My most memorable and heartfelt moment occurred watching New Order in Oakland. The members of New Order are all beyond 50 and no longer even making new music yet they still pack quite a punch. New bands seemed to have stepped aside for the older and more established bands like New Order, Refused, Blur, and more that continue to dominate the live circuit. However, newer bands like the Babies, Youth Lagoon, The Drums offer hope if they aim higher and strive for more. I have outlined my top moments, all from live shows, from this past year.
1. New Order at The Fox Theater in Oakland, CA – 10/5/12
The time honored champions of electro-Indie or the godfathers of DIY dance indie proved their strength and appeal. Almost every New Order song came off fresh and innovative especially Blue Monday and The Perfect Kiss. And, naturally, the Joy Division songs made me almost shed a tear. The bleak power of real despair in the lyrics of Ian Curtis, and incredible minor chord driven music of Atmosphere, came off beautifully at the Fox in Oakland. The lyrics of Curtis are authentic he never felt satisfied and worse yet he was in pain. Furthermore, Bernard Sumner sang with passion and the band, minus Peter Hook, played a great set. However, the one detractor is not having the legendary and distinct, Peter Hook, on bass. But overall, this show is a top moment of 2012 because of the legendary status of New Order and Joy Division.
2. The Babies at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco – 12/6/12
The Babies are the only new band that impressed me in 2012. The Babies are not innovative like New Order but they write fun and catchy songs. Indie pop never sounded so fun, vulnerable, and energetic. Cassie Ramone, of the Vivian Girls, and now the co-lead singer of the Babies delivers the better half of the Babies. Songs like Slow Walking showcase Cassie’s cynical and sensitive lyrics and wonderful guitar playing. The other songwriter, Kevin Morby of Woods, delivers heartfelt and jangly gems as well.
3. Spiritualized at the The Fillmore in San Francisco – 5/23/12
Indie-psychedelic veterans proved why they are still around for over 20 years at the Fillmore. Steph covered the bases on this classic show in her top moment. I was standing in an uncomfortable corner and despite this I was in a hypnotic and alluring trance for almost the entire Spiritualized set.
Refused at The Fox Theater in Oakland, Ca – 8/31/12
The Swedish hardcore pioneers reunited to an immense amount of fanfare and grassroots hype. Therefore, the possibility for disappointment was inevitable. On this night in Oakland Refused created a great anticipation before even playing a note, but once the set had started the excitement had worn considerably off. In summary, it was still pure bliss to see these hardcore vets reunite to play explosive classics like Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull, Everlasting, and their underground classic New Noise.
Housse De Racket at Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco – 10/12/2012
These Energetic upstarts from Paris, France make a delectable brew of hyper new wave pop/indie with French and English vocals. The Rickshaw House was abuzz with excitement as the duo, Pierre Leroux and Victor Le Masne, aka Parisian duo manning everything from programmed beats, live drums, keyboards, and guitars performed with vigor and blazing intensity. The crowd was dancing and the mood was fun and full of the Joie de vivre of the French duo on this wonderful night.