It’s beginning to look at lot like 2018.
There are seven weeks of 2017 left, but in the wonderful world of music, the year is trickling to an end — with just one major concert left for Lincoln (Jay-Z at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Dec. 6) and a handful of notable shows from national touring acts set for local clubs.
Things also are slowing down on the record front. That said, new albums from Taylor Swift, Chris Stapleton, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Bjork, Tove Lo and U2 are still on the way this year.
What that means for me is that I’m starting to put together my “best of” lists for concerts, albums and songs. I want to know your top shows and the best records of the last 11 months. You can send them my way at email@example.com and I’ll include them in my year-end roundup at the end of December — and in the case of the albums, if I haven’t heard them I’ll try to give them a listen.
Regina Spektor at Rococo
In the last 10 days, I’ve seen a couple of shows that have a good chance of ending up on my best-of-the-year list — which seemingly gets longer every week.
On Nov. 1, Regina Spektor delivered one of the best shows I’ve ever seen at the Rococo Theatre, an “intimate evening” that found her performing solo, playing piano and guitar and doing a few songs a cappella.
Battling bronchitis, Spektor was hammering down tea and water and stopped the show to use an inhaler. But that didn’t appear to have a great impact on her singing and, in a way, added to the intimacy and the warm embrace between audience and performer.
“I just want to drink hot chocolate with you guys. And eat cookies,” she said before using the inhaler.
The set traversed her career and was filled with fine renditions of songs like the stately “The Grand Hotel,” the well-titled “Left Hand Song,” on which she only plays piano with her left hand, “the funny “Reginasaurus,” delivered a cappella, a pointed “Ballad of a Politician," a very moving version of “Obsolete” and the closer, “Samson.”
I’d not previously seen Spektor perform and was taken with both her piano work — she’s classically trained — and her striking vocal delivery that perfectly fits her quirky, personal and unusually structured songs. That, of course, was heightened because it was a solo effort — a show so good I’m not sure I’d want to see her with a band.
Low Cut Connie at Duffy’s
Adam Weiner, the Philadelphia rock ‘n’ roll band’s unabashed showman, started Low Cut Connie's Sunday night show at Duffy's Tavern standing astride Shondra, his battered upright piano, directing audience members to stand in front of the stage.
Just over an hour later, Weiner stood atop the bar in Duffy’s main room, his ripped wife beater hanging from his shoulders while he clutched the pumpkin that sat atop the piano for the show, triumphant after the band’s first Nebraska appearance.
In between, Weiner wandered through the crowd, embracing audience members, pounded away and clambered over the piano and delivered the vocals with fire, backed by the fine, tight six-piece group that really knows how to play rock ‘n’ roll that’s both classic and fresh.
For me, the highlights of the show were the encore, a stomping version of Prince’s “Controversy” and “Revolution Rock 'n' Roll,” a song that’s sure to end up on my best-of-the-year list.