Don’t you just hate those end of year countdown shows? Cheap, schedule-padding fodder consisting of cobbled together clips and witless pundits pontificating witlessly. I even wrote about me intense dislike for this pernicious genre here. Oh, how I hate them.
Here’s a countdown of my favourite gigs of 2007:
10. Jeffrey Lewis & The Jitters, Birmingham Hare & Hounds, 20th October
My third Jeffrey Lewis gig and the best so far. I wrote a lengthy review of it here. In that review I forgot to mention that in addition to Jeffrey’s uncle – Professor Louis – there was also support from local ska hipsters Dexter. Let me remedy that now: I thought they were fab. This belated endorsement is a little pointless, however, as Dexter have since imploded-slash-morphed into a new popular beat combo called walk.don’t.walk. Oh, well – it’s the thought that counts.
9. CSS, Latitude Festival, 14th July
A guilty pleasure, and we’re all allowed those. CSS‘s vibrant set encapsulated the wonderful Latitude Festival for me, and their track “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above” was this year’s feelgood Summer song of choice with my tinny-but-temperamental car stereo.
The Latitude weekend was one of my highlights of this year for me, and this is the first of several mentions it gets on this list. I’ve already booked my ticket for next year’s. You should, too.
8. Damo Suzuki and his Assortment of Sound-Carrying Biatches : Birmingham Hare & Hounds, August 16th
A mad, mad night of madness and the madness does not diminish with the passage of time. I wrote about it here. Did I mention it was mad?
Here’s a pic wot Pete took:
Former Can-man Suzuki played what was possibly the same song repeatedly (it was hard to tell) with a rotating lineup of “sound carrying” local bands including The Courtesy Group, Mills and Boon and the mighty Modified Toy Orchestra (whose gig at the Birmingham Town Hall in October very almost nearly got into this Top 10).
Here some YouTubery featuring Damo at a Courtesy Group event from 2005:
7. Tony Bennett, Birmingham Town Hall, 8th May
The next best thing to seeing Sinatra live. As Stan Lee would say, “‘Nuff Said.”
6. Jarvis Cocker: Latitude Festival, 15th July
He is Jarvis: that is reason enough.
As an encore he played Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”.
Need I say more?
5. Jim White & Jenny Owen Youngs, Birmingham Barfly, 18th October
A headliner and his support. Is that allowed? Shouldn’t that be two separate entries?
It’s my list. They’re my rules. Deal with it.
Here’s Jenny Owen Youngs on the night in question, courtesy of YouTube and a public-minded citizen:
And here’s Jim White at a different Barfly on the same tour singing the wonderfully-titled “A Bar Is Just A Church Where They Serve Beer”:
4. The Pogues: Birmingham Academy, 16th December
Tough call. I was very tempted to place them higher as they played an absolute blinder of a gig, even by the legendary standards of a Pogues’ gig. But it was only a fortnight ago (and I only wrote about it two blog entries ago) and I like to give my perceptions space to breathe, so I’ll exercise some restraint.
But, Goddamnit – that was one helluva night…
Here’s a taster from the night, courtesy of yet another public-spirited soul & YouTube:
3. The National: Latitude Festival, 15th July; Birmingham Irish Centre, 6th November
So good I saw them twice this year. That should say it all.
This is them quiet:
This is them loud:
2. Devo: Birmingham Symphony Hall, 22nd June
At the beginning of the year, Devo – they of the yellow boiler suits, red plastic hats and New Wave bequirkery – weren’t really on my Gigs I Must Really Go To This Year list. But my friends Pete and Jez – two self-confessed Devo spuds – were so excited at the prospect of their first UK tour in 17-odd years that it would have been churlish of me to decline the invite. So I went.
Let’s just say that their set lit me up, fused my synapses and left me smiling like a simple-minded child. I’d never thought that such hard-rocking euphoria could be produced within the ornate surroundings of Birmingham Symphony Hall. I wasn’t alone: the venue’s security staff looked positively bewildered.
I am convinced. I am converted. I am Devolved.
1. Arcade Fire: Latitude Festival, 15th July
I mentioned before that the Latitude Festival was one of the highlights of my year. Well, this was the highlight of Latitude.
Arcade Fire concerts are legendary, so my expectations were high. That can be a kiss of death, but thankfully they delivered. It was everything I’d hoped for and more.
Sublime, awe-inducing, breathtaking. Up there with Radiohead at Glastonbury ’97. Really: that’s how good it was.
Honourable mention should go to the following who didn’t quite make the list: The Modified Toy Orchestra at Birmingham Town Hall
Also, despite the cruel and resentful things I said in a previous post, I quite enjoyed The Police at the NIA, too. Begrudgingly.
It’s only now that I realise that 2007 was the year I became a fully fledged gig tart.
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