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Added by the giraffe on 10 Feb 2011 03:43
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Best live shows I've seen

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People who added this item 611 Average listal rating (423 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 0
The Downward Spiral - Nine Inch Nails
self-destruct tour 1994

The show rolled into town a few days before Halloween, so many audience members showed up in make-up and costumes. The entire audience was amped for this show, and the vibe was a mix of creepy, dark, and anxious.

The first band of the night was a then relatively unknown group called Marilyn Manson. Back in those days they had a very "anything-goes" kind of live show. So in addition to their intense stage presence I recall Mr. Manson shoving a bottle into an uncomfortable place during one song, brandishing a dildo during another, and informing us between songs that "we were kicked out of Utah because all the little boys there wanted to fuck me." Oh, and they did the most blistering cover of "Helter Skelter" I've ever heard.

Next up was Jim Rose Circus, a traveling freak show. Music was therefore relegated to the background to accent the performances as the oddballs displayed their "talents". This further added darkness and creepiness to the atmosphere. After they left the stage, people started crowd-surfing and didn't stop until the end of NIN's set.

So NIN hits the stage & the whole crowd goes into a frenzy. Moshpits break out as "pinion" melts into "terrible lie" and these guys take the stage prisoner for 2 & 1/2 hours. Trent Reznor moves around the stage like he wants to break everything on it, hurling mic stands and shoving band members and trashing instruments. The whole crowd is singing along to every word, and it's beautiful. Then maybe 2/3 of the way through the set a screen & a backdrop come down onto which are projected an array of images both in front of and behind the band as they perform some of the slower material ("eraser" and "hurt" and maybe one more?). The show set a very high bar for all the ones that would follow. (for visual evidence check out Closure...if you can find a copy, that is)
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 431 Average listal rating (264 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 0
With Teeth - Nine Inch Nails
with_teeth tour fall 2005

Again NIN rolls into town shortly before Halloween, but this time there's no sign of the make-up or costumes (well, no more than the occasional goth usually wears anyway).

The first band of the night this time is Death from Above 1979, a two-piece that creates more noise than should be possible. As their set progresses their songs get better and elevate the audience's excitement. This is a good thing.

The second band of the night is Queens of the Stone Age, a band I've already seen a few times. Tonight they're better than they've ever been in my experience, even despite the fact that Nick Oliveri is gone & Mark Lanegan doesn't show up (Lanegan had been with them every time I'd seen them before this). The band sounds tight & tears through material off their first 4 albums. They're even better than DFA1979, and by the end of their set everyone is in a great mood.

Then the lights come up and people start crowding close together, forcing some back-and-forth movement throughout the crowd on the floor. People are excitedly talking to one another, then some crowd-surfing starts up, and suddenly it feels like 1994 all over again. The lights go out, the crowd roars, and NIN comes out all intensity and fury just like the old days. Every song sounds perfect (even with Aaron North's occasional variations), there's a midsection where we're presented with visuals reminiscent of the '94 show, and yet it all feels fresh. And so, having come as close as possible to recreating the best show I've ever seen they earn a second-place spot.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 17 Average listal rating (13 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
I Am an Elastic Firecracker - Tripping Daisy
Bronco Bowl Grand Re-opening 1996

The bill for this show was put together by Tripping Daisy and consisted of 5 other local (Dallas/Denton/Fort Worth) bands they wanted to play with (all of which they were friends of). My friends and I arrived late, so we only saw 4 of the 6. Since odds are nobody here knows any of the bands they played with I'll skip over them after I say this: the 1st band played with their backs to us (which I didn't appreciate), the 2nd band was an amazing punk group, the 3rd band was good but I wasn't impressed (odd since later I fell in love with them), and then it was time for Tripping Daisy to play.

They take the stage & start off with a song I've never heard before called "Creature". The singer is wearing this big furry coat, giant bug-eyed sunglasses, and a platinum-blonde wig. He's singing both high & low as the song goes on, and has this incredible stage presence. The crowd on the floor turns into a sea, moving in waves from side-to-side and back-and-forth along with the music. The song goes on for about 8 minutes, and they launch into "Bang". The crowd goes crazy, everyone jumping around, a little moshing, but all having a great time. The singer spoke to us between some songs, telling jokes & stories & thanking us for being there.

By the end of their set, I couldn't stop smiling. Every time I saw them after that, they had the same effect on me. No live band ever made me so consistently happy.

The closest I've come to finding a similar experience has been seeing The Flaming Lips over the past few years. I'm confident that had Tripping Daisy not been forced to break up they'd be where the Lips are now sonically and live-performance-wise.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 190 Average listal rating (138 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
De-Loused in the Comatorium - The Mars Volta
2003 tour

This show took place in a mid-size club, and it was sold-out. I remember none of my friends had tickets because they'd waited too long to buy them, so I had to go alone. I walked in and saw a man on stage reciting poetry...this would be my introduction to Saul Williams (now one of my favorite poets and music artists). He would recite a poem, then talk to the audience a bit before reciting another. He had all these insightful & interesting things to say, and I remember being as captivated by his poetry as anything else he said. This was the first and only time I ever saw a spoken-word/poetry slam performance as an opening act for a band & I'll never forget it.

Then The Mars Volta came out & played most of De-Loused..., but they didn't play the songs exactly the way they were on album. Instead they played about 45 minutes worth of material over the course of a 2-hour set. They were improvising on stage, taking the songs places they'd never been, stretching them out and exploring before returning to familiar territory. I was stunned. Cedric never stopped moving the entire set, dancing his way around the stage and occasionally swinging the mic around above his head.

I've never missed one of their headlining shows since then.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 19 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 0
Kettle Whistle - Jane's Addiction
I-Itz M'My Party Tour 1997

I'd been in love with Jane's for a few years by the time they first reunited, so I was extremely excited for this show. For some inexplicable reason they chose a DJ (Goldie) for their opening act. He sucked.

Jane's, however, were worth the wait. They hit the stage with Flea on bass (replacing Eric Avery who wanted nothing to do with them at the time), and sounded perfect on every song. The crowd sang along and moshed and jumped around and it was a great time.

Then Jane's left the stage for a while, but the lights didn't come up. With all of us standing, waiting for them to return and chanting "Jane's Jane's Jane's" they finally emerged behind most of us on the floor on a small stage that had been set up & played "Jane Says" followed by "Classic Girl". Again everyone sang along & then they returned to the main stage to finish their set. Amazing.
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People who added this item 295 Average listal rating (198 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 0
Evil Empire - Rage Against the Machine
Evil Empire tour summer 1996

Of the 3 times I saw Rage, the first remains the best. As the show approached, I found myself without a ticket & discovered the show was sold-out. So I headed downtown the night before the show to hang out with some friends, and told everyone I talked to that I was looking for a Rage ticket. Finally I found someone with 2 tickets he had to get rid of, so a friend & I talked him into selling them to us. They were seats on the upper level, but I figured they were better than missing the show. My friend already had a lower-level (non-floor) ticket, but he bought the extra for a grrl he liked. The next day the 3 of us went to the show together...

My friend wound up finding one of his friends working security inside the venue, and talked him into giving us wristbands so we could sneak onto the floor despite having seat tickets. My friend helped the grrl and I get down to where he was during the first band's set. That band was called Stanford Prison Experiment, a great live band that we all got into after seeing them.

Next up was Girls Against Boys who sucked so we didn't try to get on the floor yet. We waited until their last song, then got wristbands from his friend and hopped onto the floor for Rage. We managed to get pretty far up before a large wave of people rushed onto the floor from the seats and caused chaos. Now the entire floor was pushing and shoving each other in every direction. Soon people decided to crowd-surf instead of getting squished. This went on for at least 20 minutes before the lights went out for Rage.

Their stage show was really minimal...just them performing under white stage lights, which went dark between each song. They sounded perfect and Zach stalked back and forth across the stage barking like we were an army he was giving orders to. They played most of the songs from their debut & Evil Empire. I remember being tired of moving & jumping around by the end of each song, but then the lights would come back up, the music would kick off & I'd be instantly recharged. I enjoyed the show so much I wound up buying 2 of their t-shirts before we left.
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People who added this item 22 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 0
Planet Earth - Prince
Coachella 2008

I'd already bought my ticket for Coachella and set things in motion to go when they added Prince to the bill as the headliner for Saturday night. Like many other people who lived through the 80s, my introduction to Prince was Purple Rain. Well, the soundtrack anyway...I was too young to go see his movie (and my parents weren't willing to take me). Of course I eventually saw the film, and over the years I'd enjoyed the majority of his singles and a few of his albums.

Anyway, after a full day of good and bad music taken in out there in the desert, my friends & I took our place to watch Prince. The wait was much longer than we'd anticipated...in fact, he wound up taking the stage so late that he only had time to play 2 of the 3 hours he was contracted to perform. That wound up not mattering.

Prince's set began with his band walking on stage, followed by Morris Day & Jerome Benton, all of whom then launch into "The Bird" and "Jungle Love". After that Morris & Jerome left the stage and Sheila E walked on to perform "Glamorous Life". The band then jams for a bit as Prince joins them, introduces Sheila E (like she needed it), and they all play "1999". At this point Prince's set had earned its spot in my top ten.

The rest of the set mostly consisted of hits, with one notable surprise...he covered Radiohead's "Creep". And it was even better than the original. When the set finally ended, everyone stood cheering in hopes he would return to the stage, but Coachella's security insisted the show was over & it was time to leave. I could've gone for another hour of awesomeness, but I'm glad I was there at all.
People who added this item 159 Average listal rating (106 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 0
Jan 13, 1995 (Friday the 13th)

Marilyn Manson followed up their 1994 tour with NIN by headlining their own club tour which kicked off in Dallas with this show. The opener was a terrible local band who was heckled throughout their set. They were followed by Monster Voodoo Machine, an alternative metal band with great energy. MVM got the crowd moving and excited, and kept us entertained through their last song.

As I mentioned before, Marilyn Manson's show was very anything-goes in those days, so nobody knew what to expect. The lights went out, casting us all into darkness...then a light appeared on stage in the hands of Mr. Manson himself. He held it in front of him and below his face as he recited the boat song from Willy Wonka & he wore a top hat on his head. The song ended & the lights came up to reveal that the stage had been turned into a living room. There was a couch and a couple of standing lamps on either end of the stage, and the rest of the band could now be seen as they tore into "Cake & Sodomy". It was so intense I was too scared to go up into the moshpit (which was for the best really...I noticed most people in the pit throwing punches at everyone around them). So I held my ground halfway back from the stage.

The sixth song of the set was their cover of "Sweet Dreams" (possibly their first live performance of it). Manson again used the handheld light throughout this song, which he smashed against his chest & broke the bulb at the song's climax. A few songs later I remember he told us "the next person to get onstage gets to fuck me" and there wasn't any great rush from the crowd. Finally some grrl got on stage, and I remember they sat on the couch for a few minutes & he talked to her before insulting her so she ran off-stage.

For those who are familiar with Marilyn Manson's history, this was also the show with the "chicken incident". On the stage was a cage containing a chicken, which Manson opened at one point between songs, removed the chicken & threw it into the audience. The chicken didn't survive, which led to PETA protests later on.

This was by far the most insane show I've ever attended, and so I was disappointed when Antichrist Superstar made them famous & they started focusing on theatrics on a larger scale instead of smaller, unpredictable moments.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 5 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0
In Glorious Times - Sleepytime Gorilla Museum
Winter 2008

I went to this one on a friend's recommendation. He'd played a couple songs of theirs for me, but I'd forgot what they sounded like by the time the show arrived. I couldn't tell you now who opened for them, as they wiped all traces of memory away throughout their set.

My friends & I were standing inside the club they were playing, waiting for them to come on stage. Suddenly we hear singing behind us growing louder, and it sounded like a traditional folk song or national anthem or something. We turn around to see a group of people in make-up and robes carrying a flag...this was the source of the singing. The song finished, the crowd cheered, and the band continued their way through the crowd onto the stage. Arranged on the stage were a variety of instruments, some of which they later informed us were created by them. Their stage show was very theatrical and they would introduce songs with short stories that ranged from bizarre to hilarious. I was in awe & had to buy all of their albums.
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People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0
::Disco 2 - Health
Summer 2010

I had watched Health from afar at a festival the year before and had been impressed by their music and their light show. So when they returned for a club show I decided I had to go. My future wife was pregnant at the time, so I went alone but met up with some friends there.

The opening band was terrible & need not be spoken of. After a long wait Health finally hit the stage and played one of the most amazing shows I've ever seen. It was noisy, it was intense, it was energetic & enthusiastic...it was so good that by the end of it I had a burning desire to try to start a band (again). It's not often that happens to me at a live show anymore.

(NOTE: Disco 2 is a remix album with only 1 new song on it. I'm not a fan of remix albums in general, hence the mid-range rating.)
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People who added this item 25 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 0
Catch for Us the Foxes - Mewithoutyou
I forget when exactly the show was, but it was the only time they came through Texas touring behind this album. I'd originally got into mewithoutYou through their live show when they opened for someone else (either onelinedrawing or theSTART), so I knew they had some really intense energy going on and that it'd be great. This time they hit the stage and the lead singer had a fistful of flowers, which he danced around with before destroying them & throwing them into the crowd. Most impressive was their setlist, which blended their first 2 albums into one non-stop fluid performance. Each song ended in a way that flowed perfectly into the next, as if they'd all been written to fit together like puzzle pieces. The singer didn't even speak to the crowd between songs until shortly before the end of their set when he thanked us. At the time I'd only listened to this album once or twice, but after that show I listened to it a lot more & it quickly rose to become a favorite.
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People who added this item 17 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
A Healthy Distrust - Sage Francis

In early 2005, one of my best friends found out Sage was coming through on tour & wanted me to go. I'd never heard of Sage, so my friend linked me to his song "Makeshift Patriot". I thought the lyrics were excellent and was intrigued enough to agree to attend the show. Backed by Florida hip-hop group Sol-Ill-a-Quists of Sound (who also opened for him), Sage appeared on the stage looking like Friar Tuck...wearing a monk's robe and sandals over whatever he had on underneath. He was intensely serious at times, then he'd do something hilarious. His vocal delivery captivated me and blew my mind. When he'd dance it'd either be great or silly. Clearly this was a rapper who had important things to say yet wasn't taking things too seriously, and I loved him for it.

That live show led me to buy a copy of every album (official or not) he's ever released, and I've seen him a couple times since.
the giraffe's rating:
Spring 2004

Ah my first time seeing Liars. Their headlining club tour behind this album (still their best IMO) was started off by a little band called Young People. I vaguely recall enjoying their set but not being especially impressed by it. They were a solid opener anyway.

Next up was Portland band Get Hustle. They had great energy and stage presence, especially their singer Valentine Falcon who dressed in an outfit that recalled traditional Native American clothes. She may have also had some warpaint on and/or a feather on her head...can't recall for sure. Their music was really different and they helped build the excitement going into Liars' set.

When Liars hit the stage, their drummer was in drag and there was this dark, mysterious vibe going on which was perfect for the songs off this album (it's about witches). They played every song off the album (not in order though), and it was really intense. I seem to recall there being dual drumming at one point too, which was a surprise since there were only 3 people in the band back then.

Really I count all of their shows among my favorites, but this one stands out to me as the most memorable.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 162 Average listal rating (112 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
Around the Fur - Deftones
Various shows 1997-1999

While touring behind Around the Fur, Deftones were at their best performance-wise, so every show during this period ranks highly in my book. They were so awesome live, in fact, that one of my best friends & I would see them in Dallas one night, then drive to the next city the next night to see them again.

If forced to choose, I'd say the first Dallas show out of those (and my 2nd time ever seeing them) was the best. The openers were Will Haven (amazing) and Far (decent), and the show took place in the same club as the Manson show listed above. By that time I'd been to many shows at the venue (Trees it was called & still is), and I'd come to understand that the pit area existed between the front of the stage and a pair of tree-like poles several feet out from the stage. Any moshing behind said tree-poles was usually someone being sent out of the pit.

Well, that night when Deftones hit the stage the entire floor of the venue was one giant moshpit. Those who dared make way to the bar for a beer had to fend off moshers while they waited. Crazy. If I recall correctly Deftones played almost every song they had that night, plus a cover of Weezer's "Say It Ain't So", which Chino sang from a small balcony off to the side of the stage. He also dove off the stage many times to crowd-surf, climbed up and jumped off the speaker cabinets, & I think he even climbed one of the tree-poles. Dude was going above & beyond to put on a great show, which he usually does anyway & that's why I've seen them more times than any other band that's not from Texas.
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People who added this item 59 Average listal rating (31 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy - Mindless Self Indulgence
Late 2000

I got into MSI after seeing a review of this album in a magazine & deciding I had to hear it. Once I got hold of a copy I couldn't quit listening to it. Later that year, I found out they were touring with Coal Chamber, whom I'd seen several times already due to their intense live shows. I was telling some friends they were touring together & I wanted to go, but the closest to Texas they were coming was New Orleans. One of my friends said he'd go, so we bought our tickets from Ticketbastard & went.

Upon arrival at House of Blues in New Orleans, we found out that Coal Chamber had dropped off the tour but the rest of the bands were still playing. As a result, if we took our tickets to the ticket booth we could exchange them for a cheaper ticket & get money back. Since MSI was the main reason we were there anyway, this was cool with us. We had to suffer through 2 shitty nu-metal bands first, which only made us appreciate MSI even more.

They took the stage, and lead singer Jimmy Urine looked like a punk version of Two-Face...he wore an outfit that was half white and half black, his hair was dyed 2 different colors divided down the center, and he had one eyebrow & half a mustache. He emerged carrying a sign with their name misspelled on it, then handed it to someone in the audience saying "destroy this" as they went into their first song.

I remember at one point Jimmy brought down a piece of bread & had the front row spit on it...then he took a bite out of it. I also remember guitarist Steve Righ? tying Jimmy up in his guitar cord, and Jimmy throwing anything he could find at/into the audience. It was both frightening and hilarious.

After their set, we went outside & got to meet them. They explained that Coal Chamber had dropped off the tour due to an ongoing fight between their singer & guitarist ("The guitarist said, 'I'm going home to L.A.!', and the singer said, 'I'm going to my villa in France!' and that was the last we saw of them."), but that the band now headlining called ahead to finish the rest of the tour. We were thankful they did, or else we would've driven to New Orleans for nothing. After at least half an hour of hanging out outside with them talking, their (former) bassist came out saying she was kicked out of House of Blues for something or other & the rest of the band went to see what was going on.

Totally worth the trip, and I've seen MSI every time they've come through Texas since then.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 0
Madonna - ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
Early 1999

In early 1999, I attended a CD release party for a Dallas band known as Captain Audio (2/3 of which are now The Secret Machines, whom you may have heard of). Captain Audio had a great sound and excellent live show, and were much buzzed about in those days in the Dallas/Denton/Fort Worth area. The first band of the night was another now defunct Dallas band called Pinkston...they were good but by the time the next band took the stage I'd almost completely forgotten they played.

Out comes this band I'd never heard of & it was Trail of Dead. This was actually before Madonna was released, but since they played songs from it during their set I chose it for the album here. Anyway, out comes this 4-piece band, 2 playing guitar, 1 on bass & a drummer. They played this noisy punkish Sonic-Youth-y music & I was into it. The first song ends and the drummer and one of the guitarists switch places before going into the next song. Then they switch back for the 3rd song, and I think the bassist & other guitarist switched instruments too. So there's this chaotic thing going on with them switching places after almost every song & then the music just builds & builds as the set progresses, getting faster & heavier. All of which leads to their last song, the heaviest & fastest thing they've played yet ("A Perfect Teenhood"). The singer/guitarist keeps repeating "fuck you" as the drums crash and soon the band is destroying their instruments, knocking over mic stands, and then they storm off the stage.

I've been a devoted fan ever since. Sadly, they rarely destroy their instruments anymore (they quit for a long time to avoid earning fans who just wanted to see them be destructive, and now they probably feel they're too old to do it every night), but they still put on excellent shows.
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Late 2004 (I think)

The Fall have been around longer than I have, but it wasn't until 2000 or so that I finally got around to checking them out. Frontman (and only constant member) Mark E Smith's lyrics are incredible & he packs them into each song like there's some contest going on for most lyrics in a song. They're one of those bands either you like or you don't, and I love them.

Anyway, my first opportunity to see them came with their US tour behind this album, so I bought my ticket & went. The band walks onstage first and starts playing. After several minutes Mr. Smith walks out and stands there looking like the curmudgeon that he is. They get through a song or two, then he starts wandering around the stage randomly messing with his band's instruments. He unplugs guitar cords, turns off monitors, removes the mic from the kick drum, interferes with the keyboard player by playing notes he's not supposed to be playing, and as the set goes on it seems like he's really pissing everyone off. Meanwhile I'm laughing uncontrollably and loving every moment.
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No Strings Attached Tour 2006

This was the second time I saw the Eels, almost 10 years after the first. The first time I saw them they had a really mellow live show, but it wasn't mellow in a boring way. I remember E sitting at a piano for the entire set while the rest of the band perfectly played every song off Beautiful Freak.

Cut to 10 years later and this show. I showed up late enough to skip the openers & arrived just in time to find a spot before they got onstage. Out walks this huge guy in camo, sunglasses, and a black stocking cap & he's got this epic beard, looks like a biker & he starts yelling about the Eels as they take the stage. The Eels kick off with "Dog-Faced Boy" and proceed to put on one of the most rocking, intense shows I've ever seen. Even their older songs are played as if they were heavy to begin with. This completely shatters my expectations. The biker dude keeps doing these jump kicks and karate moves throughout the set, which were really hilarious & they also help to shatter my expectations. All of which adds up to a great show in my book.
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Late 2002/Early 2003

This album was released to raise money to help the West Memphis Three (you can find out more here and here), and Rollins Band took to the road to play shows to raise more money. Each show was a full set of Black Flag songs, and ex-Black Flag member Keith Morris also joined them on tour. The show was amazing because they sounded great, everyone had a great time, & it's the closest I've ever come (and ever will) to seeing Black Flag, one of the best punk bands ever.
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People who added this item 26 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 0
End Hits - Fugazi

The only time I saw Fugazi. The ticket was $5, the show (in a smallish club) was sold-out, they were amazing, and the crowd was a lot of fun. Everyone knew all the words to their songs and there was a very friendly vibe as we moved & jumped around (no moshing though...Fugazi frowns on that).
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People who added this item 25 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 0
Late 2005

I got into Against Me! by word-of-mouth...I kept hearing from people with good taste that they were a great band, so I checked them out. At the time those people were right. I bought their first 2 albums, and by the time I'd absorbed them they released this album & came through on tour. They played with passion and joy, the entire crowd sang along enthusiastically to every song, and it was one of the most enjoyable shows I've been to.

Too bad they had to kill my love for them by recording 2 terrible albums.
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People who added this item 9 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 9.2 IMDB Rating 0
Lovesick Broke & Driftin' - Hank Williams III

By this point I'd seen Hank III a few times, but he'd only played his country music. Well, this time when he rolled into town he had a new trick up his sleeve. He started out playing his style of country, which lasted about 45 minutes. Then he told the audience things were going to get crazy, so if anyone wanted to leave now was the time to do so. He & his band took a short break, then returned to the stage looking more like a punk band than a country group. They blasted through their cowpunk/hellbilly music for the next 45 minutes, and my respect for Hank III skyrocketed.
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People who added this item 101 Average listal rating (54 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 0
Bloodflowers - The Cure

Prior to releasing Bloodflowers, The Cure embarked on a short tour of small theatres around the U.S. One of their dates was in Dallas, so I rushed to try to get a ticket after work on the day they went on sale. The show sold out in a matter of seconds.

So the day of the show I headed downtown alone with $60 in my wallet reserved for a ticket should I be able to find one (with service charges & all they were originally about $40). Upon arrival I soon learned that scalpers had snatched up their share of tickets and were selling them for no less that $250 (some were selling them for $400). Things looked bleak.

A line had formed leading to the ticket booth for will-call tickets, but many people in the line were hopefuls optimistic about their chances that the venue would release more tickets at the last moment they could buy. I sat across the street from the venue, talking to friends of mine as they happened by. About 15 minutes before show time, an older guy I'd become friends with by seeing him at almost every show I'd gone to walked up & asked me what I was doing. "Just sitting here, waiting for a ticket to fall out of the sky," I told him. He informed me that he had an extra ticket, but it was for a friend of his that hadn't shown up yet. He said that if said friend didn't turn up soon he might be willing to sell me the extra. He would, however, like to get more money than he paid for it. I told him I had $60 in my wallet for a ticket, but I refused to pay a dollar more. He stood there for a minute or two thinking, then said, "come on."

And so I followed him toward the line to get in, exchanged my $60 for his extra ticket, and saw The Cure play a small venue for my first time. They played almost 3 hours, mixing in old songs with all the songs off Bloodflowers & I was in heaven the entire time.

Why I saw them in an amphitheatre on the Curiosa tour, I have no idea. There was no comparison.
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People who added this item 8 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 0
He Got Game - Public Enemy
Smokin' Grooves 1998

I'd been into Public Enemy since the early 90s, but for a variety of reasons didn't or couldn't go to their shows until 1998 when they headlined Smokin' Grooves.

I arrived a little late to find Wyclef Jean on stage. I wasn't really into him so I wandered around for a while. Then Busta Rhymes hit the stage and blew my mind. Next up was Cypress Hill, who were equally amazing. Then Public Enemy took the stage & killed it for over an hour, playing pretty much every song I wanted to hear. Between all 3 performances, there's no way I'd ever forget this show.

After it ended, my best friend I'd gone with & I headed to Denny's for food & drink before heading home. As we're waiting for our check, Flavor Flav walks in with a large group of people & takes a table in the back. So we waited for people to stop bothering him, then politely went back to meet him. We were apparently the only ones who had seen the show & had him autograph our ticket stubs. After talking to him a while he told us we were "two of the coolest white people I've ever met." Haha.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 26 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 0
Miss Machine - The Dillinger Escape Plan
2004 (and every show of theirs I've seen since)

There's no real story behind this one other than that 2004 was the first time I saw DEP because I wasn't into them when they started out. Like every time since, they took the stage like a hostage, and the entire band runs around and stage-dives and goes OFF while playing some of the most technically proficient music I've ever heard & yet somehow they never seem to miss a note, a beat, or a word. So when I say they're one of the best live bands in the world right now, that's why.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 32 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
Pixies Sellout Tour 2006

I got into the Pixies sometime in 1991, and they broke up in '93 before I could see them. 15 years later they finally reunited, and I waited patiently for them to play near enough to see them.

By that time I'd seen Frank Black a few times and The Breeders once, so I knew they'd at least be worth seeing even after all that time. As it turned out they were even better than I'd hoped...they were getting along, trading jokes, and genuinely having a great time on stage. Plus they played almost every song I wanted to hear.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 10 IMDB Rating 0
Fun Fun Fun Fest 2009

The Jesus Lizard headlined the Saturday night line-up of FFF Fest in '09, and they were the main reason I bought a ticket for the entire weekend-long festival. I'd seen them a few times before they broke up in '98 and they were Amazing every time.

Well, I made my way over to the stage they were playing on & it looked like most of the people at the festival were there to watch them. I had to work my way up toward the front, and was pretty close to the stage by the time they came out. David Yow took one look at the crowd & said, "This is gonna be really fucking good." Then they launched into "Puss" and killed it for the next hour or so. They looked a little older, but otherwise they hadn't changed since I last saw them. They sounded great & Yow's stage antics were the same as ever. What stood out about the show, however, was it made me feel like I was 17 all over again...my energy was boundless as I spent their entire set in the pit.

Also of note was spotting Les Savy Fav's Tim Harrington in the pit (they'd played earlier that evening) & getting the opportunity to mosh with & meet him.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 7 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
Go Away White - Bauhaus
Summer 2006

This is another case where I'd waited years to see a band & finally got my opportunity. In the summer of 2006, NIN was still touring behind With Teeth, and they convinced Bauhaus to open for them as thanks for Peter Murphy being the first person to take NIN on tour when they started out. When I found out I bought tickets to see them in Dallas and Houston, and would've hit more shows had I not been in school at the time.

Anyway, both nights Bauhaus came out and put on a better show than NIN did, and as you can tell from the #1 & 2 spots that's no easy feat. Peter Murphy danced around the stage throughout their set and the entire band sounded perfect as they played a bunch of their older songs plus a couple newer ones that wound up on Go Away White.

Bauhaus made waiting all that time worth it, and they altered their setlist enough to make the road-trip worth it too.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 5 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 0

Not only did I see Shellac perform live (they were awesome by the way), but I got to meet Steve Albini when he sold me one of their t-shirts after their set.

Now if only I could see Big Black...
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 27 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0
Chamber Music - Coal Chamber
Late 1999 or early 2000 (I forget which)

Coal Chamber was one of my favorite live bands for many many years. They had great stage presence, created this great dark/scary atmosphere, and always poured all their energy and enthusiasm into their sets. Sometime after the release of their 2nd album Chamber Music, they hit the road with 3 other bands from their record label (Roadrunner), one of which was Slipknot. Slipknot's first album had come out in summer of 1999 & I'd seen them at Ozzfest & was blown away by their energy & sound. So seeing these two live powerhouses perform together inside a large club (capacity was about 1,000 people & it's the same venue for The Cure show listed above) was insane. The entire crowd was won over by Slipknot's set & the majority of the venue was moshing. Then Coal Chamber came out & played a mix of their 1st and 2nd album & were as great as they'd always been.

I enjoyed the show so much I drove to see their next show in the next town. Unfortunately Slipknot had to cancel due to their not having enough room to fit all their members & equipment on the stage, which I'm sure is the downside to having 9 members in your band & playing smaller venues.
the giraffe's rating:

Beyond the top 10 the order may or may not be correct.

See also: Bands I've seen live and Best live bands

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