For as long as I’ve kept this blog â€“ coming up on damn near eight years now â€“ I had never kept a running log of live shows I’ve attended. I decided last year I should probably change that, if for no other reason than to remind myself exactly where all my money is really going.
Turns out, I’ve funneled most of it to Crescent Ballroom, where I saw 16 of the 34 shows I went to in 2012. Only two shows on the list â€“ Aloe Blacc in Las Vegas and Richard Buckner in New York â€“ took place outside of Arizona’s borders (I’m already halfway to that number in 2013 after seeing the Walkmen and Father John Misty in San Francisco on Jan. 25).
I saw a big show (Radiohead at Jobing.com Arena), but much preferred the smaller ones (like standing and sweating on parking-lot asphalt to see my brother’s band, Source Victoria, play Stinkweeds for Record Store Day).
My first show of 2012 yielded a great new discovery in PAPA; three days later, I was spitting distance â€“ just a mere few rows â€“ from witnessing another great Wilco performance. Some of my other favorite live sets came from Serengeti, the Walkmen, Moonface and Japandroids.
Mostly, it was just a fun exercise to keep track of this, and I’m sort of inspired to try to piece together years past of concertgoing, using ticket stubs, flyers and this blog to compile what surely would be an incomplete history of my live music life.
You can peruse the 2012 list below. But also, I could use your help for the future. As I said, I’ve been going at this for almost eight years, since summer 2005, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about pulling the plug on it more than a few times. More than anything, it’s hard to keep up anymore, and I have a ton of respect for the blogs still grinding all these years later without sacrificing quality. Passion of the Weiss; Aquarium Drunkard; I Am Fuel, You Are Friends; Chromewaves; You Ain’t No Picasso (to name just a few) are some of my favorites from back when I started, and they remain so. Please, don’t take their dedication/talent for granted.
There are so many voices saying so many great things that I’ve wondered what I have to offer to the conversation. (That’s not meant to sound like a pity party, but you’re welcome to shower me with compliments if you’d like.) I can barely listen to all the albums I want, let alone read what everyone is saying about them. I’m sitting here thinking of at least five albums I’d love to dig into, but I’m not sure if I can give them the required attention they deserve. My friend Casey â€“ as talented a music writer/critic/listener there is â€“ once said he listens to an album at least 10 times before forming an opinion on it. In this age of distraction and fleeting praise, that certainly is an astonishing feat of discipline and patience.
Eight years ago, it felt like a gold rush; I couldn’t get my hands on enough new music. I was ripping radio performances and vinyl, turning them into mp3s. I wouldn’t sleep â€“ I couldn’t sleep â€“ unless I posted at least once a day. These days, the thrill has dulled a tad, replaced by what I’d like to think is a more tempered and refined approach to music discovery. Not every new act is totally amazing (except for Father John Misty). I’m 35 now, and my job and life sometimes don’t allow me the types of leisures I enjoyed at 27.
All that said, I’m not penning this blog’s eulogy just yet (though it should be noted Chrome just crashed as I wrote that, making me wonder what the gods are trying to tell me). It felt good last week to once again hammer out one post per day, even if I had nothing Very Important to say.
But here’s where I’m asking for your help. If you’ve read this blog for a long time or a short time â€“ it doesn’t matter â€“ what do you like/dislike? What would you like to see more of/less of? Lately, I’ve been thinking of taking this beyond music â€“ I love sports (especially baseball) and books and my wife and my dog and cat (they’re really cute!). Maybe something more in the vein of a Tumblr blog (yeah, just what we need, another Tumblr blog). I’ve long thought of doing a podcast â€“ maybe it’s time to man up and do that, or has that ship sailed?
On the topic of music, do you really care if I’m posting the Newest Track of the Day? I assume most people go to the Pitchforks and Stereogums of the world for that anyway. Perhaps you’d rather hear some long-forgotten gem in my library because, well, just because. Maybe you’d like to see more show listings and concert announcements because I’m often surprised when friends tell me they hadn’t heard that So and So was coming to Such and Such Venue.
In the end, I think I’ve lost a little perspective on what made this fun in the first place, and I’d love to hear what people who read this site â€“ hello? anybody? â€“ have to say. I’ll welcome words of encouragement and criticism. I’ll even accept contributions to the site (I hope you’ve been reading Eric’s excellent posts). Everything is on the table, including a long-overdue redesign.
If you made it this far (in this post and with this blog), I thank you. I’ve met lots of amazing people because of this, so I’d love to hear what anyone has to say. Please comment or email me or track me down on Twitter.
In the meantime, have a look at my 2012 concert log:
Jan. 18: Handsome Furs with PAPA, Crescent Ballroom
Jan. 21: Wilco with White Denim, Gammage Auditorium
Feb. 1: Zola Jesus, Crescent Ballroom
Feb. 4: The Jealous Sound with Source Victoria and Dust Jacket, the Rogue
Feb. 14: White Denim with Knesset, Crescent Ballroom
Feb. 16: Digital Leather with Scorpion vs. Tarantula, Acid Dawgz, Weird Ladies, Rhythm Room
Feb. 28: Cloud Nothings with A Classic Education, Otro Mundo, Crescent Ballroom
March 8: Miniature Tigers with Chain Gang of 1974, Geographer and Pretty & Nice, Crescent Ballroom
March 15: Radiohead with Other Lives, Jobing.com Arena
March 30: White Rabbits, Crescent Ballroom
April 6: Portugal. The Man, Crescent Ballroom
April 21: Source Victoria, Stinkweeds (Record Store Day)
April 22: Feist with Timber Timbre, Orpheum Theatre
April 27: Open Mike Eagle, Has-Lo, Random and Savant, Hidden House
May 10: Source Victoria, the Rogue
May 20: Milo Greene, PAPA and Bears of Manitou, Rhythm Room
May 23: Sparta with Ki:Theory, Crescent Ballroom
June 7: Destroyer with Sandro Perri, Crescent Ballroom
June 11: The Life and Times with UME and the Riveras, Rhythm Room
June 14: The Cave Singers, Sail Inn
June 25: El-P with Killer Mike, Mr. Muthafuckin Exquire and Despot, Crescent Ballroom
July 8: Bass Drum of Death with DZ Deathrays, Rhythm Room
July 19: Henry Clay People with Source Victoria, Crescent Ballroom
July 26: Aloe Blacc, Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Aug. 12: Fang Island, Rhythm Room
Aug. 15: Sharon Van Etten with Tennis, Crescent Ballroom
Aug. 27: WHY? with Serengeti, Crescent Ballroom
Sept. 2: Source Victoria with the World Record, Bogan Via and Vinyl Station, the Rogue
Sept. 16: The Walkmen with Milo Greene, Crescent Ballroom
Sept. 17: Moonface with Foxygen and Underground Cities, Rhythm Room
Sept. 29: Menomena with PVT, Crescent Ballroom
Nov. 7: Japandroids with Bleached, Sail Inn
Dec. 12: Richard Buckner, Mercury Lounge (New York)
Dec. 16. Limbeck with Reubens Accomplice, Crescent Ballroom
2 thoughts on “Taking inventory: 2012 shows and looking beyond”
Here’s one vote in favor of So Much Silence continuing strongly. As far as content, I like blogs best (yours and others) when the writer digs into that something that makes for a strong personal connection with the music, whether it comes as a formal review or an enthusiastic recommendation. As far as my own blog, I wanted to keep writing in a more formal direction, but if I weren’t contributing to publications, I’d still be at it.