As I tuned in to the WOXY vintage radio stream, I saw an image of a hand making the “devil horn” gesture so many have exhibited at concerts throughout the land. Inspired by this symbol, I now present to you a hallmark of useless information – the best live acts I’ve ever seen. In no particular order:
1. Tribe Called Quest/De La Soul/Souls of Mischief – Cincinnati
Brother Tim and I saw this tour at Bogart’s up by U.C. Not only was it a great show, but it was also notable for being the only concert I’ve ever attended where someone larger than myself obstructed my view.
2. Uncle Tupelo – Columbia, Missouri
Before Jeff Tweedy’s Wilco and Jay Farrar’s Son Volt, there was Uncle Tupelo. I saw them on almost every tour from 1990-1994. There best shows were as a trio (first with Mike Heidorn, then Ken Coomer on drums). Most fun show was the “Blue Tuxedo” show – Jeff Tweedy: “Welcome to the prom!”. Most memorable were the last two shows they played at the Blue Note in Columbia, Missouri.
3. Mike Watt – West Palm Beach and Pompano Beach, Florida
Both shows were in small rooms and very loud. In the first show Watt played the entirety of his “Contemplating The Engine Room”. Nels Cline (currently with Wilco) played guitar. A couple of years later, Watt returned with two more sidemen and played classic Minutemen, Firehose and Stooges material. He’s a very approachable guy.
4. Barenaked Ladies – Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Florida
I’d written of BNL’s “Gordon” as a joke record for several years until my old roommate Megan took me to one of their concerts. A Spinal Tap moment occurred when the main curtain in front of the stage didn’t drop at the proper cue during the first song. They’re a band whose music you don’t have to be familiar with ahead of a show. Just show up and have a good time. Preppygirl and I saw them a few years later with a bigger set and costumes.
5. Lollapalooza 1993 – Philadelphia (Rage Against The Machine, Tool)
Rage and Tool weren’t as well-known as they are today. Tool’s effect on the audience was scary – turned us into a pulsating, swaying mega mosh pit. This was the infamous Rage appearance where they stood naked before the crowd with 12 minutes of feedback, saying nothing.
6. Lollapalooza 1994 – Cincinnati (Beastie Boys and Smashing Pumpkins)
Both bands were at their peaks. Beasties set it off with “Sabotage”.
7. Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players - Chicago and Scotland
I’m not going to try and describe this act. Just link up here and experience them for yourself.
8. Blue Mountain/Southern Culture on the Skids – Florida
Some of the best alternative country from both ends of the spectrum. Blue Mountain is defunct, but SCOTS is still touring.
9. Morphine – West Palm Beach, Florida
I was fortunate to see this group before their singer, Mark Sandman died.
10. The Kids In The Hall – Ft. Lauderdale and Buffalo.Alright, these weren’t music concerts, but what the hell! The Florida show in 2000 was the last of that tour – Buffalo 2002, the first. 2000 was fantastic, because none of us had seen them all together since “Brain Candy”. The show began with the theme blaring out before the silhouetted images of the boys dancing behind the scenery. When they emerged, dressed as the office ladies from the Cathy/Kathy sketches, the room erupted.