Live Music Blog’s Best of 2012: Concerts, Albums, Artists and More (Part Two)

Last week, we rolled out Part One of LMB’s Best of 2012 feature, highlighting this year’s noteworthy albums (Tame Impala’s Lonerism, Jack White’s Blunderbuss and Alt-J’s An Awesome Wave), artists (Alabama Shakes & Father John Misty) live moments (Phish Dick’s 8/31/12, MMJ’s 3-night LA “no repeats run” & Sigur Ros at Outside Lands) and more made mention as standouts from the year.

PART TWO features even more responses, including picks from LMB’s founder, the Editor of our LMB NOLA page and several contributors from all over the country (some new to the site in 2012 and a few with more tenure). The choices below hit on a few popular no-brainers (David Byrne & St. Vincent, Jack White), some repeats from Part One (Alabama Shakes, Phish) and a few newcomers to the scene (Lord Huron & Michael Kiwanuka – both made mention in Part One as well) worth checking out. Continue below for the Best of 2012 and please share with us your choices in the applicable categories in the comments section below.

We sincerely thank you for visiting Live Music Blog this year and we look forward to showing you what we’ve got in store for the rest of 2012 and beyond!

Justin Ward | Founder, LMB | Chicago > San Francisco, CA

Photo © Justin Ward

Top 5 Albums of 2012:

Animal Collective – Centipede Hz
Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes
Tame Impala – Lonerism
Rubblebucket – Live in Chicago
Monster Rally / Rumtum – Coasting

Top 5 Shows of 2012:

Lotus and NVO @ The Fillmore 4/21/12
Phish @ Bill Graham Civic Center Night Three 8/19/12
STS9 Axe the Cables @ Saratoga Winery 8/25/12
Amon Tobin @ Greek Theater, Berkeley 10/5/12
The Complete Last Waltz @ The Warfield 11/24/12

Honorable mentions: STS9 playing as Sector 9 in New Orleans for Jazz Fest

Live Artist of the Year: STS9 – I saw them play three totally unique shows this year: Sector 9 in NOLA, headlining festival set at High Sierra, and Axe the Cables at Saratoga Winery. All three could not have been more artistically challenging and equally rewarding to see as a long-time fan of the band.

Favorite New Artist: Monster Rally – it’s about all I listened to on Spotify for quite a bit.

Festivals Attended: Jazz Fest, High Sierra, Outside Lands, Guitarfish Festival, Hangtown Halloween Ball

Top 3 Festival Sets:

Bruce Springsteen @ Jazz Fest
Garage a Trois @ High Sierra 2012
Skrillex @ Outside Lands

Skrillex @ Outside Lands 2012 || Photo by Jimmy Grotting

Live Music Moments of the Year:

I got to see Skrillex at Outside Lands just days before Phish absolutely slayed me for three nights here in SF with a special emphasis on night three — both shows completely floored me but in their own unique weird ways. Both shows were where I danced the hardest this year. Both couldn’t have been more different in how they amazed me.

Looking ahead to 2013: NVO on the brain; look for us at High Sierra 2013 (hopefully)…
________________________________

Victoria Holt | Photographer | Seattle, WA

Top 5 Albums of 2012:

Liars – WIXIW
Dr. Dog – Be The Void
David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant
Why? – Mumps, etc.
Two Gallants – The Bloom and the Blight

10/17/12 David Byrne & St. Vincent

Top 5 Shows of 2012:

Liars @ The Metro, Chicago, IL (7/19/12)
Two Gallants and Future Twin @ The Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco, CA (8/8/12)
Animal Collective @ The Paramount Theater, Seattle, WA (9/18/12)
David Byrne and St. Vincent @ 5th Avenue Theater, Seattle, WA (10/17/12)
Reignwolf @ The Neptune Theater, Seattle, WA (11/24/12)

Live Artist of the Year: David Byrne and St. Vincent
Favorite New Artist: Reignwolf

Festivals Attended:
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Sasquatch Music Festival, Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, Bumbershoot, Decibel Festival, City Arts Festival

Top 3 Festival Sets:

St. Vincent @ Sasquatch Music Festival
Beck joined by Tenacious D @ Sasquatch Music Festival
Radiohead @ Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Live Music Moment of the Year:

It’s a three-way tie between jumping around like a lunatic to Animal Collective’s “Peacebone,” dancing in the front row to David Byrne and St. Vincent’s cover of “Burning Down the House,” and having my mind blown when Radiohead barrelled through my personal favorite, “Paranoid Android,” at the very end of their Coachella set.

Most Anticipated Releases for 2013: Reignwolf, Rose Windows
_____________________________

Jackson Haddad | Writer, LMB | San Francisco, CA

Blunderbuss, Jack White

Top 5 Albums of 2012:

Jack White – Blunderbuss
Animal Collective – Centipede Hz
Tame Impala – Lonerism
M Ward – A Wasteland Companion
Bob Dylan – Tempest

Top 5 Shows of 2012:

Phish @ Dicks Sporting Goods Arena (8/31/12)
Surprise Me Mr. Davis @ High Sierra Music Festival (7/6/12)
Roger Waters The Wall Tour @ AT&T Park SF (5/11/12)
New Mastersounds @ House of Blues NOLA (5/4/12)
Antibalas @ Outside Lands (8/10/12)

Live Artist of the Year: Phish

Favorite New Artist: Eddie Roberts

Festivals Attended: 22nd High Sierra Music Festival, Outside Lands Music Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Top 3 Festival Sets:

Anitbalas @ Outside Lands (8/10/2012)
Surprise Me Mr. Davis @ High Sierra Music Festival (7/6/2012)
Stevie Wonder @ Outside Lands (8/12/2012)

Live Music Moment of the Year:

Phish Dick’s “Light” 9/1/2012

Most Anticipated Projected Album of 2013: TOOL
________________

Pete Merriman | Writer, LMB | San Francisco, CA

Top 5 Albums of 2012:

Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits
Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
Marco Benevento – Tigerface
Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams
Tame Impala – Lonerism

Honorable mentions: Lettuce – Fly, Eddie Roberts West Coast Sounds – It’s About Time

9/11/12 Jim James of My Morning Jacket

Top 5 Shows of 2012:

The Complete Last Waltz – The Warfield, San Francisco, CA (11/24/12)
The New Mastersounds – HOB, NOLA (5/4/12)
My Morning Jacket – The Wiltern, Los Angeles, CA (09/11/12)
Marco Benevento w/ Matt Chamberlin & Reed Mathis – Yoshi’s Oakland, CA (5/24/12)
Alabama Shakes – The Independent, San Francisco, CA (1/26/12)

Live Artist of the Year:

Robert Walter – One of the hardest working guys in the biz. Between 3 New Slang weekend stands at the Boom Boom Room in SF, a June residency at The Mint in LA, reviving the 20th Congress, and being seemingly 3 places at once on Jam Cruise, Jazz Fest, and Bear Creek, it was definitely a banner year for the funkiest organ player out there.

Favorite New Artist: Father John Misty

Festivals Attended: Jamcruise, 22nd High Sierra, Outside Lands, Jazz Fest, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Top 3 Festival Sets:

Sigur Rós – Outside Lands
Garage a Trois – High Sierra
Rubblebucket – High Sierra

Live Music Moment of the Year: The Complete Last Waltz over Thanksgiving weekend in San Francisco was one for the ages that will not soon be forgotten. For one magical evening, The Warfield played host to a life affirming celebration of the power of music, it’s ability to bring people together and move your soul.

36 years after The Band’s final concert, which featured some of the biggest names in blues, rock, and folk, this tribute brought together musicians from some of my favorite bands of the last decade: Dr Dog, Ween, The Low Anthem, Twin Shadow, Bustle in Your Hedgerow, Gomez, Wilco, and Antibalas, to name a few. Seeing so many talented musicians coming together for one night to pay tribute to their own musical heroes was a powerful statement of The Band’s legacy, and the unbridled joy emanating from the performers as they tore into the revered canon was a beauty to behold. This was truly the epitome of a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I will be eternally grateful that I was able to bear witness.

Most Anticipated Projected Albums of 2013:

Atoms for Peace / Jim James / Local Natives / The Avalanches (fingers crossed)

________________

John “Krott Disciple” Stephens | Editor, LMB NOLA

Top 5 Albums of 2012:

Lord Huron
Father John Misty – Fear Fun
The Walkmen – Heaven
Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams
Tame Impala – Lonerism
David Byrne and St. Vincent – Love This Giant

Top 5 Shows of 2012:

Father John Misty @ One Eyed Jacks NOLA (10/17/12)
White Denim plus Maps and Atlases @ One Eyed Jacks NOLA (11/7/12)
The Walkmen plus Milo Greene @ Tipitina’s Uptown NOLA (9/22/12)
Yeasayer @ The Republic NOLA (9/7/12)
Father John Misty plus Har Mar Superstar and Moon Hooch @ One Eyed Jacks (5/23/12)

Live Artist of the Year: Father John Misty

Favorite New Artist: Milo Greene (Infantree comes in at a close second)

Festivals Attended:
Jazz Fest, Bonnaroo, Voodoo Experience

Top 3 Festival Sets:

Radiohead @ Bonnaroo
Jack White @ Voodoo Experience
Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires @ Bonnaroo

Live Music Moment of the Year:

Speaking with Steve Terebecki (White Denim bassist) after their show, telling him that I was the one who requested “No Real Reason” via twitter, which read, “If White Denima plays ‘no real reason’ many a baby will be made.” We went on to discuss that I probably wouldn’t be making any babies after all (turned out to be true).

Or maybe seeing the unplugged mini-set by Punch Brothers in the media tent at Bonnaroo…

Or maybe kneeling down to piss in that plastic cup right before the Radiohead set at Bonnaroo – so as to not lose my spot – and then accidentally spilling that cup on the nice ladies’ purses in front of me…
________________

Joe Szopa | Writer, Photographer | Los Angeles, CA

Arrow, Heartless Bastards

Top 5 Albums of 2012:

Gary Clark Jr. – Blak and Blu
Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams
Heartless Bastards – Arrow
Guillemots – Hello Land!
Delta Spirit – Delta Spirit

Top 5 Shows of 2012:

My Morning Jacket Night 3 @ The Wiltern, Los Angeles, CA (9/13/12)
My Morning Jacket Night 1 @ The Wiltern, Los Angeles, CA (9/11/12)
Gary Clark Jr. @ The Troubadour, West Hollywood, CA (11/14/12)
Leonard Cohen @ Nokia Theater, Los Angeles (11/5/12)
Ben Howard with Bahamas @ The Troubadour, West Hollywood, CA (6/8/12)

Live Artist of the Year: My Morning Jacket

Favorite New Artist: Ben Howard

Live Music Moment of the Year:

God, there are so, so many great ones from this year. Watching from backstage as Mumford & Sons went on to a standing ovation at the Hollywood Bowl was pretty cool, as was watching my friend open up for them in the Dirty Projectors; but as far as outstanding notable musical moments, I’d have to say there are really four standout moments for me. 1. Seeing Ben Howard perform for the first time was really incredible. He’s a guitar master, and is sure to be around for a long time. Take your woman out for that one then next time he’s in town. 2. Gary Clark Jr. rocked the Troubadour for three hot November nights, and I found myself hypnotized by his nasty guitar skills. 3. My Morning Jacket’s 25 minute face-melting rip of “Dondante” on Night 3 of their stand at the Wiltern.. 4. When Leonard Cohen said “This may or may not be the last time we see each other again, so tonight, we’re going to give it all we got,” before a three-hour legendary performance and four mid-set standing ovations.

Most Anticipated Releases for 2013: Broken Bells
________________

Jimmy Grotting | Photographer | NOLA > San Diego, CA

Bomba Estereo @ Outside Lands 2012 || Photo by Jimmy Grotting

Top 5 Albums of 2012:

Tame Impala – Lonerism
Chromatics – Kill for Love
Andrew Bird – Break it Yourself
Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
Father John Misty – Fear Fun

Top 5 Shows of 2012:

David Byrne & St. Vincent @ Humphrey’s, San Diego, CA (10/10/12)
Phish @ Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA (8/15/12)
My Morning Jacket @ The Wiltern, Los Angeles, CA (9/12/12)
Alabama Shakes @ One Eyed Jacks, NOLA (1/19/12)
George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic @ House of Blues New Orleans (3/8/12)

Live Artist of the Year: David Byrne & St. Vincent

Favorite New Artist: Tame Impala

Festivals Attended:

Jazz Fest (Weekend 1), Outside Lands, French Quarter Fest, Final Four Music Fest

Top 3 Festival Sets:
Bruce Springsteen @ Jazzfest
Metallica @ Outside Lands
Bomba Estereo @ Outside Lands

Live Music Moment of the Year:

Post-Outside Lands karaoke session featuring Ben Grotting on dubstep beatbox and lead vocals
________________

Billy Morgan | Contributor | Nashville, TN > Atlanta, GA

Top 5 Albums of 2012

Tame Impala – Lonerism
Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill
Dr. John – Locked Down
Jack White – Blunderbuss
Sigur Rós – Valtari

Top 5 Shows of 2012

Sigur Ros @ Outside Lands 2012
Phish @ Dick’s Sporting Goods Arena, Commerce City, CO (all of it, but esp. 8/31/12)
Radiohead @ Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN (6/8/12)
Sigur Rós @ Outside Lands, San Francisco, CA (8/11/12)
AM Sessions featuring Marco Benevento, Eric Krasno, George Porter Jr., and Johnny V @ HOB Parish Room, New Orleans, LA 5/5/12 (Post late-night Meters and MMJ at the Fest earlier that day)
Phish @ Star Lake, Burgettstown, PA (6/23/12)

Live Artist of the Year: Phish
Favorite New Artist: Father John Misty, Michael Kiwanuka

Festivals Attended: Jazz Fest, Bonnaroo, Outside Lands

Top 3 Festival Sets

Radiohead @ Bonnaroo
Sigur Ros @ Outside Lands
Superjam w/ D’Angelo @ Bonnaroo

Live Music Moment of the Year:
This is a 3-way tie between the realization that Phish meant business at Dick’s and was going to be stretching things out all weekend, seeing Sigur Ros for the first time in a purple-lit, fog-blanketed, nook of Golden Gate Park closing with one of my favorite songs, “Popplagio,” and seeing Radiohead close their Bonnaroo set with “Paranoid Android” and then literally running to the opposite side of Centeroo and waltzing to the front row of the Other Tent to see The Word> Dumpstaphunk> Big Freedia with a tiny crowd as far as Bonnaroo standards go.

Most Anticipated Releases of 2013:
Yo La Tengo, Phish, Jim James

___________________

Jake Krolick | Contributor / Videographer | Philadelphia, PA

Top 5 Albums of 2012

Psychedelic Pill
Maps and Atlases – Beware and Be Grateful
Vacationer – Gone
Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams
Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill
Father John Misty – Fear Fun

Honorable mentions: Black Pistol Fire – Big Beat 59, Jimmy Cliff – Rebirth, Gardens and Villa – Gardens and Villa, Geographer - Myth

Top 5 Shows of 2012

Marco Benevento with the Soul Rebels Brass Band @ The Blockley – Philadelphia, PA 2.24.12
Polica @ Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA 5.16.12
Reptar @ Kung-Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA (4.13.12)
Yellow Ostrich @ Kung-Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA (10.26.12)
The Extraordinaires @ Kung-Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA (5.22.12)

Live Artist of the Year: Reptar
Best New Artist: Vacationer
Festivals Attended: Roots Picnic, Firefly Festival, Allmans Peach Festival, Equifunk, Made In America

Top 3 Festival Sets

Major Lazer @ The Roots Picnic
Tedeschi Trucks Band @ The Peach Festival
J. Roddy Walston and the Business @ Firefly Festival

Live Music Moment of the Year

This is a toss-up between two miniscule club shows, Reptar at the Kung-Fu Necktie. I’ve seen close to 100 shows there and Reptar was the first band/crowd interaction that made the floor in that place bounce. There really is no stage so the band and audience merged into a mass of sweaty flesh with everyone banging on something or dancing with a band member. The other moment was at Polica at Johnny Brendas, Singer Channy Leaneagh’s auto tuner was barely working and her improvisation on the songs “Amoungster” and “Lay Your Cards Out” out was insanely beautiful and sent chills down my spine.
__________________

Grant Thomas | Contributor | NOLA > SF > NOLA

Top 5 Albums of 2012

Diamond Rugs – Diamond Rugs
Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams
Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
Mystery Jets – Radlands
Heartless Bastards – Arrow

Top 5 Shows of 2012

Yeasayer @ Republic New Orleans || Photo by Corey Thomas

Yeasayer @ Republic New Orleans (9/7/12)
Lee Fields and the Expressions @ One Eyed Jacks (4/27/12)
My Morning Jacket @ Verizon Ampitheatre, ATL (8/24/12)
Galactic @ Tipitina’s Uptown NOLA (Lundi Gras 2k12)
Lumineers @ House of Blues NOLA / Grace Potter (Karl Denson guest appearance) HOB NOLA (5/3/12)

Live Artist of the Year: My Morning Jacket
Favorite New Artist: Alt-J

Festivals Attended: JazzFest, Hangout Fest, French Quarter Fest, OysterFest

Top 3 Festival Sets

1. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Hangout Festival
2. Bon Iver – Jazz Fest
3. Gary Clark Jr. – Hangout Festival

Live Music Moment of the Year: Look at this fucking setlist.

Sam Nachbar | Contributor | Los Angeles

Top 5 Albums of 2012

Grizzly Bear – Shields
Tame Impala – Lonerism
Lace Curtains – The Garden of Joy and the Well of Loneliness
The Orwells – Remember When
White Fence – Family Perfume, Vol. 1 & 2

Top 5 Shows of 2012

Radiohead @ Coachella (04/14/2012)
White Fence @ The Satellite (11/03/2012)
Grizzly Bear @ The Greek Theatre (10/10/2012)
Menomena @ El Rey (09/27/12)
My Morning Jacket @ The Wiltern (09/11/12)

Live Artist of the Year: My Morning Jacket. Although I was only able to catch the opening night of their 3 night stint at The Wiltern, it was enough to earn live artist of the year. The diversity of their set (which included a pristine cover of Elton John’s Rocket Man), and ability to move a crowd of casual and dedicated fans alike, made their performance the most memorable of 2012.

Favorite New Artist: Foxygen
Festivals Attended: Coachella, FYF Fest

Live Music Moments of the Year

Britt Daniel of Divine Fits (8/28/12)
Parking inside the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and climbing the ascending stairs to the beautiful Masonic hall to see one of the first performances of indie-super group, Divine Fits, definitely stands out as a live music highlight this year. Seeing Spoon or Wolf Parade (Britt Daniel and Dan Boeckner’s respective bands) would only be possible at a major music venue, and that’s what made seeing both performers in the intimacy of the Masonic hall so memorable.

Also, Radiohead at Coachella was a treasure. Regardless of ticket price, if you have a chance to catch them in the future, do it. You shan’t regret it.

Looking Forward to in 2013: Thom Yorke’s side project, Atoms for Peace, is slated for late January, so that will undoubtedly be an early 2013 treat. Also in January, Foxygen will be releasing their first full-length, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic via Jagjaguwar. Their 2012 EP, Take the Kids off Broadway, was a monster, and the single for the new record continues the band’s run of making uniquely constructed, synth heavy, Jagger influenced tunes.

BEST OF 2012: PART ONE