Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Top Fives of the Decade: Gigs

It's extremely hard for me to fathom that the 2000's are coming to a close. I mean, I've barely accepted that the nineties are over, much less this decade. Plus, it was unquestionably one of the most action-packed ten years I'll ever experience, both universally and personally. A helluva ride! (I just wanted to use "helluva.")

I find lists and statistics to be a helpful coping mechanism in times like this. So, as the decade winds down, let's tally it up, top five style. Since I'm playing a show this Saturday (hey, you should come!) we'll begin with...

Top Five Gigs 2000-2009

5. McGovern’s - Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland (7/29/05)
Playing in my namesake town in Ireland was even more of a treat than I thought it would be. The other musicians were terrific — is there anyone in Ireland who can’t sing? — and the fans who frequented the place were real music lovers.

4. Wirstrom's Pub - Stockholm, Sweden (1/3/05)
I never knew I had such a following* in Sweden until I played in the cavernous stone bowels of this very old (1500s) medieval-feeling pub. If they had paid me in grog, I wouldn’t have been that surprised.

3. The Burren - Somerville, MA (9/25/05)
This was my first show after a glorious summer in Ireland, and I’m pretty sure I was still beaming. It felt good to be home in front of a huge crowd of friends and family, and after a summer spent busking in the streets of Galway virtually every day, I don’t think I’ve ever been a more comfortable or polished performer.

2. Club Rare - New York, NY (9/17/04)
A pretty amazing night: while we made our full-band debut in New York City, the Red Sox were also in town, playing the Yankees — and foreshadowing good things to come with a stolen 9th-inning victory against Mariano Rivera. Tons of friends made the trip down with us, and watching an absolute throng of people sing along with “The Scarlet Letter” — in New York City! — was one of the highlights of my musical career.

1. Lizard Lounge (Indeed! CD Release) - Cambridge, MA (7/22/04)
My favorite gig of all time was actually at the same venue as this weekend’s show. For someone who doesn’t create much in the way of tangible objects, there’s something very cool about seeing, holding, and sharing a real CD that you made, with your name and your music on it; it’s corporeal, permanent proof of your efforts. Plus, it was packed, with all the people I care about in attendance**, and the vibe was so intimate I could hear every voice singing along (and even harmonizing) with the “Streetcorner Song.” And that’s the single most incredible thing to me about being a musician: hearing other people sing a song you wrote. It never, ever gets old, or any less special.

* Ok, it’s not really a following; in truth, I just have lots of friends who married Swedish girls.
** This is not to say that if you weren’t there, I don’t care about you. I do, really. Just not as much as if you had turned up for the show. :)  I keeed, I keeeed!

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