The thirty best concerts of 2012

5. BON IVER @ RED ROCKS | 5/31/12
"Justin Vernon's compositions are even more drastically transformed in concert; far from the sparse, layered, vocal-driven basement ballads of his recordings, they were suddenly huge swaths of arena-rock dynamics. There was a sort of engineered cacophony in Bon Iver's set that brilliantly became elegant as all the instruments blended in and out of each other, intermittently creating walls of sound or cutting out completely in favor of a spotlighted violin solo."

4. DELTRON 3030 @ CERVANTES' | 9/16/12
It's been nearly fifteen years since the release of Deltron 3030, the group's only effort until recently, and it still carries the same weight it did when it was originally played. Granted, in those fifteen years a lot has changed, but this album is a staple in most hip-hop heads' collections. Each track is beautifully crafted and tells of life as it happens in the future. Interpreted, it's sort of an Orwellian prophecy on the future of hip-hop with claims that "in the year 3030 everybody wants to be a DJ" -- which, if you examine our pop culture, happened about 1,018 years early. Del and Dan have still got it, and at Cervantes' they delivered a perfectly blended set of tracks off their first album along with some of the new tracks on the forthcoming Deltron Event II. As the set progressed, Del did his Del-thing and remained motionless between some tracks, catching his breath in order to focus on the next effort. As the set grew amplified, the energy followed suit.

3. REFUSED @ OGDEN THEATRE | 8/22/12
From the very beginning, we knew we were in for something special when we saw the name of the band spelled out in giant, translucent white letters as members of the band were taking stage. Before the curtain dropped, a low ambient swell coursed through the Ogden like a sense of building anticipation. When Refused were revealed and went right into "Worms of the Senses," it was like getting hit with a wave of inspiring energy that didn't really end until the show was over.

2. JEFF MANGUM at OGDEN THEATRE | 4/26/12
Jeff Mangum's voice took a toll on his audience, whose members swayed lazily and sweatily with palms over hearts and cell phones happily relegated to pockets. (Crowd-wide goosebumps broke out during the world's eeriest sing-along, hundreds of voices breathlessly in sync with Mangum's wail on "Two-Headed Boy.") And it took a different toll on its owner; by song ten, he had removed the throat spray from his khakis. By its followup, he was making sense of the night's end. At almost an hour on the dot, the set was everything it had to be and exactly nothing more, the kind of show where you wish you had someone to call in the middle if you could somehow just bring yourself to interrupt the spell and hold out your phone. But that action might have earned a frown from its inspiration.


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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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