The year is almost over and I do love lists, so I thought I’d throw some favorites up on BPB. Here’re my top five live shows of 2007, in no particular order:
Torche at the Black Cat This poppy alt-metal band was every bit as substantial as its records imply, and heavier than most of its peers—which is saying a lot.
Boris at the Black Cat The only act I saw this year that brought more heft was the Japanese psych-metal trio Boris (guitarist Wata pictured), which augmented itself with Ghost guitarist Michio Kurihara. Never before have I felt so completely bathed in awesomeness, not to mention bass. This was some kind of personal pinnacle.
Leos Janacek’s Jenůfa at the Kennedy Center
Tim Page pretty much nailed it in the Post. Here’s the conclusion to his review:
The production [of the Czech composer’s great 1904 opera], which was first performed at the English National Opera last fall and then brought to Houston before coming here, is already famous. And rightly so: I cannot imagine a more affecting and appropriate “Jenufa.” The updating to the present day seems utterly natural, without any directorial affectation, and such time-tested theatrical gestures as the throwing of a chair or the smashing of a window here take on the painful immediacy of body blows. This is great music drama. Whether you end up “liking” it or not, you will never forget it.
John Abercrombie Quartet at Blues Alley I only caught the first set, which had a more ragged, aggressive vibe than the guitarist’s excellent latest, The Third Quartet. That record, like the two ECM discs that came before it, documents what is without a doubt one of the best stealth bands in jazz.
Alex Ross at Politics and Prose Not a live set, per se, but Ross was more entertaining than most live bands I see. He read from The Rest Is Noise, his new book about 20th century classical music, and, via laptop, played selections from Stravinsky and Reich, among others (Bjork, too, got the invisible jukebox treatment). He’s a generous guy in print, and even more so in person.