The thirty best concerts of 2012

25. WOVENHAND / MICHAEL GIRA @ ORIENTAL THEATER | 3/24/12
One song into Michael Gira's set at the Oriental Theater and he told the crowd, "Okay, shut up. Shut the fuck up. Time to shut up." He'd opened with brooding and droning "Jim" from Swans' latest effort, 2010's My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky, and while the people near the stage looked focused, there was talking in the back of the venue. A few more songs into his brilliant and intense hour-long set, which included Swans, Angels of Light and solo material, Gira got a bit fired up again at the crowd. That seemed to work, and the crowd hushed, which was a good thing since Gira's lyrics and vocals demand attention. While Gira delivered a heavy set, Wovenhand brought a completely different kind of intensity. Fronted by David Eugene Edwards, former leader of 16 Horsepower and one of the most powerful frontmen in the state, Wovenhand opened a fierce set with "The Beautiful Axe."

24. MACKLEMORE @ OGDEN THEATRE | 12/6/12
All Macklemore has to do is pose dramatically to induce the same frenzied reaction from an audience that a slightly lesser MC would draw with their signature song. Granted, a very sizable portion of his Denver audience comprised easily riled high school girls, but that should truly take nothing away from the fact that the stories he tells are utterly compelling, and his performance at the Ogden was not one iota short of exhilarating. His stories are deeply personal, universally relatable and delivered with such poignancy that it becomes impossible not to be moved.

23. KENDRICK LAMAR @ OGDEN THEATRE | 10/8/12
The stage was set by an erupting smoke machine, thundering bass and a massive light spectacle, all in preparation for a dynamic, five-foot, six-inch MC in old-school high socks and a voice that seems too powerful to come from such a little body. The second that Kendrick Lamar strutted onto the stage in his grey hoodie and loose shorts, looking like he had just finished an afternoon jog, the rapper held the sea of people that filled the Ogden to capacity in his little hand. He spoke his opening bit and then launched into "HiiiPoWeR," and his words were no longer his own, but shared by the entirety of the venue.

22. BIG GIGANTIC @ RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE | 9/29/12
With the first ever grand-scale visual mapping on both the flanking rocks of the venue, Big Gigantic's Rowdytown show, featuring Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Dillon Francis, GRiZ and Raw Russ, easily earns top honors. Performing a healthy dose of new tracks and old hits, the Boulder-based electronic duo more than delivered on its debut headlining show at Red Rocks.

21. JAPANDROIDS @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | 11/18/12
Brian King said that while he and David Prowse had had a blast at the Larimer Lounge this past June, they were going to do even better tonight. As promised, the pair proceeded to do just that with every single one of the seventeen songs of their set with a display of raw power and passion the likes of which you almost never see. Appropriately enough, the show got off the ground with "Adrenaline Nightshift."



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12 comments
Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

My list wasn't even close . I'm not familiar w/ better than 1/2 the artists you mentioned . But if it's in WW,  it must be correct .....

boyhollow1
boyhollow1

Not sure how New Order didn't make this list.  But Leonard Cohen was indeed amazing.

Eamonn Wilcox
Eamonn Wilcox

Death Grips at Larimer was probably the best night of my life

Rob Author
Rob Author

No. Die Antwoord didn't even make the list but Skrillex did? Lol.

Brian F. Johnson
Brian F. Johnson

Not listing the second night of Jacket at Red Rocks = Epic fail!

Maxwell Turtle Pants
Maxwell Turtle Pants

Beats Antique had a killer show at the Rocks that was TRUMPED by their halloween bash giving props to Pretty Lights, Bassnectar and Dom before rolling into an absurd Catskills and instrumental Bohemian Rhapsody. Railroad and Umphrey's murdered red rocks on august sixteenth and although umphrey's set seemed a little cleaned up as opposed to their usual jam...a kashmir encore with both bands made it a night to never forget. Oh and easily some of the most feel good vibes and excellent experience on the Rocka for Lotus' debut as headliner. Emancipator opened and made the crowd a loving sea of friends before a gigantic lotus flower was erected on stage to harness the EOTO magic before letting the semi hometown band come on and perform the best show of the last three years that ended in the only fashion possible, a Nomad shoutout to those that waited for this moment between the rocks, Spiritualize encore into Colorado. Hearts melted, friends were forever made, and love for the performers was sealed. Xavier Rudd at Ogden was thrilling to all in his mesmorized crowd while Die Antwoord showcased why they deserved a repeat at the ogden four months later. BUT for new music, that romantic moment that WE ALL LOVE when something happens and everyone's attention in the room captured and you witness a band become a little bigger than reality from the independent dungeon they have been hiding in came one fateful night at Larimer Lounge when Purity Ring booked a show and sold it out only to book another and sell that out as well. The Lumineers broke out in a big way but these Canadian kids made one hell of a splash in five points. Props on Jack White at No 1 as he was the king of Red Rocks this summer.

Jeremy Richards
Jeremy Richards

Nah you left out Bassnectar and Pretty Lights at the Rocks, I don't know how you could have put Skrillex before that.. WEAK

frank.a.munafo
frank.a.munafo

I don't even know how you picked 30. I went to exactly 4 shows this year, Ryan Adams, Refused, Petty and Deftones. This was a bad year for concerts in Denver and arguably the worst Red Rocks line up in years...

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

Two thumbs up on the Leonard Cohen concert. I also loved when he did Tower of Song on what sounded like a Casio keyboard; it added a touch of humor to the show and brought him closer to the audience.

I'd also cast my vote for the Frank Turner show with Larry and his Flask at the Summit in September. Insane energy level from Frank and his band. 

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