Friday, December 14, 2012

List: Best Concerts of the Year, Part 1

2012 was filled with a lot of great concerts.  From reunions to straight up rocking performances, this is a list of some of the most memorable ones this year (in no particular order):

Archers of Loaf  (April 26, Bowery Ballroom)
These North Carolina-based indie rockers first broke up in 1998, which means they were around before  I listened to good music.  Having recently discovered them, I was very unsure how I, as a causal fan, would blend in with their hardcore fans. I found that their live set was accessible. They had so much energy and really focused on a lot of the better known (to me) songs.

Governor's Ball 2012 (June 24, Randall's Island)
This year, organizers decided to split up the genres into two separate days.  On Saturday, all of the electronica acts performed. Sunday was full of the more indie-rock bands.

One of the highlights of Day 2 was Explosions in the Sky, an all-instrumental group who famously provided the soundtrack for Friday Night Lights. Fiona Apple was back in action with her unique brand of angst-female rock. Modest Mouse played a variety of songs from their many, many albums. Beck played through the rain and closed out the night will an energetic set that spanned his entire career.

Overall, the festival was a great experience.  It was extremely well organized and the location had many shaded areas to take a break from the heat.  Because the genres were split into two days, the crowd was friendly and meshed well with each other.  I am hoping they draw great bands next year so I can attend for the 2nd year in a row.

Japandriods (June 27, Bowery Ballroom)
This two-person Canadian band packed a lot of punch and energy into their set.  The opener was Cadence Weapon, a Canadian rapper, who really pumped the crowd up for the headliner. Check out their album, "Celebration Rock."  It is one of the best albums of the year.

Dinosaur Jr. (December 1, Terminal 5)
With less-than-perfect sound and a large number of obstructed views, I was not looking forward to this concert. But opener Kurt Vile's brand of freak-rock laid the groundwork for an excellent show at one of the most hated venues in NYC.    

To start off Dinosaur Jr's set, they played "You're Living All Over Me" in its entirety.  This truly great album actually sounded great in this former warehouse/dance club.  For the second part of their set, they played a variety of songs from their entire career.  They also brought special guests on stage like Frank Black, who played Pixies' classic "Tame" as well as a Dinosaur Jr song.  Johnny Marr (of the Smiths) came up for a few tracks.  The band played "A Boy With A Thorn in His Side," to which the entire crowd sang along.  Kim Gordon closed out the set with a incredible version of "Don't." Tommy Stinson (of The Replacements) and Fred Armisen came out for the encore and did a few songs.  


  1. Gov Ball! HOLLAA!! Beck, so on point... It's 3 days in 2013, get aggressive...

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  3. I have a feeling it will be a few artists on Friday and then full days Saturday and Sunday. So excited though.