Friday Five: Want-To-See Concerts

Here are the rules for this Friday Five:

  1. These are the bands/artists I most want to see live.
  2. I have never seen them play live before.
  3. They are actively writing, recording, and/or touring. (This is not a list of the top five concert tours I wish I could have seen. This is not an opportunity to resurrect Keith Moon and Joe Strummer.)
  4. They are still relevant, dynamic live performers. (I’d love to see a Rolling Stones concert in 1976. Today? Not so much.)

What are your Top 5 To-See Concerts?

5. Mark Kozelek

Kozelek booked a show at a small Knoxville club last year but canceled at the last minute due to sickness. That he never followed through on his promise to reschedule seems to confirm my suspicion that, for whatever reasons, he just didn’t feel like playing here. Still, I’d love to see him play live. It would be a mellow show, for sure — much mellower than the others on my list — but I’ve logged more hours with his music over the last few years than with anyone else’s, and I’d really like to experience those songs in person, for better or worse.

4. Bruce Springsteen

Barring the invention of a time machine, I suppose I’ll never get to see Bruce and the E Street Band in their hungry, mid-’70s prime, but by all accounts he still puts on a hell of a show. He’d probably register even higher on the list if there weren’t the slightest possibility of hearing “Glory Days,” “Dancing in the Dark,” or any of those other Born in the U.S.A. radio staples that made me hate Springsteen for so many years.

3. Wilco

I’m hopelessly late to the Wilco party, and, regrettably, have missed several opportunities to see them because of it, including one instance when a friend called and said, “Hey, Darren, I have tickets to a Wilco show. Do you want to go?” My response was, I think, “Nah” or “Nope” or “Thanks, but.” Pathetic. I also could have seen them in Knoxville’s beautiful Tennessee Theatre, but I skipped that one, too. Seeing Jeff Tweedy’s solo acoustic show a few months ago changed all that, though, and since I’m one of the few people, it seems, who is head-over-heels with Sky Blue Sky (especially the first 30 minutes or so, which are perfect), I’m praying they’ll make a return trip.

2. Bjork

I have no idea what a live Bjork experience would be like these days, which is one of the main reasons she’s so high on my list. There would be a whole host of people up on stage with her, no doubt, and there’d be no shortage of lights, costumes, makeup, props, and electronic noodling.

1. PJ Harvey

Numbers 2-5 are separated by a thread and, on any given day, could be replaced by ten or fifteen other acts, but PJ owns the top spot. In the last seven years, she’s played exactly three shows within 300 miles of Knoxville, two in Atlanta, one in Lexington. I’ve already decided that if she tours to support her new album this fall, Joanna and I will be planning a trip or two around it. (Another reason I have a crush on my wife? I’ve heard her sing every word of “The Letter.”) ┬áIs there anything sexier than a beautiful, intelligent woman playing a loud guitar?