What's nice is that I can go to see Ted Leo + Pharmacists in person, and then download the entire show the next morning for my personal archives. That way, if the biggest fucking asshole on the planet forces his way in front of me during the encore, and he and his ugly girlfriend throw their elbows around so violently that nobody can help but have the rest of the show destroyed by his self-centered shit, I can replace that experience with the experience of having been there without fucking Admiral Douchebag and his pancake-makeup whore. Everyone wins!
It also comes in handy for two-night stands, as happened when The Decemberists came through last fall. NPR aired the second show, but I went to the first (and best, as it turns out). I was able to hear the other show without having to schlep down, shell out, and see them a second night in a row. I guess I'd have preferred to have a recording of the first night for posterity, but no big deal. The memories will live on in my soul
The archive itself is pretty much a who's-who of the too-big-for-indie scene since 2005. Bloc Party, Iron & Wine, Death Cab, Sigur Ros, Secret Machines, Interpol, The White Stripes, My Morning Jacket, Belle & Sebastian, New Pornographers, Sleater-Kinney, Bright Eyes, Regina Spektor, Arcade Fire, Ted Leo... days' worth of concert up on the web for free. And that's just the acts I like. It doesn't count overrated mouth-breathers like Clap Your Hands and the Fiery Furnaces, what's-the-big-deal crooners like Jenny Lewis and Cat Power, or groups I haven't bothered to investigate (yet) like Wilco and Built to Spill. There's plenty to hear, so run over and check it out.
(Thanks to DCist for reminding me the archives exist.)