So why not post a top 10 list? Here ya go...my top 10 shows of 2009, in no order, all of them taking place in Murfreesboro or Nashville. Here's to the past year of amazing music and to 2010 being a year of a new scene, new tunes and new friends. Hope you all have a great start to the new year and stay healthy, safe and happy!
1. Jay Z at Vanderbilt: This was only my second time seeing hip hop live and the first time seeing such a big act in an arena setting. This one was only about a month ago, but it definitely was one of the best shows I’ve seen in years; I still stand behind the thought that everyone needs to see this man put on a show- he knows how to do it (catch the original review of the show here).
2. The Decemberists at the Ryman: I’d been saying for a while that the next venue the Decemberists needed to tackle in Nashville was the Ryman, and tackle it they did. Going into the show I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the “Hazards of Love” album being played the whole way through, but within a song or two, I was floored. Seeing the storyline performed by the band and extra characters of Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) and Becky Stark, it was amazing. Seeing the whole album performed live literally brought it to life and made me want to return for more listens afterwards. Plus the final song made me cry, granted I have a tendency to cry at the drop of the hat, it was an experience.
After the intermission the band returned to play what could be called a greatest hits set, complete with much banter about summoning the ghosts of the Ryman and the invitation to the masses to join the band onstage to sing the chorus of “Sons and Daughters”: “Let all the bombs fade away”. It was amazing, to say the least. I’ll even go as far as to say it was better than the first time I saw the band a few years back at City Hall.
3. Heypenny at Next Big Nashville, Mercy Lounge: I think if you read my review of the show, you can get the jist of how much this performance was one of my favorites. I've talked quite a bit about it before, so I’ll spare a repeat. I do, also, stand by the statement that they are the best live Nashville band. So there.
4. Lucero at Next Big Nashville, Cannery Ballroom: I know it’s probably not fair to split up NBN shows, but specific ones just stood out, so here’s the second of NBN that I loved, Lucero. I’ve been waiting to see the band play, having missed their live show 3 or 4 times I was pumped to see them finally. Of course, they didn’t disappoint. They played for 3 hours and didn’t let on any sense of being tired. Just read the review for a full rundown of the awesomeness here.
5. Glossary, HP Witchcraft, Henry Daggs & Soul Mama at Temptation Club, Murfreesboro: Ok, so I may be a little biased seeing as this was my going away party a few weeks back and I did happen to book the bands, but it was an amazing show and everyone who played made this girl so very happy. Besides that, how many people can say they have seen Glossary and HP Witchcraft at Temptaiton Club? Yeah, not many besides the 80 or so people who showed up. If you don’t know who these folks are, don’t worry: you eventually will.
6. The Only Sons, And the Money Notes, The Orange Opera & Lauderdale, The Boro Bar & Grill: I admittedly only went to this show to see the Only Sons play (aka Ribbonpigeon), plus it was something to do on a week night, if I recall correctly, yet the line up wound up being one of the best ones I’ve seen in Murfreesboro all of this year (scene politics aside, it’s easy to say the town is in somewhat of a music scene-lull at the moment, with a few exceptions). I hadn’t heard the other bands besides TOS, seeing as it was a really well put together tour of And the Moneynotes & Orange Opera (who seem to have played everywhere in this town with so many stickers everywhere). They all put on awesome sets and I don’t remember the hairy details, but I do know that their stuff was good enough everyone should check them out- and I’m still waiting for the Moneynotes to come back to town.
7. Caitlin Rose, 1970’s Night at Nashville Cream’s 8 off 8th, Mercy Lounge: The bloggers brag a little bit about their series of covers in the 2009 music wrap up issue of the Nashville Scene, which was what actually got me really thinking about this list (so props to you all), and I have to say that the 1970’s cover night was the best by far (fine, I only went to two of them, but the 70’s were just more sincere). The costumes were killer all around and the performance from Caitlin Rose was the best I have ever seen from her. Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young covers (the latter with her father) helped point out where her influences lie and how much she knows about music history. There's a video of the amazing performance Ms. Rose did with her father, so watch it here.
Did I mention the girl played 3 songs and it made my top shows of the year? Yeah. It was that good.
8. Kindercastle, Dent May and the Winter Sounds, Mercy Lounge: Going into this show, I thought Dent May was headlining. Well, he didn’t and it’s pretty nice I dug Kindercastle (RIP, amigos). Let me restate that: I’ve been into Dent May since I first heard about him and picked up his album not long after it’s release this summer. I was way excited to hear that he was going to be in town, let alone playing, arguably, my favorite venue in Nashville.
9. Har Mar Superstar, Exit-In: I found out fairly last minute (about a week before the show) that Har Mar was going to be in Nashville again, and after the first show I was determined to get there. The first time around was at the same venue, not knowing exactly what I was in for. By the time the show was over and Har Mar was performing half his set off the show, I spent quite a bit of time near the back of the venue, farther away than the length of his mic cord (if you haven’t ever seen Har Mar Superstar, he disrobes throughout the set and hangs out in the crowd, making sure everyone is into the tunes, especially those who look bored). All in all, it just turns into a big dance party and, well, it’s kind of obvious those are my jam. You can check out the full review here and a few shots that I got at the show here. Let’s just say I’m counting down the days til Mr. HMSS comes back to town and I can dance again (Original review here).
10. Happy Birthday Amy and Cheer Up Charlie Daniels, Next Big Nashville, Foobar: This show was one of the best because of many different factors, along with the music. It was packed out with awesome friends I had made throughout the year in Nashville, along with being nice and cozy in Foobar's back room, plus I really wanted to see HBA play again and couldn't wait to check out Cheer Up Charlie Daniels. There were a few more bands playing that night, but given the night, only those two were mainly checked out, but I know a great time was had by all at this last minute venue addition to NBN (You can read the show review here).