Best Shows of 2005 - Oh My Rockness

Recommended Show
December 15, 2005
Man, you breathe a few times and 12 months pass. 2005 is drawing to a close and it seems we have little to show for it -- whattya get but another year older and deeper in debt. But at least we spent most of our cash on something worthwhile... like going to shows. We saw a bunch this year. Some were good, some were bad, and a few were great. So let's get right to it...

Best Shows of 2005 (Oh My Rockness Picks):

1) Hot Snakes @ Bowery Ballroom
Their final show in NYC meant a "Sophie's Choice" type decision of leaving the White Sox/Yankees game early to make it in time. A commute from the Bronx to the Bowery better be worth it, and this show certainly was. We've never seen so many energetic 30-somethings out on a school night before.

2) Thunderbirds are Now! @ Knitting Factory (Old Office)
Talk about coming out of nowhere. We had zero expectations going into this show at the tiny old office bar, and we were pleasantly surprised when these boys proceeded to completely rock us out. They've definitely got the energy thing down.

3) Appleseed Cast, Chin Up Chin Up and Rahim @ North Six
All three of these bands destroyed. Plus, we ate really good chicken sandwiches and tater tots right before this show, which put us in a decidedly good mood.

4) Two Gallants @ Southpaw
We think we went to see Damian Jurado, but all we really remember is opener Two Gallants. We almost cried in our beers on this night of poignant punk poetry. "Death's coming, I'm still running," remains our favorite lyric of the year.

5) Bloc Party @ Webster Hall (2nd night)
This was the night the air conditioning was working, and right after Webster installed those cute little bleachers in front of stage right. We were cool, had a great view, and plus, we just really like Bloc Party.

6) Sufjan Stevens @ Bowery Ballroom
Even if Sufjan Stevens had lain on the stage and played a washboard with his teeth, this still would have made our "Best Of" list. Representing the Fighting Illini and singing about Mike Ditka is all it takes.

7) Wolf Parade @ North Six (CMJ Day Party)
CMJ day parties are always fun because it gives you the excuse to drink before noon. It took a while for them to wake up, but Wolf Parade really brought the lead out for their climatic finale, "I'll Believe In Anything." We enjoyed ourselves so much, we forgot to get seconds from the Oh My Rockness ice cream truck. Foiled by a Choco-Taco yet again!

8) The Futureheads (acoustic) @ Pianos
Any time a show is listed as "acoustic" you can pretty much translate that to mean "a-suck-stic." However, The Futureheads used the format that made MTV billions to prove to the Pianos crowd that they have the most harmonious voices since the Beach Boys.

9) The Narrator @ 169 Bar
Remember when you were 16 and used to go to punk shows in some kid's basement? Remember that euphoric sense of self-discovery you felt as the guitars crunched and vocal chords were scorched? That's what this show sort of reminded us of. Oh, to be young again... now where did I put my Kiehl's eye cream?

10) Todd P's Parking Lot Show (Lightning Bolt) @ A Parking Lot in LIC
Sprawled on the pavement... eating a burger... listening to noisy spazz... the 7 train rumbling overhead... all is calm.

Best Shows of 2005 (Readers Picks):
We also asked you guys to send in your Best Of lists. The response was awesomely overwhelming, and we're happy to spread the word on your insanely good taste.

1) Arcade Fire @ Central Park Summerstage
"Arcade Fire's performance alone was memorable to say the least, they certainly are performers in every sense of the word. Adding to this was the incredible surprise appearance of the legend himself, David Bowie. A terrific night."

2) Sufjan Stevens @ Bowery Ballroom
"[Sufjan] did not merely play his songs, he put on a Broadway musical. Oh (my rockness), did I mention that everyone was too mesmerized/afraid to sing along during the acoustic numbers? The kind of silence you expect at Carnegie Hall was present (and, for that reason, amplified) at Bowery-fucking-Ballroom."

3) Clap Your Hands Say Yeah @ Various Venues
*We had to consolidate this one... after all, these guys were everywhere in '05.

4) The Decemberists @ Warsaw
"Colin is a captivating frontman who was able to lead the audience in a screaming session for 'The Mariner's Revenge Song' and then make them all roll around on the floor. Also, Petra Haden sang Kate Bush's 'Wuthering Heights', which was awesome as well."

5) My Morning Jacket @ Webster Hall

6) The New Pornographers @ Webster Hall
"The band had old members join them on stage; they took audience requests, and actually WANTED to sing lesser-known and obscure songs from their catalog; Neko Case sang a cover of 'Dreams' by Fleetwood Mac, perfectly channeling Stevie Nicks. The set was long, the sound was amazing, and fan or first-timer would have been equally impressed."

7) Sigur Ros @ Beacon Theatre
"Visuals and music would take turns taking over the show while everyone relaxed in their seats and watched, mesmerized, hypnotized. One of the most unique shows ever."

8) Spoon @ Webster Hall

9) The White Stripes @ Keyspan Park
"some highlights of the first show: they covered 'walking with a ghost' by tegan and sara, which is a new thing, and there was a pause where they stared at each other for 30 seconds with ear-splitting feedback and then burst into song spontaneously again. that made me cry."

10) Hot Snakes @ Bowery Ballroom
"Their last show ever it was an amazing swan song. They played almost everything the band ever wrote and a couple of Jehu songs as well. The 4 musicians were born to play together and my heart is saddened that we won't be able to see that again."

And finally, the picks of our two Incredible & Inspirational Interns (in random order):

Devendra Banhart @ Tonic
"I'm not gonna lie, the main reason I bothered to go to this show is that it was a "Save Tonic" benefit but holy @#$% was it worth it. Bringing half of the NYC freak-folk scene on stage and covering Antony's "Fistful of Love" was probably the highlight of my show-going this year. Not to mention, you gotta be impressed by Devendra being gutsy enough to cover a Charles Manson song considering they look exactly the same." -Mike Sebba

Bell Orchestre and Clogs @ Tonic
"I walked out of this show feeling a new respect for what it means to be a musician and a performer. It was a truly enlightening, and even super danceable, orchestral rock experience; it really hit home with my classical training growing up. The violin player kicks ass, that's for sure. I've never experienced so much talent in one night- in a word- spectacular!" -Rachel Hoffman

Les Savy Fav @ Bowery Ballroom (MS)

Of Montreal @ Knitting Factory (RH)

TV on the Radio and Celebration @ Union Pool (Hurricane Katrina Benefit) (MS)

Regina Spektor @ Skirball Center (RH)

La Laque @ Knitting Factory (RH)

Super Furry Animals and Caribou @ Webster Hall (RH)

Thank you to all for a great year!

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