To close out my Best of 2014 series (feel free to read the Songs Part 1, Songs Part 2 and Albums lists), here’s a reflection on my favorite moments from live shows. 2014 was my biggest concert year ever at 12 shows. That’s hardly a world-shaking number, but it does represent the huge ramp-up from just 3 or 4 years ago.
3 of the 5 events here are at (fairly) big venues. One of my new year’s resolutions? Make it to smaller places and see smaller artists. Columbus secretly has a tremendous music scene beyond the Promowest venues, and I hope to check that pulse in 2015. Now for the list!
05. “Is This How You Feel” by The Preatures, 6/17 at The Basement, Columbus – The incredible confidence of The Preatures’ recorded work made a powerful translation to stage. The small-yet-enthusiastic crowd bought in immediately as Isabella Manfredi augmented her excellent live singing with true frontwoman intensity. She strutted, danced, and stared down the audience, turning the massive refrain of “Is This How You Feel” into a cathartic moment for everyone in the venue.
04. “Hornets Hornets” by The Hold Steady, 2/3 at A&R Music Bar, Columbus – “Hornets” wasn’t specifically the best song of the night (the Boys and Girls in America stuff was incredible). It does steal the show as the most important, the opener of The Hold Steady set. In particular, the very start of the song established the tone of the 22 picks to follow. The delayed intro (stretching the pauses as far as possible), the playful (drunken) attitude of Craig Finn, and then the explosion of guitar sound. The Hold Steady knows exactly what they’re doing.