Top 16 Shows I Saw in College

Bennington College, Fall '03 - Spring '07. I doubt this is comprehensive. List inspired by @tothemaxxx
  1. Xiu Xiu, Pt. 1
    This was right after all their gear got stolen, between A Promise and Fabulous Muscles. It was Jamie Stewart solo, mostly on an acoustic guitar, occasionally a harmonium. My intro to him, his band, his whole oeuvre. Utterly magnetic.
  2. Kilowatt Hours
    Shoegazey band from Missouri. Great show, mediocre record. Some of us hung around a bit with them afterwards, nice, low key dudes.
  3. Emperor X
    Chad Matheny is great at engaging the crowd, and he makes the "one man band" thing work like few can.
  4. Calvin Johnson
    His voice sounded great but I wasn't in the mood.
  5. Ratatat/Post-rock band whose name I can't remember
    Post-rockers opened, killed. Ratatat killed too. They had only just begun to build up hype and the lightspeed internet blog cycle didn't quite exist yet.
  6. Jens Lekman
    Had a small band, played solo ukulele covers post-show (including Nilsson's "Everybody's Talking"). No one knew who he was going in, everybody left as a big fan (this phenomenon would reoccur). He blogged about us in his tour diary. Someone asked one of his band mates, post-show, what the Swedish word was for "the pain of living". His blog entry didn't include the answer.
  7. Casinotone for the Painfully Alone
    Played our little spring music festival, Sunfest, aka Rainfest. It was pouring and perfect. Loved Owen Ashworth's music ever since.
  8. Bishop Allen
    Same Sunfest as Casiotone. Early lineup, almost entirely different from the one that played Bennington two years later. Fun, but didn't wow me.
  9. Skeletonbreath, Pts. 1 + 2
    Surf-metal-classical post-rock. Violin/bass/drums. KILLED. Part 1 was the official show, part 2 was the living room of the on-campus building where their friend lived; said friend provided vocals for a cover of "Walkin' After Midnight". Covered the main theme from Beetlejuice and the music from Level 1 of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game.
  10. Man Man, Pt. 1
    Sun/Rainfest. Had to play in the living room of the commons building due to rain. This was right after Honus Honus had completely reformed the band. They destroyed. Another "entered anonymous, exited adored" situation.
  11. Yellow Swans/Xiu Xiu, Pt. 2
    Had seen them at the Troubadour 1 1/2 months earlier, was beside myself w/excitement. The Yellow Swans played one long, extended improvisation. A drum machine pulsed unchanging throughout the entire jam; utterly hypnotic. Xiu Xiu were still touring in support of La Foret. It's not my favorite record of theirs, but this seeing them in as intimate an environment as Bennington was a revelation. They played "Crank Heart" and I lost it.
  12. Architecture in Helsinki
    First of two shows that were big enough to be moved into one of the huge performance spaces. It felt like half the school showed up, and we danced our asses off.
  13. Man Man, Pt. 2
    First show I saw in the brand new student center. We were all drunk and we all danced and it was all a grand time.
  14. Joanna Newsom
    The second show I saw in the giant performance hall. Casey Dienel (now White Hinterland) opened and was fantastic. Then Ms. Newsom took the stage, just her and a harp. She played a set alternating between 1-2 Milk-Eyed Mender tracks followed by a selection from Ys. She played 4/5 of Ys, omitting only "Monkey & Bear". She was phenomenal, and my friend Geoff recorded the whole thing direct from the soundboard. This was approx. 5 days before Ys came out and remains my preferred version of its songs
  15. Skeletonbreath, Pt. 3
    Almost as great as parts 1 + 2, but I/everyone was way too trashed. So much yelling.
  16. The Spinto Band
    Headlined the final Sunfest of my time there. The Hughes Bros. (2/6 of the band) had gone here and the younger one's then-girlfriend was the event coordinator, so go figure. It was a fun show (as always, they're great), but I was exhausted and not fully in the mood.