My 2017 concert calendar is a little slow so far. First one of the year will most likely be Kyle Morton's (Typhoon) solo show in DC. So I'll make one of his recent tracks, "Survivalist Fantasy" the SOW:
Album of the Year: My favorite band (Weezer) released a very, very good album this year (The White Album) and it isn’t my favorite of 2016. That’s how competitive the top spot was. Other close contenders were the new albums from Bleached and Margaret Glaspy. The next tier down would be the very solid albums from Lady Gaga, Tegan and Sara, Twin Peaks, Sunflower Bean, and Lucius. So, what beat that group of impressive musicians out? Puberty 2 from Mitski. It is outstanding on every margin – excellent songwriting, crunching guitars, emotional depth, good vocals. Her live show might have been a disappointment, but that album is f-ing perfect.
Cover Song of the Year: This one is easy. Glen Hansard delivered an epic cover of David Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes” during All Songs Considered’s 16th Birthday Party at the 9:30 Club. NPR video of his set here.
Song That Got Played to Death But I Still Loved: “Cheap Thrills” by Sia. All. Day. Long.
Concert of the Year: The weirdest show I saw this year was clearly Mac Sabbath. I crossed a lot of bands off my bucket list and they were all pretty good (Dolly Parton, Brian Wilson, Paul McCartney, The Stone Roses, The Cure, Dresden Dolls, Kathleen Hanna, Buzzcocks). I saw a farewell show (Those Darlins) and album release show (Weezer) from two of my favorite bands. But the BEST of the year? That comes down to two contenders. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins’ Rabbit Fur Coat Anniversary Tour was epic. Even better, I got to see the show at the Mother Church (aka the Ryman Auditorium) from the front row. But I’ll give the slight edge to a band that I’ve been obsessed with since high school and thought I would never see live: At the Drive-In. Thank God that I went to the first night of their two-night stand at the 9:30 Club, as they canceled the tour the next day.
Festival of the Year: I only made it to one festival this year (Boston Calling), so good thing I liked it (Robyn’s set aside). Best festival set (probably best any set, really) was from Sia (it’s hard to beat the combination of her voice with the dancing from the crazy good kid dancer). Best festival set from a band that I was previously unfamiliar with was Christine and the Queens.
Internet Meme of the Year: Harambe, obviously. R.I.P.
Sports Moment of the Year: The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl. That is my best ANYTHING moment of the year. Cue Von Miller sack dance. Best Olympic moment was Katie Ledecky’s win in the 800 free. I’m a big swimming fan and I’ve never seen an ass kicking like that. That was the swimming equivalent of the Broncos winning the Super Bowl 200 to 7. But I still pick the Broncos. Sorry not sorry, Katie.
Celebrity Moment of the Year: There was so much to enjoy in the ridiculousness that was the Hillary email leaks. My favorite part is that Tom DeLonge from Blink-182 emailed John Podesta about UFOs.
Person I’m Most Sad That Died in 2016: We lost so many legends this year. Sharon Jones hits home the most for me. She was the most joyous performer that I’ve ever seen. By a very, very wide margin.
Movie of the Year: My travel schedule the past few months has been brutal, so I’m woefully behind on seeing movies during Good Movie season. My favorite movie from Vapid Movie season was Deadpool. The most interesting film I saw was The Lobster. The best movie I saw on a plan during said outrageous travel schedule was Sing Street. And the best documentary I saw was Weiner.
TV Show of the Year: Several of my favorite shows had very good seasons in 2016, including Silicon Valley, Girls, Ballers, Game of Thrones, and Veep. But new shows hooked me in like nothing has in several years. So, as a winner I’ll pick Westworld with honorable mention to the outstanding mini-series O.J.: Made in America and the outstanding tele-play The Night Of.
2017 Pop Culture Moment That I’m Most Looking Forward to:Curb Your Enthusiasm is coming back in 2017. CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM IS COMING BACK IN 2017!!!
I don't have any concert plans for the rest of the week, which makes this my official list for 2017. I had tickets to a few more shows but missed them due to either last minute work trips or illness. But it's still a great list, covering 11 U.S. states (counting DC, which obviously isn't a state) and a foreign country. 9:30 Club was my most visited venue (15 shows) with the Rock and Roll Hotel not far behind (11 shows).
Rancid at Warfield (San Francisco)
All Songs Considered 16th Anniversary Concert at 9:30 Club
Jenny Lewis at Ryman Auditorium (Nashville)
Kid Cudi at Echostage
Hunter Valentine at Black Cat
Best Coast/Wavves at 9:30 Club
Chris Conley and Matt Pryor at 6th and I
The Big Pink at Rock and Roll Hotel
Those Darlins at Rock and Roll Hotel
Roddy Walston and the Business at Rock and Roll Hotel
Weezer at Warsaw (Brooklyn)
Boyz II Men at the Mirage (Las Vegas)
Britney Spears at Planet Hollywood (Las Vegas)
Smashing Pumpkins at Tower Theatre (Philly)
Legendary Shack Shakers at Rock and Roll Hotel
Bleached at DC9
Yuck at Rock and Roll Hotel
Operators at Baby’s All Right (Brooklyn)
Puddles Pity Party at 9:30 Club
Bob Mould at 9:30 Club
M. Ward at 9:30 Club
Local H at Rock and Roll Hotel
Lee Baines III and the Glory Fires at DC9
Santigold at Fillmore Silver Spring
Babymetal at Fillmore Silver Spring
Good Graeff at DC9
Titus Andronicus at 9:30 Club
Avett Brothers at Eagle Bank Arena
Rooney at Rock and Roll Hotel
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes at Wolf Trap
Boston Calling Day One – Sia headline
Boston Calling Day Two – Robyn headline
Boston Calling Day Three – Haim headline
Nada Surf at 9:30 Club
Diarrhea Planet at Black Cat
Eagles of Death Metal at Warsaw (Brooklyn)
Waxahatchee at Black Cat
Dolly Parton at Wolf Trap
Ellie Goulding at Merriweather
At the Drive-In at 9:30 Club
Lucius at 9:30 Club
Violent Femmes at Lincoln Theatre
The Cure at Merriweather
Weezer at Jiffy Lube Live
Broncho at DC9
Quasi at Rock and Roll Hotel
Stone Roses at Madison Square Garden (NYC)
Flag at Black Cat
We Were Promised Jetpacks at Jammin’ Java
Brand New and Modest Mouse at Merriweather
Gwen Stefani at Jiffy Lube Live
Margo Price at Birchmere
Brandi Carlile at Merriweather
The GoGos at Warner Theatre
Paul McCartney at Verizon Center
The Julie Ruin at Black Cat
Titus Andronicus at Rock and Roll Hotel
Dresden Dolls at Coney Island Amphitheatre (Brooklyn)
The Mountain Goats at State Theatre
Television at 9:30 Club
Mac Sabbath at Fillmore Silver Spring
Kanye West at Verizon Center
Brian Wilson at Fox Theatre (Atlanta)
Laura Stevenson at Rock and Roll Hotel
Princess at 9:30 Club
Buzzcocks at 9:30 Club
Ash at Rock and Roll Hotel
Black Lips at Howard Theatre
Red Hot Chili Peppers at Accor Hotels Arena (Paris)
Sia at Verizon Center
La Sera at Songbyrd Music House and Cafe
Margaret Glaspy at DC9
The Orwells at DC9
Tegan and Sara at 9:30 Club
FIDLAR at Howard Theatre
Tegan and Sara at Joy Theatre (New Orleans)
Peter Hook and the Light at Republic NOLA (New Orleans)
The Orwells at DC9 – In the lead up to their new album and larger spring tour, the Orwells did a small tour at tiny venues to promo the new songs. It was basically like being back on the Weezer Cruise and seeing them on the tiny casino stage – aka it was awesome. Amusingly, a mother of some of the youngins that was at the show (of which she would be overprotective the moment that moshing started) insisted that she loved the Orwells (had seen them twice before) but wouldn’t believe me that they were the people on stage (plus one DC9 employee) setting up their own gear. “I know the Orwells, those are not the Orwells.” Like she thought I was straight up crazy. Which was funny enough. Until the guitar player, Dom, stood by us waiting to go onto the stage (since DC9 doesn’t really have a backstage area to emerge from) and she starts asking him questions about the band, as if he’s a roadie. And, while I’m loving every second of this, it takes Dom a few minutes to figure out what’s happening. And he finally says “You know I’m in the band, right?” and I got to give her the most satisfying “I told you so” look that I can remember. The setlist was heavy on new songs, opening with “They Put a Body in the Bayou.” “In My Bed” and “Let It Burn” were early highlights. They didn’t play “Halloween All Year” but through in the expected (and awesome) “Mallrats” “The Righteous One” and “Who Needs You” among the new material (which sounded awesome – pre-order that album now).
FIDLAR at Howard Theatre – All three bands on the bill delivered a really good cover. The first band did Weezer, SWMRs opened with Fugazi’s “Waiting Room,” and FIDLAR opened with “Sabotage.” Fun stuff. I missed the R. Kelly intro/outro/stage mannequins from FIDLAR’s last tour, but other than that the sets were pretty similar and very good. FIDLAR is easily one of my favorite top five live bands at the moment. “Cheap Beer” and “Max Can’t Surf” were early highlights. “40oz on Repeat” picked things up about ½ way through with “Sober” “Why Generation” “Cocaine” and “Wake Bake Skate” taking things home in style. It still feels weird to see punk shows at this venue, but I suppose I’ll get used to it eventually.
The Sounds at 9:30 Club – I wasn’t there to see The Sounds. I was there to see Lissy Trullie’s new band, Zipper Club, open. I wasn’t going to go just for a short opening set, but I got free tickets, so yay for me. They don’t have an album out yet, so I wasn’t familiar with the songs, but I enjoyed the short set and very much look forward to this album. The world is a better place with Lissy Trullie back on stage. I stuck around for a bit of The Sounds, but it wasn’t anything special so I peaced out early like the old person that I was. If I wasn’t jetlagged from my Thanksgiving trip to Portugal compiled with staying up late to see the Broncos lose to the Chiefs in overtime the night before, I probably would have had a better attitude about things.
Mo at 9:30 Club – The opening act was very entitled, not very good, and tried to shame the crowd into dancing. Sorry, hunny. Better bands have tried that in DC and failed. At some point our lack of dancing felt like an active protest against these clowns. Things livened up when Mo hit the stage. She’s way more popular in the U.S. now vs. when I first saw here open up day two of the 2014 ACL Fest. And she was still weird in a good way, but not as crazy as her set in Texas. Also gone was her epic Spice Girls cover, though she covered one of Justin Bieber’s new songs that isn’t bad. Related side note: I’ve caught myself at several points recently asking folks “Who sings this song? It’s pretty good.” And have the answer be Justin Bieber, which is obviously horrifying. And everyone stares at me like I’m a moron when I ask these things, but some of us don’t listen to Top 40 radio, mmmkay? I only hear this crap in other people’s cars. And apparently Justin Bieber’s crap is better than it used to be. But I digress. Mo was a lot of fun. Unlike the first time I saw her, I knew a lot of her songs, and she danced in the balcony for several songs. In short, she is pretty joyous and you should see her live.