The 10 Best Concerts We Caught In 2015
  • WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2015

  • Posted by: Don Saas

One of the best perks of doing what we do here at Baeble is that we have the opportunity to attend plenty of concerts every year. And if you love music, is there any joy better than going to see your favorite bands live (and it's double the pleasure if you're getting in on the press list for free). And 2015 was a great year for live music. And we caught a ton of shows. This list is going to include excerpts from our reviews of those evenings. Be sure to catch these bands the next time they're in your town.



10. The Weepies at Town Hall - 6/27/2015

"...I'm not sure if I'd ever articulated to myself before that night all of the things that make the Weepies work. The way that it seems like Deb is always holding herself back from a torrent of raw emotion. Her voice has a scrunched quality (it's not a bad thing) and if she were to ever let herself fully go, the music might hit on a sense of overt melodrama instead of the subtle delivery that makes the Weepies' stories work. There's a lushness to Steve and Deb's arrangements that finds them working as easily in chamber pop as they do folk. There's a tender warmth to Steve Tannen's voice that most male vocalists rarely embrace. And even though Steve's hair is graying now, that rejuvenating texture and range in his voice isn't gone" (Don Saas)



9. The Decemberists at the Beacon Theatre - 4/26/2015

"...And that rock sensibility led to the greatest surprise of the band's spectacular two hour set at the Beacon. The Decemberists can not only rock in a live setting; they can rock hard. The show never quite reached head-banging status -- although our writer said he wanted to joust to "A Bower Scene" which went to medieval folk-metal heights -- but The Decemberists are a lot more than lyrical mental masturbation. Meloy and crew are accomplished multi-instrumentalists, and even if Colin Meloy were half the lyricist and storyteller that he's proven himself to be, the way the Decemberists let their hair down live and really have some fun with their arrangements is more than worth the price of admission. Also, their shows traditionally end with the band being eaten by a cardboard whale during "The Mariner's Revenge Song." Can you really ask for more?" (Don Saas)




8. Gregory Alan Isakov at Bowery Ballroom - 4/9/2015

"...But something seemed heavier at The Bowery. The lighting was turned down low, The band members stepped in and out of pools of blue light, haze falling on them like a dense fog. He had a drummer...that was new. Those drums brought something muscular to the mix, maybe best exemplified by the build and eventual eruption of cinematic drama in "This Empty Northern Hemisphere". Everything had a little more electricity running through it, as Gregory and his band played with swells of reverb and ambiance, crashes of cymbal and spooky microphone modulations. It was haunting and far removed from the singular folk sound I had pegged this quintet with. To the point where when they did dig in to do their "nerdy folk thing" (gathering around a single microphone), it could have been another band (an equally amazing band, of course)..." (David Pitz)






7. Madonna at Barclay's Center - 9/19/2015

"...Madonna is woman in the mythic sense. She is sex. She is vulnerability. She is power. She is control. She is pleasure. Someone will pipe in and say "well, what about her music?" It can be pretty f***Ing great too, but you can't talk about Madonna's music without also bringing up Madonna, the cultural legend. They are inextricably separated. Madonna has the mythic allure generally reserved for Beatles or members of the Forever 27 Club. And Madonna knows this. Are her 2000s/2010s albums as good as her 80s/90s output? F*** no. But at this point, that's irrelevant. Madonna stopped by Brooklyn's Barclays Center as the latest stop on her sold out Rebel Heart Tour and delivered nearly two and a half hours of pure sex, adrenaline, and fantasy. And even if I knew maybe four songs she played the whole night, I couldn't deny the onslaught of sensory overload that kept my eyes glued to the stage from start to finish -- well except for the bit where this incredibly intoxicated couple were breaking up and getting back together every ten minutes behind me. That was miserable..." (Don Saas)




6. Dave Matthews Band at PNC Arts Center - 6/10/2015

"...I am not here to rehash the show and pick apart the setlist. It was sold out, as in "good luck even scalping a ticket in the parking lot" sold out. The true fans of the Warehouse, they were not selling. The place was packed. Then again every show for DMB is sold out. It is why they tour every summer. The fans keep showing up, regardless of any new music. I have often heard Dave referred to as the modern day Grateful Dead. The constant touring every year and the shows rotating set lists each night, much like the Dead. I get the analogy, but musically? DMB crushes the Dead. Insert your arguing comments now. I am grateful the Dead have gone away. I was never a Dead Head. Never liked their music or the fan's odors or actions. Do I respect what they accomplished business wise? You better believe it. I Just didn't care. If I am going to spend my money on concert tickets and follow a band around like it's my job, then I would pick Dave Matthews all day, every day and twice on Sunday..." (Mark Brown)



5. Modest Mouse at the Prospect Park Bandshell -- 7/22/2015

"...I'd only been to the Bandshell once before -- I caught Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds there last year (the recent death of Nick Cave's son is a horrific tragedy) -- but let's all be honest, the venue doesn't necessarily have the best acoustics...especially when you remember that they have to keep the volume at certain levels so as not to offend the delicate sensibilities of the yuppies that call Park Slope home. And maybe there are some yuppies that are into psychedelic noise rock being blasted at top volume, but I suspect that isn't the case. That said, from the moment Modest Mouse took the stage, I could have given two shits about the uneven vocal mixing and the occasional bleeding of the guitar amps. Modest Mouse live is a Category 5 Hurricane of rock, LSD, pop, and the possible mental instability (in the best way) of Isaac Brock. Their concerts aren't to be missed..." (Don Saas)




4. Bon Iver at Eaux Claires - 7/18/2015

"Eaux Claires was truly Justin Vernon's festival. He made numerous appearances on stage with other artists (Aero Flynn, The National), not to mention the whole weekend felt like one big run up in anticipation to his first set with Bon Iver in 3 years. 'Justin was graceful, funny, and present,' Dessa told us. 'It's really, really easy to become a crazy person when you've got a venture as large as festival on your shoulders. He shucked oysters at the catering tent, drove golf carts, watched the music, and seemed to really enjoy himself as a showgoer and an organizer. Classy'"




3. The Lone Bellow at Music Hall of Williamsburg - 3/26/2015

"...That Lone Bellow set was like great sex. By the end, you're a sweaty, exhausted mess, but ten minutes later, you want to do it all over again. I was both tired and worn out beyond belief at the end of their over two hour-long show, but I also felt rejuvenated. I was reminded of what exactly it is that I love about live music. It's that feeling you get when you leave a show and everybody is turning to total strangers in the crowd raving about how life-affirming the set was. Half the time, it feels like the most you can ask for from a concert is that it was fun and that a band plays the songs you want to hear. The Lone Bellow's set was fun, and the band played almost all of the songs from both of their records. But, that set was more than that. The Lone Bellow took us to the church of their music, and I'm ready to go back the first chance I get..." (Don Saas)






2. Rush - 6/27/2015

"....You ever blast Rush out of your car stereo? I love nothing more then rolling up to a traffic light and having 'Freewill' blasting out the car. That guitar solo is right up there with some of Alex's greatest stuff ever. When I see the car next to me look pissed off and roll up their window, it makes me smile. When I hear Rush being played in the background of a stadium or sports game I am covering, it makes me smile. It's that sense of pride that I have with being a Rush fan. It can not be explained. It's why I go to certain Rush dates by myself. I don't want to be bothered, and I just want to enjoy a Rush concert without worrying about who I am with and do they get it or enjoy it. Fuck that. I am too old for that crap. I make my money and I will spend it on front row seats to Rush. That's me as a Rush fan..." (Mark Brown)



1. U2 at Madison Square Garden -- 7/18/2015

"...A U2 show is something every rock fan needs to see. Even if you aren't a fan (and I think U2 haters just need to listen to Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby a couple times and get over themselves), the energy and sheer force of a U2 performance is impossible to ignore. And this particular tour is marking itself as a treat already for the band's most dedicated fans. The Edge rocked out the piano so that he and Bono could perform "October" for the first time since the year I was born (1989). They brought a random fan to dance on stage for "Mysterious Ways" and she didn't miss a beat (and they even let her Meerkat the performance of their next track). You can decide to dislike Bono all you want, but I've been to more than my fair share of classic rock shows, and few of them have still had "it" they way that U2 does..." (Don Saas)



Comments

Hot Baeble Videos
Shovels and Rope live at Baeble HQ

Shovels and Rope live at Baeble HQ

Larkin Poe live at Baeble HQ

Larkin Poe live at Baeble HQ

LOLO live at Baeble HQ

LOLO live at Baeble HQ

Kayla Brianna live at The Bell House

Kayla Brianna live at The Bell House

Great Good Fine Ok live at Industry City

Great Good Fine Ok live at Industry City

Dream No More

Dream No More

Johnnyswim live at Baeble HQ

Johnnyswim live at Baeble HQ

Corbu live at Baeble HQ

Corbu live at Baeble HQ

Childish Gambino live at Rockwood Music Hall

Childish Gambino live at Rockwood Music Hall

Bright Light Bright Light live at Baeble HQ

Bright Light Bright Light live at Baeble HQ

© 2016 Baeble Media. All rights reserved.