Reflecting on the past is a wonderful tool. It can help you realize how much ground you’ve really covered, and remind you of those sweet moments in the midst of the mundane. To continue with the “Best of 2011” spirit, let’s move on to concerts. Music moves me, soothes me. I FEEL it, to my core. What’s better? Live music that delivers, that has passion and feeling that can’t be captured on a disc. In no particular order:
The Coachella Music Festival, 2011.
This was a fantastic experience. I went with my mom. Yup, not everyone can say that. Although we didn’t decorate the Prius, we were indoctrinated into the Coachella culture while waiting in the enormous lines of cars to get into the camp grounds. I had a tent, Mom had the back of the Prius. Temperatures topped 100 degrees during the day. I was recovering from an infection and completely high off the antibiotics. Towards the end of the festival, we discovered the delight of wrapping a wet bandana around your neck. And the music? The line up was phenomenal. Arcade Fire and the National were the highlights for me. We also discovered some new bands we might not have otherwise encountered, including City and Colour, Warpaint, and Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears. Here are a few memories:
Mogwai and the Twilight Sad, Motion Picture House, Scotland, 2011.
Talk about music you can feel! Again, with the Mom-unit. We sat in the upper balcony, that seemed to be at the best distance for perfect resonance. The bass vibrated my innards. The Scots seemed to be the type of folk who enjoy a good show and aren’t afraid to let everyone know it. This was our first time seeing the Twilight Sad. The lead singer is absolutely mad; and I mean that in the best possible way. Intensity and passion are easy adjectives. His connection transcends that. Mogwai gave an bang-up performance.
Handsome Furs, The Casbah, San Diego, 2011.
I love these two. They had off the wall energy. Alexei Perry was jumping around on the keyboards while Dan Boeckner strummed away. The energy of the crowd totally moved them, and the positivity and affection in the room just continued increasing, exponentially. It was awesome! (and I get to see them again in January. Yay!)
Florence and the Machine, The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, 2011.
Amazing. Beauty, poise. She is an iconographic figure. What’s even more, she really does have the voice to back it up. I love the intricacy of their lyrics. This was a lovely venue for them. The pine trees cradle you, and it’s as if you’re nurtured into some sort of Eleusinian mystery. A rite of passage. A transformation.
*Between Two Lungs
Elbow, The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, 2011.
The CDs cannot prepare you for seeing them live. Just can’t. They are poetry and romance. They are full of thoughtful observations, surprising turns of phrase. Guy Garvey has the most gorgeous voice! This is not a concert you go and watch. You are part of it, there singing along with a thousand of your friends.
PS-DeVotchKa opened for them. Just one more highlight to a perfect evening.
*On a day like this
The National, The Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, 2011.
First of all, we brought a picnic. How cool is that? Next, they played all my favorite songs. I had no sense of “once more, with feeling”. They had a huge screen playing documentary-style video, almost like you’re seeing something that’s meant to stay hidden. Spying. Before they came on, a camera broadcast onto the screen from the green room. The absolute best moment was when Matt Berninger first turned the countdown clock to the audience and then, as we got closer to 0, he tried to destroy it. They didn’t stop for an ego break. They played through the entire time. Hell yes.