What an awesome year 2017 has been musically! When I started this assignment, I really had no idea what a daunting task it would be to narrow down the 50+ shows I’ve shot to the 5 best of the year. We are truly blessed that so many bands love to play the Twin Cities, as well as the large variety of venues from which to experience the music live. The following 5 shows stand out to me as the most memorable of the year.
5) Angel Olsen
Angel is like the cool older cousin who gives you your first cigarette. Her voice is both sweet and haunting and belies her smiling stage presence. Angel’s music runs the gamut from grungy rock to old school honky tonk. And “Hi-5” has to be the happiest song about being lonely ever written.
4) Delicate Steve
Steve Marion, aka Delicate Steve, just destroyed the 7th St. Entry. This guy can generate vocal phrases with his guitar, and literally created a call and response with the sold out crowd. Steve is a guitar god, producing an atmosphere of joy and happiness with his axe.
3) Tori Amos
Getting to see Tori Amos in the intimate setting of the O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University was truly spectacular. Seductive, passionate and confident as ever, Tori pounded the keys like they owed her money. While she played tunes off of every album in her 30 plus year career, the highlight of the evening had to be her smoldering version of “Purple Rain”.
Spoon is one of my favorite bands of all time and I’ve seen them a bunch of times. But nothing compared to their stop this fall at the Palace Theatre in St. Paul. It was like they took my personal playlist as a basis for their set. Hot Thoughts was one of the best releases of 2017, and the CD hasn’t left my jeep.
1) St. Vincent
Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, is one of the most unique and talented artist currently touring. While her music is both disturbing and uplifting, what sets her apart is her musicianship. She plays just about every instrument, but truly shines on guitar. With leads intense and jagged, the guitar is like a weapon in her hands. Playing a set of her older material, then the entire new release Masseduction, St. Vincent’s performance at the Palace Theatre was the most phenomenal set I witnessed this year.