This year has proved that I am a creature of habit. There are a few repeats on this list, but they’re well worth it. Boston Calling graced us with their Greatest Line-Up Ever. And I saw Beyonce (again)!
Curmudgeon Note: I feel like more and more people go to shows these days just to see if they’re able to talk over the music. My favorite venue, The Sinclair, has a separate bar area/lobby where you’re still able to hear the music and see the show while not ruining anyone’s experience. Literally no one does this. Just go home, turn the album up real loud and then yell at your friend about your upcoming business meeting or your wild card friend that hasn’t shown up yet. Spare me, please.
January 23rd, Torres (w/Palehound) at Great Scott, Allston, MA
Torres is not an easy sell to your average music fan. Her performance was just as raw as the tracks on her album and everyone stood in awe of emotion she put behind it.
February 22nd, Lee Fields and The Expressions at The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
One of my favorite shows from this past year. Lee Fields can get it. The connection between him and the audience is palpable and he thrives off of that energy. This was a truly romantic evening.
March 31st, Yacht Rock Review at The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
YBR is best enjoyed wearing aviators and a captain’s hat. The baby boomer woman inside of me freaked out over “Arthur’s Theme” and “My Old School” (or any Steely Dan song for that matter.) They put on a hell of a show, but I unfortunately left at intermission. They’re coming back this March, so check them out.
April 14th, San Fermin at Paradise Rock Club, Allston, MA
Prior to the show I ran into a friend of mine outside the venue who was also there for the show. She told me she bought a ticket because I had raved about them. Another strong performance. These are like the most talented musicians in the world, guys.
May 5th, Lapsley at The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
First of all, I want her chambray duster. Scratch that, I want to be cool enough to pull off a chambray duster. Lapsley was still a teen at this performance, but, much like Adele, her songs make you think that she has lived a lifetime of heartbreak and relationship strife.
May 12th, Mirah at Club 939, Boston, MA
Confession: I bought tickets to this show and was really looking forward to it, but the Spurs were facing elimination in the NBA playoffs and I didn’t want to miss what would end up being Tim Duncan’s last game ever. From what I heard – It was wonderful.
May 27th-29th, Boston Calling Music Festival at City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA
To write about every act here would be just too much, but my favorite performances were Courtney Barnett, Charles Bradley, and Lizzo with top honor going to Janelle Monae. Least favorite performance was Robyn, but I know that her club remix tour was not intended for me. We cool, Robyn.
May 29th, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires at The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
Okay, so I love Charles Bradley. Even though I saw him earlier that day at Boston Calling, I needed to go see him at The Sinclair. He is ROMANCE personified. He’s also the first man to ever give me a rose and only one of like two dudes that ever gave me flowers. Step it up, Future Boyfriends. You need to be on par with Charles Bradley. (Side note: Charles was diagnosed with stomach cancer this past fall and has been undergoing treatment. Reports have stated that he is doing really well. Get well soon, Charles xoxoxo).
(I want this to be my wedding song.)
June 3rd, Beyonce at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
QUEEN! I’d seen Beyonce on her last solo tour at the Garden, but she is meant to be EXPERIENCED outside. Fireworks! Pools filled with water being splashed around in and kicked into the audience! Songs about people getting the f*ck outta your face! Seeing this show with some of best girlfriends (who are also some of the strongest people I know) made this night spectacular.
June 19th, Wye Oak at The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
I’ll admit that I’m not a huge Wye Oak fan or regularly listen to their music, but they put on a wonderful performance that was much more upbeat and engaging than their music would let on.
July 15th, Rebirth Brass Band at The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
They’re just so great.
July 23rd, Flight of the Conchords at Blue Hill Bank Pavilion, Boston, MA
Sad to say this show was disappointing. They were hard to hear and understand outside at the pavilion. They played only a few songs, one of which clocked in around 17 minutes and was about Bret being Jemaine’s son or something.
July 28th, Garbage at House of Blues, Boston, MA
Holy cats does Garbage still kick ass. I’ve been holding out hope for a reunion tour that I could attend. Like I’ve said in the past I have to really, REALLY like the performer to step foot in the House of Blues (which was hot as hell this night, of course). I was having one of those moments where I didn’t realize how many of their songs I knew or were popular. It’s like P!nk. I like every song of hers, but I’m not aware of how many there are. I still want to be Shirley Manson when I grow up.
September 13th, Jenny Lewis at the Wang Center, Boston, MA
This was such a special performance as she played all of Rabbit Fur Coat in order alongside the Watson Twins. After a brief intermission she played songs from her other two albums and Rilo Kiley’s “I Never.” I hadn’t payed that much attention to RFC, I think I am the only one who prefers Acid Tongue, but it was such an emotionally charged performance (especially the title track) and I gained a new appreciation of the album.
Also, an oil painting opened for her.
November 19th, Letters to Cleo at the Paradise, Boston, MA
omg omg omg omg omg
FINALLY! I ended up with an extra ticket to this show and was shocked that I couldn’t find someone that wanted it, but it doesn’t matter because I got to see Letters to Cleo how I was supposed to: at the dank Paradise.
November 20th, Letters to Cleo at The Sinclair, Boston, MA
While it was great to see them tear it up at the ‘dise, I met Kay Hanley and was leaning on the stage for the entirety of this show. I could barely see at the Paradise (a normal occurence) so to see every expression and gesture shared between them was terrific. It’s obvious that they still love performing with each other. Plus, had a wonderful girl squad for this one too.
December 4th, Lizzo at Brighton Music Hall, Boston, MA
Lizzo deserves the world. I had been feeling down on myself for a number of reasons that weekend so to spend the night with a body-positive feminist who can rap as well as she can sing was pretty great. I’m so happy for her success and hope that she is showered with love for years to come.