Art is how we decorate space, Music is how we decorate time

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Fave shows of 2003

DrBeeper saw a fair amount of live music (35 events) in 2003, these were his favorite shows…

Calexico – Bimbo’s 365 – March 01
&nbsp&nbspJust a ridiculously rewarding display of warm, friendly virtuosity.&nbsp&nbspElements of jazz, folk, mariachi, and atmospheric experimentalism from an extremely talented group of musicians.&nbsp&nbspSaw them again later in the year (Sept. 19, Fillmore), but I’ll give the nod to the smaller venue.&nbsp&nbspThe fact that the wife was completely blown away is not lost on me either.

White Stripes – The Warfield – April 29
&nbsp&nbspJack White is the f-ing man!&nbsp&nbspThe Stripes absolutely ripped through a great set of originals and well-chosen covers.&nbsp&nbspI normally loathe The Warfield, but we got there early and got up close.&nbsp&nbspI can’t imagine seeing them in a bigger venue, as the energy is definitely the thing.&nbsp&nbspAnd I was raging drunk.

The Black Keys – Bottom of the Hill – July 23
&nbsp&nbspThe Bottom of the Hill is tailor-made for this sound.&nbsp&nbspTheir charging, attacking blues bounces around the room and creates a feverish whorl of raw energy.&nbsp&nbspThe band was red-hot, and the crowd was with them the whole way.&nbsp&nbspI can say with complete confidence that I won’t miss them next time they’re in town.

The New Pornographers – Bimbo’s 365 – June 10
&nbsp&nbsp’Bubblegum pop for music geeks’.&nbsp&nbspThe New Pornographers make it seem so easy, yet it’s simply note perfect.&nbsp&nbspA fantastically rollicking time, but alas no double-dutch.&nbsp&nbspAnd please don’t get me started about Neko Case.&nbsp&nbspShe’s just so yummy…

The Kills – Bottom of the Hill – July 28
&nbsp&nbspThe Kills minimalist sound possessed the room, with each note drawing the crowd further in.&nbsp&nbspThey just burned up on stage, feeding off each other until they seemed on the verge of going supernova.&nbsp&nbspEasily the best show I’ve seen with no drums.&nbsp&nbspSaw them again a few months later (Sept. 23, GAMH), but again, the smaller venue wins out.

The Dirtbombs/Von Bondies – Great American Music Hall – Feb. 27
&nbsp&nbspThe big, bad Detroit sound comes to conquer SF.&nbsp&nbspThe Dirtbombs are definitely one of my all-time-fave outfits, and they definitely didn’t let me down.&nbsp&nbspThe Von Bondies kicked ass (heh); wait for it, they’re gonna own 2004.&nbsp&nbspPart of the always-fun Noise Pop festival.

Lyle Lovett/John Hyatt/Joe Ely/Guy Clark – Fox Theatre – Feb. 16
&nbsp&nbspFour classic songwriters with acoustic guitars, playing in rounds.&nbsp&nbspIt was easy to see that this is what it would be like if they were jamming in a living room, drinking and smoking the night away.&nbsp&nbspI was pretty much unprepared for John Hyatt to be so damn great.

Flaming Lips/Liz Phair/Starlight Mints – Warfield – May 28
&nbsp&nbspThe Flaming Lips are easily the funnest band I’ve ever seen live.&nbsp&nbspAlas, I’d seen this set before, which detracted somewhat.&nbsp&nbspThat said, between the confetti, people in animal costumes, singing nun puppet, huge balloons, fake blood and awesome pop-songs the Lips didn’t disappoint.&nbsp&nbspIt’s not exactly a news-flash, but Liz Phair can’t sing a lick.&nbsp&nbspWhy she tried to do an acoustic set is completely beyond me…

The Mountain Goats – Cafe du Nord – Oct. 02
&nbsp&nbspJohn Darnielle is just such an interesting character, you can’t help but get drawn in.&nbsp&nbspThen the songs themselves take over and take you god-knows-where.&nbsp&nbspDeliciously quirky, you have to love the crowd chanting “Hail Satan” during the chorus of the encore.&nbsp&nbspEasily the most crowded show of the year, thank god the Fire Marshall didn’t show up.

The Strokes/Kings of Leon – Civic Center – Oct. 21
&nbsp&nbspThe Strokes were tight and sounded (and looked) great.&nbsp&nbspUnfortunately, after 5 or 6 songs, it all begins to sound exactly the same.&nbsp&nbspThe Kings of Leon stole the show, IMHO.&nbsp&nbspTheir brand of southern-rock is so refreshing, and they tore through their set with a vengeance.&nbsp&nbspThe crowd here made me feel older than I’ve felt in years.