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January 6, 2016 16:10:59

2015 In Review

Well, it's a new year and since I'm currently locked out of facebook maybe I should restart utilizing this part of the site (though I doubt it'll happen much).

So before I go into some of the stats from 2015, I'd like to point out the new page I started at the beginning of December and that is the Upcoming Concerts Calendar. It's pretty much a month by month venture, and seems it doesn't matter when I start writing the shows down there's always need to go through all the venues again at some point. So January's calendar is up and will be continually updated as I come across shows until the month's over. Check it out and if anyone's actually reading this, send me any shows I'm missing: January




Now let's get to some Stats:

2015 was a record breaking year for me. I went to more shows this year than any year previously. So much so that the previous year's high (2013's 218 shows) was surpassed before November was over. 2015 finished with 235 shows, a number I can't imagine breaking anytime soon and I feel this year I'm going to try to cut back a little (of course I thought the same thing before 2015 and that didn't end up going to plan so we'll see).

As expected with a new high of shows, the number of unique bands/performers I saw over the course of the year was also a high of 489. When Particles Collide was the band that I saw most (yet again), which is not surprising since despite their full time jobs, they make a great effort to play out as much as they can, including a number of actual tours out of the New England area. The band I saw the most who isn't a local "Boston" band was Charly Bliss (4 shows) narrowly beating out a handful of bigger bands (Coheed & Cambria, Faith No More & Full Devil Jacket). They're still a smaller band out of NYC, but with lots of upswing. They were handpicked to open for the east coast leg of Veruca Salt's tour (which accounted for 2 of my shows) as well as 1 of the 4 Sleater-Kinney NYC shows.
Below is a table highlight some of the other bands I saw a lot.
7 shows When Particles Collide
6 shows John Powhida International Airport
Party Bois
5 shows Abbie Barrett & The Last Date
Await Rescue
Bury Me Standing
Goli
Stars Like Ours
The Static Dynamic
The Wrong Shapes
4 shows Bent Knee
Charly Bliss
Petty Morals
Ruby Rose Fox
The Bored Of Health
The Rationales
Township
Trojäas
Worshipper
Despite my high number of shows, I guess I did listen to myself slightly regarding cutting back in 2015 b/c the number of unique venues I went to, 85, was less than what I did the previous year. But the venue with the most shows, had more shows than last year's venue (TT The Bear's, which closed down halfway through 2015, but still ended up in the top 3)

Venues:
Great Scott 21 shows
Middle East Upstairs 17 shows
T.T. The Bear's Place 14 shows
Lizard Lounge 13 shows
O'Brien's Pub
The Sinclair
Club Passim
10 shows



It's truely difficult to devise the best shows over the course of the year, but I'll try and list some memorable shows (divided between local and national)

Local:
- 1/17/2015; Sidewalk Driver, The Organ Beats, Worshipper, Leo*Leo:
This was Sidewalk Driver's sold out cd release show at the area's best venue The Sinclair. It featured the typical Sidewalk Driver glamourous flare of Tad's costume changes and glitter canons but on a grander scale with the additions of some extra dancers, a video intro and a sky projection upon a sheet spanning the room above the floor (though my spot in the landing area above the soundboard wasn't very good for that aspect). Aside from the headliner the bill was stacked. The Organ Beats, a great band who I hadn't seen in over a year at the time, sounded the best probably ever since I've seen them (definitely the clearest, first time I had no trouble getting their set down). Worshipper, playing their first non-warmup show, full of members I knew from other bands were almost perfect, you just knew great things were coming for them (including a win at the Boston Music Awards to cap off their year). With Leo*Leo, the only band I didn't know something about, starting the night off, a tight duo (guitar and drums) by night's end I realized I should of taken a video of them (with even more unfortunate news being that soon after this show they went off to CA, I think, and I haven't gotten a 2nd chance to see them.

- 2/7/2015; Aquanutz, Goddamn Draculas, Township, Planetoid, Party Bois:
Another early year, between blizzards, stacked bill at the Middle East Downstairs. This show was all about the guitars, with the minor exception of first band (Party Bois) who though have a guitarist they're drum beats behind the dual vocals are more the main thing. None of the bands disappointed, all with great sets and the night ended with the all 80s metal tribute band Aquanutz (first time seeing them) fully decked out in their 80s attire. And since the night was all about guitar they had to prove it with 3 strong guitarist sharing the stage and solos: Melissa Gibbs, Amy Griffin and Matt Sullivan.

- 5/30/2015; Awesome Day Fest:
I went to 3 of the shows, missing out on the Great Scott show which had a couple bands I wanted to see but the bill at Wonder Bar trumped it. I left my camera at the first show, but luckily was able to retrieve it shortly before the 2nd started. Not much to say, it was a long day but it was awesome.

- 10/29/2015; A Wish For Fire, St. Marks, Night Mayor:
My first night at Thunder Road, while I went to the opening night of Radio it took awhile for something to come up to get me to go to Thunder Road. This night, I realized how much the place was improved upon; stage location, lighting, sound, its very much a smaller version layout and structure-wise of Harper's Ferry/Brighton Music Hall. I really like the place and really hope they branch out and book more and more local, original bands, but that we'll have to wait and see. The other big highlight of the night, this was my 40th A Wish For Fire show, not the band I've seen the most but the band I've been seeing the longest all the way back to 2/13/2004.

National:
- 4/19/2015; Neutral Milk Hotel, Dot Wiggins Band:
Since Jeff Mangum re-emerged from seclusion, I had to go see him as much as possible. First just solo shows and then full-on Neutral Milk Hotel reunites. This one which was at Lupo's in Providence, was the final one for me (and I think part of the final tour for the band, for at least the foreseeable future). They sounded as glorious as every other time, the set was similar to the other shows I saw the year before but with a couple more. The one thing I wish about this or any of the others was that I wish I had gotten some pictures or video to backup my memory, but at artist's request there wasn't any allowed.

- 5/14/2015; Faith No More, Le Butcherettes:
It's really tough to choose between the 3 FNM shows I went to, luckily all the sets were different enough to justify. But I guess this is the most memorable, since a) I had to drive down to NYC for it, b) this was the closest I got on the rail but at a harsh but doable angle, it was a club/GA show as opposed to the seated shows in Boston, and c) they played We Care A Lot. And openers Le Butcherettes a punkish, bilingual rock band playing the weird side of things. Singer Teri Gender-Bender was as jerkily, spastic and odd as she normally is, though due to the style of venue she didn't get to departure the stage by lifting her dress like a cape and running through the aisles in the crowd like she did at the Orpheum show.

- 6/26/2015; Royal Thunder, Wild Throne:
I'd seen Royal Thunder twice before, first opening for Monster Magnet in Brooklyn where they were good enough to make an impression, then at The Sinclair as the first or second band on a very metal bill and it just fell flat, I'm not really sure why. But this show everything came together, I feel the closeness of Great Scott really helped the feel of their set, which was LOUD, adventurous and energetic (for a metal band that doesn't move too much, not that there's much room on Great Scott's stage anyways). The weirdest thing that sticks out in my mind is that this was the first time (of many since) that I (and everyone else) was forced to wait outside for the doors to open cause typically there's a doors time but they've never been strict about it until this night (that I know of), but on the plus side ran into Bob Maloney who had won tickets on the radio and he was nice enough to give me one.

- 7/18/2015; Jack Off Jill, Kitten Forever:
This show is the furtherest I've traveled for, which was a long adventurous time starting with a show in Pawtucket two days before this show and ending with a hot humid show at Fenway the night after. This show was the only Jack Off Jill, stateside, reunion show; the band itself hadn't played in almost fifteen year and this featured members who hadn't played in the band in almost twenty years. Thankfully, they chose Asheville NC instead of their home state FL b/c it worked out better for them by getting the opportunity to do what they wanted how they wanted. Since this was the only show happening, people came from all over the states as well as overseas. For only the 2nd time ever, I opted for a meet and greet ticket which was worth it since the chance would never come again, which included a picture with the band and signatures and what not. It was hot out waiting in line, no surprise, and the whole meet & greet thing wasn't as smooth as it could have been, again no surprise, but it was nice. I got a spot on the rail offcenter (as I prefer), stage left. The energy of the night was great and the band sounded amazing, like they never went away, Jessicka's screaming was a sharp as ever. They chose a strong set spanning from early songs and across both albums they released. I took a bunch of pictures (first using flash, cause a real photographer was as well) and a couple videos (even though the whole thing was recorded by the band for something hopefully to be released later; but i'm a dick though the videos are unlisted and barely anyone knows they're there based on view numbers). Kitten Forever a good punk trio out of Minnesota I really enjoyed, all three members swapping lead vocals duties as well their main instrumentals throughout the set, which was a lot of short bursts of songs strung together with little clue where one ended and the next began (as I found on the video I took). It was a great experience all around, it was amazing to get the chance to see Jack Off Jill, which I never expected; and unfortunately know now, after a handful of shows in England, that I'll probably never get to see them again, but at least I and many other fans have this bright memory that'll last forever.

- 8/5/2015; Finger Eleven, Gone For Days, Among The Living, Blindspot:
Finger Eleven were at their most popular around when I started going to shows and I saw them at the Avalon in 2003. But for a long while they never seemed to play much outside of Canada, so much to the point that when I saw them listed as support for Three Days Grace in ME I had to go and that was the first time I'd seen them in 7 years. But this show was handsdown the one I'd been waiting for b/c it was their show and in a smaller room in NH, Jewel. They played a full set, more than double the support set they did in ME. Got to hear almost all the songs off their new album (which wasn't released yet I think, but they had which I got and signed by each member and proceeded to not leave my car cd player for a couple months probably).

- 10/9/2015; Coheed And Cambria:
This was a "secret" midnight show at Saint Vitus Bar, special cause the place is tiny and I lucked into a ticket and even more lucky the timing (a show I already had a ticket for at Radio City that same night which ended early enough to make, a wedding the following night in Philly so the drive was mostly done already and then to cap it off a 2nd Coheed show the night after the wedding in NJ). This was the first time I heard a couple of the songs from the (at the time) soon to be released new album. And while the second show was better; lighting, support, sound, etc. This one was all about the atmosphere and intimacy.

- 11/19/2015; Pearl And The Beard, Fellow Creatures:
The bittersweet final show of Pearl And The Beard at the Bowery Ballroom. It's sad to see them go and hopefully I'll see all three of them with whatever they're doing next, but it was an epic night. With almost all the songs off the new album, that this ironically was the release show for, plus most of the songs from their other 2 albums, including ones it'd been years since I'd heard them play and a couple that I never even heard live. They played for as long as they could and hung around downstairs for as long as they could, I did the same saying my hellos and goodbyes and then back into my car for the long drive back on the rare midweek trip to NYC.

Damn, I was only certain of a couple of those before I went through the list, and there are a handful I could have added but even now I went over the 10 I was shooting for (and not as balanced as I'd have liked).




Is there more to say about 2015, maybe I could list some favorite albums except I'm so backlogged there that it'd be too sparse at this moment, maybe later if I get to thinking about it.