Free Live Shows Aren't Terrible

With the exception of the Junkies, I’m not too keen on talk radio. So imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a wonderful concert link on the mother of all talk radio web pages. The link I refer to is NPR’s All Songs Considered, which describes itself as follows:

“All Songs Considered is the place to discover music. The acclaimed weekly program – available as streaming audio, a podcast and a broadcast – melds contemporary music, live concerts, videos and artist interviews to offer a truly eclectic music mix.”

It’s awesome and you should check it out. Below are some of my favorites:

Radiohead. Not much of an intro needed for these guys. As anticipated, a lot of the set list comes from In Rainbows, while they sprinkle on some older stuff to mix it up a touch. Great concert.

Okkervil River. As my friend PK says, it took me forever to get into this band because of how stupid their name is. I just didn’t want to. But finally I caved and boy, do I not regret it.

Kings of Leon. This best part of this show is that the recording takes place in the summer of 2005, right after the release of their sophomore effort, Aha Shake Heartbreak. This leads to over an hour of true, vintage KoL – before the naysayers cried “Sell Outs!” (which I find to be loads and loads of horseshit, by the way. If a band decides to alter their direction, and play the larger venues they’ve always dreamed of playing, that’s their prerogative. That said, it kind of sucks to see them on MTV. Oh well).

Spoon. These four guys from Austin, TX just put on a helluva show – 90 minutes of gems from their recently-released Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (worst album title ever, or is it so bad that it blows your mind?), and past albums like Gimme Fiction, Series of Sneaks, Kill the Moonlight, etc. My man-crush on this bad is no secret, and this show justifies it nicely.

My Morning Jacket. For a band that has built the majority of its reputation by being one of the best live acts around (rocking so hard that your face will crap out of your ears doesn’t hurt, either), this recording from Austin’s SXSW does nothing but solidify that notion.

Vampire Weekend. You’ll scarcely find a more hyped band than these guys, who drew the ire of many by skyrocketing to fame shortly after their self-titled debut album. Unfortunately for the haters, it was just really effing good. Paul Simon’s Graceland and blah blah blah – very catchy hooks, creative melodies, and a host of other things you don’t run into particularly often make for a terrific effort on their part. Curious to see how these Columbia-educated lads respond to everyone and their mother showering them with praise for the past year. In any event, this is their SXSW show.

The Hold Steady. When Craig Finn sings (perhaps the term “singing” is being a bit generous), I want to drink. It doesn’t hurt that the majority of the songs center around drinking with friends, the Minnesota Twins, and a tad more drinking with friends. They rock. Especially in this 9:30 Club performance.

The National. A very nice show from the Brooklyn-based quintet, featuring mainly songs from their latest two albums, Boxer and Alligator.

The Arcade Fire. “Arcade Fire, bro! Arcade Fire!!!!” (head explodes)

Now, let me preface this by saying that I think the Arcade Fire are terribly, terribly overrated. Never has a band been sucked off harder than this gaggle of Canadians (French-Canadians, at that. Eesh.). All that said, they are a good, original band. I just never have understood the absurd fuss that is generated over them. Can’t win ‘em all, I suppose.

This is by no means a comprehensive listing, obviously. It is just a sample of some of the acts that I’ve found myself listening to on several occasions. For $0 American. I highly suggest you check it out and discover some new music while you fill out that spreadsheet or do whatever the hell is that you do.

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