Saying this past year was a good one for shows is too easy. It's also stating the obvious. We live in Portland. All years are good show years. This one, however, happened to be my first full year in Portland so most days it seemed like the promised land. Below is my list of 2006's best local shows. It could've been a lot longer. I could fill phonebooks with this shit.

Castanets at house party

At the time (during the summer months) Castanets was still Portland's Castanets, so I'm counting them here as local. This show went down in my buddy Drew's dining room and it was damn fine. Ray Raposa and Nick Delffs were Castanets that night and they played a quiet, mellow set of covers and songs off Cathedral and First Light's Freeze as the sun went down and everybody sat on the hardwoods drinking wine and beer. Viking Moses played too. This was a good night.

Isle Hymnal at Tube

Inspired jazz session plus sweat lodge jam plus smart people handling three drum kits became some weird and dense rhythms.

Gossip in-store at Jackpot Records downtown

I watched this one from outside the store because it was packed inside. Out on the street it was cold and windy, but you could still hear everything perfectly over the rush of traffic. Hannah dropped disco beats. Brace Paine played guitar like a poisonous/horny snake. And Beth brought some heavy soul down on us for the longest in-store I've ever seen.

Scout Niblett at Doug Fir

This was one of those shows where you felt like you were seeing something special. I got there just as Scout was starting a quiet, smoky cover of the Cars' "Just What I Needed." After that it was HEAVY.

Jackie-O Motherfucker at Tube

Jackie-O at Tube was so beautiful and weird it made me nervous. Folk was deconstructed into noise which was deconstructed into drones which was built back up into folk then taken... I have no idea. It was just otherworldly. Like alien funeral music or Bach's cello suites (especially "Prelude in D Minor") gone backwoodsy and strange.

Honorable mentions: The Kingdom at Doug Fir, Rag and Bone Men at Berbati's, The Better to See You With at Tube, Dark Yoga at Towne Lounge, The Jigsaw Gentlemen at the Know, Nick Delffs at Valentine's, the Watery Graves at the Artistery, Silentist at Tube, White Rainbow at Holocene, Alela Diane at Towne Lounge, World at Towne Lounge, Nice Nice at Disjecta, Argumentix at Food Hole, DRUGS at Satyricon, Ghost to Falco at Reed College, LKN at Rotture.

Try this: adam@portlandmercury.com