Best of 2009

Posted in Music on December 31st, 2009 by Tom

The page for my Top 10 Albums of 2009 is up. Artists include:

Florence + The Machine
Franz Ferdinand
Metric
Passion Pit
Phoenix
The Sounds
Stellastarr*
We Were Promised Jetpacks
White Lies
Wild Light

but not necessarily in that order!

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Killers Concert, with Wild Light

Posted in Music on July 24th, 2009 by Tom

Recap from May

Earlier this ‘summer’, I made a command decision to got see the Killers in concert back in good ol’ KC. A few caveats, though:
1) it wasn’t summer, it was the weekend before finals. oops.
2) They were in Bonner Springs, KC. ick.

Oh well. It was way worth it. Every time they release an album, they hit basically the same place at the same time; I know this because I saw them in 2004 (at the Uptown for Hot Fuss), and 2007 (at City Market for Sam’s Town) both on or around my birthday, May 10th! This cycle is apparently no different, and so on May 2nd, Allison and I saddled up to head out to the Verizon Wireless Sandstone Some Other Corporate Sponsor Maybe Amphitheater to go see the Killers! Ahhhhhhhh! I was really excited, despite the impending pile of work I was leaving behind in Kirksville… or maybe rather because of it.

One of the most pleasant parts of the evening, I’m surprised to say, was the warm-up act. Normally these groups are not terribly well known, and are warming the crowd up for a reason: they aren’t as good as the people you came to see. For me in particular, I have a hard time warming up to music on the first (or 5th) listen-through. The opener for the Killers, Wild Light, managed to get me pretty pumped though. I see why they were touring with Flowers and Co.; if you like one, you’re pretty sure to enjoy the other.

It’s standard new-wave revival fare, but well-polished, and with lots of good hooks! Their one big song which everyone seemed to know is a catchy antithesis to Phantom Planet’s ‘California’. It’s called ‘California on My Mind’ and has mad cussing in it! They played it off with just enough angst that you kinda wanted to go, “Yeah! Fuck California.” You think they play that out west? Who knows.

Anyways, I wanted to post a few tracks that people don’t know, but should. They basically filled a set taking the most engaging material from their 2009 album Adult Nights. Of the 13 track, they must have played 8 or 9, because I snagged this album a few weeks later, and all the song titles seemed familiar. A particularly good one that I feel like sums up the best Wild Light has to offer is ‘Call Home

It isn’t quite as electronic as a Killers or the Bravery, but certainly more up-tempo than an Editors or an Interpol. I’d also say it’s a good deal more accessible than similar sounding artists, the Killers excluded from that, obviously.

It was tough to pick the second track; I had it between the song which follows ‘Call Home’ and the closer. I put of the following track, ‘Heart Attack’ because I’ve seen the closer, titled ‘Red House’ online elsewhere. I highly encourage you to find that song, it’s fantastic [and another point for Noble on the Tom Hates Closers front…]. ‘Heart Attack‘ is another stand-out track that gives you a good idea what Wild Light is going for.

All-in-all, I was glad to pick up the record. It’s not explosively fantastic, nor is it revolutionary, but it’s mellow enough listening that you can just kinda chill to it without it being so brooding that it depressed you on an otherwise-pretty-good-day. Highly recommended.

Now, as you may have guessed from my album rankings of 2008, and the fact that I’ve seen them twice live already, the Killers would have to basically kill my family to ruin my evening. In the absence of such an event, I thought the show was fantastic. The set list was as follows:

Human
This Is Your Life
Somebody Told Me
For Reasons Unknown
Joy Ride
I Can’t Stay
Bling (Confession of a King)
Shadowplay (Joy Division cover)
Smile Like You Mean It
Spaceman
Change Your Mind
A Dustland Fairytale
Sam’s Town
Read My Mind
Mr. Brightside
All These Things That I’ve Done

Encore:
Bones
Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
When You Were Young

Opening with Human was a shrewd move, because everyone instantly lost their shit. It was kinda funny to watch. I was surprised by the number of Sam’s Town tracks that persevered, like ‘For Reasons Unknown’, ‘Read My Mind’, and even ‘Bones’ in the encore, of all things! Not that I dislike any of these, but for me Sam’s magic was in the opening and the closing, with those songs just kinda holding the line in the middle.

With 5 tracks from Hot Fuss, 7 from Sam’s Town, and 6 from the album they were touring, Day & Age, the spread was pretty dead-on; they even played their cover of Joy Division’s ‘Shadow Play‘ which the crowd stumbled on because a lot of them had never heard it. First, shame for not knowing your Joy Division. Second, they released it on their b-sides, so I’ve no sympathy.

Again, I’m surprised that their sophomore effort was so heavily represented, but whatever. I got to hear ‘When You Were Young’ as the final closing to the set, which was pretty awesome; there were explosions and fire and a whole meaner of visually stimulating things going on there. They Day & Age material they picked was great, mostly because I get really into ‘A Dustland Fairytale‘ and when the real-deal is drowning out my own poor rendition of this superb track, it doesn’t get much better than that.

One gripe? They didn’t play ‘Losing Touch‘, the opening track [ergo I’m predisposed to think is the best song on the record], which I love to pieces. I kept kinda waiting, but they didn’t play it. Sad! It’s posted here so you will not have to endure a similar stress…

The show was great! I bought a t-shirt and everything. We (where we = Allison, intrepid photojournalist that she is) even took a few pictures, which are posted right below:


NOTE: The images themselves are pretty big; just a head’s up.

So it was a good show. I usually only make it to one or two concerts a year, and so I’m glad this one lived up to / exceeded expectations.

PURCHASE:
Adult Nights – Wild Light
Day & Age – The Killers

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