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.