PRINT December 2003

Music: Best of 2003

Ben Ratliff


1. Sonic Youth (Irving Plaza, New York, Nov. 29, 2002) PS to last year’s list: Succinct and complex, with all the iconic poses, sounds, and gestures in top form and gooniness at a minimum. A great rock band—then and forever.

2. Nancy Wilson (Alice Tully Hall, New York, Jan. 13) A real warrior of pop, or jazz, or whatever. One minute she’s delivering middlebrow standards, the next she drowns you in radical subdivisions of a single vowel.

3. Johnny Paycheck tribute (Elbo Room, San Francisco, Mar. 19) You can go through life without noticing the cult of Paycheck, and then . . .

4. Allman Brothers (Beacon Theater, New York, Mar. 22) Derek Trucks’s clawlike picking was close to perfect.

5. White Stripes/Loretta Lynn (Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, Apr. 19) Loretta walked through a short set; the Stripes played piercing, high-concept miniatures brimming with a sense of occasion.

6. Bill

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