Our Most Memorable Live Moments... and why you should be jealous if you weren't there
J. Gordon, Rob Dunnett and Michele Ulsohn
1/1/2008 10:04:30 PM

Well, there’s no need to re-write reviews that have already been posted, and of course everyone’s tastes are different, but here are some notes from NT writers on the best live shows of 2007.

Editor/Publisher Julia Gordon-Bramer:
Best show of the year: Wilco with Andrew Bird in Kansas City. Worth every minute of the four-hour drive, this show reawakened that rare, wonderful high the music freak continually chases: excitement and ecstasy through sound. This is why I work in the music business.
Second Best: Menomena with Illinois: Cool indie band: Illinois, meet amazing indie band: Menomena. Great sound. Great presence. Immediate strong compulsion to purchase/download all their CDs.
Third Favorite: The Shins with Viva Voce at the Pageant. Just a flat-out, all-around great show by two of Portland's current best.
Ed. Note: detailed reviews of all of these are in our Show Reviews section.

Contributor Rob Dunnett:
The best thing to happen in 2007? Jerry Falwell's death comes immediately to mind. You're probably looking for something more entertainment-related, though, so I'll go with Grinderman. Older and hairier than most of the bands churning out Clear Channel-friendly crap in '07, Nick Cave's side project has more aggression and humor than Rollins in Hello Kitty panties. They also top my "Best Concert of 2007" list for their Chicago show. Maybe Cave isn't ready for that lounge singer job just yet, after all.

Contributor Michele Ulsohn’s Top 10 Concerts of the Year (chronologically):
April 1st Seepeoples at Cicero's
Fans of any of Perry Farrell's musical projects should definitely check this very talented North Carolina band out---their material ranges from hauntingly beautiful ballads to mind-melting electronic freak-outs. I haven't missed a St.Louis show of theirs since the first time I saw them in '04, and this particular show stood out as one the very best.

April 20th Black Angels at the Duck Room
After hearing and reading so much praise about this 70's psychedelic-influenced band, I had to see and hear for myself if they truly deserved the hype. They do. And I doubt anyone in the audience that night would disagree. Morrison and Hendrix would probably be fans of these guys if they were still alive.

April 21st Son Volt at the Pageant
If you haven't seen Son Volt in at least a year, make sure you check them again next time they tour. With a slightly revised personnel line-up, Jay Farrar has infused his 12-year-old band with a darker, edgier, and more raw sound that needs to be experienced live to be truly appreciated. Their surprising cover of the early Stones' masterpiece "20,000 Light Years From Home" gets my vote for best encore song of the year.

May 20th Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the Pageant
A nearly flawless set by the reigning masters of the modern dark psych-rock genre. This was one of those shows where the intensity of the music was often so strong, if felt somewhat overwhelming (in a good way), especially during the scorchingly-hot version of "Love Burns," after which I practically needed a cold shower and a mild sedative.

July 16th VHS or Beta at the Duck Room
Although this show would have been more appropriate in a venue with a larger dancing area and more sophisticated lighting, these Kentucky boys made it work anyway. From start to finish, they provided more than adequate energy and catchy, beat-driven 80's-influenced sounds that kept the room's bodies in motion.

August 1st Calla at The Pageant
I was probably one of the few people in the audience who was more interested in seeing this opening set than seeing the headliner, Interpol. I do like Interpol, and their set was commendable (my biggest complaint about their material is that it lacks diversity), but Calla's blend of thick, fuzzy, slightly-distorted guitars with mesmerizing melodies completely won me over; although clearer-sounding vocals would have made this set even more captivating.

October 6th The Smithereens at the Argosy Casino-Alton
The Smithereens are probably considered by most to be past their prime, but this show proved that great songwriting backed by tight performing can keep even a 25-year old band sounding fresh and vital.

October 16th Widespread Panic at The Fox
Although jam bands are nearly a dime a dozen these days, Georgia veterans Widespread Panic were one of the very first on the scene back in the late 80's, long before the term “jam band” had even been coined. Their many years of experience playing together (with only one personnel change ever) have made their shows, regularly two 90-minute sets with no opener, just about as close to a cathartic religious experience as a concert can get.

November 18th Neil Young at The Fox
Truly one of the greatest songwriters in rock, Neil Young is still, even in his early 60's, quite a force to be reckoned with. This performance had the audience silently spellbound during the acoustic first half, and on their feet rocking during the second half's classics like "Cinnamon Girl" and "Cortez The Killer." The no-drinks-in-the-seats rule and the high ticket prices were almost worth dealing with, to experience a legendary musical genius doing exactly what he does best.

November 29th The Cult at the Pageant
Even though he could probably ease up a bit on trying to emulate Bono, Ian Astbury is still one of the sexiest frontmen in rock, and fortunately, the years have kind to both his looks and his vocal chords. This show flat-out kicked ass, and stellar hits like "She Sells Sanctuary," and "Fire Woman" almost made me able to ignore the annoying flying arms of the very drunk woman directly in front of me.


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