Thursday, January 3, 2013

Top 20 Live Songs of 2012

20. "Banana Boat (Day-O)" - Good Old War, 04.25, Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY
"Do you wanna hear Tim do his best Harry Belafonte?" Keith asked the crowd. Tim sang the opening to "Day-O" perfectly, but no one expected the band to join in and play the whole song. Nice birthday present.

19. "Como Ves" - Ozomatli & the New York Pops, 06.12, Rumsey Playfield, New York, NY
Classic Ozo taken to new heights with the orchestra.

18. "Ashamed" - Deer Tick, 12.19, Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY
Started off slow and built into a frenzy of horn solos and crowd chants.

17. "Spirit Bird" - Xavier Rudd, 12.03, Irving Plaza, New York, NY
Offering the last part to the audience to sing, the fans succeeded with remarkable restraint and pitch control.

16. "Golden Train" - Penguin Prison, 06.24, Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY
Hopping off the stage to perform while walking through the crowd during the first song surprised the shit out of me.

15. "Stars" - Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, 06.14, Irving Plaza, New York, NY
You could see the pain on her face that she felt when she wrote this beautiful ballad.

14. "One Foot Before the Other" - Frank Turner, 09.30, Webster Hall, New York, NY
Frank Turner goes prog.  Lights and bass were amazing.

13. "Excuse Me Mr." - Ben Harper, 10.10, Carnegie Hall, New York, NY
Hard to pick a favorite from the night, but the off-mic singing on this sounded incredible in the hallowed hall.

12. "Digest" - Ben Taylor, 05.17, City Winery, New York, NY
John Forté asked if he could sing it with Ben, and modified the lyrics to "Nothing's been the same since I've been gone," to reference his time in prison.

11. "Rat Race" - Antibalas, 08.18, Williamsburg Park, Brooklyn, NY
Likely the best Marley cover I've seen.

10. "Be Mine" - Alabama Shakes, 10.06, Merriweather Post Pavilion (Virgin Mobile Freefest), Columbia, MD
Brittany Howard just aced it on this one.

9. "We Are Young" - Fun, 06.22, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
Crowd sang along triumphantly to the single of the year. Great acoustics.

8. "(718)" - 2 Skinnee J's, 08.24, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
In (718). Haven't jumped in the air at a concert in God knows how long.

7. "What Makes a Good Man?" - The Heavy, 08.30, Irving Plaza, New York, NY
Backup singers sent this one to near heavenly proportions.

6. "Root Down" - Animal Liberation Orchestra, 05.09, Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY
Just days after Adam Yauch's passing, ALO busted out this funky gem, which included "Maria" in its center.

5. "No One's Gonna Love You" - Band of Horses, 09.18, House of Vans, Brooklyn, NY
One of my favorite songs ever in such an intimate venue.  Literally got chills.

4. "Walk Like a Giant" - Neil Young & Crazy Horse, 09.29, Central Park Great Lawn (Global Festival), New York, NY
Crashing footsteps of a giant at the end were so fucking ballsy.

3. "Shake Up the Place" - 10 Ft. Ganja Plant, 04.20, The Middle East, Cambridge, MA
Sublime harmonies.  The smile on Kevin Kinsella's face has been burned into my mind forever.

2. "Try" - Everyone Orchestra, 10.27, Sullivan Hall, New York, NY
Grand Ole Opry-style chorus combined with Zach Gill's hilarious musings on his attic.  Should always be performed this way.

1. "Down with Disease" - Phish, 12.30, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Sweetest jam of the whole NYE run.  Spaced through different movements until it came to a driving funk conclusion.  I'll be listening to this for years.

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