#1. IDLES, w/ A Place To Bury Strangers @ First Avenue, August 3, 2019
I don’t get to go out very often these days, but I did myself a favor and decided to show up “early”. I hadn’t seen APTBS for a while, so I’m glad I caught the last part of their literally enveloping set. Then IDLES played what I can only try to describe as a rock-and-roll show. There is a current gold standard when it comes to live rock-and-roll for me, and they are it.
#2. Stereolab, w/ BITCHIN BAJAS @ First Avenue, October 5, 2019
I don’t usually enjoy “recital”-type shows, but Stereolab were just the group to get back together for me to give it an honest shot. Their performance was great, don’t get me wrong, and BITCHIN BAJAS were drone-tastic. I’m glad to have gone; and I’m also glad I wore the correct shoes.
#3. Judiciary, Necrot, Exhumed, Gatecreeper @ 7th St Entry, November 19th, 2019
I was disappointed in myself for missing out on the Voivod show this last year (because of many, many reasons), so I treated myself to this killer revue last November. Necrot were AWEsome (I missed Judiciary to my chagrin, but bought a dope t-shirt in recompense). Exhumed were the reason I came, and I was super excited to take in their character-driven live show. But then the stage smoke started…and kept on going. I had to leave after about five songs, but all-in-all I’m glad I went – even though I’m not “allowed” to wear my Necrot t-shirt in public (graphic tees make great insulation during winter mail delivery season).
Kraut rock is making quite the comeback and I’m all for it. Bring the wah; bring the 1-and-2-and drums; bring it all. And that Miami Deutsch fuzz tone is to die for. I thoroughly enjoyed this one-two kraut-psych revue, even for a work week. I didn’t even mind having to wait for the train for an hour-and-a-half because I fell asleep on the wrong train trying to get home from St. Paul. Dig it.
#5. Darsombra, w/ Comets Ov Cupid, Beach Mountain @ the Kitty Cat Klub, September 19th, 2019
Baltimore’s Darsombra are one of the few two-person acts I will consistently turn out to see. Not unlike Acid Mothers Temple or Parliament Funkadelic, each performance is the same while being totally different. Riff-heavy and cyclical in their rhythmic precision, Darsombra are always a treat to behold. Comets Ov Cupid continue to crush heavy space riffs to smithereens in their electric trio ensemble, and Beach Mountain grow intrigue as they grow their unique brand of therapeutic synth-wave.
#6. Heliotrope 11 @ the Heart of the Beast Theatre, May 30th – June 1st, 2019
I only made it to a portion of the second day, but I’m so, so glad this festival is continuing in its very specific, yet very inclusive mission of artistic expression; and what better venue to host than the aptly beautiful Heart of the Beast. ONO gave a spectacular performance, and the local freak scene continues to enthrall and expand/expound/expunge/etc.