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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Source
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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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23 comments
pnangled
pnangled

Wolf Gand at bluehill with The Royal Concept... Show of the year cus everyone missed it. 

mdcleude
mdcleude

OOOO nice !! Loved this pics

coreyjwoodruff
coreyjwoodruff

You wrote this list too soon.  Tonight's Every Time I Die show at The Firebird was easily my fave of the of year.  It was full blown mayhem from the first note of the first band and it never...let...up.

Sweaty, intense and offensive--just the way I like my women.

naffziger
naffziger

Chain and the Gang show was amazing, and only $5.

Matt Gardetto
Matt Gardetto

13? Cassie KOhler, props on the print but 13??

groovyrooby
groovyrooby

JEFF the Brotherhood at Off Broadway changed my life. how glorious it is to ride the waves of the crowd, dance until your clothes are falling off, fail to notice that each and every one of your toes has been stomped black and blue, and never listen to a band the same way again. sweet messy dirty riotous rocknroll bliss.

chrisward99
chrisward99 topcommenter

Oh man....so many shows:  Kishi Bashi at Off Broadway was huge for me. He just destroyed. The next time he comes through it will be huge. Better than Andrew Bird, for me, if you want to make a broad comparison.

Cloud Nothings at the Luminary were righteously loud and everything I wanted it to be. The Avett Brothers at the Fox was pretty special. Nee opening for Santigold was a great moment at The Pageant. YACHT at Plush was magic. DJ Needles set at Midwest Mayhem was the most fun ever this year. It's all kind of a blur now. Crooked Fingers and John Vanderslice was a nice highlight, and there weren't that many people there, which was insane but made for a really nice and intimate show. Charles Walker and the Dynamites at Thursdays at the Intersection was just amazing to witness in that space. Japandroids was actually a huge letdown for me, unfortunately. Oh man...PHISH. I saw Phish for the first time ever. I hate Phish. But under the right conditions, I have to say that show was a lot of pretty lights and now I'm suddenly hungry. Ha Ha Tonka at Twangfest 16 was a blast.

Still, I gotta say...Dethklok at the Pageant was hands down the craziest, most fun show I saw this year. Sometimes you just have to look up from your shoes and get stupid.

opawaukay
opawaukay

Are these the best concerts or the most over-priced?

mattp19us
mattp19us

Vintage Trouble at Lola. They came twice over the summer and you missed them both times. They probably should have the number one spot. You're really missing out!

David Moore
David Moore

Midnight/Ares Kingdom/Gates of Slumber was an intimate and magical evening

Jared Brewer
Jared Brewer

midnight / ares kingdom / the gates of slumber at el lenador was the best metal show this year. where is it?

Ben99
Ben99

No Guided by Voices? 2 hour set? Pollard drunk like a rock star? First time back in a decade? Wow, that is an oversight.

Erin Clyburn
Erin Clyburn

The Magnetic Fields at the Sheldon was a magical evening. Blew their last appearance here out of the water.

hannahmo
hannahmo

UMMM Yacht?! Pretty sure you made a review of it being one of the "best shows of the year"...which it was.

Jason Stoff
Jason Stoff

I second How To Dress Well, Jake. Such a special evening.

Jake Niehaus
Jake Niehaus

How to Dress Well's intimate Firebird show is severely missed on this list.

Hal Greens
Hal Greens

Lee Fields & The Expressions was the shit! Rumor has it they may be coming back in late March. ; )

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