2005: Year of the Live Show
I've never kept a New Year's resolution. Never. Once I made it all the way to January 4th or 5th, but that's when I started masturbating feverishly again.
I typically waste my annual resolution on foolish and empty promises like "quit smoking." No, that's it. Just that. Every year for the last five or six, it's been about halting inhalation. Cigarettes. Pot. Powdered iced tea. Stop smoking something. Anything. Everything.
So last year I switched it up and actually made myself a promise I wanted to keep. And you know what? I fucking kept that shit, yo. On December 30th last year, I wrote this:
"I've been in a little bit of a live music funk since Coventry, seeing only small bands in small bars, hanging out in Grand Central to catch 20 minutes of the underground dudes playing for change, generally neglecting my previous enjoyment of good musicians with a decent following. So with New Year's Eve comin' around (y'all), that's my resolution for a new me in 2005: See. More. Live. Music."
And by golly, I did. All told, I caught 73 live musical performances from 48 different bands at 37 total shows, including three musical benefits, one two-day outdoor festival and one annual awards show. I'm sure plenty of headier folks have me beat, but I'm damn pleased with those totals.
Like Rosie Greer's sacks and Bill Russell's blocks, I've never kept this official stat before. But those numbers all have to be personals records for me. Plus, I didn't realize this until tally time, but I even neglected my resolution in both June and July. No shows.
I must say, 2005 will always be remembered as a fun year, and there's no question my seeing all these shows had a big part in my feeling that feeling. I won't to resolve to do it again, but I know I can match this year's total, or even surpass it.
So after digging through the Slack Archives and rummaging through my stubs, here's what I caught this year:
(When available, I've included a link to the show for streaming or download in the band name and/or the Slack review about the show in the date.)
Ace Cowboy's 2005 Live Show Roster
RANA - 12/30 - Knitting Factory
Russell Batiste & Friends' NOLA Musicians Benefit - 12/14 - Lion's Den
Railroad Earth - 12/10 - Bowery Ballroom
Bustle In Your Hedgerow (w/ DanjaBoots opener & Benevento/Russo Duo for dessert) - 12/7 - Tribeca Rock Club
Addison Groove Project - 12/2 - Lion's Den
moe. - 11/26 - Roseland Ballroom
Tea Leaf Green - 11/19 - Coda (late night)
Umphrey's McGee - 11/19 - Irving Plaza
Tea Leaf Green - 11/18 - Coda
Trey & 70 Volt Parade (w/ The Wood Brothers opener) - 11/8 - Roseland Ballroom
Perpetual Groove - 11/3 - Tribeca Rock Club
Cream - 10/24 - Madison Square Garden
Devendra Banhart & Hairy Fairy (w/Tarantula AD opener) - 10/20 - Webster Hall
Keller Williams - 10/14 - Nokia Theatre
Tea Leaf Green - 9/10 - Knitting Factory
Benevento/Russo Duo (w/ Drums & Tuba opener) - 9/8 - Bowery Ballrom
Phix - 9/7 - Lion's Den
Bruce Hornsby and Ratdog - 9/1 - Central Park's Summerstage
Save CBGB Benefit (Debbie Harry, Public Enemy) - 8/31 - Washington Square Park
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - 8/10 - South St. Seaport
Club D'elf w/ Marco Benevento - 8/10 - Knitting Factory
Trey & 70 Volt Parade (w/ Government Mule opener) - 8/6 - Jones Beach Amphitheater
Club D'elf w/ John Medeski - 8/3 - Knitting Factory
Jam on the River (Bruce Hornsby, Benevento/Russo Duo, Railroad Earth, Particle, Vince Wellnick) - 5/29 - Penn's Landing, Philly
Dark Star Orchestra - 5/28 - Irving Plaza
Trey & 70 Volt Parade - 5/13 - Hammerstein Ballroom
Trey & 70 Volt Parade (w/ John Butler Trio opener) - 5/7 - Taft Theatre, Cincy
The 4th Annual Jammy Awards - 4/26 - Theatre @ MSG (featuring in order of appearance: N. Miss All-Stars w/ Buddy Guy and Mavis Staples; Bruce Hornsby and Yonder Mountain String Band; Buddy Guy, John Mayer, Phil Lesh and ?uestlove; Umphrey's McGee w/ Huey Lewis, Mavis Staples, Sinead O'Connor and Jeff Coffin; Keller Williams with ?uestlove and Nelly MacKay; Ryan Adams w/ Phil Lesh; Benevento/Russo Duo w/ Mike Gordon, Phil Lesh, Les Claypool and Gabby La La; Disco Biscuits w/ Travis Tritt; MMW w/ Burning Spear, Antibalas Horns, Sinead O'Connor and more for the finale)
Phix - 4/23 - Lion's Den
Benevento/Russo Duo - 4/7 - ??
U-Melt -4/2 - Knitting Factory
Club D'elf w/ John Medeski - 3/31 - Coda
Black Crowes (w/ Soundtrack of Our Lives opener) - 3/26 - Hammerstein Ballroom
Langerado Festival - 3/12 & 3/13 - Markham Park, Sunrise FL (featuring two two-hour sets of String Cheese Incident, Umphrey's McGee, MMW, Benevento/Russo Duo, Toots & The Maytals, Keller Williams, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Robert Walter's 20th Congress, New Monsoon, Particle, De La Sol, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Michael Franti)
Devendra Banhart (w/ Tarantula opener) - 2/21 - Tonic
moe's Tsunami Relief Benefit w/ Trey Anastasio, John Medeski, Sam Bush et al. - 2/10 - Roseland Ballroom
Grateful Dead Movie - 1/26 - 42nd Street Loews
Yaz Band - 1/14 - Grand Central subway station
And not one Phish show on the list (though I got half at the Roseland last month), would ya look at that. Sure I saw Trey five times and Page twice, but 72 performances from all non-Phish acts is nuttier than squirrel turds. But I'll see you at the JEMP reunion in October 2006. Mark those palabras.
I also found myself a new band to obsess over this year that, a band that, like Juicy Fruit chewing gum, really moves me. I said I'd never travel again to see anyone, but it just so happens I'll be out in Colorado in mid-January for two Tea Leaf Green shows in Boulder and Denver (yeah, just so happens).
Tea Leaf Green is not your typical noodling jamband; their song-writing is stellar. And I command you, fans of all music genres, check them out post-haste. The three shows I caught in the fourth quarter of this year were all jaw-droppingly astounding, and I'm sure we'll have plenty more about these guys next year as well.
An incredible year behind me, the anticipation of another one ahead in 2006. Whatever you enjoy, here's to a wonderful year of music, one that'll consistently bring out the unconscious and uncontrollable smile in you, one that'll make you mumble to yourself while the lights blind you and the smoke gets in your eyes.