Live Shows of the Year: 2012

February 11 – Christina Martin & Dale Murray – Sunset Saloon (Christina stops by my living room regularly, and it’s always amazing, but having Dale along to accompany and play a few of his new songs made this one extra special. I’m a lucky dude.)

March 29 – The Wooden Sky w/ Sunparlour Players – WECC (A truly amazing double bill of Canada’s best live bands – oddly joined by one of only a few truly terrible opening bands I’ve ever seen – the name of which, fortunately, forgotten. Nothing could keep the headliners from saving the day, and joining up for the now customary encore in the lobby.)

April 20 – Whitehorse – WECC (I’ve seen Luke Doucet dozens of times in different incarnations, and his lovely wife Melissa McClelland a number of times as well, and I love them both, but when they teamed up as this new duo, it sparked something special in them both. Truly the best show I’ve seen either of them do, and a step in a great direction.)

May 26 – Skydiggers – WECC (A live band I’ve seen many times and loved dearly for a long time, and still putting on incredible shows. This time, they pulled out all of the stops with the full band and Jessy Bell Smith singing. Still inspiring after all these years.)

July 1 – Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit – The Aquarium: Fargo, ND (Canadians like to party on Canada Day, but this year the real party happened south of the border at a little bar in Fargo, where a small gathering of lucky souls witnessed one of the greatest rock bands on the road today. The crowd was weird, the venue was small, but the band was on fire and put on a truly memorable show.) photos/videos/memories

July 18 – Shannon Lyon – Sunset Saloon (One of my favourite songwriters of all time stopped by my backyard for a show. Enough said, but he also turned out to be a pretty amazing and inspiring guy – a real breath of fresh air. I can’t wait to see him again.) photos/videos/audio

August 31 – Minnesota State Fair: Minnesota Music on a Stick (In truth, this whole trip was a highlight – getting to see the reunited Mavericks, Wanda Jackson, and Will Hoge, all the while eating all kinds of deep-fried and on-a-stick delights, pure magic, but the highlight was a chance to see Jeremy Messersmith and his band, as well as the best show I’ve ever seen by The Jayhawks. I’ll be back to the fair, for sure.) photos/videos

September 14 – Del Barber – Inglis (Sometimes, this show provides some amazing gifts for me, like an invitation to this exclusive TV taping inside of a decommissioned grain elevator with Del Barber and his band. An amazing show that I can’t wait for you to see on TV. Soon?) photos/memories

October 4 – Kathleen Edwards trio & Jenn Grant – Studio 222, Fargo (Kathleen and her band came back to Winnipeg and that show was plenty amazing, in spite of the venue, but this stripped down trio performance – complete with flawless Springsteen duet with Jenn Grant – was just a little bit more special.)

October 29 – Sunparlour Players – Sunset Saloon (this house concert featuring the best live band in Canada would have been special in any joker’s living room, but the fact that it happened in MY living room made this a truly mind-blowing experience. Our first “sold out” show at the Saloon, and an amazing one that will be hard to beat.) video1 video2

Amazing in their own right:

June 5 – Deer Tick – WECC (Everybody talks about how John played guitar with his weiner. Neat schtick, but when that steals the show – and when you do it at every other show on the tour – it kind of kills it. Plus, dude, that’s gotta hurt! Great show that was stolen by a well-waved-wang. Too bad.) weinerguitarsolovideo

July 23 – Gillian Welch & David Rawlings – Garrick Centre (A true folk music miracle – someone sounded good, GREAT, even, at the craphole Garrick Centre. That alone made this memorable, and if I hadn’t had my mind blown by these two a year ago in Minnesota, this would have been a show-of-the-year, if not of my life.)

July 25 – Joy Kills Sorrow – Sunset Saloon (Honestly, I didn’t know the band before this, and likely wouldn’t have taken the time to seek them out, but boy was I glad that this show ended up in my living room. Truly magical, and a wonderful experience for all in attendance.)

November 13 – Danny Michel – WECC (Danny is always a stellar live performer, so it takes a lot to make one of his shows special. This time, it happened to be a loudmouth heckler continually calling out for “Midnight Train;” Danny eventually relented and gave it a try, even though he didn’t remember it, even calling up Owl City on Songify to help out. It was hilarious and generous on his part, but I promise to never again bully an artist into doing a song he doesn’t want to do…)

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