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My Best Concerts of 2014 (Part 2)

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Paul McCartney at the Dodger Stadium

A few more of my best of 2014:

Paul McCartney: it was an event, he was playing the Dodger stadium on August 10th, and it was the first time since the historic Beatles’ show in 1966. Of course it looked a bit like a religious experience, a pilgrimage… I had never seen so many vintage Beatles shirts at the same place, but Paul didn’t play the nostalgia vibe too much, of course there were plenty of old songs, but some new ones too, and his dynamism on stage and simplicity while talking to the huge crowd was so comforting. From my seat, he looked like a tiny ant at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, but he ignited the sea of people, and the sing-alongs were heart warming. A truly great night.

Echo Park Rising: I can’t believe how many festivals I have attended this year, this one may have started small but it is growing every year to amazing proportions. First it lasted three days this year, August 15th, 16th and 17th and it was an avalanche of bands, I could not keep up: there were more than 300 bands playing in more than 20 locations… how do you cover such an event? I have no idea, but I tried, I took it like a battle, a marathon, an endurance test and I saw some bands, about 30 of them,… well 300 is way too much for the same woman! Corners, Santoros, Kera and the Lesbians (amazing), Dante versus Zombies, Aaron Embry, Sex Stains, Washing Machine, Audacity, Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel, Obliterations, The Shrine, the Record Company, Silver Hands, Dead Dawn, Girl Tears, Gateway Drugs, Froth, Bonfire Beach … these are the ones I remember about!

FYF fest on August 23rd and 24th: It had a new location this year, and I didn’t like it much, there was too much walking between stages, too much time lost trying to catch up an act. Plus the lines to get in the first day were incredibly slow and I missed the first acts. It was exhausting but overall, a great experience,…I saw so many bands once again!… the highlights? The Blood Brothers, Built to Spill, Mac Demarco, Murder City Devils, Joyce Manor, Run the Jewels, Future Islands, Julian Casablancas and the Voidz, Interpol, the Strokes, Phoenix… but there were so many others I could not see! Ha regrets, regrets…

Gogol Bordello, Cat Power and the Pixies: An original and unexpected line-up at the Hollywood Bowl on September 28th, and an eclectic night overall. There was a bit of everything, the awkwardness of Chan Marshall walking on stage with that effusion of love while spilling all her heartbreaks, the energy and chaos of mad man Eugene Hutz commanding his band like a circus ringleader, and the thrilling set of the Pixies, blowing up the sky and the stars on a nice Hollywood night.

Massive Attack: They were playing at the Greek on October 16th and I didn’t want to miss them as they had blown me away a few years ago. I may have been less close than the previous time, but it was still an exceptional event, a  profound trip hop style with an avalanche of information scrolling behind them, from frivolous pop culture facts to political and socio-economic realities, this is a always relevant band with an unique vision of beauty.

Perfume Genius: He has recorded one of my favorite records of this year, and I could not miss his show at the Roxy on October 19th. Mike Hadreas has an intense presence on stage, mixing boldness and vulnerability, a very hard thing to achieve with such bravado and red lipstick. He was confident and aggressive but also tragic and devastating. The young guy next to me was crying real tears the whole time and this is a truly rare thing to witness.

Queens of the Stone Age: They had a big night at the Forum for Halloween, yes, on October 31st, and it was one of these marathon concerts with too many bands and acts opening before you get to see the band that made you buy the ticket, but it was an epic night with the Queens playing ferociously as if it was their last time… actually Josh Homme announced a hiatus of two years! If you like QOTSA, you got what you paid for, Homme’s best falsetto over heavy music, mixing danceable rhythms with testosterone-charged metal action. No other band play with that much badassness! Plus it was a reunion with bassist Nick Oliveri.

Conor Oberst, Ryan Adams and David Gray: The three of them were playing the KCSN benefit on December 12th and I could not pass on such a bill! All of them were in great shape, moving the crowd with a common sensibility and a knack for great melodies served by professional back-up bands. It was a memorable night, although a night which may have stayed too much on track, as there was no real surprise and the Conor and Ryan duo I was hoping for all night long never happened alas.

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