I attended 79 concerts in 2012. That’s a lot of time in places like Radio Radio, White Rabbit Cabaret, Old National Centre, and Melody Inn. But there’s little I would trade the lost sleep or ringing ears for. Live music restores me. It grants me a unique euphoria that, as I get closer to 40, becomes too infrequent.
Can I keep up that pace in 2013? Probably not, especially as my business expands. (Indy Rock Live is still, simply, a hobby.) I do, however, plan to book 10-12 shows in the new year — the first is the legendary Ken Stringfellow at the Do317 Lounge on February 11 — and rely on more contributors. I like to think what this site provides is a window into all the great music that passes through Indianapolis. If I can encourage even just a handful of you to get up off the sofa a few more times, then I’ve been successful. For the thousands of readers that stop by each month, thank you. Keep on going to rock shows.
Below are my Top 8 of the year in alphabetical order with links to my original write-ups.
Band of Skulls w/ Boom Chick – The Vogue, August 6, 2012: Fuzzed out, sweaty rock didn’t come much more pure and muscular than this show. Band of Skulls were hot and Boom Chick — since renamed Crushed Out — were a whirlwind of rockabilly punk electricity.
Delta Spirit w/ Waters — Radio Radio, March 24, 2012: Delta Spirit was great, but Waters was revelatory. Formed from the ashes of Port O’Brien, Waters delivered the single-best opening set of the year. And their passion and fire channeled directly into Delta Spirit’s raucous set.
Drive-By Truckers — The Bluebird (Bloomington), October 21, 2012: I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen the Truckers live now. Though they’ve never let me down, this one was spectacular. An unbelievable set list, a packed club, and, what would turn out to be one of John Neff’s final shows, equaled perfection.
Elliot BROOD w/ Pack AD — White Rabbit Cabaret, March 8, 2012: The surprise of the year. A pair of Canadian bands with no track record in Indianapolis left it all on stage. The result? A hot, foot-stomping, hootenanny. Fantastic show that resulted in many new fans.
Kishi Bashi — Joyful Noise, May 23, 2012: The show of the year. Touring in support of full-length solo debut 151a, Kishi Bashi in the cozy confines of the Joyful Noise space in the Murphy Building was intimate, engrossing, and unforgettable. A perfect concert experience.
Nada Surf w/ Waters — Deluxe, June 23, 2012: One of my favorite bands. And with the addition of Doug Gillard on guitar, a live juggernaut. Waters, for the second time in 3 months, was incredible. But the moment of the evening came after the lights went up. As 20 or so people huddled around the merch table, band leader Matthew Caws came out with an acoustic guitar and played Blizzard of ’77 to the crowd. A moment I’ll never forget.
Okkervil River — Upland Brewing Company (Bloomington), August 31, 2012: A great band delivering on all fronts. Add the outdoor beer garden environment that didn’t hold back on intimacy and it equaled a terrific night in Bloomington.
Stars — Deluxe, October 4, 2012: The most party-like concert atmosphere of the year. The band performed with passion and the audience returned the love. That euphoria I mentioned earlier? Stars was a perfect example.
What were your favorite shows of the year?