Lists of shows of the year are by far the most useless lists to read. They are completely subjective to where the person writing it lives, what particular shows they went to, and where they traveled. Pick any band that didn’t come here, I’m sure say, Radiohead played a show somewhere that was awesome, but I didn’t go to it, so it’s not here. But since entreaty.net is basically just me reviewing shows it seems like I should do a yearly list for that. So here goes. . . and in case you are wondering it’s 10 of 37.
10. Bully at Third Man Records in Nashville
If this kind of list isn’t applicable to just who is writing it enough, I also moved during 2018 so I have two regions mixed in for the list. I couldn’t have had a much better last Nashville show than to see the cities biggest indie band play at one of the better new venues. I’ve seen Bully several times and this performance had all the highlights you’d expect from them and it was supposedly recorded to be released on vinyl through Third Man.
9. At the Gates at Ground Zero in Spartanburg
The metal legends played a half full show in Spartanburg but still had an excellent set. I once considered driving to Dallas to see them so of course I was excited to see them and not even be late for bed.
8. Jenny Lewis at The Orange Peel in Asheville
Just missing this list was my first time at the Orange Peel when I saw Kurt Vile. That was an excellent show and I have to say my first impression was that I LOVE the Orange Peel. As I stood there waiting for Kurt Vile though I was thinking about how awesome it was going to be to Jenny Lewis on that stage just a few days later. There was no let down. It was a good mix of favorites, Rilo Kiley songs, and new material. Jenny Lewis seems to genuinely love performing and her energy is infectious, you’ll have fun at her show.
7. Slayer, Lamb of God, Anthrax and Testament at a corporate named amphitheater in Atlanta
This one wasn’t all positives, the traffic in Atlanta was terrible, the traffic getting to Atlanta was terrible, the venue parking was $40, so I ended up paying $25 to park in a lawn next to a convenience store that was not exactly close. Despite leaving with was I thought was plenty of time I missed Napalm Death open the show, then I watched Testament from farther away that I’d ever seen them. Things picked up from there though. I got as close as I could with a lawn ticket for Anthrax and was entertained by one beer vendor who was really into the set. During Lamb of God I was able to get closer than a lawn ticket allows and was able to sit by myself and rest up for Slayer. (Oh yeah, did I mention, I went to this by myself?) The effort was worth it for one last time seeing Slayer (Although their last tour keeps getting “legs” added to it, not sure why that counts as the same tour, but whatever.) All the classics, pyrotechnics, plenty of room in an unsold sections of seats, what’s not to love?
6. The National and Big Thief at the arena in downtown Asheville
I’ve seen The National once per album on every album since Boxer and they never disappoint. This time they also brought the excellent Big Thief along. The fact that Big Thief wasn’t on the Shaky Knees fest that took place in Atlanta that same weekend was a deciding factor in choosing this one over it. Big Thief played great and left me wanting more (which I got at a fall headling show at the Grey Eagle) and The National delivered a typically great performance.
5. Phoebe Bridgers and Soccer Mommy at the Cannery Ballroom in Nashville
This Valentines Day show was initially set to be at Cannery Row’s smallest venue the High Watt but sold out so fast it was switched to the biggest venue, Cannery Ballroom, and then had no problem selling that out as well. Phoebe said it was her biggest show ever but I’d bet that’s no longer true. She is blowing up and her new “supergroup” Boygenius with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus will do nothing to temper that. This show was also opened by a Nashville band I hadn’t seen yet called Soccer Mommy that I’m sure we’re all familiar with now.
4. Natalie Prass at the Mothlight in Asheville
How the hell is this number 4? What a ridiculous year for shows! Natalie Prass put on an amazing performance in small venue that could have fit a lot more people. Her albums are great but you need to do yourself a favor and check out her live show if it comes near you. I wouldn’t count on being able to see her in venues this small for long.
3. Loma and Jess Williamson at the Mothlight in Asheville
As someone who loves live music enough to write a blog about it that almost no one will ever read, nothing is better to me than being blown away by a band I’ve never heard of before. Jess Williamson did that for me in 2018. I walked into the Mothlight right as her set began and had a completely unobstructed view of the stage. She played selections from her then not even out yet album Cosmic Wink, which I went home and preordered. The one thing she did not do though was overshadow Loma. The side project of Shearwater and Cross Records has one album which they played most of. It’s beautiful and subtle music and the intimate environment was perfect to experience it live. Jonathan from
Shearwater Loma had time to tell us some interesting details about the recording of the album, like how he became interested in the humming sound a cooler in a convenience store near the studio was making and tried to covertly record it for the album.
2. Caroline Rose at the Mothlight in Asheville
Three in a row for the Mothlight! This one happened to be my very first show after moving and I was treated to something special. Caroline Rose seems like a total weirdo, I first took notice of her from her album cover which is a picture of her with a whole pack (at least) of cigarettes in her mouth with a bored look on her face. I had to, no, needed to check out what kind of music this was. I did so buy looking up a video on youtube and was hooked.
Please stop what you are doing and watch this:
Watch her other videos while you are at it. Get an idea of her personality? What I’m saying is it looks like Caroline Rose would be fun to be friends with. Then look up her old material, she was a straight forward americana/folk/country/whatever artist. It’s like all her weirdness was pent up and this year burst forward in bizarre videos, mandatory red athletic wear, and shows including an animatrionic cat that looks like it came from the clearance isle of a KB Toy Store in 1998. I don’t know how you could go see her and not have fun.
1. Angel Olsen at the Masonic Temple in Asheville
Holy fucking shit Angel Olsen is talented.
You probably know that already but seeing her alone on a stage, just her and her guitar was mindblowing. The scary thing was she didn’t even seem into it that much. She asked what time it was at one point and seemed pleased that her time was almost up. I saw her with a full band in 2016 and it was exceptional, even considering she didn’t play White Fire or Windows, which might actually be my favorite song of all time if you forced me to choose. I heard them both this time, plus old stuff, new stuff, covers, whatever she felt like. As long as she sings I don’t think Angel Olsen is capable of anything other than amazing. I would also strongly consider this for the best show I’ve ever gone too, although that would be waaaaaayyy to hard to pick. And it was a cool bonus to see her in her adopted hometown. Maybe one day I’ll run into her in a gas station and then say something awkward and run away.
Merry Christmas! Go to shows in 2019!