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2008 Year In Concerts

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  • stevesly@aol.com
    It s been a bit slow on the list this year, so how about doing a review of the best concerts you ve seen in the past year since it is new years. Here are
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2009
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      It's been a bit slow on the list this year, so how about doing a review of the best concerts you've seen in the past year since it is new years.  Here are mine:
      Feb 1, 2008 - Tommy Castro, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Magic Dick, Deanna Bogart - State Theater Kalamazoo MI: 
       For blues it does not get much better than this.  For the past several years Castro has put together this all star lineup for a short tour each spring and it is a killer show.  Castro opened with his own band who what I consider soul / funk blues.  Castro is a decent guitarist and a very good entertainer.  He and his band serve as house band for the rest of the night. Next he brought on Bogart who is an incredible keyboard player and could give a lot of proggers a run for their money.  Bogart and Castro stayed on stage bringing out harmonica player Magic Dick (best known from the J. Giles Band).  Dick did not blow me away, but he is a very good harp player.  Last they brought up Ronnie Baker Brooks who is the son of Chicago blues legend Lonnie Brooks.  I actually think Ronnie is a better guitarist than his father and vastly underrated.  He is really really good.  Finally all of them jammed together for the finale.  For an encore they brought on several local musicians including local guitar phenom Jordan Ludardini (I predict big things for this kid) and another local star Corry Seibert.  They also brought on the sax player from The Out Of Favor Boys and did about a half hour jam.  It was awesome!  Castro is doing this same tour again this spring.  If you are a fan of blues music at all this is a must see.
      Feb 22, 2008 - Jim Brewer - Laughing Post Comedy Club
      Brewer is a comedian best known from his days on Saturday Night Live playing Characters like Goat Boy and The Joe Peci Show.  I had seen Brewer once before and he is a killer standup performer.  I did not think he was quite as good this time around, but he still puts on a very good show and is very funny.
      March 8, 2008 - Luis Black - State Theater Kalamazoo MI
      Black is a comedian who has been around for years, but came into the public eye as a member of John Stewart's daily show.  His humor is often political and deadpan, but he is very funny.  A great show.
      March 28, 2008 - Tab Benoit - State Theater Kalamazoo MI
      I have seen Tab a bunch of times and he never disappoints.  He does Louisiana swamp blues about as good as anyone and always puts on a great show.
      April 20, 2008 - Joe Jackson - Michigan Theater Ann Arbor Michigan:
      Although I have been a Jackson fan for years I have never had the chance to see him.  This show had Jackson fronting a trio of bass and drums with him on grand piano all night.  He featured a lot from his latest album "Rain" and overall the show was very good.  Not having a guitar was missed on some of his more rocking tunes, but overall I was satisfied.  He can still play and sing as well as he ever did.
      May 14, 2008 - Progressive Nation Tour Featuring Dream Theater, Opeth, Between The Buried And Me and Three - State Theater Detroit MI:
      Unfortunately we got to the theater a little late and missed Three's set.  They are a band I really like so I was disappointed.  Between the Buried And Me are great at what they do, but it is not really my thing.  Opeth were great doing an hour long set, and Dream Theater were their usual consistent selves.  Overall a very good show.
      June 10, 2008 - Rush - Joe Luis Arena - Detroit MI:
      What can I say, another great Rush show.  These guys are always consistent and there is a reason they can still play 20,000 seaters.  Great show!
      June 15, 2008 - Fish - Park West Chicago IL:
      I had seen Fish years ago with Marillion and again on his "Sunsets" tour in the early 90's and both times he had blown me away.  This time around his voice is not what it was (although with the recent press release we now know why), but he still has charisma and charm and put on a very good show. 
      June 20, 21, 22, 2008 - NEARfest featuring Banco, Liquid Tension Experiment, Fish, Larry Fast, Discipline, Peter Hammil, Echolyn, Radio Massacre International, Koenji Hyakkei, Morglbl - Zoellner Arts Center Bethlehem PA:
      Another great NEARfest.  My favorite performances were Banco, LTE, Fish Echolyn (might be the best I have ever seen them), and Morglbl (blew the roof off Sunday morning).  I also enjoyed Discipline, but I have seen them better.  I am looking forward to hosting Morglbl at ProgDay this year, they should kill at Storybook. 
      July 24, 2008 - Jimmy Buffett - Toyota Park Chicago IL:
      My annual Buffett fix was once again a great time.  He always delivers a great show and even better party.  Fun stuff!
      Sept 1, 2 2008 -  ProgDay featuring Secret Oyster, Ain Soph, Mirthrandir, Canvas Solaris, Pinnacle, Abigail's Ghost, Holding Pattern, Cheer Accident, Von Frickle StoryBook Farm Chapel Hill NC:
      The weather did not cooperate all that much (heat and rain), but overall I though it was a good ProgDay.  I am not going to give opinions on the bands since I am a bit too close to it, but I thought all of the performances were at least good and in some cases great.
      Sept 13, 2008 - Motorhead, Valiant Thor - Orbit Room Grand Rapids MI:
      Even though they have been around forever I had never seen Motorhead before.  They did not disappoint.  Brutal, loud, hard rock and Lemmy still looks like he could kick anyone's ass in the room at 62 years old.  Great show.  Lemmy pretty much sums it up when he comes on stage and says "We are Motorhead, and we play rock n roll"........and that is exactly what they do. Valiant Thor was a fun opener.
      Oct 2, 2008 - Umphrey's McGee - State Theater Kalamazoo MI
      Wow, what a show.  These guys do it all.  They get tagged as a jam band, but much of what they do is pure prog.  They put on a 3 hour show, great instrumental work, decent vocals and a great light show.  If these guys come to your town you need to check them out.  One of the bright lights in today's rock world IMO, and one of the best shows of the year.
      Oct 4, 2008 - Indigo Girls, Cathlene Edwards - State Theater Kalamazoo Mi:
      I have always enjoyed what the Indigo Girls do and have enjoyed them live.  This was an acoustic show with just the two girls and their acoustic guitars.  I prefer when they perform with a full band (they rock more than most people realize), but it is also amazing what they can pull off with just the two of them.  The vocal harmonies are pretty amazing.  Cathlene Edwards opened this show with a very nice half hour set and also came out and performed a few songs with the Indigo Girls later in the show.
      Oct 26, 2008 - Carlos Mencia - State Theater Kalamazoo MI
      Mencia is a comedian best known for his "Mind Of Mencia" show on Comedy Central.  This is the second time I have seen him and he did not disappoint.  Along with Mencia were 3 other comedians (all part of his tv show) and they did an almost 4 hour show.  They certainly gave us our money's worth, but it was almost too long.  Anyway, it was a great very funny show.
      Nov 16, 2008 - Discipline, Mathew Parmenter, Ryan Parmenter - Magic Bag Detroit MI:
      Another great show.  Ryan opened with a short set of his quirky numbers, followed by a solo set by Mathew which was very good.  Discipline came on next and preceded to blow the doors off the place.  I have seen the band quite a few times over the years and this was as good as any of them.  I think they were quite a bit better than at NEARfest this year.  Another great show by another underrated band.
      That's it......
      Steve Sly
      ProgDay 2009

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