The Key’s Year-End Mania: Brian Wilensky’s Top 5 Shows I Wish I Saw in 2013

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purlinghissYear End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2013 awesome. In this installment, contributing writer Brian Wilensky talks about great shows he didn’t see.

Those of you that work in the service industry, like me, know what it’s like to work nights and weekends; missing the shows, parties and nights out with your friends that work business hours. I raise my glass to you, as we share the same suffering because the rent isn’t free. Here are my Top 5 Shows I Wish I Saw in 2013.

1. Clinic / Grooms / The Cobbs at Johnny Brenda’s, 9/17/2013
Liverpool’s art-psych surgical mask-wearing weird guys, Clinic, don’t tour often, let alone cross the pond. Last year’s Free Reign held true to their stagnant drone formula and seeing them convert it to a live setting is something that still spikes my curiosity.

2. Total Control / The UV Race / Watery Love, at Johnny Brenda’s 5/25/2013
When I saw Australia’s Total Control open for Thee Oh Sees at Philamoca in November, 2011, I told myself I wouldn’t miss them the next time they came to Philly. And then I did. But I still blast Henge Beat when I’m at home, especially when “Carpet Rash” comes on.

3. Night Beats / Brother JT / Drone Ranger at Kung Fu Necktie, 11/10/2013
Night Beats’ jangley fuzz psych, reminds me that flower power love rock can still save the world. Their latest, Sonic Boom, sounds like it was recording onto a tin can. And lo-fi, high-feeling and good-vibing records are something I can get behind.

4. Purling Hiss / Spacin’ / Axis:Sova at Johnny Brenda’s at Johnny Brenda’s, 4/5/2013
The last time I saw Purling Hiss they opened for Kurt Vile and the Violators at Johnny Brenda’s. I didn’t know who they were at the time and they totally killed it. Maybe even arguably upstaged the headliner. Opportunities of seeing them in small settings like this are going to start becoming fewer and farther between, I can feel it. Check out my Unlocked series on their album, Water on Mars here.

5. Nude Beach / Band Name / Ills at Kung Fu Necktie, 7/4/2013
Catching Nude Beach’s Americana-rock on Independence Day just sounds, well, right. I mean “Walkin’ Down the Street,” a video of the band playing a house party, has fireworks and sparklers throughout. It’s the sure-fire single on II and I need to hear it live. Also, local three-piece punk outfit, Bandname rocks. Their album, Breakfast, is still hot even though it’s been on the table for three years.

Honorable mentions: Destruction Unit/ Ukiah Drag/ Residuals/ Perfume River/ Shape Breaker at Kung Fu Necktie, 11/12/2013 and Cass McCombs/ Arbouretum at Boot and Saddle, 12/13/2013

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