Slow Thrills: Top 20 gigs of 2012

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I've had a bit of a live music binge this year, in total I've been to 56 gigs, three 3-day festivals and I've seen 159 individual live performances.
70% of these have been in London, although I've been to gigs in Cambridge, Belfast, and the two ATP sites at Minehead and Camber Sands.

I have tried to pick out my 20 favourite performances from these and I've put them in order below. Where possible I have linked to my review of the show and I have embedded other people's amateur video footage as well.

1. Swans, Koko, November
An amazing show. the highest compliment I can pay is that it made me not want to see any more live music for while, I couldn't see how anything could follow this.
my review (
Most of the performance is on youtube, though I've embedded the 49-minute version of 'The Seer' below.

2. Boredoms, ATP curated by Jeff Mangum, March
The Boredoms two extraordinary sets at Jeff Mangum's ATP had my number one space for most of the year.
my review (the 405)
Here is a spliced together video of highlights from it.

3. Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Forum, November
Delighted to see these guys on my actual birthday. A cracking set from them once again, including an epic new song which may be titled 'Behemoth'. Heavier than their earlier years, but still thrilling.

4. Jeff Mangum, ATP curated by Jeff Mangum, March
It seemed unlikely a few years ago that any of us would see Jeff Mangum play live, but to see him twice in a weekend was something else. As a lot of Elephant 6 people were in the area this was as close as anyone could have hoped to a Neutral Milk Hotel reunion. my review (the 405)

5. Deerhoof, ATP curated by the National, December
This was a performance by a band at their absolute peak, so finely honed at the end of a three month tour. The best show I've seen them play.

6. Orbital, Brixton Academy, December
Quite a spectacle with all those lasers, but perhaps the best thing about this Orbital show was the way they have invigorated their classic material to sound completely contemporary and cutting edge. A bit like Kraftwerk did with the Mix, I reckon.

7. Japandroids, Upstairs at the Garage, May/ Belfast Mandela Hall, August
Two gigs, two different cities. The London show at the start of the tour probably just shades it in terms of live experience, but both were great.
my review (

8. Dan Deacon, Scala, September
Certainly the best interactive live experience of the year. Dan Deacon took on the challenge of a sold-out Scala and made the place move on his every whim.

9. Bo Ningen, Portland Arms Cambridge, September
I saw these people twice but their slot as part of the Wish You Were Here festival in Cambridge was a revelation. A genuinely fresh approach to psychedelic noise.

10. Atlas Sound, Scala, July
A jet-lagged rambling solo show by Bradford Cox, full of surprises and underlining his prolific talent.
my review (

11. Cocorosie, Royal Festival Hall, August
my review (

12. Ty Segall, Tufnell Park Dome

13. Grizzly Bear, Cambridge Junction, August
my review (

14. Bonnie Prince Billy, Hackney Empire, February
my review (

15. Tim Hecker, St Giles Church, January
my review (

16. Sharon van Etten, Scala
my review (

17. Joanna Newsom, ATP curated by Jeff Mangum, March
my review (the 405)

18. Wild beasts, ATP curated by the National, December
Billed as a gig where they would just play 'Smother' in order, they iced the cake by playing a long encore which featured about half of 'Two Dancers'. That made my night that did.

19. Metz, the Old Blue Last, November
I checked these guys out on the recommendation of a friend and i was amazed by the reaction to them. Cameras everywhere as well, which resulted in this rowdy video.

20. Calexico, Kentish Town Forum, October
my review (the 405)

most visited venue: The Lexington, Pentonville Road, London. (6 shows) The Scala, in the same street, came second with 5 visits. Both fine music venues in my opinion.
most seen band: Bizarrely, no single act managed to make it to three viewings. The acts I have seen twice are: Perfume Genius, Sharon Van Etten, Tim Hecker, Alexander Tucker, Bo Ningen, Echo Lake, RM Hubbert, Japandroids, Public Service Broadcasting, Sir Richard Bishop, Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat, Peepholes, Darren Hayman, Jeff Mangum, Boredoms and Joanna Newsom.

best support bands: The Men (supporting Lee Ranaldo), Rob St John (supporting Meursault), Cadence Weapon (supporting Japandroids).

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