The 20 Best Concerts That Happened in St. Louis in 2012, According to Us

Roy Kasten
10. Nick Lowe at the Sheldon, September 26
"I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll," sang Nick Lowe to wind down an hour of songs at the Sheldon last night. For its part, the not-quite capacity crowd knew the groom when he used to power, pop, pub and punk, when he used to answer to the title "Jesus of Cool." -- Roy Kasten

guthrie panorama
9. Woody Guthrie 100th Birthday Tribute at Off Broadway, July 14
88.1 KDHX, the hardscrabble radio station Woody Guthrie would have loved, threw a hell of a party for the folk icon on June 14 at Off Broadway. For nearly five hours on Saturday, heartrending harmonies from young troubadours met earth-shaking drum beats and plenty of funky bass jams as thirteen local artists and bands paid tribute to one of music's most influential figures. -- Leah Greenbaum

Alexis Hitt
8. Big Freedia at Firebird, July 21
Big Freedia and her Divas came wiggling into the Firebird on Saturday. It was an unusual show. Unusual how? Let's cut straight to the end of a four-minute, logic-defying a capella freestyle from Freedia herself, half drum-line precise flow and half church choir wailing. --Kiernan Maletsky

Todd Owyoung
7. Radiohead at Scottrade, March 19
Thom Yorke set the standard for nonchalance, cracking off little streams of late-night consciousness between songs and dancing, limbs akimbo, with so much abandon that it is the thing mentioned most frequently in coverage of this tour. -- Kiernan Maletsky

6. Japandroids at The Firebird, November 20
Throughout its frenetic seventeen-song set on November 20, the Vancouver duo showed why it has earned its reputation as a great live band, blessing the Firebird with what was unquestionably one of the best St. Louis shows of the year. --Dave Geeting

Henry Diltz
5. Van Dyke Parks at Luminary, April 5
Part concert and part monologue, Van Dyke Parks gave a tour of America in April at the Luminary Center for the Arts that touched on song craft, of course, but also literature, militarism, copyright law, first-world problems and the humbling power of nature. -- Christian Schaeffer

Jon Gitchoff
4. Paul McCartney at the Scottrade Center, November 11
70-year-old Paul McCartney tripped and fell face-first from his piano riser onto the stage at the Scottrade Center. It was halfway through the 35th song of a three hour set. He sprang back up, struck a pose like a cartoon thief caught in a spotlight, strapped on his guitar and started trading solos with his two guitarists. -- Kiernan Maletsky

Mandy Malazdrewich
3. Propagandhi at the Firebird, November 4
But Propagandhi doesn't want you to blow your brains out in frustration; the band sells a guitar and bass tablature book at its merch table so that with 40 or 50 years of practice maybe you too can become a guitar wizard. -- Rick Giordano

Roy Kasten
2. Lee Fields and the Expressions at Lola, September 16
Bathed in blue, like the hottest point of the flame, Lee Fields took to the row of subwoofers as the front row scrambled to clear off the empties. He went there again and again, rearing back with a clenched fist to give one long, majestic, guttural soul-scream. -- Roy Kasten

Brian Heffernan
1. Big Muddy Chili Cookoff at Off Broadway, May 27
Big Muddy Records has always postured itself as more of a family than a profit-driven business venture, so when Big Muddy daddy Chris Baricevic rounded up label kinfolk and friends for a music-packed cookout over Memorial Day weekend, it seemed more like a family reunion (especially with all the acts that shared musicians) than a record label showcase. --Brian Heffernan

What show have been included but wasn't? Let us know in the comments.

See Also:
- The Top Five Notes on My Bass Guitar
- The Six Best Boring Albums of 2012
- The Six Sweetest Riffs of 2012

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