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Part 2: Rawk and Anti-Rock

Dan Deacon (Photo: Myla DalBesio / Flavorpill)

Anyone can lay down a rocking riff, but it takes a real fiend to unleash the fire burning below. Dust off your devil horns, because these muthas didn’t just rawk our socks; they set those little bastards on fire.

Most Rawk Moment

Anyone can lay down a rocking riff, but it takes a real fiend to unleash the fire burning below. Dust off your devil horns, because these muthas didn’t just rawk our socks; they set those little bastards on fire.

5. Mika Miko

22 August 2007: Chicago, IL

I could wax on about Jennifer Clavin’s rawkin’ use of a telephone receiver to channel her vox or, really, the whole band’s nonstop rawk-riot power force, but for me it was Jenna Thornhill’s audience-cajoled, we-are-punk sax-driven noise solo that totally rawked this show. -Megan Milks

4. Charlie Louvin

22 August 2007: Ashland, VA

Forget that he’d just turned 80 years old, country legend Charlie Louvin was so intent on giving the small crowd at this intimate, railroad-side venue a good show that when his voice started to fade mid-set, he sent someone from the crowd to a nearby store to procure Worcester Sauce, which he then chugged onstage as a shooter, to help clear the phlegm in his throat. And it worked. Rawk! -Brent Baldwin

3. Dan Deacon

17 October 2007: New York, NY

When sending concert-goers on a high-five relay race around the Bowery Ballroom is the most subdued part of a show, you know you’re part of something pretty special. Deacon blew the doors off the Bowery, dishing synthed-up funk and glitched-out beats to caffeinate a packed house. Never relenting, Deacon charged through his hour-long set standing front and center on the dance floor, while sweat-drenched fans crowded his fold-out table and flashbulbs rained down from the stage above. -Steve Stirling

2. Arcade Fire

8 May 2007: New York, NY

You don’t need to stand in the lobby beneath the giant felt banners emblazoned with Scripture to know that the United Palace Theater is one stately place. That didn’t stop Win Butler from turning it into a revivalist mosh pit: much to event security’s chagrin, Butler repeatedly beckoned those in the orchestra to get up out of their seats and rush the stage. By the finale, “Wake Up”, the audience had stormed the stage, Butler could barely find the microphone, and the spotlight could barely find Butler. Still singing as he descended the stage, Butler sauntered up the center, screaming fans in tow, and headed right out onto Broadway. Praise be the glorious rawk mess.

-Ryan S. Henriquez

1. Boredoms

7 July 2007: Brooklyn, NY

Convening a veritable indie rock summit—the 77 drummers included members of bands like Lightning Bolt, Gang Gang Dance, and Cul De Sac -- legendary Japanese noiseniks Boredoms staged an unprecedented outdoor concert whose very concept reveled in the mania of pure Rawk excess. The melange of barbaric rhythms and traditional Boredoms static—each made infinitely more massive by the thumps of 77 full drum kits—was met by shrieking squeals, as leader eYe alternately spoke and screamed over the whirling masses of distorted (or, rather, contorted) electronics. When eYe brought things to their peak, banging a trident against a series of suspended guitar necks, it was enough to (literally) shake the ground beneath us.

Eddie Ciminelli & Andrew Phillips


The Anti-Rock

Like a torrential pour, that which does not rock rains upon that which does, leaving smoke where once there was fire. Away foul trickle! Away!

5. Tori Amos

American Doll Posse World Tour

Don’t interrupt Tori Amos when she’s playing. Security guards, fans, and even Miss Massachusetts were all addressed at various tour stops by La Amos from her perch onstage with phrases such as: “Get the fuck out of my show”; “you can sit down now”; “it’s a privilege to sit in the front row”; and, sometimes, just the simple, direct throwing of high heels. -Matt Mazur

4. Band Name: Rockstar Supernova

National Tour, 2007

Recipe for disaster: Take three talented band dudes with lengthy rock resumes. Add one karaoke club refugee. Mix. Simmer for several weeks on a reality television show. Serve to the public while hot. This wasn't rock, it was shlock, and it blew up in the faces of those small-screen imbeciles who brainstormed it. Check the album sales for the over-hyped (and under-cooked) Rockstar Supernova. Maybe the responsible parties will stay in TV Land from now on, where they belong, and leave music to the big kids. -Adam Williams

3. Lily Allen

12 February 2007: Philadelphia, PA

It took only 14 words for Lily Allen’s debut album to get slapped with a parental advisory sticker, but live she walks the Tipper Gore line, censoring herself due to the presence of minors. Rock and roll was founded on subversive behavior, but Allen undoes all that has gone before by not just changing a word, but omitting a whole line. (The offending word rhymes with runt.) “I can’t do it,” she explained. “There’s a kid there.” -Kevin Pearson

2. Neil Young

16 November 2007: Washington, DC

As if it isn’t bad enough that we now have to pay hundreds of dollars a ticket to see the old legends play, must we be subjected to a stern lecture from the PA announcer, too? Before Neil Young went onstage, the house PA made a nightly announcement, something like: “The setlist has been pre-selected. Please do not make requests. And focus on listening to the songs.” So now, at these fancy schmancy theaters, we should sit quietly, neither standing up nor dancing, and do our best not to make a sound. Anything else we need to do for our 200 bucks, Neil? Maybe take our shoes off at the door? -Brent Baldwin

1. Britney Spears

9 September 2007: Las Vegas, NV

It's easy to kick her while she's down, but this human highlight reel personifies the unpredictability that music has lost over the years. Staggering and stumbling through a disastrous awards show performance, Britney morphed into Sid Vicious, Johnny Thunders, Keith Richards, Weiland, Slash, and every other notorious rocker who's ever taken the stage in an altered state, all at once. Add her weekly out-of-control antics in the public eye, and we've got ourselves the new poster child for indifferent self-destruction. -Adam Williams

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