Time for one of those pesky lists again with their arbitrary cutoff points. But since even this annual activity makes far more sense to me than getting drunk on December 31st so you can watch the odometer click over, I will again offer my list of favorite DC shows this past year. The bias is the same, in that I personally have to be really moved by the show--either one band or the totality of the bands, so that might rule out bands I see a lot. And if anything, 2012 was a year I saw bands a lot. 202 shows were reviewed here. When you add the amount of nights I go to the theater, this has become a five days a week occupation. I can pretty much promise you that I will not keep up the pace in 2013, but I will be back to the clubs well over a hundred times if all holds well and true for me in my life. Anyway, on to music. Here are the ten runners up...
Jan 2012 Akron/Family (R'n'Roll Hotel)
Mar 2012 Electric Eel Shock/Hot ChaCha/Thee Lolitas/Caustic Casanova (Black Cat)
Apr 2012 Retribution Gospel Choir/District Lights/Maple (Red Palace)
May 2012 Opeth/Mastadon/Ghost (Fillmore)
Jun 2012 The Revivalists (Velvet Lounge)
Jun 2012 Dengue Fever/Omar Souleyman (9:30 Club)
Sep 2012 Mission of Burma (Black Cat)
Nov 2012 Social Distortion/Lindi Ortega (9:30 Club)
Dec 2012 Six Organs of Admittance (DC9)
But the winners in reverse order are:
10. Jan 2012: Screen Vinyl Image, Ceremony, and Silo Halo - Black Cat. Great show from area bands I have seen a number of times, but it came together quite wonderfully that night.
9. Jun 2012: Marissa Nadler, Marian McLaughlin - DC9. Two solo artists with guitars and voice both played their own brand of psychedelic folk music with style and substance.
8. Jul 2012: Tangerine Dream - Howard Theatre. Legendary band I have followed for 36 years, plays great music for three hours--kind of a lock for my list.
7. Feb 2012: The Kennedys - Jammin Java. They also knocked it out of the park later in the year at the Hamilton. This duo has some of the broadest appeal of anyone I have seen.
6. Sep 2012: The Acoustic Strawbs, John Wesley Harding - Jammin Java. I always loved seeing any version of the Strawbs and they did a long powerful set tonight with a brilliant opening act I had seen just prior as a headliner.
5. Mar 2012: The Joy Formidable, A Place to Bury Strangers, Exitmusic - 9:30 Club. The Joy Formidable again proved what a powerhouse they are as they combine pop, punk, and shoegaze into an astonishing end product. The openers were nearly as brilliant.
4. Van der Graaf Generator - Howard Theatre. Three old British guys dressed for the retirement home can outrock the kids with intriguing progressive music and the power of the Pete Hammill voice.
3. Graveyard, Radio Moscow, Black Cowgirl - DC9. Sweden does a lot of things right musically, and garage rock is one of them. Graveyard nails it as well as anybody and are not fooling anyone, as they are headed back for this year's show at a much bigger club (Black Cat).
2. Swans - Black Cat. These veterans have an amazing ability to coax complexities out of drones and sustain power and interest in songs that extend to 30 minutes. They were so powerful that they blew up my computer and I lost my review the day after the show.
1. Spiritualized, Nikki Lane - 9:30 Club. The revelation of how brilliant Spiritualized is happened over four years ago in Denver when I first saw them. So when this show came around, I did not think they could take me as far as before. But they did, as they have the alchemic touch when they play live.