Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Favourite gigs of 2012

2012 was most certainly a year for concert-going, I managed to get to 58 shows, where I usually go to around 20-25 a year. One of the biggest benefits about moving to New York has been the easy access to concerts, not to mention the quality of acts that obviously come through, or are from the city. It took me a little while to get going, the second half of the year in particular saw a surge of gigs (51 between May and December). It's a time for lists, and I'm working on my list of favourite albums from the year (as well as my next compilation), but for now, here are my favourite shows I managed to get to (all pictures are mine):

1) Grizzly Bear -  Radio City Music Hall - 24th September: I swooned over this gig in a previous blog entry and so I can't really add anything other than the re-emphasise that this was the best concert I have ever been to.



2) Nada Surf - Webster Hall (7th of April) + Bowery Ballroom (14th/15th of December): A bit of a cheat, putting up 3 shows as one, but there you go. If I were being picky then maybe the Webster Hall show was the pick of the bunch in terms of a performance although the Bowery Ballroom shows felt more special, perhaps because they were the last two shows of the tour and they played a huge setlist which included songs from every album. I've been a fan of the band since their debut album and been seeing them live for over 10 years, but I never thought I'd get to hear something like Deeper Well so it was a genuine thrill when they broke that one out (of which I took a video which can be viewed here). Nada Surf are a hugely special band for me and they always deliver. 






3) Chromatics - New Museum - 5th of September: This was a free gig (sponsored by pitchfork if I recall correctly), which included an afterparty on the roof. Chromatics put on an incredible performance and to cap the evening sipping free wine looking over Manhattan at night whilst enjoying a DJ set by Oneohtrix Point Never is probably something I will remember for many years to come.


4) Bitch Magnet - La Poisson Rouge - 25th October: Possibly the greatest surprise this year was not only the 3-CD re-issue of Bitch Magnet's complete recorded output, but the band reuniting to play some shows! They played an incendiary set and really surpassed expectation.

 
5) Diiv - Music Hall Williamsburg - 18th of October: This was a Captured Tracks CMJ showcase event, which also included Dignan Porch, Thieves Like Us and Mac DeMarco (who was good, but was better when we saw him headline a show at Death By Audio in August). I'd also seen Diiv earlier in the summer at an outdoor gig which was very good, but their performance here was almost brutal. The only downside was the amount of douchebags who crowdsurf, I don't really understand it, shows aren't about individuals in the audience yet some people seem to think they are... anyway, it was a spectacular performance.



6) Bob Mould - Williamsburg Park 7th of September: Another show I have already reviewed, Bob was really on form!



7) TV On the Radio - Commodore Barry Park - 25th of August: TVotR are one of my favourite bands, and I've had the pleasure of seeing them a couple of times in London over the years, but both times have had a few issues with the sound. Not only did this show have a triumphant home-gig feel to it, but the sound was also spot on and the the band ripped through an extraordinary set.



8) Dan Deacon / John Maus / Roomrunner - Hudson River Rocks - 12th of July: This was a free outdoor event, I'm mentioning all three acts because they were all fantastic for different reasons. Despite being dogged by technical issues throughout, Roomrunner pummelled the crowd with their abrasive grunge-influenced sound. John Maus performs with a passion and spirit that is perhaps unrivaled, what should be little more than glorified karaoke turns into some kind of fantastically demented pop sermon. Finally, Dan Deacon takes audience participation to new levels, creating dance-offs and all sorts of games in the crowd (of course, as an uptight Englishman who internalises everything, I moved off to the side to enjoy from a distance!), backed by two drummers who disappear into a blur of activity, Deacon's music is equally as enchanting as his earnest between-song banter.


9) Ty Segall - The Well - 22nd of September: A joint headline show with Thee Oh Sees, who were also highly enjoyable, but Ty Segall's set certainly stole the show. The crowd again was a little bit annoying for my liking (I did wince when someone crowd surfed over the barrier (where there were no guards) and landed head first onto concrete - "medic!"), but Segall's fat guitar licks was a sonic assault in its own right.



10) Rush - Barclays Center - 22nd of October: Personal bias may find them sneaking into 10th place, or perhaps I have tried to counter that and they really should be higher... regardless, Rush put on a great show in support of their latest album, Clockwork Angels (which I reviewed earlier in the year), with a setlist that seemed more fresh than recent tours and backed by a string section on many songs gave a different dynamic to the show.


Complete list in date order (UK date format! And yes, I keep a spreadsheet...):


Dum Dum Girls
07/02/2012
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Vivian Girls
10/02/2012
Gansevoort Plaza
Barry Adamson
20/02/2012
Other Music
Lee Ranaldo
20/03/2012
Other Music
Nada Surf
07/04/2012
Webster Hall
Pulp
11/04/2012
Radio City Music Hall
Terry Malts
20/04/2012
Mercury Lounge
Mark Lanegan Band
10/05/2012
Webster Hall
Violens
16/05/2012
(le) poisson rouge
The Adicts
17/05/2012
Best Buy Theater
La Sera
19/05/2012
Cameo Gallery
The Clean
05/06/2012
(le) poisson rouge
Rain Machine
09/06/2012
Union Pool
Laura Marling
14/06/2012
Prospect Park
Kurt Vile
16/06/2012
Central Park
Veronica Falls
29/06/2012
South Street Seaport
Guided by Voices, TPoBPAH, Cloud Nothings, War on Drugs
07/07/2012
Central Park
Dan Deacon / John Maus / Roomrunner
12/07/2012
Hudson River Park - Pier 84
Carina Round
24/07/2012
Knitting Factory
Mordus
02/08/2012
Fontanas
Wild Flag / Misson Of Burma / Ted Leo
03/08/2012
Prospect Park
Diiv, Wild Nothing & Grimes
09/08/2012
Hudson River Park - Pier 84
Little Dragon
10/08/2012
Prospect Park
Eternal Summers
12/08/2012
Fulton Stall Market
Nude Beach
13/08/2012
Other Music
The Drums
22/08/2012
Brooklyn Bowl
TV On the Radio
25/08/2012
Commodore Barry Park
Mac DeMarco
30/08/2012
Death By Audio
Chromatics
05/09/2012
New Museum
La Sera
06/09/2012
Helmut Lang
Bob Mould
07/09/2012
Williamsburg Park
Jesus and Mary Chain
13/09/2012
Irving Plaza
Jesus and Mary Chain
14/09/2012
Irving Plaza
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
15/09/2012
Union Transfer, Philadelphia
Thee Oh Sees / Ty Segall
22/09/2012
The Well
Grizzly Bear
24/09/2012
Radio City Music Hall
Widowspeak
26/09/2012
Brooklyn Bowl
Neil Young and Crazy Horse / Foo Fighters / Black Keys
29/09/2012
Central Park
Dum Dum Girls
01/10/2012
Other Music
Afghan Whigs
05/10/2012
Terminal 5
Adam Ant
06/10/2012
Best Buy Theater
Port-Royal
12/10/2012
Pianos
Fletcher C. Johnson
17/10/2012
Pianos (upstairs)
Braids
17/10/2012
Pianos
Diiv, Thieves Like Us, Mac DeMarco, Dignan Porch
18/10/2012
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Gap Dream
20/10/2012
Big Snow Buffalo Lodge
Rush
22/10/2012
Barclays Center
Louis CK
24/10/2012
NY City Center
Bitch Magnet
25/10/2012
(le) poisson rouge
Molly Nilsson
04/11/2012
Public Assembly
The Fresh and Onlys
08/11/2012
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Animal Collective
05/12/2012
Terminal 5
Subsonics
07/12/2012
The Grand Victory
Of Montreal
11/12/2012
Webster Hall
Nada Surf
14/12/2012
Bowery Ballroom
Nada Surf
15/12/2012
Bowery Ballroom
Blood Orange
17/12/2012
Sony Store
Metz
18/12/2012
Generation Records

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