I was able to get to see quite a few shows for 2013, no small thanks to PLAYBACKstl.
There were several more I would have loved to have gone to see but live calls sometimes and you can’t always get what you want (I hate that I missed BRMC!!!). Here are my top 5 shows for the year, in no order because I just cannot pick a #1. Not to say the many others I did see this year were not great because they were, these were just the cream of the crop.
- Dawes with Shovels and Rope at Off Broadway | I will make it a point to see both bands anytime they come to town—just a phenomenal show all around. I’d never heard of S&R and was completely blown away by them. I fully expected Dawes to be great live, but damn, not that great. Special thanks to my friend Robin for letting me be her +1.
- Kurt Vile with Sonny and the Sunsets at Firebird | Such a fun show. (Here is my review from that night for a more in depth look at it.) I fully expect that if Kurt Vile puts out another album as great as this years “Wakin’ on a Sunny Daze,” he will be at a much larger venue next time, where is sound can just take over.
- Adrian Legg at The Old Rock House | This might come as a surprise. It might be the guitar geek in me that puts this show here, but Legg is just absolutely incredible—I was astounded watching him play. Just a nice, intimate show. I wanted to go home and immediately pick up my guitar and play it…and then smash it, because I will never be able to do the things this man can do.
- Billy Bragg at City Winery, Chicago | This was a total bucket list show for me. I’d never been able to see Bragg live, and with the release of his latest (an incredible tip of the hat to Americana) I had to go. It was worth it. The venue was a bit sterile but he sounded and played great—and it was just after Margaret Thatcher’s death, so he was in high spirits.
- Billy Bragg at Old Rock House | Yeah he’s on here twice, so sue me. Fucking great show, and it made for a great bookend for me with the Chicago show from earlier in the year. Things happened in life that I needed to see this show to help overcome. It helped.
Honorable mentions: Bill Callahan at Old Rock House; Neko Case at The Pageant; Son Volt at The Pageant