Tom Waits at the Fox (6/26/08)
I won't bother going into detail about the show itself. It's Tom Waits, and yes, it was everything you'd expect. A quick note to some of his fans, though. Wearing pork pie hats and ragged vests to a Tom Waits show is no different than a 7-year-old girl dressing up as Ariel for "Disney on Ice". Dorks.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds with the Black Diamond Heavies (Riviera / Chicago / 9/29/08)
Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!, Cave's best album in years, would have been a highlight of 2008 on its own. A tour was the icing on the cake. No ex-junkie in his 50's has any right to sound this good. Cave and the Bad Seeds are still one of the best live shows around, and their side project of Grinderman has only sharpened their sound. The Black Diamond Heavies, with their deranged soul band meets the God Bullies feel, was the perfect opener.
John Waters Weekend (Laumeier Sculpture Park and the Sheldon)
For myself, and probably a few others, this was like God slumming in St. Louis for the weekend. His art opening at Laumeier, followed by a wildly fun party (complete with pole dancers), was a blast of fresh air for this town's art scene. His This Filthy World performance at the Sheldon was hilarious and absolutely brilliant. Afterward, he stayed until everyone who wanted an autograph had one. For the "King of Trash", he's a damned classy guy.
Who's Nailn' Palin DVD
Okay, this will be a Maxim magazine style review, because I didn't actually see the DVD (Really). I just love the idea that it exists.
Patriots Losing the Super Bowl
I'm not a huge sports fan, but I love the Steelers (Having grown up in Pittsburgh during the 1970's, this was inevitable). I was happier when the Patriots lost the Super Bowl than when the Steelers won it a few years earlier. Arrogant, cheating bastards.
Lou Reed (Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, 5/2/08)
As this show went on, I was a little worried I'd be disappointed since he was focusing on his more recent material (And let's be honest, he hasn't put out anything good since his New York album...even that was a mixed bag). "Pale Blue Eyes" and "Sweet Jane" were enough to save it, though.
Will things really change in any noticeable way? Probably not. But I'm a bit less ashamed to be an American now.
Subhumans Internal Riot CD
Hmm...now that I think about it, this may have come out in 2007. But I didn't buy it until 2008, so I'm including it here. They still sound great. And with lyrics like, "People turn to terror when all else fails / The prison's not full of rich, white males", they're as relevant as ever.
Black Santa's Revenge DVD
A 20-minute long masterpiece. As he's drinking in a strip club, the community center's Santa recognizes the thugs who stole the donated presents. Shotgun in hand, he's off to save Christmas for all the kids in the 'hood. Best line of any movie this year: "I'm makin' my list. I'm checkin' it twice. I'm gonna put all you motherfuckers on ice!"
Sarah Vowell at Mad Art (10/29/08)
She's just so freaky cute. Mad Art was the perfect venue for this reading and book signing, and I only hope they host more authors in the future (Jasper Fforde will be in the U.S. this July or August...hint, hint).
It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia - "The Nightman Cometh" episode
The Monads Ornery CD
Hausu released on DVD
Archbishop Raymond Burke shuffling his self-righteous, pasty ass out of town.