Friday, December 26, 2008

or as I like to call it We Have So Much Bloody Food Make Your Own Damn Supper Day

Seriously, if you can't find something to eat in our poor overworked fridge, you are not looking very hard.

It was a grand Christmas at the Zombie place. Cabin fever seems to be settling in a little early, though, as we have already moved on a rigorous regimen of board games, something which we don't generally resort to until closer to New Year's. The Kerplunk game which I bought the family this year was fun and satisfyingly
mindless, a departure from the Scrabble which we later pulled out in order to give ourselves headaches from using brains that had been pummeled into submission by vast quantities of shortbread, turkey, and wine.

We appear to have missed the boat on taking advantage of our brief one-day warm spell where the temperature soared all the way up to -7C. Although it is a deceptively brilliant day today, we are once again approaching deep-freeze. Since I would rather scoop out my own eyeballs with a rusty spoon than get anywhere near the fall out zone of a mall today, I may have to suck it up and head down into Fish Creek Park for a bit of a brisk stroll, hopefully without getting lost yet again.

And yes, I know that I am horribly horribly behind on my annual lists. So before I head down into the basement to confront the elliptical which has been glaring at me balefully as I have been studiously ignoring it for the past couple of days on the way to the freezer (yet again), please allow me to present the first of this year's Zombie Lists.

Bad Tempered Zombie's 8 Most Memorable Concerts of 08

8. Chad VanGaalen w/ Portico, Young and Sexy, Octoberman
Sled Island Festival @ Calgary Science Centre

Because I generally see a few Chad VanGaalen concerts a year, it's dangerously easy to take them for granted. But even when those concerts are fraught with technical difficulties and when Chad is having a tough night, as was the case at this concert, a Chad VanGaalen concert is always a wondrous experience - intimate and funny and peppered with gobsmacking visuals amongst the incredible music and Chad's signature voice. And I cannot think of a better place
than the ceiling of the Planetarium upon which to project those amazing stoner videos. We were instantly transported to a crazy parallel universe.

A great bonus to this concert was seeing those fine wordsmiths, Portico, who so graciously agreed to be the subject of my first article in BC Musician Magazine.

7. Great Lake Swimmers
Calgary Folk Festival @ Prince's Island Park


Lying back on the cool grass as the evening sun sends long fingers of shadows across the assembled crowd, while listening to Tony Dekker's achingly beautiful voice float out over us
and ascend to the treetops is about as close to heaven as one can ever get.

6.
Grizzly Bear w/ Kris Ellestad, Woodpigeon
Sled Island Festival @ Central United Church


Concerts in churches are highly underrated. Sure the seats are made for the hard-assed faithful, but the acoustics are amazing, and you are generally within a few feet of the stage. We were right in the front row and could catch every subtle nuance of Grizzly Bear's perfect delivery. A sublime night.


5. Gogol Bordello w/ Rum Runner
MacEwan Hall


Quite simply, the most colourful, sweatiest, and most high octane melange of vaudeville and punk show I have ever encountered. I get exhausted just thinking about this show.


4. Josh Ritter
Calgary Folk Festival @ Prince's Island Park


I stood in a torrential downpour, after I gave up trying to find the Zombie family amongst the sea of identical blue tarps beneath which people were huddled, and I watched Josh Ritter's rollicking and heartfelt set.
As I ate the meal I had carried back from the volunteer tent, water dripping from the end of my nose onto my falafels, I was so glad I had not taken the safe route and stayed warm and dry in the tent when the storm clouds began to assemble. And then, as if on cue from Josh's brilliant smile which never once flagged, the sun broke through the rain and the most amazing rainbow lit up the sky. It was magical.

3. Of Montreal, Wire, Jonathan Richman, Gutter Twins, the Dodos, Still Flyin', Hot Little Rocket, Drive By Truckers, Jane Vain & the Dark Matter, etc.
Sled Island Festival @ Mewata Armouries


Despite it being an oppressively hot day with a brutal sun baking down upon a field that offered absolutely no shade, the lineup for this full day of concerts was unbelievable. And that's all without considering all the amazing musicians that we actually missed - Women, Jose Gonzalez, the Secret Machines, and Mogwai! It was totally worth the heat stroke to see Of Montreal's glitter guns, Jonathan Richman's fancy dancing, Wire's once in a lifetime offering,
and Still Flyin's insanely high energy jumping jacks. I still can't quite believe what my own eyes actually saw that crazy day in June.

2. Elliott Brood w/ NQ Arbuckle, Beja Flor
The Warehouse


This concert actually wins the most flat-out fun concert of the year award. Starting with Beja Flor's surprisingly varied and polished opening, through NQ Arbuckle's mesmerizing and punchy set, right through to the wildest party I have ever encountered at a concert, (I was dancing on the table, fer cryin out loud), this concert would surely have won top spot this year, were it
not for the pilgrimage that went with the top-ranking concert.

Elliott Brood have always put on the most rollicking, flat out playing their hearts out concerts I have ever attended, and they always engage the audience directly - getting out in the crowd and dancing with people, inviting folks on stage to sing and dance along. That night at the Warehouse, where the drinks flowed freely, we felt like we had somehow stumbled upon exclusive invitations to a
bacchanalian orgy.

1. Radiohead w/ Liars
White RIver Amphitheatre @ Auburn, WA


Is anyone really surprised by this choice? Although the concert was absolutely amazing on all accounts, from the ecologically responsible but mind-boggling lighting, to the fact that the women's washrooms had considerably shorter lineups than the men's (you just know that Thom arranged that for me somehow), to the people grooving in the cold driving rain on the lawn who refused to leave until the last note had been played, and of course always remembering the greatest music on earth, this concert will forever hold a top spot in my heart. It was more
than just a concert, after all, it was a pilgrimage, and I have at last worshipped at the Radiohead altar. When you touch the sleeve of greatness in this way, it changes you forever
.


What was your most memorable concert of 2008?

19 comments:

Allison said...

I hope you get in your walk today. Best capitalize on the warmth whilst you can, eh.

Wow, you've seen some amazing concerts this year. I for one am totally shocked Radiohead is first. ;)

Getting to see Tha National in concert this year was by far my most favourite event. Brought a tear to me eye...in a good way of course.

justrun said...

I hate that we have to call these temperatures "warm." I want to protest!
That's a great list... you are so much more out there than me.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Stay warm and dry my zombie pet. I'm glad you all had a great Christmas. Happiest of holiday wishes to you and yours from all of us here in TN.

URBAN BLONDE said...

I also contemplated heading to Fish Creek today for a walk. Then I decided to lie down on the couch instead of sitting on it for a change of pace.

I'm very impressed you used your brain to make lists. I used my brain for.... oh wait a minute I didn't use my brain at all.

mister anchovy said...

Our fridge is crazy full as well...not to mention the baking...

Stephanie said...

Your #1 concert is my #1 concert!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

No walk after all, Al, I was an utter sloth all day.
Yes, I thought that many people would be utterly shocked by my #1 pick. I would have loved to see the National in concert! Those sublime moments that coax a tear, that's the reason we go to concerts.

I am always surprised by just how much there is going on in my city, Justrun, so it's easy to do stuff.
And it's going up to +4C today. I am giddy!

Same back at you, Dr M, from the frozen north where reindeer poop.

Contemplating walking was as much exercise as I got yesterday, Urban, and today will consist of eating popcorn at the movie theatre. However, since Milk is only playing at Chinook, I may end up killing someone over a parking spot.

I'm doing my best to get rid of the overabundance of baking, Mr Anchovy, but I think it may kill me. Should've gotten a defibrillator for Christmas.

We have impeccable taste, Stephanie! I can hazard a guess at your #2 concert as well, you smart girl!

John Mutford said...

Oh dear, you have seen at least 8 more concerts than I have this year. I really must do something about that.

jim dandy said...

Merry Christmas and New Years Too.
I don't think I even made it to a concert this year. (was slayer this last summer? nine inch nails?) I get all the last few years mixed up. oh well. Rock n Roll anyway!!!

Gifted Typist said...

that fridge looks familiar, sadly, I don't feel like eating much at the moment, having eating too much rich stuff the last few...

great list. Have been hearing some of your faves on the Radio2 afternoon show with Rich Terfry? (AKA Buck65) Do you ever listen. Other than campus radio, it seems to be my only connection to CanConIndie or any indie for that matter.

kelly said...

i really need to learn the art of lists. I'm still working on the assumption that I can remember everything...discovering it ain't so

Sean Wraight said...

What an absolutely stellar concert year you have had Barb! Some truly amazing talent to have witnessed.

Here's to the upcoming year in the hope that it will be just as musically spectacular.

s

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Stop copying my comments, John! Okay, okay, let's just agree that we have both had different priorities this year.

I think that's one of the reasons I blog, Jim Dandy, so that I can distinguish one year from the next. All the best to you as well.

I love Buck 65 and have been meaning to listen to his show on Radio 2, but haven't yet, Gifted. I need more hours in the day to listen to everything, I think.
We're still working on the turkey, but are slowly evolving to other food groups.

I can to that realization about a decade ago, Kelly. I would forget to brush my teeth if I didn't make a list.

I have the feeling that yours was even more spectacular, Sean, except of course for Radiohead because that tops everything all the time. I can't wait to read your concert list.

mischel said...

Look at that fridge, girl! Is a slice or two of your famous fruitcake nestled in there, too?

Your concert set is amazing! Alas, I didn't attend a single concert this year which isn't anything new. :( Except for Mia's orchestra gigs which really, seriously, do not count, hah.

I desperately need to get out & go for a walk, too! Everything's sagging (even more) and stagnating to a crazy degree but I just.can't.find.motivation. Know what I mean?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I know precisely what you mean, my dear Michelle. I am just sitting here watching my arse grow, thanks in large part to not being able to stay away from that groaning fridge. Which does hold that devil fruitcake.

Remi said...

Martin Tielli at Hugh's Room. An amazing show at a great venue.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

The venue really makes a hig difference, doesn't it, Remi? And isn't it great to have one really outstanding show that tops all the others?

Danny Tagalog said...

Bit jealous you sae Wire, or are they still Wir? Happy New Year!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Wire had one new member, Danny, I think she played bass, but other than that, they were the originals. It was an amazing show.