Something You Said’s top gigs of 2012


We spent a ridic amount of time in 2012 at music venues all over the world. From Berlin to Brighton, from Sydney to Switzerland, from London to LA, we were there. These are the gigs that made us a bit giddy:

Jack White at Splendour in the Grass, Australia
This was an absolutely amazing experience for me. Though admittedly, I was a little under the influence, I recall quite clearly the sheer BRILLIANCE of this performance. Firstly he played with his all male band, accompanied by electric guitar, drums, strings, piano and God knows what else. THEN halfway through, the band swapped, and a dreamlike posse of girls took to the stage as Jack switched to play acoustic.
He later completed his set with the bass driven hit Seven Nation Army, and my goodness… the crowd was going absolutely apeshit, myself included! I mean, I was in my home town, with my fabulous best friend and a ridiculously adorable boy (just sayin’), listening to a rock legend play the shit outta his guitar. What could possibly be better? Liana Gow-Killingbeck

Mogwai at the Zurich Openair Festival, Switzerland
The second day into a three-day gig was being daunted by stubborn grey clouds. It was just getting dark and the the rain was just letting go when Mogwai came on. It was only the people who really wanted to hear them hanging around, so the lack of overbearing crowds, creepy stillness before it starts to pour and love that Mogwai showed for the diehards braving the weather to hear them was really just amazing. Electricity in the air. Kaya Strehler 

Chairlift at Scala, London 
Haunting and romantic, the way I like music to sound. The band played a subtle and engaging set of songs from both their first and second album Something. Lead singer Caroline Polachek was captivating and all the more beautiful as she appears unaware of the magic. Golden Lady

The Black Angels at Harvest Festival, Sydney
I’d never heard them before and I was instantly hooked. I love the feeling of discovering a new band, it’s almost euphoric. They had everyone rapt and slowly gravitating towards them and they have a wicked sitar player! Kate Holcombe

craig finnCraig Finn at Coalition, Brighton
On a break from his day job as frontman of the Hold Steady, Craig Finn brought his genius to Coalition – one of Brighton’s very worst venues (the gig was barely publicised and slapped with a 10pm curfew to make way for the meat market horrors of a student 2-4-1 club night later that evening). Against the odds, Finn (left) nailed a brilliantly intimate performance – playing Clear Heart Full Eyes almost in its entirety, as well as unreleased gems like the pedal-steel driven Jeremiah’s BluesAndy James

Bruce Springsteen at Madison Square Garden, New York
Hands down the greatest live show I have ever seen. The Boss played like it was the first and last gig he was ever going to play. The fact it was during my honeymoon and it was New York City probably heightened the experience somewhat! I saw Pulp the next night and that was pretty, bloody great too but The Boss edged out Jarvis and pals on this occasion. Gary Page

Dexys at The Brighton Dome 
The greatest British band of all time returned with a brilliant new album and possibly the best live show I have ever seen. Kevin Rowlands is my absolute hero and the greatest front man I have ever seen. I am biased, as those that know will testify that I have been banging on about the majesty of Dexys for years, but fuck it Dexys are incredible, Kevin Rowland is a god and this gig was monumental. A proper show, theatrical, dramatic and with more heart than you’ll see in a thousand bands 30 years younger. Neil Martin

How To Dress Well at XOYO, London
I’m not the biggest fan of overly depressing and soft music but the ethereal and devastating melodies and beats that are curated by the wonderful Tom Krel are too undeniably brilliant to not fall in love with. Seeing this man live proved that not even the amazing and highly critically-acclaimed releases; Total Loss and Love Remains, do this man’s spine-chilling musical talent any justice. I was literally in awe of this performance for weeks. Jemma Cole

P1060265Kirin J Callinan at Goodgod, Sydney
It has been a pretty shit birthday for me but Kirin’s gig that night was memorable, heartwarming, powerful and many more buzz words. He (pictured, right) is a romantic performer, with the ability to command a room for an hour or so just as he is, a skinny, quirky guy with a brilliant, cut-throat voice. Carol Bowditch

William D Drake at The Komedia, Brighton
William D Drake’s cosy gig was spellbinding (and I guess one of the last before The Komedia’s big transformation into a cinema). The talent and quirkiness of the band and Drake’s beautiful lyrics and piano playing were so special I felt truly honoured to be there. Alice Parsons

Father John Misty at Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
This was probably the most amusing gig I have ever been to. Josh Tillman began by saying “I’d like to thank xanex for getting me here… but that’s not why I’m so lethargic and weird… that’s just my sensibility”. He stood on that intimate stage completely taking the piss. It made me realise how seriously most musicians take themselves, which is good, but it’s wonderful to have some variety, especially when it’s this entertaining. On mute it could have looked like an extrovert having a solid shot at karaoke, but Tillman can sing and I mean really sing! Such conviction and passion channelled into such ridiculous lyrics was enormously enjoyable and refreshing. It’s no surprise really when I considered that years of suppression behind a drum kit with the Fleet Foxes was being released all at once onto the stage. Full marks for originality and a super fun night. Harriet Cheney

The live recording of Dave Pickering’s podcast Getting Better Acquainted at the Invisible Picture Palace in Wapping
The creators of In the Dark were the loveliest radio geeks I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, and sitting on big cushions in a tiny greenhouse listening to interesting people talk about interesting things is the best concept for an event probably ever. The night I went Dave interviewed Ufuoma ‘Yurei’ Urie, and the whole thing was intimate and honest. The interview will be podcast in 2013. Jess O’Callaghan

Mac Demarco/TOPS in Brighton
Last month I went to England, and while there I took every opportunity I got to see as many bands as I could. Too many amazing international bands come through which might take years to finally make the trip down under. I’d read a little bit about Mac Demarco, and by chance managed to spot his gig during my night in Brighton. Also the band who wrote my favourite album of the year, TOPS, were supporting, so it wasn’t really one to miss. I’d read about Mac, but hadn’t heard anything so the gig really came as one of those fantastic surprise where everything seems to blow you away. His second album, 2, will rekindle your love for guitar music, and is live presence is akin to that of a drunk stand up comedian, but amazing. Marcus Thaine

laura marlingLaura Marling at Sydney Opera House
I will never tire of seeing gigs at the Opera House, and to witness my favourite artist there, with a full band, playing her beautiful third album from start to finish followed by an encore of the best of the rest was just a delight. There was something perfect about her poetic, deep, heavy lyrics being sighed out into that grand setting and it felt like no other venue in Australia could possible have coped with the sheer weight of her performance. Bobby Townsend

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at The Troubadour, West Hollywood
My favorite gig is still upcoming. It’s going to be Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the Troubadour. I can not WAIT! I haven’t had the opportunity for a whole lot of shows this year so I’m frothing!! Stay tuned for the review of the show right here on Something You Said! Tenley Nordstrom

Rum & Bass at The Corn Exchange, Brighton
A Reggae and Calypso party was an event held to herald the start of Brighton’s Black History Month and to celebrate 50 years of Jamaican independence. The Corn Exchange, which is more used to theatre and dance events, was transformed for the night into a sun-drenched celebration featuring Carribean food, rum cocktails and some musical giants in the form of Dennis Bovell and Prince Fatty. Prince Fatty was up first with MC Horseman who features heavily on many of his releases. There were a number of classic covers which got the crowd dancing which included amongst others, Shimmy Shimmy Ya and Got Your Money by Ol Dirty Bastard, and Insane in the Membrane by Cypress Hill. Horseman is a brilliant MC and got the party started in proper fashion. Denis Bovell initially came out on his own and charmed the crowd with his stories and humour. He performed a cover of What a Wonderful World using just his voice for the beat and wowed and stunned the crowd into disbelief at the power of his voice. His dub group then joined him on stage and things picked up pace with performances of his classic lovers rock anthems and tracks Jazterpiece and Whap’n Bap’n from the 1980 film Babylon he soundtracked. Prince Fatty then returned for another short to finish off the night while I finished off my Rum punch. The crowd which ranged in ages from 5 to 70 all left with a smile on their face and sore feet from dancing all night. 25ThC

What was your favourite gig of 2012? Tell us in the comments section below…

Photos by Bobby Townsend, Jemma Cole and Andy James.