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I saw some great shows in 2008, along with quite a few not-so-great shows. It can be hard to quantify the best shows -- what really makes one show better than another, after all? Is it a killer set list, a virtuoso performance, the accompanying light show? Becasue of that, I'm going to share with you not my best shows of 2008, but my most memorable ones, along with a line or two about why they were so memorable. If you want more detail on why they stuck with me, you can click through and read the reviews I wrote for them initially.
- Otto von Schirach @ Benders (Early February) - There are few things more memorable in life than an electronic noise/experimental artist dressed up like a superhero, screeching an acid-warped version of "When Doves Cry" through god knows how much digital distortion. It was mind blowing in the best possible way.
- Astrophagus @ hi-dive (Early March) - First, it was a CD release for what turned out to be my favorite local record of the year. Second, they played all but one of my favorite tunes off the record, and they played them damn well. Third and finally, Jason Cain busted his head open with his own guitar to end the set. That's the kind of rock and roll chaos that sticks in your mind for a while.
- Yeasayer @ Bluebird (Late November) - I was dead sober during this psychedelic rave up, but I felt as high as a kite. This was the second time I saw Yeasayer this year, and they impressed the hell out of me both times -- the first was good, this was just great. Trippy, innovative and technically strong, it was an amazing show.
- Holy Fuck @ Monolith (mid-September) - One of the most intense live sets I've ever seen and by far the best act I saw at monolith this year. It was all kinds of crazy noise, driving beats and groovy bass lines. I went from mild interest to devout fan in the space of a single set.
Jamie Lidell - Bluebird (Early June) - You know how you hear a buzz about an act being incredible live, but you just can't quite believe they can live up to the hype, but then you see them and they not only live up to it, they blow it out of the water and you immediately go out and start proselytizing about how great they are yourself? Yeah, that's me and Jamie Lidell. I really like Lidell's recorded work, but what I saw here was among my top shows ever. He turned everything up to eleven, set it on fire and blew it the fuck up, along with my mind. Next time he comes to town, just go. You can thank me later. -- Cory Casciato