The best shows of 2008

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VOICES IN MY HEAD Hip-hop performance artist Rammellzee made a striking impression in “The Voice (After Mercedes McCambridge)” in May.

VOICES IN MY HEAD Hip-hop performance artist Rammellzee made a striking impression in “The Voice (After Mercedes McCambridge)” in May.

Joanna Newsom
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, Feb 1

The lovely Newsom re-created Ys, an album that crowned a lot of top-ten lists in 2006.—Colin St. John

Sian Alice Group
Market Hotel, Feb 9
The shadowy London quartet played at 3am in Bushwick; nobody was stabbed.—Jay Ruttenberg

Escort
Southpaw, Feb 29
The best live band in NYC keeps on pumping out ecstatic disco.—Elisabeth Vincentelli

Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis and Wadada Leo Smith
Community Church of New York, May 9
Three veterans delivered a profound set of improv in celebration of their long-running AACM collective.—Hank Shteamer

Adam Green
The Town Hall, May 10
If life is a joke, how does it sound? The unfailingly irreverent Moldy Peaches alum investigated.—JR

“The Voice (After Mercedes McCambridge)”
New York Society for Ethical Culture, May 22
Genesis P-Orridge’s perverse recitation and Rammellzee’s post--hip-hop ravings stood out at this gripping symposium on vocal experimentation.—HS

Peter Hammill
The Cutting Room, June 17
Armed with a piano, a guitar and a brimming glass of red, the veteran prog singer had a standing-room crowd spellbound.—Steve Smith

Radiohead
Liberty State Park, NJ; Aug 8, 9
The All Points West headliners delivered with a technologically unparalleled light display and a pair of retrospective sets.—CS

Carcass
Nokia Theatre Times Square, Sept 6
These reunited grindcore forebears reigned over a blistering bill.—SS

Risn Murphy
Mansion, Oct 24
Murphy’s visually demented disco extravaganza took the cake for sheer audacity.—EV

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