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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Best of 2008 by Chris Sutton

2008 was a year of change and adjustment for me on a lot of personal levels so I decided to have my top 10 to be more of an internal observation of the events of the year. It was a roller coaster for sure but here are the highlights (In no particular order).

1)Appearing on MTV-This was the actualization of one of my all time dreams since I was a child. My introduction to the world of The Gossip was a performance for a series of commercials which appeared on MTV. It was one of my mothers proudest moments for me. I think she was more excited than I was, and I was overwhelmed.

2)Release of New Bloods "Secret Life"-The moment that I saw this band play in my basement they were not only one of my favorite bands, but they became a sort of surrogate family for me when I moved to Portland. Being a black punk myself our bond became instant and seemingly necessary in my personal development. To share their trajectory from basement heroines to a full fledged feminist powerhouse and then releasing what was perhaps the album of the year last year was an experience I'll remember forever. Friends for life.

3)Patriots and Giants Super Bowl game-Football is spiritual experience for me. I have followed the game extremely closely since I've been a teenager and I've witnessed many awe inspiring athletic feats (which is the one of the main attractions). This being said, the final quarter of play in last year's Super Bowl was the best example of professional football that I have ever witnessed. The final drive by the Giants with just over 2 minutes to play and down by 4 points against a team that had not lost a game all year was fodder for classic David vs. Goliath mythology. So much drama, like a few 3rd downs and a stressful 4th down conversion as time ticked down. The entire offense was involved and virtually every reciever contributed at least one catch with the final one by Plaxico Burress coming with about 20 seconds left. When it was over I realized that I hadn't sat down for about a half hour.

4)Election celebration at the on Killingsworth St. Obama center-The only thing I ever say about that night to anybody is that it was like everyone of every race and creed had just won the lottery and they were all best friends. There was such a release of positive energy and relief and for at least 1 hour there seemed to be utopia. The corner of Killingsworth and 15th broke out into a crazy dance party and I even saw a couple of policemen taking sips of champagne. Awesome.

5)My Bloody Valentine in Ireland-One of the most enriching sonic experiences I have ever felt. They unleashed a 15 minute drone finale featured a stunning light show and was so loud and intense that I saw a couple people pass out and several people get increasingly angry. This was one of those bands that I thought I might never see so it was very cool to be able to experience that.

6)Art Basel in Miami-Completely inspiring on so many levels. To able to see the best artists of the world and their art convening in one place was so charging and I left there in very good spirits. I recommend this festival to everyone who is interested in visual art.

7)Magic Johnson-Ana and Mondo are punks from L.A. They came to Portland to start a band. They succeeded. They spent 08 becoming one the most exciting bands in Portland. It was inspiring to see.

8)Lebron James vs. Paul Pierce in NBA playoffs-I don't really like The Celtics very much but I understand why they are the best team in the NBA. However the most exciting player in any sport that I have ever seen is Lebron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is an atomic warrior riding a comet when he has the basketball and he is not even in the prime of his career! The mighty Paul Pierce stood up to the challenge and this epic matchup pushed its way to seven great games. Unfortunately my personal favorite didn't win this time around but it was very exciting to see.

9)Billy Childish and MBE@ The Dirty Water Club in London-I had seen The Headcoats play before in the same place when I was on tour a while back in Dub Narcotic and it blew my mind in all directions so I knew what I was in for when I was invited to this show on the first day of my european tour. Billy is much older these days but he emits such a compassionate energy and wise stoicism in his performance. It was great to see the master up close plus Thee Headcoats did a second set where all of the members switched instruments and jammed for another hour!

10)Full Moon in the Eiffel Tower-Ok this one a personal one. I was playing a show in Paris and I was going through a lot of personal turmoil at the time and not totally enjoying myself. The rest of the band decided to party into the night but I wasn't able to lift my spirits to join them. Late into the night I decided to take a walk into the Parisian streets to absorb the architectural beauty and visit the Eiffel Tower, which I had seen but never actually visited. I walked under its giant base and looked straight up. What I saw was a perfectly framed full moon shining brightly into my eyes. It was a subtly amazing moment that brought me to the epiphany that everything is going to be all right and I am exactly where I need to be in my life. That may seem cheesy but it was exactly what I needed. Thanks 2008!

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