My favorite shows this year re-connected me to old favorite artists or introduced me to new and past talents that I had previously not known.
1) Prince at The Forum April, 2011
Sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to get with Prince. He marches to his own muse which is one of the reasons why we’re still intrigued by him some thirty years after his first breakthrough. Prince played 21 days in LA this past April and May and with tickets priced at $25, it was a deal too hard to pass up and a great opportunity to take the kids too. Prince didn’t disappoint. He ruled the stage like no one’s business….and he didn’t even sing or speak the first ten minutes of the show…he just prowled around the stage…he reminded us that we live in Prince’s world and we were his happy subjects. I hope these shows have reinvigorated him to create some great new music in the future.
2) Martyn Joseph at The Strawberry Music Festival
The Strawberry Music Festival has been a family tradition for over a decade now. It is sometimes a crap shoot when it comes to the artists. I love the sounds of guitars, mandolins, banjos and fiddles but to create something truly memorable creates some effort. I can count on one hand the artists that I did not know before but remembered long after we left Camp Mather. For the record that list is:
1) Nickel Creek
3) Hayes Carll
4) Riders in the Sky
Well now I have to add a sixth artist to the list. There’s nothing spectacular about Martyn’s stage show. It’s just him and his guitar. This is a guy that like Prince has been out there for a long time, he was once on a major label but is now doing it for himself. Unlike Prince, he never had any huge hits. He’s a guy who strikes me as someone who does this because he truly loves it and would do it even if he wasn’t getting paid. His connection with the audience was genuine as are the songs he writes. Watching him perform with the Yosemite trees behind him just felt so perfect. Truly memorable.
3) Serge Gainsbourg Tribute at The Hollywood Bowl August 2011
I went because Beck was attached to this but it was Mike Patton (best known as the singer of Faith No More) that won me over performing as a French-speaking lounge lothario. He brought a genuine earnestness to his performance. This was also the first time I heard of Zola Jesus who brought her gothic fervor to the proceedings. I was not familiar with this concept album from 1971. The concept being Serge picks up a teenage girl. Creepy and yet musical genius. It was an amazing night under the stars at The Hollywood Bowl.