn Steel
  • Destroyer @ Cat’s Cradle
  • Dirty Projectors @ Webster Hall
  • Dopey’s Robe @ Hotel Vegas Volstead Stage
  • Drab Majesty @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
  • DRAMA @ Palm Door Outside
  • Dusk @ Brooklyn Bazaar
  • Eartheater @ Alphaville
  • Easy Life @ Palm Door Outside
  • Ella Vos @ Palm Door Inside
  • Empath @ Barracuda Inside
  • Erin Durant @ Union Pool
  • Escape-sim @ Motorco Music Hall
  • Ex Hex @ Cat’s Cradle
  • Flying Lotus @ Brooklyn Mirage
  • Fontaines D.C. (x4) @ Union Pool + Barracuda Inside + Brooklyn Steel + Music Hall of Williamsburg
  • Four Tet @ Brooklyn Steel
  • Frankie & the Witch Fingers @ Hotel Vegas Outside
  • Friendly Fires @ Elsewhere Hall
  • Fucked Up @ Cat’s Cradle
  • Gauche @ Cat’s Cradle
  • George Clanton @ Elsewhere Zone One
  • Georgia @ Elsewhere Zone One
  • A Giant Dog @ Cat’s Cradle
  • Goon @ The Broadway
  • HÆLOS @ 3Ten ACL Live
  • Haley Fohr @ Art Institute of Chicago
  • Hand Habits (x3) @ Brooklyn Steel + Bowery Ballroom + Brooklyn Steel
  • Haruomi Hosono @ Gramercy Theatre
  • H.C. McEntire @ The Carolina Theatre
  • HEALTH @ Brooklyn Steel
  • HIDE @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
  • Hiss Golden Messenger @ The Carolina Theatre
  • Holly Herndon @ Pioneer Works
  • Hubert Lenoir @ Mohawk Outside
  • Ian Isiah @ Pioneer Works
  • Ibibio Sound Machine @ Cat’s Cradle
  • IDLES @ Brooklyn Steel
  • Imperial Teen @ Cat’s Cradle
  • Infinity Shred @ Elsewhere Zone One
  • Injury Reserve (x3) @ Mohawk Outside + Elsewhere Zone One + Gramercy Theatre
  • JAB @ The Schoolhouse
  • Jackie Mendoza (x2) @ Seven Grand + The Sultan Room
  • Jamila Woods @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
  • Japanese Breakfast @ Brooklyn Steel
  • Jealous of the Birds @ Latitude 30
  • Jerry Paper @ 3Ten ACL Live
  • Jessica Moss @ Warsaw
  • Jessica Pratt @ Park Church Co-op
  • J-E-T-S @ Brooklyn Mirage
  • Jitwam @ Le Poisson Rouge
  • Jlin @ Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Joan Shelley @ Park Church Co-op
  • Joanna Newsom @ El Museo del Barrio
  • Jonathan Something @ The Sultan Room
  • Jordan Rakei @ Rough Trade
  • José González @ Apollo Theater
  • Joyero @ Orange County Social Club
  • Julia Holter @ Warsaw
  • Julie Doiron @ St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church
  • Kara-Lis Coverdale (x2) @ National Sawdust + Bushwick United Methodist Church
  • Kate Teague @ Las Perlas
  • Kelly Moran @ Bushwick United Methodist Church
  • Kikagaku Moyo @ Warsaw
  • Kindness (x2) @ Baby’s All Right + Music Hall of Williamsburg
  • KOKOKO! (x3) @ Cheer Up Charlie’s Outside + Hotel Vegas Patio + Le Poisson Rouge
  • Lady Lamb (x2) @ Rough Trade In-Store + Elsewhere Hall
  • Lambchop @ Cat’s Cradle
  • Limousine @ Trans-Pecos
  • Lingua Ignota @ Saint Vitus
  • Little Scream @ Cat’s Cradle (Back Room)
  • Little Simz @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
  • Loving (x2) @ Barracuda Inside + Baby’s All Right
  • Maria Usbeck @ The Sultan Room
  • Mary Lattimore (x2) @ Art Institute of Chicago + Waller Boathouse
  • Maverick Sabre @ Rough Trade
  • Max Band @ Alphaville
  • M. Geddes Gengras @ The Schoolhouse
  • Mike Krol @ Cat’s Cradle (Back Room)
  • Minami Deutsch @ Warsaw
  • Molly Burch @ Barracuda Outside
  • Molly Sarlé @ Baby’s All Right
  • Morabeza Tobacco @ Seven Grand
  • The Mountain Goats (x2) @ Brooklyn Steel + The Carolina Theatre
  • Mountain Man @ National Sawdust
  • Mount Eerie @ St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church
  • Mr Twin Sister @ Warsaw
  • Negative Gemini @ Elsewhere Zone One
  • Nightcrawlr @ Trans-Pecos
  • Nilüfer Yanya @ Thalia Hall
  • The New Power Generation @ Sony Hall
  • The Nude Party @ Barracuda Outside
  • Otoboke Beaver @ Mohawk Inside
  • Palehound @ Brooklyn Steel
  • Parrot Dream @ 3Ten ACL Live
  • PBDY @ Brooklyn Mirage
  • Pedro the Lion @ Mohawk Outside
  • Petite League @ The Sultan Room
  • Pinky Pinky (x2) @ 3Ten ACL Live + Rough Trade
  • Pottery (x3) @ Seven Grand + Rough Trade + Music Hall of Williamsburg
  • Public Practice @ Rough Trade
  • Red Steppes @ Hideout Theater
  • Reduction Plan @ Trans-Pecos
  • Renata Zeiguer @ Baby’s All Right
  • Rico Nasty @ Cheer Up Charlie’s Outside
  • Rock*A*Teens @ Motorco Music Hall
  • Sacred Paws (x2) @ Rough Trade & Cat’s Cradle
  • Saintseneca @ Baby’s All Right
  • Salami Rose Joe Louis @ Brooklyn Mirage
  • Sam Fender @ Barracuda Inside
  • Sampa the Great @ Elsewhere Zone One
  • (Sandy) Alex G @ The Sultan Room
  • SASAMI @ Cheer Up Charlie’s Outside
  • Sessa @ Elsewhere Hall
  • Shana Falana @ Rough Trade
  • Sharon Van Etten @ Thalia Hall
  • Shintaro Sakamoto @ Elsewhere Hall
  • Slauson Malone @ Gramercy Theatre
  • Sneaks @ Cat’s Cradle (Back Room)
  • Soft Kill @ Empire Garage
  • SPELLLING @ Trans-Pecos
  • Starscream @ Elsewhere Zone One
  • Stef Chura @ Barracuda Inside
  • Stereolab @ Brooklyn Steel
  • Sudan Archives @ Public Records
  • Superchunk @ Cat’s Cradle
  • Swearin’ @ Cat’s Cradle
  • Telekinesis @ Cat’s Cradle
  • Tim Hecker @ National Sawdust
  • Titus Andronicus @ Cat’s Cradle
  • Torres @ Cat’s Cradle (Back Room)
  • Tourist @ Brooklyn Mirage
  • Trudy & the Romance @ Hotel Vegas Inside
  • Tuxedo @ Webster Hall
  • Ty Segall @ Brooklyn Steel
  • U.S. Girls – Union Pool
  • Valley Maker @ Barracuda Outside
  • Viagra Boys @ Rough Trade
  • Voice Training @ The Schoolhouse
  • Wand @ Barracuda Inside
  • Waxahatchee @ Cat’s Cradle
  • Weyes Blood @ Webster Hall
  • Whitney @ Brooklyn Steel
  • Why Bonnie @ Mohawk Outside
  • William Tyler (x2) @ National Sawdust + Cat’s Cradle
  • Wye Oak @ Cat’s Cradle
  • Yeasayer @ Rough Trade
  • Yves Tumor @ Art Institute of Chicago
  • Zah @ Trans-Pecos

About Very Warm

Usually cool dude stuff.
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