Sunday, December 23, 2007

2007 "Best of" List: Concerts

As I do every year, I am posting an incredibly subjective, extremely biased countdown of the top ten concerts I attended this year. I highly recommend any and all of these performers. Catch them the next time they're in town!

10) Matt Langley and Tim O'Dell (at The Press Room in Portsmouth, NH)
Matt is a great jazz saxophonist, and it is great to catch him on the all too rare occaision he has a Portsmouth gig with Tim O'Dell. The two of them really get each other and it comes out in their playing.

9) The Explorers Club/The Blueprint Project (at The Lily Pad in Cambridge, MA)
Charlie Kohlhase's Explorer's Club and Eric Hofbauer's Blueprint Project are wonderfully lyrical, experimental jazz ensembles where the players never stop interacting with each other in the most creative ways. And this was our first visit to the Lily Pad.

8) The Holiday Pops with Kenneth Kiesler (at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH)
Ken is a great friend to PMAC and eight of our young students sat in with the orchestra for two pieces at these concerts, just last week. I hope that one day we'll have a full time professional orchestra on the seacoast.

7) The Molenes (at The Red Door in Portsmouth, NH)
Dave Hunter, Tom Ferry and friends are one of the best local acts on the scene. Just the right mix of country, rock, blues and party.

More on my night out on the town to see The Molenes here.

6) Brandy Carlisle (at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH)
One of the best Music Hall concerts of the year. Riding the wave of her new album, Brandy took Portsmouth by storm and left the town a buzz. We'll definitely be there next time she passes through. (And we met her after the show - she's as sweet as her music.)

5) Kim Kashkashian (at Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory in Boston, MA)
Violist extrordinaire - that's VIOLA, not violin. A fabulous program that was made special by the fact that we had the rare opportunity to have dinner attend the concert with an old school friend from Baltimore. Thanks for setting that one up, Debbie.

4) Fiveighthirteen/RomanUs/ZumbaTres (at The Barley Pub in Dover, NH and at The Press Room in Portsmouth, NH)
We witnesses a spectacular accomplishment when Fiveighthirteen performed Radiohead's Kid A in its entirety at The Barley Pub, where RomanUs opened for them. And then they opened for ZumbaTres at The Press Room less than a month later. Three great bands, two great shows.

3) The London Octave (at St. Martin in the Fields in London, England)
Our first concert overseas, could you top St Martin in the Fields for a venue? Bach, Handel and more. It was a fabulous way to kick off the year.

For more, read my original post about The London Octave here.

2) The Bad Plus (at The Stone Church in Newmarket, NH and The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH)
I preferred hearing them in the intimate setting of The Stone Church, but their performance at The Music Hall was nothing to sneeze at either. Very possibly the tightest trio in jazz today. And most definitely one of the hippest. And to top everything off - they performed Smells Like Teen Spirit at The Music Hall and Life on Mars at The Stone Church. Life is good.

1) The Year of the Dresden Dolls: The Dresden Dolls/Amanda Palmer with Jason Webley/Brian Viglione/Gil Ahron Trio with Brian Viglione/The Onion Cellar/True Colors/Sxip's Hour of Charm (at The Zero Arrow Theatre, American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA, The Space in Portland, ME, The Brick House in Dover, NH, the Bank of America Pavillion in Boston, MA and at PMAC)
If you read this blog, you already know about my love for The Dresden Dolls. I discovered them late last year, and took just about every possible opportunity to see them live this year. And next Saturday we will FINALLY see the Dolls the way we've alway wanted to see them. In a full rock show they are headlining at Boston's Orpheum Theatre. This year we saw them in the play "The Onion Cellar", opening for Cyndi Lauper on the True Colors Tour, and each individually in various locations and with various groups. Brian Viglione even gave a clinic at PMAC in February. So this was definitely the Year of the Dolls.

For more about The Onion Cellar read this post.

My True Colors Tour post is here.

And here is my post about Amanda and Jason at The Space.

Honorable Mention: Jim Howe Memorial Concert at The Press Room in Portsmouth, NH)
Farewell Jim, we'll miss you terribly. Thanks to Ryan Parker and Les Howe, Jr. for helping us all remember him the way he would have wanted.

Postlude: The concert that never happened - Regina Spektor (at The Orpheum in Boston, MA)
The one bittersweet moments of the year concertwise was when Katie won tickets to see one of our favorite musicians - Regina Spektor - from Bullmoose Music. Yet when we arrived at the concert, the tickets were not there. The show was sold out. HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT. Regina's Label, Warner Music, has promised Katie tickets to a show this year. We'll see what they come up with.

May 2008 bring many, many more great shows!

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