<Disclaimer: any terms of a qualitative nature used in this post represent exclusively my own opinions and in no way purport to assert a general qualitative claim with respect to the intrinsic worth, artistic or otherwise.> That should keep Not-really-that-Easy Ed off my case.
According to the gig diary, which is normally reliable, I made it to 65 gigs through 2013. Three of these were festivals – a 1 dayer and 2 days of a 3 dayer. The artist count is nudging 180 allowing for a few support acts whose names I missed and 8 performers I saw twice. By a rough reckoning I’d seen between 20-25% before, although the proportion of headliners is higher, obviously.
Covering 9 cities (or 8 cities and 1 town, depending how you classify Canton, GA) in 5 countries, some reviewed here, a few with videos posted on my video page and a stack of good memories.
A few highlights:
An artist that has been on the Must See list for a long time. Finally managed it in March. He was playing a double header with Dr John. Toussaint was the epitome of cool, had the audience eating out of his hand and ran through an all too short set of classic songs. The time passed even faster in the room than it did on the clock.
Went to see Amparo Sanchez at the Alhambra. Part of a Latin festival organized in part by broadcaster arte. Support act was Antonio Zambujo, a Portuguese fado singer. Never heard of before and sorry I hadn’t. Couldn’t understand a single world but the sense of love and life was clear.
Support Act Discoveries
I’ve never understood the punters that stay in the pub, or the venue bar until the main act comes on. Lost count of the number of bands I’ve come to love that I first found lower on the bill.
This year’s top finds were The Barefoot Movement, Lady Lamb The Beekeeper, Emily Wells, Denai Moore, the Heliotropes and the Crâne Angels.
French venues don’t tend to do food, which may explain why the best meal I had at a gig this year was at the World Café in Wilmington Delaware. It’s excellent by any yardstick and the vegetables are to kill for. See here
The Return of the Horse
In a year where the European food industry was finding horse in places it was labeled it wasn’t, there was one place where you got what you paid for – Crazy Horse on stage with Neil Young through Europe in the summer. The core set of the Alchemy tour remained stable (no pun intended) through the tour but Neil threw in surprises here and there of which the biggest was Red Sun. Seeing my kids’ faces light up when they started up Roll Another Number For The Road as the show closer in London is a real keeper.
Big Act – Small Venue
Easy one this year – Arcade Fire (aka The Reflektors) at the Roundhouse with my daughter, in formal evening get-up to boot. Stormer.
That’s the surface given a wee scratch but that’s all it is. I’m constantly grateful that both my knees and my income allow me to keep going to shows to enjoy music in its true home – live and on stage. The first tickets are already in hand for 2014. Roll on.