Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Indie Rock Hit Parade host Eric Schuman reflects on concerts he could have gone to but didn’t.
As you’ve no doubt seen by reading The Key (or perhaps by being a live music fan yourself), 2017 boasted no shortage of incredible concerts to attend. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I didn’t see any shows this year, the ratio of concert attendance to not-concert attendance was heavily skewed towards the latter. I’m in the music industry, after all; every now and again you have to take a break. I also tend to be on the radio late at night, which doesn’t exactly lend itself to seeing a ton of shows across town. None of this will stop me, however, from sharing my reflections on five of the year’s biggest live music events, regardless of whether or not I was in attendance.
1. LCD Soundsystem at The Fillmore Philly
Perhaps the most notable shows I didn’t go to this year were the three sold-out nights at the Fillmore featuring 2017’s ‘comeback kid,’ James Murphy. My best guess is that each LCD Soundsystem show featured a completely different setlist, which can be tough when you’re catalog amounts to just four albums. Having exhausted all of their original material by the three-quarter mark of Night Two, Murphy and company rounded out their residency with a three-hour long audience Q&A about what Chuck Klosterman is like.
2. Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile at the Tower Theater
One of the most talked-about records of 2017 was the collaboration between Australian punk-poet Courtney Barnett and World Champion Hoagie Eater Kurt Vile, Lotta Sea Lice. Their show at the Tower was, I’m guessing, everything you could hope it would be, with Barnett affecting her best Delco accent and Vile playing his guitar left-handed all night.
3. St. Vincent at the Electric Factory
This is one of the more recent shows I didn’t go to this year. Annie Clark’s latest live production, wherein she appears to stand alone at center stage, drew the ire of some people who don’t know that Annie Clark does whatever the heck she wants to. Little did they know that, if they looked closely, they’d see that she was indeed joined by a band. A band of trained ants.
4. The Magnetic Fields at Union Transfer
Clearly this was a fever dream and I didn’t actually see The Magnetic Fields perform their entire new album over two nights. That’s just ridiculous.
5. Gorillaz at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing
Cartoons can’t perform live, because they are cartoons. Damon Albarn is real, though, and his partly-fictional band made their long-awaited return to Philly over the summer. My main takeaway from not being at this show is that Albarn has too many bands going at once, because he introduced several of the songs as, “Okay! Here’s another song by us, the band Blur!” before being quietly reminded by Vince Staples that he can only do the voice from “Parklife” for so many shows in a row.
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