My Five Favorite Concerts During My Time at Up on the Sun
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. at the Rhythm Room -- 6/1/11
Fittingly, this was one of the last shows I covered. I really had no expectations for Detroit duo Dale Jr. going into the show, and I left with my head swimming from the band's incredible live show. Who knew a band with such a silly name could have such a solid stage presence? "We Almost Lost Detroit" is one of my favorite songs I have heard live in quite some time.
Let it be known that I am a huge FOTC fan, having digested all of their songs and all of their show. I had heard Bret and Jemaine had quite an amazing live show, and they did anything but disappoint. The bit they did about a whale calling 911 was nothing short of brilliant -- Bret, acting as the distressed whale would make a whale sound in an attempt to describe its emergency and Jemaine, acting as the 911 operator, would retort with "Your problem is very soothing" and "I just meditated to your call." Who could have asked for anything more?
As much as I am a fan of FOTC, I am an ever bigger fan of Conan O'Brien. So much so that I actually got a wee bit emotional once Conan took to the stage at the Dodge Theater (as it was then known). Here was a man whose show I had been watching since I was 12 years old taking the stage to a rousing applause from his fanatic supporters. He had been shat upon by the network that had once embraced him, but that didn't put a damper on the evening at all. If anything, the bullshit NBC put O'Brien through just gave him more fuel for his jokes. Conan O'Brien is a surprisingly talented entertainer, playing guitar and singing throughout the entire evening -- one that I won't soon forget
Dan Snaith, better known as Caribou, released my favorite album of 2010, Swim. He was gracious enough to do an interview with my fanboy self, and it was even more decent for him to come play Tempe last October. For someone who records music that is heavy on synthesizers and the like, Snaith fleshed out his Caribou sound rather impressively for his Clubhouse date. It's not enough for him to sit behind a laptop and twist knobs and the like -- Snaith was drumming or playing guitar throughout his incredibly tight set -- one that included songs from Swim, Andorra and even Up In Flames, when Snaith was known as Manitoba.
It really is no contest when it comes my favorite concert that I have seen during my time in Phoenix -- Neon Indian takes the cake by a long shot. Alan Palomo, also known as Neon Indian, is one of the most consummate performers I have ever seen live. He has an innate sixth sense when it comes to nailing a certain note or just tilting his head in a way that somehow highlights what it is he's doing onstage. I honestly feel like it was a privilege to watch Palomo perform on the Rhythm Room stage that late November evening.
So that's it and that's all for me. Please, please go out and support live music in Phoenix. Do your part and Stateside, Lucky Man, Danny Zelisko Presents, Select, and the dozens of other concert promoters will do theirs.
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