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Friday, December 14, 2012

Best Concerts of the Year 2012

Less concerts, due to the crisis, attended this year, but still there has been many worth to remember. Here are my 10 favourite live performances of this 2012! Hope you like it!

From Arc de Triomf. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
10. The Wedding Present (Primavera Sound Festival, Arc de Triomf, Barcelona, May 30th)
The concerts at Arc de Triomf weren't precisely the highlight of a fantastic Primavera Sound edition. Massification, people not interested at all on the music... But there was a great discovery for me, that compensated the day: seeing David Gedge and Co. performing "Seamonsters". Jumped on their music bandwagon since then!
9. Mäximo Park (Festival Plaça Odissea, Maremàgnum, Barcelona, May 12th)
Didn't remember how fun was being at a Mäximo Park concert! Paul Smith is a beast live and he proved from the very first second: restless, hyperactive, passionate as few on stage. He turned an otherwise quite unremarkable Festival engaging, propelling new songs and band classics to addictive indie-rock hits. What a difference a great frontman can make!
8. Los Planetas (Primavera Club, Sant Jordi Club, Barcelona, December 7th)
Judging just from a sound quality point of view, they wouldn't make it on this list. But this is a personal blog, and watching Los Planetas for the first time had many intimate implications (memories) associated. Besides, I was lucky that their live comeback included playing many of the timeless classics. After "Corrientes Circulares en el Tiempo" was followed by "Nunca Me Entero de Nada" the concert became something very very very special.
7. Fanfarlo (Sala Apolo , Barcelona, October 14th)
Trumpets! Never-ending choruses! Tunes you'll sacrifice (almost broken with "The Walls Are Coming Down, and completely gone at the end with "Harold T. Wilkins) your throat to happily! Fanfarlo insuflates life and rhythm to indie pop. It was another first-time mandatory gig for me, and the confirmation this is a band with a "shiny" career ahead.  
6. Real Estate (Primavera Sound Festival, Fòrum de Barcelona, June 2nd)
I chose them instead of seeing Beach House, who were playing almost at the same time, so that's a pretty good measure of how much I wanted to see them, don't you think? Did I made the right choice? Sure  I did. Their gig was superb, flawless, proving what an incredible record is "Days", also live. 
5. Neil Hannon (Festival Temporada Alta, Auditori de Girona, November 2nd)
If you check this blog regularly (thank you my friend!) or just occasionally (welcome, see you around!) you should know by now: I love The Divine Comedy. There aren't many indie-pop genius out there, but Mr. Hannon is one of the "chosen ones". In Girona, alone with his piano or guitar his music was again a banquet for the listener and a lot of fun (he is also a wonderful comedian). Besides, his music was even more special as I wasn't alone...
4. Lee Ranaldo (Primavera Sound Festival, Fòrum de Barcelona, May 31st)
Never a Sonic Youth's fan, I was completely blown out by "Between the Times and the Tides", and his performance live just made me a converted fan. Mesmerized by his guitar style and the melodies that recall to R.E.M, Ranaldo has been one of my discoveries of the year.
3. Sharon Van Etten (La [2] de Apolo, Barcelona, September 29th)
Little trick here, because I've been fortunate enough to see Sharon twice this year, first at Primavera Sound, then at Apolo. Whether her rockier version of her folky side, Sharon has that spark. Her voice can be moody, nocturnal, heart-wrenching or joyous. She deliver lines as if you were boxing against Muhammad Ali. She pours a torrent of emotions over the listener. And proved to me live two times on this 2012. One of the best artists of the year, so look for her, very high, on the forthcoming "songs" and "records of the year" lists of this blog.
2. Kings of Convenience (Primavera Sound, Fòrum de Barcelona, June 2nd)
Had more curiosity than expectations with the Norwegian duo. I like them, but only in "small doses", and couldn't imagine them playing their quiet music at the main stage of the Festival. But how wrong I was. Brilliant as the modern "Simon and Garfunkel", friendly and natural, with a crystal clear sound, then they became a full band, giving a "funky" vibe to their mellow and acoustic tunes. They came, put a spell on you, then surprised you & made you dance. They won the audience completely.
Big Star's finale. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
1. Big Star's Third (Primavera Sound, Fòrum de Barcelona, June 1st)
One of the best concerts I have been in my life so far. No, much more. One of the most beautiful and touching music experiences I have been lucky to be part of. Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers special tribute became an option for me because R.E.M.'s Mike Mills was one of the guest stars playing (and 3 hours of The Cure was too much). So grateful I made that choice. Even before the music started, there was something in the air. A privilege to see so many wonderful artists doing sincere and passionate renditions of the songs of Alex Chilton and his band. How magic music can be.

Want to check last year's concerts list? Just click here.

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