I recently asked a number of Portland music people—musicians, bookers, writers, more—for their top five albums of the year, and when I did so, I also asked for their favorite "song, show, or musical moment" of 2012. Plenty of the good folks indulged me and responded, some with their favorite song, many with their favorite show, some with all three.
We put as many responses as we could fit in this week's issue, but as with the Top Five lists, there were far too many to fit into the printed bounds of the paper. So over the next few days on End Hits, and as the year drips to its inevitable close, I'll be posting the rest of these great responses I received, summing up the year in music with a huge array of different memories, hopefully providing something like a 2012 yearbook by way of a catalog of everyone's different experiences.
Thank you to everyone who submitted their faves. And if a list like this is worth anything at all, the more the merrier: Please feel free to share your favorite song, show, or musical moment of the year in the comments to this, or any of the subsequent blog posts over the next few days.
Lots of 2012's best moments in music after the jump!
I went to Outside Lands in San Francisco, just as a fan, and it was fun not worrying about anything and just having a good time at an amazing festival.
—Matt King (Mississippi Studios)
Finally realizing how fucking awesome the band Drunk Dad is, at Club 21 on November 10, and seeing the video for "Cut the World" by Antony and the Johnsons.
—Jason Rivera (Gaytheist)
The Portland Party at SXSW, March 2012. Twenty-one Portland bands took over Austin, Texas, for the day. Epic turnout, fantastic bands, and a really amazing accomplishment.
—Brooklyn Baggett (Octopus Entertainment)
Reliving the glorious past on a nightly basis at Tony Starlight's Supperclub.
—Tony Starlight (Tony Starlight's Supperclub and Lounge)
Seeing Red Fang come back from a worldwide tour and play the Roseland at MusicfestNW was one of the best live music moments I've been able to enjoy. The band looked a little weary from having played songs from 2011's Murder the Mountain for almost a year, but, like true road warriors, they played the tracks in a flurry of near perfection that was on the same level of more well-know acts like Mastodon and Them Crooked Vultures. A rowdy, but not too dangerous, mosh pit opened up and it seemed Portland metal fans were just happy to have their favorite heavy band back home.
—Aaron Colter (Banana Stand Media)
My favorite show of 2012 was on September 6 at the Hawthorne Theater for MFNW—Lightning Bolt, Quasi, White Fang. It was magickal. I felt invigorated for days off of Lightning Bolt's performance.
—Chris Uehlein (Unkle Funkle, Gnar Tapes, White Fang)
I think my favorite musical moment of 2012 would have to be at SXSW this year. We were invited to be a part of the Big Star Third/Sister Lovers tribute performance, singing Chris Bell's beautiful song "There Was a Light." That alone was a HUGE moment for us—sharing the stage with Chris Stamey, Mitch Easter, Peter Buck, and Jody Stephens was something we'll never forget. A true honor. But what made that night even more special was being able to screen the Big Star documentary with a room full of people who were part of the bands legacy, or just life long, die-hard Big Star fans. Seeing a wonderful document of a legendary band, in a beautiful theater—it was really special. The songs never sounded better, and it was just great being able to share that experience with a room full of a few hundred other folks who care about that band as much as we do.
—Evan Way (The Parson Red Heads)
Favorite show was Tiny Knives at the Know on November 3. Jai [Milx] came so close to bringing tears into my eyes from their performance. It was hard to hold it all in. Similar to experiences I've had when watching Stag Bitten.
—Robert Comitz (Nucular Aminals, Record Room, Frawg Pound Studio, the Know)
Vaporwave and the Pop-Art of the Virtual Plaza.
—Chris Cantino (Into the Woods, 2ØXX, PDX Pop Now!)
Bruce Springsteen at the Rose Garden was a magical night! No other musician brings it like Bruce with his powerful performance, brilliant lyrics, and his intimate relationship with his fans. It’s a rock and roll revival and he is a riveting master of sweetness, sadness and bad-ass cheerful rock and roll! He really is something you have to see to understand, the power of his music and relationship with the audience. Some great stunts, but so freely given—and no gimmicks. No light shows, things falling on the crowd, floating pigs. When I saw Coldplay I thought, "Yeah, okay, confetti falling, flashing wrist bands, crazy lights." But with Bruce it's just all him, honest and on the line with no fear and the house lights up! That's greatness.
—Chris Mays (KINK FM)
My favorite musical moment of 2012? Holy god, how would I pick just one?! I could maybe get it down to 30. Maybe it was that night that Old Age threw a one-night festival on their property in Alsea, Oregon—being full of warm chocolate and cold, free beer. With fungals swimming laps in my guts, the We Shared Milk, Hustle and Drone, Animal Eyes, and Fanno Creek ripped on the porch/stage that was lit with lasers from in front, and behind, the most beautiful nature Oregon has to offer. Yeah, "the Thing in Alsea" was my favorite.
Fave song is a cruel question and I won't play.
—Bim Ditson (And And And, Rigsketball)
Favorite show of the year: The Black Lips in Paris, France, at Le Trabendo. It was an insane show as expected. The band toilet papered the audience and people were constantly stage diving. By the end of the night a bunch of people flooded the stage and a few of the band members were crowd surfing on stage.
Second favorite show was Ty Segall in Portland at Star Theater. He asked the crowd, "Do you wanna take rock 'n' roll home tonight?"
—Sallie Ford (Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside)
Top 5 songs:
1. Cat Power, "Manhattan"
2. AlunaGeorge, "Put Up Your Hands"
3. Gulls, "Running Times"
4. Miracles Club, "U & Me"
5. Bat For Lashes, "Rest Your Head"
Runners up: Four Tet "Lion (Jamie XX remix)" and Andy Stott "Luxury Problems." (Last time I DJ'ed this, I saw a man humping a pole. For real.)
—Andrew Neerman (Beacon Sound)
This was the year I got to attend my first live performances by a number of icons that changed my perception of the world through their music: Bill Frisell, Swans, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, feedtime, Ed Kuepper, Omar Souleyman, Laurie Anderson, Matthew Shipp, and John Cale.
—Robert Ham (freelance writer, Good to Die Records)
I saw Tegan and Sara in Seattle in September, and it was only their second show with new songs and a new band. The highlight for me was seeing Jason McGerr from Death Cab (a band who I am admittedly not a fan of) constantly killing it on drums. Tegan and Sara are an extremely underrated band—as well as great songwriters—who I think we'll be hearing and seeing a lot of in 2013.
My Favorite Song of 2012: Emika, "Chemical Fever"
Favorite Music Show Moment: Seeing Hazel perform at Star Theater while their official dancer, Fred Nemo, did performance art and danced on stage.
—Christina Broussard, Mercury contributor, Sci Fi Sol Music
Song: Mike Coykendall, "Mr. Fly"
Show: Thee Oh Sees at Pickathon
Musical Moment: Colin Stetson (solo bass saxophone) at Mississippi Studios
—Garth Klippert (Old Light)
The Marked Men at Awesome Fest, San Diego!
—Ken Cheppaikode (Dirtnap Records, Green Noise Records)
I want to be really cool and say it was an obscure up and coming band I saw in a basement, but it was Roger Waters doing The Wall at the Rose Garden. That shit was insane. He sang with a massive image of himself, a blimp bombed us with corporate logos, and he drew all 15,000 fans into the narrative of the album. It's been more than six months and I still think about this show frequently. What's more, I wouldn't even say I liked this album going in to the show.
—Jason Simms (the Oregonian)
The Light in the Attic road trip was a fun time, and documented on their youtube page.
—Auggie Rebelo (Everyday Music)
All four days of Pickathon... is that cheating? If I were forced to be specific, I would choose the show that closed Pickathon 2012—Dr. Dog in the Galaxy Barn. It must have been 100 degrees, bodies were pressed together, sweat was dripping everywhere, and the energy in that room was explosive. I showed up late and somehow got right in front of the stage right when Frank McElroy (backup guitar and vocals) shouted out, "Who wants beer!" and held out his pitcher to the audience. It felt like I was the only one who heard or answered, and the pitcher was suddenly bestowed into my hands like a trophy, and I shared it with the crowd. It was an overwhelmingly awesome moment with one of my favorite bands.
—Rachel Milbauer (Mercury contributor)
When the layers of fuzz distortion kick in during the chorus of Ty Segall's "Thank God For Sinners."
—Jason Leivian (Floating World Comics, Arthur Magazine)
Song: Sic Alps, "Glyphs"
Show: (TIE) White Fang at Slim's/The Boss at the Rose Garden
—Jake Morris (Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Street Nights, H∞kers)
Fave show: Battle Hymns and Gardens at the Waypost (Reed Wallsmith, Joe Cunningham, Jon Shaw, Tim Duroche)
Fave song: Bob Dylan's "Long and Wasted Years"
—Tyler Keene, Log Across the Washer
"The Greatest Autoharp Solo of All Time" is a song that Zammuto played at Doug Fir on November 6—My kind of fun!
—Lane Barrington (The Ocean Floor, Sprinkles)
Front row for the Boss. Sixty-three and he can still kill it for three-plus hours. Crowd surfing, guitar spins, and Clarence Clemons' nephew holdin' it down on the sax. Gawd Bless Uhmerica.
—Anthony Stassi (hÔnt)
The "Passing of the Torch" show when I took over Slabtown. February 24 with Chemicals, Defect Defect, Bloodtypes, and Giant Ruinous Monster Wrestling (folks dressed up as monsters and wrestling among cardboard cities on stage). I've seen hundreds of live bands this year—some of them jaw-droppingly good (I'm looking at you, Hot Victory, Akabane Vulgars, Bi-Marks, Walls, and Neon Piss!). But nothing beats the feeling of putting on your first show at your own club. It was like having my first taste of alcohol all over again.
—Doug Rogers (Slabtown)
I saw at least 150 shows this year. There were so many memorable, musical moments. In November I was enlisted to be YOB's drum tech at their show in Oakland with Neurosis and Voivod. As YOB were sharing their drums with the main support, I became Voivod's drum tech by proxy, which allowed me a lot of quality time with one of my favorite bands. It also led to Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica) passing me a joint in the green room after the show and telling me, "Nate, you are somebody." I got a good laugh out of that.
—Nathan Carson (Nanotear Booking, Witch Mountain, Willamette Week)
Favorite show of the year is a split between Homiefest and this other rad house fest called WOM (Word of Mouth). The WOM fest was the day after July 4 and everyone seemed hungover as fuck. The bill was Sun Angle, Death Songs, Grandparents, and And And And. It was outside and everyone was gettin' crunked! They both ruled...
—Papi Fimbres (Paper Upper Cuts, Sun Angle, Orquestra Pacifico Tropical)
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