by Matt Selander
(please note that none of these took place in Baltimore,time to up your game local promoters and venues)
1. Dirty Three @ Sixth and I Synagouge, Washington, D.C.
There was a time in the 1990's when Australia's Dirty Three were mainstays of the American indie touring world. The oughts saw Dirty Threes's members focusing on other projects including collaborations with Nick Cave,Bonnie Prince Billy and Smog. I had started to accept the fact that I would never see these legends on a U.S. stage. Then out of nowhere DT drops a new album and announces a U.S. tour. I will say with no exaggeration, it was worth the wait.Their show at the Sixth and I Synagogue was equal parts noisy intensity and melancholic beauty. Also, Warren Ellis is the world's top showman...hands down.
2. Kraftwerk @ MoMA NYC
Only about 1 in 15 Kraftwerk fans who attempted to purchase tickets for their 8 night retrospective at New York's Museum of Modern Art were successful. That fact in and of itself was big news in the blogosphere. We were lucky enough to get 2 tickets for night 3 (TransEuropeExpress). Despite the departure of Florian Schneider, the group made light work out of material that was now by in large a 30+ year old catalog. The setting which seemed oddly intimate considering the size coupled with the 3D presentation of the group's videos made the show a total experience.
3. Neil Young & Crazy Horse @ Patriot Center, Fairfax,VA
The only surviving relic of the 1960s that still matters.
4. Sunn O))),Oren Ambarchi,Kevin Drumm @ Memorial Hall, Raleigh,NC
Experimental HEAVY HITTERS! You don't see a line up like this everyday, at least not on this side of the Atlantic. The fact that the Hopscotch Music Festival could make this happen in North Carolina is all the more amazing. Take that NYC!
5. Demdike Stare @ Public Assembly, Brooklyn,NY
I've been interested in minimal and expiremental electronic music since I first heard Aphex Twin and Autechre in 1994. I was in 11th grade. I've sen a lot of trends come on go and as a fan of Mary Anne Hobbs BBC Radio 1 show I've watched the rise of all maner of English expiremental techno and dark ambient and yes I was even interested in the early rise of dubstep. I'm not always able to describe the intricacies of electronic music but it will say that Demdike Stare's performance was a transcendental affair. Did I mention they opened for the super-hyped Andy Stott? He could have stayed at home because Demdike Stare brought down the house.