Last day! Over the past few days, I've been posting more responses to the question I posed to dozens of people in the Portland music scene—musicians, bookers, writers, more: What was your favorite song, show, or musical moment of 2012? As the year finally comes to its end (it's ending! Like, tonight!), I've got the last installment of the many great responses I received. If you'd like to read more of these—and if you get as much a kick out of these as I do, you will want to—some appeared in the paper here, and more appeared on the blog here, here, and here.
But I'll assume if you're checking this out, you've checked the others out as well, and here is the last group of great moments in music for 2012. I would like to thank everyone who responded, as well as invite you to add your personal favorite shows, songs, etc. in the comments. While the end-of-year reflection can get to be a little much, especially with music writing, I look at it as a chance to stop my blathering and let other people share what music mattered to them. So! Enough blathering! Before the clock on 2012 runs out, here's the last installment on what other people had to say about the things that made this year in music so great.
So many good ones, here are some: (1) Hot Chip & YACHT at the Crystal Ballroom in September; (2) The Walkmen at Sasquatch at sunset; (3) Thee Oh Sees and White Denim in the Galaxy Barn at Pickathon; (4) Loch Lomond closing their "final" Portland show joined by Black Prairie for a take on Damien Jurado's "Yuma, AZ."
—Jeremy Petersen (OPBmusic.org)
The Afghan Whigs at the Wonder Ballroom.
—Greg Glover (94/7 FM)
Seeing Basque rock group Barricada at Sala Razzmatazz in Barcelona. The place was packed and sweaty (interesting fact: Spaniards use index fingers and point rather than flashing devil horns), and everyone there knew all the words. Except for my wife and me, but we quickly caught on to the chorus of "Esta es Una Noche de Rock & Roll," which was rock 'n' roll magic.
—Mark Lore (Mercury contributor, thedaysoflore.com)
My new bandmates and I played the Chickfactor 20-year anniversary shows in LA and SF in September. They were our first shows as a band and the first time I played my new solo songs live. We had a blast playing with such awesome bands and musicians. It felt so great to be playing shows again!
—Kim Baxter (All Girl Summer Fun Band, The Tale of Me and You)
Teamwork crowdfunding healthcare for musicians. On October 19 our longtime friend and musical compatriot, Stefon Alexander, who is more widely know as the punk-influenced rap powerhouse P.O.S., gave a shocking announcement to the world via YouTube. He explained that his fall release tour for the album We Don't Even Live Here would have to be cancelled due to the fact that he was suffering from a severe medical condition and needed a kidney transplant. Shortly after the announcement, his friends from the Minneapolis-based hiphop collective Doomtree started a crowd funding page, giving fans, friends, and fellow musicians the opportunity to lend a hand in raising the daunting $25,000 for the medical and recovery expenses, through a website called youcaring.com. So far, the fund raising has been a great success, reaching well beyond it's goal and going strong into February. This outpouring of support has proven, that together, we can help each other accomplish seemingly unreachable goals. Especially, the goals that matter most, in those areas where our country's current infrastructure may severely lacking, like affordable healthcare.
We're all looking forward to our friend getting fixed up and back at his work.
—Jacy McIntosh, Kelsey Crawford (Themes)
Hard to say due to so much happening, but I would have to say seeing Refused live was up there for favorite moment/show. That, and seeing Converge and Torche on the same bill.
—Jeff Urquhart (King Banana, Branx, Rotture)
I went with Spit Stix to the two-year anniversary party for the Hicksville Trailer Palace and Artist Retreat in Joshua Tree, California. With a crowd of about 40 other people, we watched an intimate acoustic set by John Doe and Exene Cervenka. They made jokes and sang their hearts out to us in a living room. It was magical.
—Jeffrey "Chairman" Couch (Nasalrod, Drats!!!, The Chair Project)
My favorite song of 2012 is Con Brio’s song from their live CD The Bay is Burning. The lead off track, "Weigh on Me," brings together all of the different genres and elements that this band plays and puts them all into this one song. It’s a rock song, it’s a hiphop song, it’s soul, R&B, jazz, and pop, and it all somehow flows together seamlessly. Xandra Corpora is an amazing singer and she is a powerhouse on this song. "Weigh on Me" is full of energy, emotion, rhythm, great organ and saxophone solos, excellent lyrics, and it's catchy as hell, which is what a favorite song should be.
My favorite musical experience if 2012 was a show at the Aladdin by the Flatlanders. The unannounced opener was Sarah Gwen and Scott Weddle. The mostly aging baby boomer crowd was surprised when a female acoustic guitarist and singer and a male electric guitarist suddenly appeared on stage and started to perform. But, during the first song and subsequent tunes and with their charming introductions, the crowd was won over. Sarah Gwen’s unique voice and powerful lyrics to her original songs and Weddle’s guitar playing blew everyone away. During each song, Scott would play subtle sympathetic parts that drew out the various rootsy styles of the songs, then he would accent them with clever and intricate solos. The duo played a tight, 30-minute set and received very enthusiastic applause and audience members rushed the lobby to buy their debut disc. The show showed me how open people still are to new music and it was inspiring to see how a new artist can excite a crowd so much that they will purchase a CD on the spot. Take that, iTunes!
—Dan Eichler (Mississippi Pizza Pub/Atlantis Lounge)
Pierced Arrows shredding at the new Mississippi Records location opening party this past summer in the park next to Cherry Sprout.
—Katie Bernstein, John Gnorski (Houndstooth)
Black Dice at the YU. So much space. So many squonks.
—Josh Fulfs (Palmas, Shwood)
Song: "Milk-Heavy, Pollen-Eyed" by Laura Gibson
Show: Hot Snakes at Doug Fir
Moment: Bill Callahan at Hollywood Theater
—Aaron Robert Miller (Deer or the Doe, wantstogiveyou.com)
One of my favorite shows of 2012 was Shy Girls at Bunk Bar. Too bad that yacht party never happened, Dan. There's always next year.
—Sean Flinn (Sean Flinn and the Royal We)
Golden Retriever at Valentine's in the spring with Matt as Eno and Jonathan as Mick Ronson.
—Scott Simmons (Exiled Records)
Song: Angel Olsen, "Acrobat." This one just hurts so good. I can't stop pressing repeat to let it break my heart over and over again.
—Vincent Bancheri (Mama Bird Recording Co.)
For me 2012 was all about the dense singles game Panjabi music had going on, with shout outs to Honey Singh, Gupsy Aujla, Saini Surinder & Violinder, DJ Sanj & Jay Status, Banger & Jaswinder Jassi, Hargo Boparai & Arpan, Garry Sandhu, Sudesh Kumari, Cloud 9 Music, DJ Sat Singh & newcomers like Dara Singh.
—The Incredible Kid (DJ Anjali and the Incredible Kid)
World Champion Dholi (Panjabi drummer) Rayman Bhuller from Vancouver, BC, was one of the special guests at our ANDAZ 10-year anniversary party at Branx this summer. He played mad dhol during my set, then his student jumped on stage and started to sing bhangra. Nothing was rehearsed, it was completely spontaneous and pretty much brilliant!! I love it when that happens here cause, you know, Portland's pretty much a white guy on stage kinda town.
—DJ Anjali (DJ Anjali and the Incredible Kid)
Sarcastic Dharma Society, Zoo Girl, and Your Rival in a tiny NE basement... on my birthday. Sorry if picking my own birthday show makes me an ***hole. Honorable mention goes to Twelve Hour Turn's reunion show at the Know.
—Maya Stoner (Forest Park, F.O.C. Fest)
Taking tequila shots with Dale Watson and his band after watching them tear it up at the Broken Spoke in Austin.
—Kurt Foster, Jeremy Dietz (Mission Spotlight)
Thee Oh Sees in the Galaxy Barn at Pickathon.
—W.C. Beck (Portland Country Underground)
Trust at MFNW.
—Lex Chase (Mercury contributor)
Sometimes the best moments in the warehouse only a small few were lucky enough to experience, like the night Chicago-based artist Brent Coughenour performed his piece "Mysterium Cosmographicum." His heart-wrenching comedy and indescribable performance was filled with mashups, data mosh, and DSP brilliance triggered with Wii controllers. It was a bittersweet night, as we wished that the rest of Portland could have experienced such a rare performance like this. Oh! And anytime Like a Villain performed; she is brilliant and has graced our stage more than anyone. Such a beautiful and hard working musician.
—Derek and Kristen Larson (Boom Bap!)
The best live band I saw this year was Tenement, at the Know. Straight up.
—Harrison Rapp (Divers)
My favorite musical moment was certainly Patrick Watson in a church at SXSW.
—Matt Sheehy (Lost Lander)
I went to college with a few members of a bluegrass outfit called the Steep Canyon Rangers back in North Carolina. They happen to be the current touring band for Steve Martin! We scored a couple of fantastic seats to see them with Steve and Emmylou Harris last summer at the Edgefield Winery. It was really cool to see a couple of fellas that I knew from late-night-drunken-bluegrass-jams, having fun and rockin' the big stage. They sounded great.
—Will West (Will West and the Friendly Strangers)
Dancing until 5 am in Gothenburg, Sweden, to the best DJ I've ever heard. When I complimented him on his set and offered him a night at Valentine's should he ever travel to Portland, his first words were, "Portland? Do you know Dave Depper?"
—Shelley Bowers (Someday Lounge)
The KPSU Kruise with Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Radiation City.
—Keegan Meyer (KPSU)
Song: Major Lazer ft. Amber (of Dirty Projectors), "Get Free"
—Brandon and Rico Laws (Hosannas)
The show took place on a First Thursday. July 5 to be exact, in an art gallery on SW Washington that required the cumbersome task of climbing up 10 flights of stairs. Upon entering the venue I encountered the jovial atmosphere of a basement house-party show, transposed many flights up into the hot summer sky. The first surprise I encountered was an old-school freestyle cypher, an ever evolving hurricane-shaped oval replete with backpacks and playful braggadocio with the odd camera and/or phone attempting to capture lyrical off-the-dome improvs that don't translate well to posterity. Soon they will all be destined for deletion. Much like how Instagrammed pictures of the ocean or the seemingly infinite clouds at dusk or the solemn quiet after a fresh snowfall can never replicate the experience and majesty of actually being there in the moment.
The second surprise was that Luck-One, the highest billed act in the press release, humbly opened up the evening just as the sun set. That gesture alone signaled that I was in a space where the music performed, and the shared camaraderie contained within those walls, were more important than the often alienating industry of music. The industry that, despite its best intentions, can't help but judge artists by tickets sold and drinks downed. I quickly realized that this night was the antithesis to that mindset. Cloudy October was next, accompanied by Hostile Tapeover who stepped out front from his production duties to be Dre on the mic to Cloudy's Snoop, as they finished their set with a cover of "Nothing But a G Thang." Cloudy's live performance also prominently featured Portland-via-Alabama emcee Rasheed Jamal, who stepped onstage next with partners Mic Capes and Glenn Waco as the then newly formed trio the Resistance. That alone would've been enough to make my moment of the year. But ultimately, a surprise appearance from North Portland native and Chicago resident Vinnie Dwayne closed out the evening and elevated my already blown mind to the next level.
I walked home across the Burnside bridge that night with my ears ringing, a permagrin on my face, and a swelling feeling of gratitude in my heart. Invigorated and inspired by the past, present, and future of Portland hiphop.
—Ryan Feigh (Mercury contributor)
Favorite song: "Be Nice" by Charles Boyer and the Voyeurs, flipside to their single "I Watch You" from Heavenly recordings.
Show: seeing the Horrors, supported by Bo Ningen and Toy, in Manchester at the Ritz while on vacation with my wife. Amazing happy chance that our visit to that city coincided with a show by three bands I love and wanted to see perform.
Musical moment of 2012: the reissues of the remastered albums by My Bloody Valentine, with the additional release of the singles and EPs anthology, and the promise of new material some time soon!
—Jeff Ross (recordsbymail.com, Portland Radio Authority)
Thanks for including me on this list. That's mighty nice. I'm not going to be much good to you this year. I sort of fell off the train and spent a ton of time listening to old vinyl and warped cassettes instead. However, I did see some incredible local shows this year. Shows that gave me faith. For instance:
Wooden Indian Burial Ground - October at Barlow Tavern
Old Light - September at Doug Fir
Edna Vazquez - November at The Piano Fort
y mucho mas
God bless Portland, Oregon.
—Mike Midlo (Midlo, Pancake Breakfast)
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