2016 will be forever to me, the year of the concert. I’ve seen big acts in big venues, but mostly smallish names in more intimate settings, and what has been the most striking is that some of the best concerts were the ones that I expected the least. Expectations can be killers. Sometimes bands don’t connect with the audience, or are trying something different and going in a direction that feels wrong, (ahem, Ray Lamontagne) but when they do, it is magic.
Case in point, Rhye, whose lead is a small white male who is the vocal doppeganger, of Sade on his album, but in real life is that and so much more. Gregory Alan Isokov, whose voice is as effortless and exquisite as they come, exceeded any expectations by adding orchestral arrangements; transcending his genre entirely, and the Lumineers were so close to perfect that I’m afraid to see them again and mar the memory. Tomorrow, it’s the Head and the Heart. I had trepidation about this one because one of the lead singers is in Rehab/Recovery and not touring with the band. The album was created during his struggles and in the midst of a dark space, but it has an undercurrent of hope. The last album was gorgeous and heavy. This one seems to be a reckoning and a rebuilding. I like that.
Library Magic is my current fave; it is like First Aid Kit and Simon and Garfunkel made a baby.