Best In Show 2006

2006 was one of the best year's for live music of my life. For whatever reason, in the last year or two Nashville has started to become a destination for touring bands, rather than just a stop to gas up and eat. With that said, it's funny that three of my top five shows were out of town. And of the two that did make it, neither of them were club shows. That's not a knock on the bands I did see around town, it's just the level of compeition they faced from other shows I saw last year.

A couple of quick notes. First, none of the pictures in this post are from the actual shows I saw. But I thought with such a long post, it'd be nice to break it up with some visuals. To view the source page on Flickr, click on the picture. Second, since I'm talking about concerts, all of the songs featured are live tracks. And now, on with the show...

1. The Pogues with Against Me
House Of Blues, Las Vegas - 10/15/06

This was not just best show I saw of last year, it's my new favorite concert ever, knocking U2 in 1987 out of the top spot. I felt that way immediately after the show, but felt like I needed some separation from it before I could really make that statement. Three months later I haven't changed my mind. I've seen some amazing shows in my life (like the one below), but I've never been happier walking out of a venue as I was that night. Read my
full review from October.

The Pogues - "Boys From County Hell (Live)" (mp3) from Steams Of Whiskey
Recorded July 12, 1991 in Leysin, Switzerland.

2. Sigur Ros
Ryman Auditorium, Nashville - 2/14/06

Sigur Ros on Valentine's Day... perfect. In any other year, this would have undoubtedly been my favorite concert. Even though it can't claim the top spot, it would still make my top five all time favorite concerts. They had been at the top of the list of bands I was dying to see ever since I heard
Ágætis Byrjun in 2001. Although I'd rather not have waited five years to see them, it was definitely worth it. The entire experience was nothing short of magical. Musically it surpassed my impossibly high expectations, but the real surprise was how cool is was visually. The lighting wasn't anything over the top, but the way it was used (especially projecting shadows onto a transparent screen in front of the stage) was absolutely brilliant.

Sigur Ros - "Untitled #1 (Live)" (mp3) from the Sigur Ros website
Recorded October 16, 2002 at Spark 7 Hall, Vienna, Austria

3. The Wedding Present
The Earl, Atlanta - 3/3/06

David Gedge has been one of my favorite songwriters for at least 15 years, ever since I borrowed a friend's copy of Bizarro for an extended period in college. I actually got to see the Weddoes twice on this day, as they also did an in-store performance at Criminal Records that afternoon. When we got to The Earl that night, Gedge was hanging out by the merch booth. My attempt to say hello to him quickly detereorated into barely coherent fanboy babbling. The entire show was absolutely amazing, but honestly they could have come onstage, played "Suck," and said goodnight and it still would have been one of my favorite shows of the year.

The Wedding Present - "Brassneck (Live)" (mp3) from Singles 1995-1997
Recorded August 25, 1996 at the Reading Festival, England

4. The Church with Rob Dickinson
Variety Playhouse, Atlanta - 8/6/06

A band known for their effects ridden guitars prove they can be just as intense and ethereal without amps or pedals. They provided just as many goosebump moments as any time I've seen them with their full arsenal of electronic gadgets. Of the five times I've seen them, this show is my favorite. Read the
full review from August.

The Church - "All I Know (Live)" (mp3) from Tin Mine
Recorded December 11, 2005 at Newtown, Sydney, Australia

5. Oasis
Ryman Auditorium, Nashville - 3/26/06

This pick kind of surprised me. But when I was looking at the list of concerts I saw last year, this really was one of the best. It's amazing that a band who mostly stand dead still on stage can put out so much energy. Part of that you can chalk up to the fans; both time I've seen Oasis the crowd was absolutely bonkers. Hearing 2400 people singing the chorus to "Don't Look Back In Anger" is just a completely cool experience. But mostly it's because of the music; Noel and company simply write great rock and roll songs. Derivative? Sure. But so were the Beatles sometimes.

Oasis - "Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) - Live" (mp3) from Familiar To Millions
Recorded July 21-22, 2000 at Wembley Stadium, London

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