In no particular order:
My Morning Jacket\ Kathleen Edwards — 930 Club Washington DC
Never really loved MMJ before this fall’s album Z, but the current lineup and use of famed producer John Leckie really made this band finally make an album that didnt try to imitate the live show. But damn, the live show took those perfect nuggets of songs from the album, and blasted them apart: stretching the sections, building tension and utilizing silence and then exploding into full out rock the next second. The opener, Kathleen Edwards was also a great set of Canadian Southern Americana folk rock…she is great…and quite nice in person too.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah \ Black Angels — Black Cat Washington DC
This show took place in early October, just as the hype was beginning to explode about their album. Before they appeared on NPR and the New York Times, before they appeared on most people’s best of 2005 lists, I saw this band w\ my fellow-NPR friend Emily at a sold out show. They stilled showed signs of amateur status here and there, and they could have used some extra songs to fill out the set, but Clap Your Hands…are a quality band and it was cool to see them at their genesis. It will be interesting to see what they do next.
White Stripes\ the Shins\ M. Ward– Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia MD
The opening bands sounded great and distinct but once Jack and Meg hit the stage…it was all about them. Holy crapy…this was an ADD stream of consciousness energy rush through the Stripes’ repertoire. Meg might not be the best drummer, though strangely cute and sexxy when tilting her head and stomping on the bassdrum, but it completly works when Jack is shredding and pouding on the piano. The Shins and M. Ward were great too.
Death Cab for Cutie\ Stars — 930 Club, Washington DC
If you subtract the OC jokes and quips about selling out on a major label, Ben Gibbard and Chris Walla are fantastic musicians, songwriters, producers and actually live performers. I have never seen a rock band so energized by its fantastic fans…though they might be screaming girls, they are the most appreciative group of fans, and this translates when the band performs. The music channels the entire spectrum of emotions and is so beautiful.
Other shows this year I saw worth mentioning
Herbie Hancock\Michael Brecker\Roy Hargrove (Directions in Music) — Gem Theatre, KansasCity MO
the Shins\ Brunettes — Liberty Hall, Lawrence KS
Medeski Martin & Wood — Liberty Hall, Lawrence KS
Medeski Martin & Wood — 930 Club, WashDC
Son Volt\ Fruit Bats — 930 Club, WashDC
The Fiery Furnaces — Black Cat, WashDC
Calexico\Iron & Wine — 930 Club, WashDC
Sinead OConnor\Sly & Robbie — 930 Club, WashDC
Bands I wish I would have seen, but didn’t go for some stupid reason
Broken Social Scene\ Feist
Bright Eyes\Feist\Magic Numbers
Andrew Bird\ Sam Prekop