Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Difficult 2013—Introduction

2013 was the year I gave up trying to keep up. I couldn’t muster the resources to do it: the time required to listen to everything, the money to acquire what might interest me, the enthusiasm to keep feeding the addiction. I pretty much sat back and monitored what everyone else was yabbering about, sampled a bit of it, and picked and chose a few things from that. Of course, there were a bunch of insta-buy albums from bands I know and trust, but overall my quest for new music became very casual last year.

My biggest concern was really how I should listen to music. This year my devotion to physical formats took a hit because we moved. The process of packing and stacking those bins and bins and bins and bins of CDs was demoralizing. There were a lot of records to deal with too, but doing so didn’t give them the nagging taint of obsolescence that the CDs acquired during the move. Now that we’re unpacked and my guilt over the hundreds of pounds of plastic discs and cases has subsided, I have to admit I still like them, and I do pull them out and listen to them, just as I’ll admit that they’re an absurd burden to store and transport. I'll entertain the idea that I shouldn’t keep choosing them as my main format for listening to music.

[Old-man rant about the return of vinyl deleted]

To start the best-of-2013 list-fest, here are some of the most memorable shows from last year. I can't complain about the quality and quantity of gigs making that sometimes-treacherous hop across the border. The scene in Vancouver is still fantastic, and I thank all the promoters plugging away to keep it strong. Some of the shows (Anathema, Diamond Head/Raven) could have been better attended. It's a bit maddening/saddening to watch a band trying to bring a Euro-style festival show to a half-full theatre. I'm hoping that it doesn't indicate that the scene's reached a saturation point. On the other hand, shows like Red Fang, Goblin and Saxon were absolutely packed, so it's swings and roundabouts in this crazy world of rock.

Favourite Concerts of 2013
1. Nick Cave—April 6, Vogue Theatre / Yob—April 6, Interurban Gallery
2. Neurosis—January 5, Showbox (Seattle)
3. Scott Kelly—March 9, Railway Club
4. Rush—July 26, Rogers Arena
5. Lee Ranaldo and the Dust—December 7, Biltmore
6. Anathema and Alcest—September 28, Rickshaw Theatre
7. Sub Rosa and Eight Bells—April 20, Astoria
8. Red Fang—November 10, Rickshaw Theatre
9. Goblin—October 17, Rickshaw Theatre
10. Kylesa, Blood Ceremony, White Hills, Lazer/Wulf—May 29, Electric Owl
11. Saxon—October 10, The Venue
12. Intronaut, Scale the Summit—June 6, Rickshaw Theatre
13. Shooting Guns—June 23, The Cobalt
14. Baroness—September 4, The Venue
15. Kadavar, Mothership—Sept. 20, Astoria
16. Diamond Head/Raven—October 9, Rickshaw Theatre