41. Lissie – Reggie’s: I knew a few of her tunes, so when WXRT sponsored a free show at the club less than a mile from my place I decided to waltz on over to check it out. It took me a while since waltzing isn’t the most efficient mode of travel, but I staked out a good spot and hoped for an unsucky show. Not only was it unsucky, but I’d go as far as saying it was rather good. I mean I’m not the president of her fan club, but I’d consider being an officer.
42. Poi Dog Pondering – Metro: Damn, another 25th anniversary show? I’ve been a fan since the early 90’s largely based on my purchase of one CD – Volo Volo. After that they apparently relocated to Chicago and I lost track of them a bit. So when they booked two nights – one for their Austin music and one for their Chicago music – I thought about a ticket for the former. Metro made it easy by giving me one, so I went and doggy-poi’d the hell out of it. Meaning you stand there, bob your head and sway along to the music and sing along when requested. It was nice.
Watch Poi Dog Ponder
43. Jim Jones Revue – Schubas: Prior to this year, the only Jim Jones I knew was the crazy one responsible for the annoying expression “drinking the Kool-Aid”. This Jim Jones is way better. I read a review describing his music as “Little Richard with a chainsaw and a nosebleed”. I can’t do better than that.
44. City and Colour – Vic: Okay, this one was way out of character for me. C&C is really an alias for a singer/songwriter type named Dallas Green. Get it? Dallas (City) and Green (Colour). All that alone should disqualify him from this list. But something about this knucklehead’s songs connected. Maybe just the one about not sleeping, since that’s something I rarely do. I was even half expecting to be bored at his show, but the songs came alive and the arrangements worked. The dude knows what he’s doing, whether I care to admit it or not. Fine, I admit it.
45. Broken Social Scene – Wrigleyville Rooftop: Another free show from WXRT, and another band I thought I might like just because they’re one of those incestual Canadian bands with way too many people whose members seemingly come and go as they please, but somehow always manage to have enough people in the right place when it comes time to record or perform. Amazing how those Canucks pull off shit like that.
46. Fleet Foxes/Walkmen – Chicago Theater: I liked the new record but wasn’t sure how it would play live until I heard them impressively nail it outdoors at Pitchfork. So I grabbed tickets for the Chicago Theater, thinking it would be even more amazing at a venue like that. It was, but they suffered the same affliction as Hindi Zahra and were too damn mellow for their own good. It’s like eating the best damn risotto in town, but never really getting the main course. But it was still some damn good risotto.
Watch Fleet Foxes
47. Cowboy Mouth – House of Blues: I want to rank these guys higher, because no band on this entire list is more committed to making sure that the audience has fun and leaves everything behind for those 90 minutes while they’re on stage. The music isn’t terribly original, but there are several catchy tunes and they indubitably accomplish their goal of delivering a solid and fun rock and roll show. Like Mardi Gras in their hometown of New Orleans, a Cowboy Mouth show is something everyone should experience at least once. Or Fred will track you down and kick your ass.
Watch Cowboy Mouth
48. Tinariwen – Lincoln Hall: Desert blues from Mali. How cool is that? Too cool. As in so cool, that it’s best left for playing at home or on your iPod while you chill out. These guys are good, but it’s not much of a stage show. You know when you go to a restaurant and get a meal and you’re like, hey, I could have whipped this up at home in 20 minutes and saved myself $20…. that’s Tinariwen.
49. Robyn – Riv: Sorry, I’m a sucker for bad dance music from the last century. I was shocked to see Robyn at Pitchfork last year since I only knew her from her hit back in 1997 and was completely unaware of her big comeback. Mostly because I’m not gay. But I’m questioning that since I’m apparently I’ve been the only straight man in the crowd at her last two shows. Not that there’s anything wrong with that….
50. British Sea Power – Lincoln Hall: I like these guys. The music was good. The songs are good. It was good. I wasn’t blown away. I want to be blown away. I know not every band can be and EF-5 tornado, but at least give me enough of a breeze that my hair gets a little messed up. You’ve got the world “Power” in your name, fer crissake!