The thirty best concerts of 2012
20. DIVINE FITS @ BLUEBIRD THEATER |12/14/12
Picking a high point of a show as thoroughly enjoyable as this one would be tough, but when Alex Fischel started playing the synth intro to "You Got Lucky" by Tom Petty -- which could have gone either way, kitschy or funny -- and Dan Boeckner started singing (turns out he's one of the few people who do Petty believably and with conviction) and then Britt Daniel and Sam Brown joined in, these guys turned a mere cover into a song that they could've written, playing it as though they owned it. Boeckner even rattled out the guitar echoes at the end of the song. For a band that made a virtue out of layered and dynamic simplicity the whole show, the attention to detail on this song, which it didn't even write, was quite impressive.
19. DEATH GRIPS @ LARIMER LOUNGE | 11/23/12
Most bands that get hyped rarely live up to it. Death Grips was better than any hype could convey. Zach Hill and MC Ride put the amount of energy into this less than hour-long performance equaling what you'd have to sustain for a five hour show of almost anyone else's music. Hill and Ride were streaming with sweat and as they thrashed about, those of us near the front were speckled with sweat.
18. ROB ZOMBIE & MARILYN MANSON @ 1STBANK CENTER |10/2/12
Throughout the show, Marilyn Manson maintained a great balance between sardonic jocularity and the intensity of the consummate showman he is. Almost every song, there was an inspired costume change or a slight change in the set with subtle use of effects and props on stage throughout the show and those brought on for specific songs. At one point, Manson had on an outfit like he was a bishop decked out in red, including the mitre. Throughout his portion of the show, Rob Zombie pumped up the crowd and cajoled when it seemed people were acting like they were at home watching TV. But instead of just harping on that like a lot of performers seemed to, he just encouraged involvement and earned it with the sheer enthusiasm and energy he brought to this show. Maybe it was that Manson had had such a great set that he felt he needed to make his own just slightly more exciting, but one got the impression that Zombie just does this all the time regardless of with whom he's touring.
17. DEAD CAN DANCE @ TEMPLE BUELL | 8/19/12
"There was nothing gimmicky about any aspect of the show. It was like seeing something dignified and respectful without being stuffy, and the audience truly returned the favor. While the music had clearly struck a chord with many people and the crowd's enthusiasm was palpable, even the more exuberant members of the audience waited for song breaks to shout out things at the stage."
16. TREY ANASTASIO @ BOETTCHER CONCERT HALL | 2.28.12
The soft, beautiful and, at times, elegant side of Phish's musical catalogue shone last night as frontman and songwriter Trey Anastasio took the stage at the Boettcher Concert Hall backed by the 65-piece Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Outside, fans dressed in suits, ties and flat-brimmed baseball caps mingled with friends over cocktails and joints until the ushers rang their bells signaling the fifteen-minute warning. Slowly the crowd climbed the various staircases to their seats in the beautiful auditorium. As you'd expect from a symphony hall, every noise is detectable. After Anastasio took the stage to ear-piercing whoops from the crowd, it got so quiet that you could hear chairs creaking on stage and Anastasio stepping on one of four pedals he had in his array -- itself a major departure for a man who layers loud effects over his playing during Phish's electric concerts.