Best album: "The 59 Sound" by Gaslight Anthem - This album rarely left my rotation once it came out. Their mixture of punk with bluesy vocals and old school rock and roll just won me over. Top songs include the title track, Miles Davis & the Cool, High Lonesome and The Backseat.
Best live show (tie): Bayside Nov. 15th at the Troc - they played an awesome set (I only wish they had played A Call to Arms and Tortures of the Damned) and they opened their encore with a cover of Linoleum which I'm pretty sure only 25 out of the 1000 people there actually got. This night was followed by the funniest trip to a strip club EVER!
Paint It Black April 10th outside at Sailor Jerry's - this was the most unique show I've ever seen. Free booze, Yemin masks, annoyed customers at El Vez, an entire block full of kids, TREE diving.... not even the technical difficulties (people tripping over guitar chords, knocking over pieces of the drum set and overall poor sound quality) could spoil that experience.
Best Phillies game attended (tie): Aug. 26th vs. the Mets & Oct. 9th vs. the Dodgers - Now I went to game 4 of the World Series with my Dad, and that was probably the most emotional and special game I've ever attended, but we blew the Rays out 10-2, which was awesome, but I'm talkin' best game. We also went to Wrigley to watch Phils/Cubs, which was also ridiculous fun, but we lost. Aug. 26th was the night we took over 1st place from the friggin mets with a 13 inning 8-7 come-from-behind win after being down 7-1. Chris Coste went 4-4 after coming in in the 8th and Clay Condrey got the double that started the whole rally! It's always great to rub it in Met's fans's faces. Game 1 of the NLDS had an atmosphere I had never seen before. When people say "they house was rockin'", yo it was that night. Rally towels and "Beat LA" chants were silenced by Derek Lowe until Chase Utley and Pat Burrell came through with homers in the 7th (I think) to beat the Dodgers 3-2.
Best Thing I Read All Year: The Watchmen - Besides the Inky and Daily News the day after the Phillies won. This classic graphic novel by Alan Moore was something I shoulda read a long time ago, and I'm glad to finally see what the hype is all about. Best character is Rorschach followed by the Comedian (even though a minor role) and Veidt. Can't wait for the movie (but more on that later.)
Best TV Show: Sons of Anarchy - while Sunny came through with a real solid season, SoA stole the show. It had sex, violence, inter-racial gang wars, the guy from Hellboy, Shakespearean undertones and a great cliffhanger for season 2. By far the most addicting thing on TV this year.
Best Comedy Movie: Forgetting Sarah Marshall - Step Brothers and Pineapple Express were up there, but Sarah Marshall beats them out. Jason Segall wrote it and starred as the pathetically love-sick Peter, and I gotta say, I'm proud of him after watching his career since Freaks & Geeks. He seemed doomed to perpetually play side characters in Apatow movies. I'm glad he had his own chance to shine. Plus bonus points b/c Kristin Bell and Mila Kunis spent the entire movie in bikini's. Russell brand was hilarious as Aldous Snow and Jonah Hill's man crush on him was just awkward enough to be funny as shit.
Best Movie: The Dark Knight - C'mon, how can you not go with the movie that murdered one of it's actors? Hellboy 2 and Iron Man both made good cases, but the Dark Knight is like the Godfather of comic book movies. Heath Ledger was beyond words with his sadistic, psychopathic, let-the-fuckin'-world-burn Joker. My only critique is they tried fitting in too much of the Two-Face story line. I think they shoulda saved him more for the 3rd installment, but we'll see.
Most Anticipated of '09: Rescue Me Season 5 - just got done Season 4 DVD and cannot wait to see what happens in the world most fucked up fire house.
The Watchmen Movie - see above
The Wrestler Movie - Finally a film that captures the humanity and pain of professional wrestling. They filmed in ROH rings with indie guys (I heard Necrobutcher is actually quite good) and Earnest the Cat Miller is bad guy the Ayatollah. There's already Oscar buzz for Mickey Rourke. Plus I hear you get to see Marisa Tomie's tits.
I Am The Avalanche - Demo stuffed has leaked, so a full length should be out soon. It's been almost 4 years since their self-titled debut and I'm dying to hear their new shit
New Found Glory - After hearing the Tip of the Iceberg EP and the news that this release is on Epitaph, I can't wait to hear their next offering. Here's hoping to hear a good mixture of hardcore and pop punk in 09!
Going on TOUR! - I swear it's happening this year. I'm getting a license, getting a van, and Good For Nothing is going on tour if it's the last thing I do!!
Best Beer: Mad Elf - This winter brew by Troegs with it's hints of cherries and honey made my Christmas season a big ass blur. Four of these bad boys with their 12% alcohol was enough to knock me on my ass night after night at the Kite & Key, not to mention that one time I bought a case for everyone at Studio 4/GFN band practice and put down roughly 10 or so.
Best Guilty Pleasure: Pop Radio - Yes, I'll admit it, I like it. It's so much better than what they're playing on (ugh) rock radio anymore. Top 10 real quick: Kings of Leon "Sex on Fire", Britney Spears "Womanizer", Beyonce "Single Ladies", Kanye "Flashing Lights", MIA "Paper Planes", Pink "So What", Lil Wayne "A Millie", Panic at the Disco "Nine in the Afternoon", TI "Live Your Life", Katy Perry "I Kissed a Girl"
Best Parties: 3rd Place - NYE/2 Street - This is officially my new tradition every year. Party at my house, mimosa's in the morning, 2 St. at night. That shit was like South Philly Mardi Gras. Not to mention we made it rain like whoa and popped bottles all night at my house on NYE.
2nd Place - Chicago - The whole fuckin' trip was just one big party. That punk bar we went to where we drank PBR's and Fosters all night and there was a motorcycle inside, Mother Hubbards til' 5 AM, Dueling Pianos, and the insanity of Wrigleyville was just part of what made trip so awesome.
1st Place - Cottman & Frankford - Holy shit, where do I begin with this one? The whole build-up was great: Champagne purchased 2 days prior, having to get out of work for a second time, cramming everyone we know into Bill's basement (so sorry Boyce), having my Dad come down to experience it with me and all my moron friends, the final strike in Bill's living room and the years and years and years of dissapointment melted away with one pitch. Bottles: popped, Cigars: lit, Flags: waving as we marched victoriously down Frankford Ave. to Cottman where an entire neighborhood breathed out a collective "Phinally!" It was a sight to behold and a special moment I'll never forget. Which leads me to...
Best Thing Ever: Phillies '08 Season - I honestly couldn't have scripted this better. We were at opening day. Me and my Dad went to like 15 games together including Game 1 of the NLDS (see above) and Game 4 of the World Series (also see above). Me, Boyce, Bill, Chris and Anth had a 6 game package, PLUS we went to Chicago to see them play with Bri, Dave and Georgie where we had a great vaca. (once again, above.) It's a great feeling to be on top. I saw a parade. I thought I never would. I experienced a unique bond with my pops over those 8 months, which made this season the most special. My sincerest thank you's to Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Brad Lidge, Jamie Moyer, Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Shane Victorino, Charlie Manuel and everyone else on the team (Matt Stairs, anyone?) for letting me have this. A very special shout out to the Mets for sucking once again as well!! Fuck all you clowns! Here's to more parades in '09.