In 2012 I went to more concerts than I ever have before. I attended over 65 shows and saw over 120 artists perform live. I have my favorite shows for various reasons and you can read about many of those shows here on VocalsOnTop.com and a few over at TuningFork.tv. Here is a short list of my 5 favorite shows of the year. Click on the number and concert name to read more about the show I wrote at the time.
1. Nada Surf / An Horse at The Waiting Room in Omaha, NE 3/30/12
It was my first time seeing Nada Surf and they put on one of the best shows I have ever seen. It would likely crack my top 10 concerts of all-time. The setlist was perfect, I knew all the songs and could sing along from my spot directly in front of lead singer Matthew Caws about two rows back; he even complimented my David Bazan shirt I was wearing in middle of the show. I had never heard of An Horse and they were great; I picked up both of their cds and have been jamming to them in the months since. I will see both of these bands again at some point, that is for sure.
2. William Elliott Whitmore at The Granada in Lawrence, KS 2/10/12
Even two crappy opening bands couldn’t ruin this show for me. One opening band was very interesting named Drakkar Sauna but the other two tortured my ear drums. I have been waiting about a year and a half for Whitmore to come around and I saw him twice this year, this show was the first and slightly better of the two. Whitmore invited the crowd on stage to sit all around him as he played songs on his acoustic guitar and banjo. It was a great experience. He was every bit as good as I hoped he would be live.
3. Gas Pump Talent at The Cafe Acoustic in St. Joseph, MO on 4/6/12
Gas Pump Talent is a semi-local band from Springfield, MO. They are a simple duo with incredibly raspy vocals and a raw sound reminiscent of Tom Waits and William Elliott Whitmore. This night was my second time seeing them and they played a very long set to a minimal amount of people. They played great covers and their original songs are top notch. I can’t wait until they return, hopefully with some newly recorded material.
4. Will Johnson living room show in Kansas City, KS on 5/19/12
It was a show so intimate I felt awkward even snapping a picture with my camera. The about 20 people that shared this show with me were blown away by the Centro-matic’s lead singers performance. He would do Centro-matic songs, solo songs and various other projects like the great “V.D. City” from the supergroup, New Multitudes record. One of the very cool moments was when he glanced over the crowd and stopped when he saw my brother and I, recognizing us from past shows, to say hi. Johnson is a great guy and an awe inspiring performer.
5. The GasTown Lamps / Band 13 at The Cafe Acoustic in St. Joseph, MO 12/1/12
My favorite local band is The GasTown Lamps, hands down. I saw them 7 times this year; this being the most recent and best. The band was great, they are still getting better and I’m getting to know the songs a little more each time. The whole night was fantastic right down to playing foosball with the guys in the band until the early morning hours afterward. Band 13 from Kansas City was entertaining as well. They don’t have a lot to distinguish themselves from other bands but play balls out rock and are damn good at it.