Saturday, January 12, 2013

Top 10 Live Shows of 2012

Well, of course I've come down with a cold for the new year - but the show(s) must go on!

1. Austin Psych Fest 5
April 27-29, Emo's East/Beauty Ballroom - Austin, TX

Austin Psych Fest 2012 film trailer

One of a few repeats, Austin Psych Fest was #4 Live of 2011. This year was even better, although nothing's topping the Seaholm Power Plant for a venue. Here was my post-Fest wrap-up.

As the record shows, a full list of the bands we caught:
Moon Duo, Acid Baby Jesus, Disappears, Sleep ∞ Over, Sun Araw, The Black Angels; Quest for Fire, Spindrift, Entrance Band, Pink Mountaintops, Pure X, Woods; Wooden Shjips, Bombino, Federale, Meat Puppets, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre.
Do try to make it this year...

2. Pain Teens/Ed Hall/Crust Trance Syndicate Reunion
November 24, Emo's East - Austin, TX
Pain Teens on 11/23, Fitzgerald's - Houston, TX

"Pollution" by Ed Hall, at Emo's East (11/24/2012)

Boom!! Caught a few old-timey local bands at The Axiom reunion show on Friday - including The Pain Teens (#8, 1990) . Then trekked up to Austin to see them again, joined by good ol' Ed Hall (#2, 1990) reuniting once again since 2003. And Crust, whose show we missed.

Pain Teens hometown show was better for me than Emo's, and Ed Hall was just fantastic! Surprised there's not more video, but they did at least "Leave Me Alone" and "Gilbert." Just found "White House Girls!" Show was transportative, but left me wishing it was another two-night headlining stand with almost every tune - maybe not necessarily the 24 minutes of feedback-thrum that closes out Motherscratcher (1993). Anyway, the only real injustice was omitting the greatest live opener of all time: "Pay for Me."

LP4 as VU
3. Linus Pauling Quartet's banner year
January 21, Walter's w/ metal bands - Houston, TX
April 21, Rudyard's w/ Project Grimm - Houston, TX
May 12, Walter's w/ Burn the Boats - Houston, TX
May 26, Continental Club as V.U. - Houston, TX
November 3, CCSD November Fest as quartet - Houston, TX
December 15, Cactus Records w/ AOVOABL - Houston, TX

"Victory Gin" live at Walter's (05/12/2012)

As mentioned, in a busy year Linus made the Top 10 in every single category. Not only did they release a hell of a lot, and play out a hell of a lot, they mixed it up live too. In the middle of a bunch of trĂ¼e metal bands, an entire set of Velvet Underground covers, at their homebase with old friends, a live in-store Druids & Demons module release, and at a local home-brew organization's annual beerfest (as a true quartet, sans Ramon). And I missed a couple of big shows - the new record release, with Jucifer at SHFL, etc...

And that's the only LP4 live video that I can find for the whole year. I did find some of Project Grimm's set at CCSD Novemberfest. "Heartbreaker" reminds that Cramer recently jumped on stage with DeLorean Rising to sing "Jessie's Girl" perfectly - so I guess that moment belongs here too. Otherwise, you just had to be there.

4. Roky III
July 14, Continental Club - Houston, TX

"It's a Cold Night for Alligators" at The Continental Club (2012)

Roky Erickson is truly a personal (and musical) hero for me, and his annual visit certainly hasn't gotten old yet. This time I was able to set up in the back room right after the show & say hello. I didn't fight the crowd for autographs earlier at Sig's though. Real fun show, with a "Bo Diddley is a Headhunter" intro, & he also played "Bermuda" and "The Interpreter" (videos from other 2012 shows).

Already looking forward to Roky IV!

5. ABSU at Destroying Texas Fest 7
November 3, BFE Rock Club - Houston, TX

"Night Fire Canonization" live @ DTF7 (11/3/2012)

This was the night after Linus Pauling Quartet & Project Grimm at the CCSD Novemberfest, and way out on the NW outskirts (thus "BFE"), and I ended up flying solo... And heading to the club really late - so things are a bit hazy. I just remember a LOT of people and some really loud thrashing.

Here's a double-dose of "The Coming of War" & "Highland Tyrant Attack." Also "Swords & Leather." Absu fans are better about filming/posting that Linus fans it would seem.

6. Free Press Summer Fest 4
June 2-3, Eleanor Tinsley Park - Houston, TX

"Money" and "Us & Them" by the Flaming Lips w/ Phantogram, @ FPSF 2012, Eleanor Tinsley Park

The truth is, I skipped a LOT of this year's FPSF. Caught a little bit of Snoop Doggy Dogg's set - including covers of both "Jump Around" and "La Di Da Di."

The Flaming Lips finally brought their Dark Side of the Moon cover show to Houston, having played normal 2 years ago (#8 Live, 2010). So yeah, there's "Money/Us & Them" - which was preceded by "Breathe/On the Run/Time." Before doing DSOTM, they played a few originals to warm up, and that was cool too. But the Floyd was the word, and it worked much better live than on the 2009 album with Rollins. Here's the whole show from Alabama like a week before.

7. Moon Duo
October 12, Rudyard's - Houston, TX

"I Can See" live at Rudz, 10/12/2012

These two were a crew favorite surprise from Austin Psych Fest, and it was nice to welcome them to the Astral neighborhood. Sound was good, band was good... but maybe because I'd just seen them in the #1 environment a few months earlier, it just didn't totally blow me away. Was kind of a mellow night as I recall.

8. Church ov Melkarth
February 18, Alamo Drafthouse - Houston, TX

Church ov Merlkarth ceremonial invocation (Live 2012)

Was probably going to The Gate (1987) and The Gate II (1990) double-feature at the West Oaks Alamo Drafthouse regardless. But when I heard that elusive local Black Metal electro-ambient ritualist Church ov Melkarth would be consecrating the PG-13 horrorshow event, I booked a nearby hotel room. So that either puts Melkarth in ABSU's league, or BFE Rock Club in West Oaks Mall's.

Regarding the 'show,' I still don't know what to say. I didn't know what to expect, but it was still unexpected. The Gate (although not the sequel) was pretty entertaining for basically a kid's entry-level Evil Dead. Good times!

9. Future Islands
November 10, Rudyard's - Houston, TX

Mash-up of the night At Rudyard's

I'd heard these guys were really good live, in an emo New Order way. And that's all true. Was really interesting to go out to my local watering-hole & small-time live venue, and see a touring electro-pop band with a very large, relatively young crowd. Completely different from my usual thing, but really ended up being a good time.

10. Jandek
April 1, Big Star Bar - Houston, TX

Jandek live at Big Star Bar, 4/1/2012

An odd year for the live shows, seemed like there were so many more... I got into this one sometimes, and others I felt kinda lost. Very similar to his #3 Live Show of 2009, just with a bunch of beat-heavy synth-noise replacing professional-style funk rhythm section. (FYI: that's a step down.) Pretty cool in doses, but then it just kept on going. Too much for me!

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