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It was a year of transition for the New Times music section, with Niki D'Andrea being promoted to staff writer and Martin Cizmar taking over as music editor. And so, for the rundown of the 10 best shows of the year appearing, we're teaming up to bring you five shows reviewed by both Niki and Martin. The list runs here over the next ten days.
Show: The Loveblisters and William Fucking Reed play Kelly Wilson's Birthday Bash at The Yucca Tap Room on October 17.
This is going to sound a little cliquey, I know, but I assure you I would not write about the birthday party thrown by my friend (and New Times freelancer) Kelly Wilson unless it was truly a fantastic show. And was it ever. The Loveblisters (or The Herpes, as I like to call them) might just be the best live local band in The Valley, and they were on this night. Their original material was amazing, but a cover of James "Laid" was the perfect set closer. Well, attempted set closer. We clamored for more and they obliged, playing Jackie Wilson's "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" to an ecstatic crowd. I was stoned-cold sober and yelling for ONE MORE SONG, which they didn't give. "This is the best live band in the Valley, ever," said my friend Chris Orf, former music critic at Get Out. "And I saw all the old big Tempe bands in their heyday." William Fucking Reed then cleaned things up, spinning some old school hair metal for a boozy crowd. What a show. --Martin Cizmar