hopscotch music festival: saturday

hopscotch music festival: x

Speakers didn’t cover Hopscotch this year because Matt done gone and gotten himself a baby, and I was reeling after we had a break-in in July and Butthead McStealy walked off with not only all my camera gear but also my camera bag, which contained my entire collection of press passes in a pass holder. NOT COOL, BUTTHEAD MCSTEALY.

Anyway, on Saturday because I was missing it, Trav and shep. and I went over to Raleigh, intending to do the day parties and then bail for Michigan State / Oregon — and then my buddy Dan came up with enough passes for us to get into the mainstage City Plaza shows, and I got to shoot X and American Aquarium.

It was so, so good to shoot again. It was so great to shoot American Aquarium, the band who made me want to take concert photos, on such a big stage. Trav and I came home blissed out and peaceful and exhausted, and I am still those things. Photos from City Plaza below, and everything here.

hopscotch music festival: x

hopscotch music festival: x

hopscotch music festival: x

hopscotch music festival

hopscotch music festival: american aquarium

hopscotch music festival: american aquarium

hopscotch music festival: the dead tongues

hopscotch music festival: laney jones & the spirits

hopscotch music festival: teardrop canyon

hopscotch music festival: flesh wounds

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american aquarium @ the soapbox

american aquarium @ the soapbox

american aquarium @ the soapbox

In a time past, some of it documented here, shep. and I used to spend a lot of weekends hauling all over the South to see bands, both national touring bands who didn’t play in the Thrill, or bands from here we just loved. So it was appropriate on Friday that, after failing to acquire Passion Pit tickets, we ate a ton of delicious food at the Front Street Brewery, investigated a shot named “Surfer On Acid” (Surfers On Acid is the name of my new garage punk band, FYI), and drifted down the street to see AA play at the Soapbox. It is good to see bands you love in places other than their home bases, because it means there is an entirely strange group of people hollering lyrics and thrusting PBR tallboys into the air in emphasis. It is good to see bands you love being successful, and happy, and talented.

You should stream “Rattlesnake” off their latest live record below. It is, as always, wonderful.

Full photo set is here.

american aquarium @ local 506

american aquarium @ local 506

american aquarium @ local 506

american aquarium @ local 506

If I went back and counted, I’ve seen American Aquarium more than 50 times since the fall of 2007 — probably closer to 75. But as they spent more time on the road, and drew more and more fans in Raleigh, particularly, I’ve seen them fewer and fewer times every year. This is good, because it means that my boys are doing really, really well, and I’m stupid proud of them for that. But it is bad, because I miss them — it had been at least six months since I’d seen them, and they’d gone out and made a whole new record since then.

So seeing them at the 506 is always a pleasure, because it’s a fun set, a low-key crowd, and close to my house. I missed them. They sounded fantastic, which is what four years of 250 days a year touring will do to an already talented band.

Full set, including opener the Mike Roy Show, here.

american aquarium @ the pour house

american aquarium @ the pour house

It depends on what you ask me, and when, about American Aquarium, whether I’ll be sentimental, or cheerfully cranky, or a million other things — but one thing I will always, always be is fond, is deeply affectionate for those five guys and all 28 ex-band members. There’s no other band where I can tell you the exact first time I heard so many of their songs; “PBR Promenade” at the acoustic Jason Isbell/Browan Lollar two-men-in-a-Toyota-Celica tour in March 2008, “Hurricane” with just Sarah on fiddle and Bill on upright to accompany BJ, opening for Caitlin Cary at the Pour House sometime that same summer. The original Bones version of “Lonely Ain’t Easy” years ago, maybe at the Lincoln, and the new version at Motorco this year, sometimes in March.

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american aquarium @ motorco

american aquarium @ motorco

onward, soldiers @ motorco

One of the reasons that I keep shooting American Aquarium, even though I have more photos of them than any one person could need, is to see if I can get a different shot, a new one, every time. It’s not about them. It’s about me.

Onward, Soldiers are, as always, a joy to shoot and see.

top ten shows of 2010

superchunk @ the cradle

Today kicks off a couple of year end lists; tomorrow you’ll get EPs and tracks, and next week, a massive list of albums the making of which may make me more insane than usual, but which will be thorough if nothing else. Today, though: today you get my Top 10 Live Shows of 2010.

I saw 72 shows in 2010; less than 2009, but more than 2008. And, to my great delight, I didn’t see a single show I would say was a bad show, either. So making this list was hard; after the top five, all of which were standouts, there was a whole pack that could have populated 6-10. Some of these shows are here because of both the sets played and the nights themselves. And Brian & Dave have sat at the top of the list since January, when they were the first show I saw in 2010. Here’s hoping that I get to kick 2011 off with some shows as amazing.

(Not included: the 10th Annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. Because Bristol is so far and away more amazing than anything else I do at any point in the year. And no single show can ever compete with a Bristol lineup. Even if I did get punched during the Truckers’ set this year.)

  1. Brian Fallon & Dave Hause solo acoustic at the Black Cat, Washington, DC. This was my comfort go-to live set all year; Brian’s opening monologue about marriage and not cheating us out of our ticket price would have sold me, but the cover of “Ball & Chain” at the end, ugh.
  2. Two Cow Garage w/ Dave Hause at Kings Barcade, Raleigh, NC. The band that put out my favorite album of 2010, plus Dave Hause, who we are all learning is essential to good things happening. Needs more Dave Hause everywhere.
  3. Justin Townes Earle w/ Caitlin Rose at Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC. Startling and stunning and gorgeous.
  4. Drive-By Truckers two-night stand at the Lincoln, Raleigh, NC. After these two sets, I smelled like beer for three days and felt like Mike Cooley had been punching me in the face all weekend. In the best way.
  5. The National w/ Owen Pallett at Memorial Auditorium, Raleigh, NC. For the a cappella set-closing version of “Vanderlyle Cry-baby Geeks” alone, but also for everything else.
  6. Ha Ha Tonka opening for Rocky Votolato at Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC. An opening set on this list? Yes. I’d been waiting more than a year to see them, and they were so far and away better than I had even hoped for, it made my heart soar.
  7. Superchunk at Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC. The album release show was more polished, but lurching, deep-cut-playing, shaking-off-the-rust Superchunk was more fun.
  8. Stroke It, Noel: a Fully Orchestrated Performance of Big Star’s Third at Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC. Break my heart, why don’t you.
  9. Malarkeygras w/ American Aquarium, Red Collar & Paleface at the Pour House, Raleigh, NC. The cover of “Thunder Road” that night was why I live where I live.
  10. Frightened Rabbit w/ Maps & Atlases & Bad Veins at Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC. Hearing “My Backwards Walk” live was exactly what I needed at that moment in time.

Behind the jump, one photo from each show, except the Brian/Dave show, because I didn’t shoot it; the only show I didn’t shoot all year. Instead, you get a photo of Dave Hause from the Two Cow set. Substitution!

Continue reading “top ten shows of 2010”