Tuesday, 4 December 2012

2012 in Review: J's 5 Favorite Live Sets

Terror @ The Hard Luck

Us Lost Tribe weirdos go to a ton of shows.

Probably not as many as we should. We ARE getting older and we probably miss more shows than we actually get to. We go to more shows than normal people, anyways. Normal people only go to like 30 shows a year, right?

In any event, here is my completely non-scientific and poorly thought out list of my favorite live sets of the year. There's no order here because, you know... fuck numbers.

I reserve the right to revised this shit if my alcohol ravaged brain remembers something else I liked better. And as always, I'm speaking only for myself and not the rest of the gaggle over here.

Masked Intruder – The Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto – August 19, 2012

Anyone who listens to the podcast regularly will be familiar with the absurd amount of handjobs and eskimo kisses I’ve been throwing at this band all year. To summarize: I love this band a lot. Furthermore, I had the pleasure of catching these guys when they opened for Teenage Bottlerocket at the Horseshoe back in August.

The band powered through a healthy mix of tracks from across their 3 releases. Musically, they we're tight as all hell and sounded polished to the point that I can't help but buy into some of the rumors about who this band might ACTUALLY be. They really didn't sound like a group of dudes that just started playing together a few months previous.

As good as they were musically, it was the stage banter that made this show what it was. The band has chosen a gimmick and is sticking with it like a senator's wife. Every minute of the show maintained and underscored the running gag that is MI's whole persona. The fact that the whole thing is delivered with exaggerated, cartoonish Joi-sey accents (isn't this band meant to be from Wisconsin?) is just so ridiculous that it's perfect.

Legitimately funny as well. I seriously haven't laughed this hard at a punk show since forever.

Now that Fat Wreck has scooped these guys up, there should be plenty of chances to see them in your town in future. I can't recommend that shit enough. If you go, just keep an eye on your lady and your wallet. These dudes'll take both.

The Gaslight Anthem - Sound Academy - Toronto - November 25, 2012

My final show of the year was significant in that, after years of fandom, I finally got Gaslight crossed off my list of bands that I'd never seen. They did not disappoint at all. There's a reason that this band has become as big of a deal as they have. Brian Fallon is a crazy good front man and rest of the band provides a solid back bone for him in a live setting.

Honestly, after watching the last show they played here a few months earlier sellout in almost no time, and the crazy scalper feeding frenzy that ensued, just getting in the door for a reasonable price felt like an accomplishment. I suspect that the fact that they had played Toronto recently help keep the tickets relatively available. But, whatever, I just wanted in.

I'm not a huge fan of Sound Academy. If you don't have balcony tickets, the room usually feels too big. Getting in and out always seems to take about 5 minutes to long because of where the exits are. The beer is overpriced and only comes in cans. Lame.

Somehow, Fallon and them made the this 3000 person monstrosity feel like a far more intimate venue than should have been possible. I can't explain how they did it, but by the time they kicked into "Great Expectations" this felt like an honest to god punk show to me and not the radio sponsored, major label "concert" that it so clearly was.

Also, they played "Astro Zombies."

Dropkick Murphys - Hamilton Convention Center - Hamilton - November 17, 2012

Disclaimer: Dropkick Murphys are my favorite band. Ever.

I don't listen to them everyday, but there's is simply not a band that means more to me. Ken Casey & Company could put out a shitty record every year for the next decade and I'll still be there every time they play within 100KM of me. A shitty Dropkick record wouldn't even keep me off a plane to Boston every for St Paddy's Day that I can afford.

Even by my somewhat skewed standards, this show was awesome, managing to overcome both an absolutely horrendous venue and a crowd that left to be desired. They played a set list that featured a mix of songs from all eras, including some stuff of the upcoming record. Even the new songs didn't bum me out.

I fought through some kind of throat issue and screamed along to every song, fist held high. The whole time fully understanding that it would probably mean I wouldn't be able to talk the next day.

I couldn't talk for a fucking week. Worth it.

Bane - This Is Hardcore - The Electric Factory - Philadelphia - August 11, 2012

This one kind of feels like cheating. Half-assing it, at least.

We've sung the praises of This Is Hardcore on this blog and on the podcast so much that I don't feel like I have much else to add in terms of context to this.

Basically, Bane played to a sold out crowd of almost 3000 kids. No one stood still. No one stayed quiet. It was awe inspiring.

"Can We Start Again" was one of my favorite moments of the year. Musical or otherwise. 

Hoax - Siesta Nouveaux - Toronto - February 23, 2012

I saw Hoax three times this year. So, really, choosing one set for this list was kind an arbitrary process.
I'm giving the nod to this one based on the fact that it happened just over a month before Siesta Nouveaux closed down for good. That makes this the second to last show I saw in that delightful little cave. 2012 kicked Toronto Hardcore in balls something fierce. The city lost a great venue in Siesta and a goddamn phenomenal record store in Hits & Misses. I like Hard Luck & Rotate This just fine... not the same though.

Anyways, Hoax brought their normal (that word really doesn't feel right) ugly, hate filled 15 minutes of chaos and violence, powering a pit that cover basically every corner of Siesta's modest space. In my mind, the room was about 50 kids over capacity... but that probably wasn't the case.

Beer covered the floor. Debris flew through the air. A helpless box fan was destroyed. Blood was shed. The crowd united for the bile filled sing along that is "Faget." Then, drenched in a well earned coat of punk sweat, we all spilled out onto Lower Sherbourne.

RIP Siesta.

Stay tuned for more High Fidelity nonsense.

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