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Friday, November 02, 2007

The Top 5 Live Acts I've Ever Seen!

For the most part, there are a lot of awesome artists that I need to see live; Radiohead, The Decemberists, Joanna Newsom, Bright Eyes, you know, stuff like that. That's the biggest problem with living in Houston (aside from, say, the traffic), even though it's the 4th largest city in the nation, it's a crap music city! As such, a lot of the better indie acts avoid it like the plague. It's not all doom and gloom though. I can still get out there and see a show and enjoy myself, and then go on to make a list based on my experience. That's why I'm bringing this list to you today. Please enjoy the Top 5 Live Acts I've Ever Seen!

#5: The Shins - Generally speaking, The Shins aren't the most entertaining bands to watch. They don't writhe on the floor in extended rock-out sessions or wear funny costumes, nor do they have zany homade instruments and confetti cannons. What makes them such a great live act is the fact that they sound almost exactly like they do on their albums, if not better! Everything you could ever hope for in a Shins show is pretty much given to you without question. Let's face it, when you go to a Shins show, you don't want a bunch of distractions. You just want to jam to their music and have it be perfect. And it is! That's why they made it to #5 on my list. Read a review of my Shins show experience here.

#4: Of Montreal - I've seen Of Montreal twice already, and if I didn't have to work tonight I'd be seeing them again (they're playing in Houston again). What makes Of Montreal such a great live band really lies in trial and error I would assume. The band spends probably about 85% of any given year on the road, bringing their indie pop masterpieces to the fans. So you'd have to think that the reason they're so good live is because they do it enough to to know what works and what doesn't. One thing is for sure, Kevin Barnes and Co. know how to get the crowd pumped. Sometimes that means just playing really well, other times that means performing in the nude. Of Montreal will do whatever it takes to get you moving and enjoying their songs, including selling their song to Outback Steakhouse. That kind of devotion to the fans really comes through in a live setting. Read a review of one of my Of Montreal show experiences here.

#3: The New Pornographers - I've been thinking about doing this list for awhile, but I had to wait until today to do it. The reason for that is because I just saw The New Pornographers last night for the first time, and I had a pretty good idea that this list would be incomplete without them. Turns out I was right! The New Pornographers put on one of the most flawless shows I've ever seen last night, complete with driving energy, flawless harmonies, and even a few surprising moments courtesy of Dan Bejar. I have a pretty good feeling that I may have been the only person at the show last night that would put them so high up on my list, but my expecations for the band were huge and they delivered well above what I expected. The band didn't spend a lot of time mingling with the crowd, but they didn't have a lot of time to. They used what time they had wisely, playing their strongest songs from their best albums. It was awesome and I'll definitely be in the front row they next time they swing by. Read a review of my New Pornographers show experience here.

#2: Sufjan Stevens - When it comes to delivering a flawless musical experience in a live setting, no one I've seen has done it better than Sufjan Stevens. When he came to Dallas last year, he brought along a mini orchestra and his usual pack of noisemakers to deliver one of the most awe-inspiring nights of my life! Every note he played on piano, banjo, or guitar was perfect and his voice was just as flawless! He seems a bit awkward on stage, like he doesn't know why he's there but he's going with the flow anyways. Of course, when you're wearing plastic eagle wings on your back, that might just be an expected side-effect. Add in the fact that Shara Worden was there lending a helping hand and just being adorable, and you have an amazing show! I've already said that the next time he comes around that I'm scooping up tickets for everyone I know, but I may take it a step further and buy them for complete strangers as well. It's that important. Read a poorly-written review of my Sufjan show experience here.

#1: The Flaming Lips - At this point, I'm not entirely sure that anything short of a Radiohead concert could top my experience seeing The Flaming Lips just over a month ago. Wayne Coyne can't really carry a tune all that well, but for every missed, cracked note that came from his mouth there were about 30 giant balloons and 800 pounds of confetti. The Lips sure know how to put on a show! From the first note they played to the time they walked off the stage, I was never bored, I never even wanted to leave (a rare thing for me). Every moment, every second was exciting and enthralling. The band really knows how to connect to their fans too, as Wayne would stop and just talk to us for a few minutes in between songs or lead us in explicative cheers! It was the absolute best show I've ever seen, without question. Make it a point to see them if you have the chance. There's no way you'll regret it! Read about my Flaming Lips show experience here.

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