I can’t say I particularly like New York, where I’ve been living since June, but my favourite aspect is definitely the abundance of live music. My bank account, however, is far less of a fan.
Concert that most surprised me by how gosh darn brilliant it was and by how I couldn’t stop talking about it: Grizzly Bear.
I knew literally two songs by Grizzly Bear the week before I saw them. I listened to their setlist and casually liked it. I had nothing planned and tickets were cheap, so I went. And holy crow. I then went and listened to their setlist nonstop and saw them again two days later because they were SO GOOD. SO SO GOOD. WOW.
Runner up: Silversun Pickups.
I’d seen them once before at Amoeba Records, SF in 2011, calling it “studying” for AP music theory, so I knew I liked them live. However, that didn’t prepare me for how much I’d love their most recent album. “Tapedeck” was of particular relevance to me, and seeing them play it was truly a moment.
Best concert: Arcade Fire.
But literally, this concert was the final straw for me to turn down my Fulbright and stay in New York. I fell hard and fast for Arcade Fire, and though Everything Now isn’t their best album, I still love it. Being part of the crowd singing “Wake Up” as they marched out was enchanting.
Runner up: Midnight Oil.
I had forgotten just how much I adore Midnight Oil, but seeing them and hearing Peter Garrett rant and dance around was absolutely fabulous.
Midnight Oil, May 9, the Filmore, Silver Spring, MD
Big shout out to my friend Gilbert for letting me force him to take me because this was a real stunner.
Echo & the Bunnymen, Violent Femmes, July 12, Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY
This was relatively mediocre. The venue did nothing to create intimacy.
Muse, July 24, Central Park SummerStage, New York, NY
Muse fans, wow, they go hard! I had SO much fun at this concert. Muse is actually a really fantastic band.
Lady Gaga, August 28, Citi Field, Queens, NY
I decided to head along because tickets were twenty bucks and I’d heard she was incredible live. I was far more impressed than I thought I’d be.
Roger Waters, September 7, Prudential Center, Newark, NY
Gosh darn it, Roger Waters. I hate that you are taking all of our money from us and charging too much…but you still put on an incredible show. Seeing “Dogs” and “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” was something I never imagined happening, and it was a religious experience.
Depeche Mode, Warpaint, September 11, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
They played two shows at MSG. One, they played “Somebody.” Mine, they did not. I’m still slightly angry.
Arcade Fire, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, September 12, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Arcade Fire! Arcade Fire! Arcade Fire! I almost quit my job to go see them again that weekend in Boston, but decided that it was probably a good idea to make rent.
Father John Misty, September 14, Capitol Theater, Port Chester, NY
He brought on a full orchestra, which really added to this experience.
The Killers, Green Day, Stevie Wonder, The Lumineers, The Chainsmokers, Pharrell Williams, Big Sean, Andra Day, Alessia Cara, September 23, Central Park, NY
Green Day stole this show hardcore. The Killers didn’t play long enough, and they didn’t play anything off Wonderful, Wonderful despite having released it a day prior, so I was disappointed. Green Day was brilliant; they brought a fan on stage, they played “American Idiot” hard and fast and well, and they topped it off with “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” which, overplayed as it is, was magical. Seeing Pharrell’s pure adoration of Stevie Wonder from the barrier was a really humbling experience.
The Church, the Helio Sequence, (le) poisson rouge, September 27, New York, NY
I aDORE this venue! I didn’t know enough of the Church (and their catalogue was too extensive for me to research) but they put on a solid show.
Modest Mouse, Mimicking Birds, October 14, Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY
Ugh, this was probably the most disappointing show of the year. Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing–when they opened with “The World At Large” I cried, and when they played “3rd Planet,” I cried again, and when they played “A Different City,” I died. I love this band so much. But Isaac was reeeeally drunk and you could reeeeally tell and it kind of didn’t do much for me.
Billy Corgan, October 15, Murmrr Theatre, Brooklyn, NY
I can now refer to him as Billy, can I? We were all there for the Smashing Pumpkins songs, let’s be real, and seeing them acoustic was lovely. And “Mandarynne” stole the show quite easily.
Psychedelic Furs, October 22, Warsaw Theatre, Brooklyn, NY
I still don’t know the name of their opener, but their opener was solidddd. So were the Psychedelic Furs! I had a lot of fun at this show.
Queens of the Stone Age, Royal Blood, October 24, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Thank you, dad, for buying me this ticket! Okay so “If I Had a Tail” is the best song ever and they played it and I’m still dead. I’m really glad I researched their setlist or else I wouldn’t have liked this much, but since I knew the songs, I had an amazing time.
Kurt Vile & Courtney Barnett, November 1, Beacon Theatre, New York, NY
Mehhh. I love Kurt Vile, but mehhhh. I may as well have just listened to their album because I don’t think they changed a note.
Grizzly Bear, Serpentswithfeet, November 2, Brooklyn Steel, Brooklyn, NY
asdfadfaklsdfadsf. Accidentally ended up on the barrier and it ended up being the most magical moment of my life.
The Shins, Baio, November 3, Kings Theatre, Brooklyn, NY
I wish I’d been in the pit for this. I also wish I had seen them before Grizzly Bear because I couldn’t think of anything but Grizzly Bear. Nonetheless, this was really fun, and the second show of the year I’d taken a friend with me to. They have a fantastic repertoire.
Grizzly Bear, Serpentswithfeet, November 4, Brooklyn Steel, Brooklyn, NY
asdaflk;jsdflkajsdflkjasdflkjasd;fja. Purposefully ended up on the barrier knowing every single word to every single song and I still cry tears of happiness.
Peach Pit, Diane Coffee, November 8, Rough Trade, Brooklyn, NY
Went for Peach Pit, stayed for Diane Coffee, was really impressed. Diane Coffee is like the new, underappreciated David Bowie, and I’m excited to see what he does next. Peach Pit was also a lot of fun.
Regina Spektor, November 13, State Theatre, New Brunswick, NJ
I bought these tickets for my ex, and I’m still salty that I paid so much for two, though I took a friend who ended up liking her and we had a lovely time. Regina is an absolutely adorable human being and I’m actually in love with her.
Silversun Pickups, Minus the Bear, November 15, Terminal 5, New York, NY
Tears. So many tears. These are good peoples. So good. Nikki threw one of her picks at me and it is now a valued possession (I will not let the pick monster take it.) These guys ruled. If a friend hadn’t come to stay with me, I would have definitely seen them again two days later. I almost did anyway.
Beach Fossils, December 1, Elsewhere, Brooklyn, NY
Dang, I did not expect such an excited crowd for such a chill band. These guys were also amazing live.
LCD Soundsystem, December 11, Brooklyn Steel, Brooklyn, NY
I’ve been told by multiple people that LCD puts on a fabulous show, so I decided I should catch one of their ten shows. Other than Diane Coffee, they were definitely the best band at playing songs I didn’t know, and sure enough, the crowd was insane.