The thirty best concerts of 2012
Eric Gruneisen Radiohead's show this past March at 1STBANK Center is one of 2012's thirty best concerts.
While 2012 will be remembered as the year that Red Rocks hosted the most shows in its history, it's also going to go down as one of the best years for concerts in Colorado in general. As we reflected on all the incredible shows we took in this past year, there were an astounding number of what we'd consider must-see shows. Out of all the shows we reviewed, we've somehow managed to narrow it down to the thirty best concerts of 2012. Keep reading to see which ones we picked, and as always, feel free to weigh in if you think we left out one of your favorite shows.
30. MICHAEL KIWANUKA @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | 8/7/12
Judging by the instrument setup on stage, you could have guessed what sort of music Michael Kiwanuka would be playing: congas prominently pushed to the front of the stage, a classic sparkle drum kit reminiscent of something Ringo might play, an organ and a handful of acoustic and electric guitars with stained wood-grain finish. Santana could have waltzed out of a time machine and begun playing at any minute. Instead, Kiwanuka and five other musicians crowded the instrument-packed stage, and without any introduction launched into their set. Already-familiar chords of his newish single, "I'll Get Along," filled the room, hushing a crowd made up largely of couples -- so many folks on dates to see Kiwanuka, which makes sense: His folk-pop music seems geared toward them, and they ate it up.
29. SANTIGOLD @ OGDEN THEATRE | 5/29/12
"There were horses and what looked like buffalo skins, elaborate umbrellas and a rhythm-perfect band dressed in...we don't know what. There were striking red, blue and green lights, with plenty of space for Santigold to emerge, flanked by two synchronized-singing, back-up-dancing drummer gals, wearing absolutely blinding smiles. Starting the show with "Go," Santigold (aka Santi White) opened up a can of weird for Denver last night. As the opening strains of "Go" played, the dancers came out with militant fervor, high stepping and jumping, taking their places on either side of Santigold, who mimicked their movements with a cool style of her own."
28. DEVOTCHKA @ RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE | 9/20/12
DeVotchKa played their first show with the Colorado Symphony in February at Boettcher Concert Hall, moving longtime fans and enthusiasts to a state of tearful and awe-inspiring bliss. Last night, the rare and remarkable collaboration played for a larger audience at Red Rocks Amphitheatre -- and the unexpected, yet perfectly natural musical chemistry between the two groups proved transcendent once again.
27. THE LUMINEERS @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | 5/11/12
The whole show was a bit of an unexpected display of a communal musical experience that you don't often see. People knew this music and so many people sang along to songs that they've obviously come to love with a band that encouraged the audience participation not in an aggressive, desperate way but with a gentle nudge and grace. Clearly, this band has played this material countless times both in Denver and beyond, at small venues and large, but there was no pretense and these people were very much swept up in the moment last night at the Bluebird.
26. PEACHES @ the SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | 10.13.12
With champagne, campy German dancers and enough fake boobs to smother an elephant, Peaches' show at the Summit was a roofied cocktail of grimy beats and erotic theater. Putting on a show that was both grand in scope yet refreshingly minimal in its DIY simplicity, the queer, electro-punk goddess offered up a ninety minute set that put to shame the million dollar operations of today's top rated DJs, giving the audience a primal does of 21st century punk rock. Like a hologram Grace Jones fronting Gwar before a live Victorian orgy, the show left us all a little pulled inside out.