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Best Concerts Through November 30th, 2013

instant karma

1. Taylor Swift – Prudential Center – March 27th, 2013– Her third tour, fourth album and post-High School if not College, Red finds the woman in complete control of everything but her heart and more than able to present it in a devastating rock concert.

2. Laura Marling – Roulette – May 28th, 2013 – Laura didn’t bring along a guitar technician. “I don’t mind,” she explained as she tuned two guitars in six keys, “but I didn’t pay for a ticket”.

3. Kanye West – Randall’s Island – June 9th, 2013 – Prior to Yeezus release, West showed what it might have sounded like if Rick Rubin had always recorded with him. It would have sounded really good.

4. Bob Dylan – Jones Beach – July 27th, 2013 – All controversy subsides when the great man takes the stage and plays songs that travel through his entire career.

5. M.I.A. – Terminal 5 – November 1st, 2013 – A masterpiece of modern pop with a conscience that puts former contemporaries like Madonna and Lady Gaga into the nostalgia files, while M.I.A. finds the middle ground between beats and beatings.

6. Icona Pop- Randall’s Island – June 8th, 2013 – The electronic pop duo from Sweden suddenly discover that they are gonna be reall big, they are really happy about this, and they share their joy.

7. Paramore – Hammerstein Ballroom – May 16th, 2013 – “We’ve been killing it all tour”, Hayley Williams claimed, before killing it all night.

8. Tom Petty – Beacon Theater – May 24th, 2013 – A remarkable set by the whitest man in America digging deep and hitting pay dirt. Plus? Could it “Don’t Do me Like That”??

9. Sinead O’Connor – Alice Tulley Hall – July 26th, 2013 – The “Gospel sessions” and a tremendous achievement, singing these great songs, from the obscure to the defined, with complete passion, commitment and faith.

10. Claire’s Diary – ABC No Rio – February 23rd, 2013 – First album release party by upstart rock and rollers on the last stop on the way to college, brought plaster down from the ceiling. That’s the way it is meant to be done.

11. Kelly Willis And Bruce Robison – Joe’s Pub – February 13th, 2013 – A coupla country pros show off their chops fronting a sleek band built to travel.

12. Allman Brothers – Beacon Theater – March 8th, 2013 – With no drama inflicting the world of the best boogie band, they just played in straight and were all the better for it.

13. Iris Dement – City Winery – January 20th, 2013 – At the time it seemed overlong and a little winded, and while it won on points, and it won on its best moments of which there were quite a few, there were stretches that didn’t take off. But now, it seems like a flawed masterpiece where the length of the show let it not build but flow in intensity.

14. The Rascals – Richard Rodgers Theater – April 20th, 2013 – 31 songs, all killa, no filla for the 1960s super soul band.

15. Americana Festival – Damrosch Park – August 10th, 2013 – The evening, headlined by Nick Lowe and featuring James Burton, belonged to Jason Isbell, whose performance announced the arrival of one of the greats.

16. Trixie Whitley – Hearst Plaza – August 10th, 2013 – If this is IT, if this is what the blues belter brings to the rodeo, it is enough.

17. Spider Bags – Cameo Gallery – January 18th, 2013 – because Shake My Head was the best album of 2012, Spider Bags closest as they were ever going to get to a live show in nyc was a must see. But a half hour wasn’t long enough and this must the rarest of shows, one that would’ve have been better if it was longer and they delved deeper into their catalog. Still pretty great.

18. Fleetwood Mac – Madison Square Garden – April 8th, 2013 – The Buckingham Nicks love affair with each other and with us has lead them to this place: where Fleet Mac are again what they once were: a guitar art band with an excellent rhythm section.

19. Paul Williams – Cafe Carlyle – April 24th, 2013 – The great songwriter brings a first rate retrospective to a hgh end joint which had Elaine Stricht claiming the man as the warmest performer she has ever seen.

20. Cheri Dahl – rock nyc comes alive – May 16th, 2013 – We were very fortunate to get the smart and powerful Cheri Dahl for the debut of our “comes alive” concert series. She flawed the audience.

21. Trixie Whitley – Le Poisson Rouge – January 31st, 2013 – Always a blast to see a young artist the moment they hit it big. This feels like the arrival of a major star. As her Uncle Dan Whitley said to me: “She’s a pop star without the word pop star taking away in any sense from Trixie’s brutally honest artistry.”

22. Jahn Xavier And The Bowerytones – Arlene’s Grocery – September 14, 2013 – This is the sort of meeting of a subculture defined by so many failed attempts to reunite in a moment and also extened the moment into the present. The moment was the Lower east Side in the late 1970s, and the extension was musical and triumphant.

23. Tomas Doncker Band – The Blue Note – September 9th, 2013 – “There is magic in new beginnings” Tomas Docker exults before leading the True Groove family in a wide ranging evening of funk, punk, soul, blues -you name it.

24. ARMS – Studio At Webster Hall, Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 – Todd Goldstein is a one band except he has a full band and they take the stage to a soundscape indie rock of power and beauty and a smart sound you would do well to listen to.

25.  MargotMacdonald – Rockwood 1, Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 – Looptastic melody queen with stage presence and songs galore

26. Kanye West – Barclay Center – November 19th, 2013 – Stupendous hip hop arena rock, two hours of theater of the ego and black pride as black hubris

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