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DaveyBoy's Top 10 Live Gigs Of 2012

Here are my top 10 gigs of 2012. It's probably a bit of a stretch listing 10 since I didn't go to as many shows as I wanted to this past year. But there was still some quality included.

I'd previously seen Yellowcard in a festival setting and it is an understatement to suggest that it was enough of a teaser to make me want to see them headline their own show one day. Thank goodness that I didn't have to wait long, with the now veteran outfit not disappointing. Visibly feeding off the energy of the loud & adoring crowd to the betterment of their enthusiastic performance, the rapid-fire hits just kept coming our way. The highlight may have been the mid-set drum solo from Longineu Parsons, but the band as a whole balance flair & technicality in impressive fashion. As 'Lights and Sounds' finished off the main set, anticipation grew for the predictable encore & its much-loved closer. But first came 'Light Up the Sky', which lit up the mood of the venue in anticipation to a song I've previously dubbed the greatest live sing-along I have ever witnessed. Needless to say, 'Ocean Avenue' delivered the goods once more, capping off a fantastic night from a band that just keeps on keeping on! Yellowcard are very much a recommended live prospect according to this scribe.
2City and Colour

Having only seen Dallas Green as part of post-hardcore outfit Alexisonfire in the past, I had waited some time to see him front the much different sounding City and Colour. Taking place at the beautiful surroundings of Melbourne's Palais Theatre, any reported hiccups circa City & Colour being a side-project were long gone, with Green having no confidence issues at all from both a performance and showmanship perspective. His voice; a glorious instrument in itself would shine brightest no matter what the musical accompaniment, with his 4 backing musicians predominantly playing second fiddle to Green for good reason. The setlist was predominantly one up & one down in terms of tempo, with Green regularly swapping between acoustic and electric guitars. In fact, one of the night's most pleasant surprises was the way in which the quieter periods of the evening seamlessly meshed with the more band-focused tunes. Ultimately, Green's vocals truly are a thing to splendor.
3Florence and the Machine

In front of an art-deco set and an audience seemingly containing all ages & genders of music lovers, Florence Welch's haunting - verging on supernatural - persona & commanding voice immediately captures everyone's attention during her live show. Dressed in a black floor-length cape, there is a truly ethereal vibe apparent during her performances. As the night wore on, Florence became much more animated as she skipped around the stage, engaged in banter with the audience and flashed that radiant smile. One of the only let-downs of the night was the absence of 'Drumming Song' & 'You've Got the Love', but otherwise this was what I would term the perfect pop concert for non-pop fans... Not only were there plenty of intangibles which brought some X-factor, but it was ultimately Florence's talent which shone through, since her magnificent voice simply could not be ignored.
4The Used

The surprise highlight of the 2012 Soundwave Festival, I really didn't know what to expect from The Used, but had a feeling they would be a little messy. Surprisingly, I was wrong and they were actually much tighter than I thought they would be. Playing only one track each from 'Artwork' and their (at-the-time) upcoming album 'Vulnerable', this was one instance where I will go with the majority and say a band made the right choice by playing a lot of tunes from their earlier recordings. Songs such as 'Take It Away', 'I Come Alive', 'The Taste of Ink' and 'A Box Full of Sharp Objects' simply went off; displaying a great combination of being raucous, catchy and fun. Bert still annoys me a little and I'd love for Quinn Allman to put a little more intricacy into his guitar-work, but when all was said and done, The Used very much impressed!
5Steel Panther

Talk about "fun". A larger than expected crowd had enthusiastically greeted the modern day cock-rock legends and were in raptures as soon as magnificently named drummer Styx Zadinia snuck out onto stage. This set was all about fun and laughter, with some tits and cock thrown in for good measure. Some mid-set banter seriously had me in tears of laughter, while the facial expressions of all four band members were spot on. Lexxi Foxxx even managed to show us that a bass can be played while applying make-up! And yet, behind all the entertainment lay a band who can seriously play. 'Asian Hooker' and 'Death to All But Metal' were crowd favorites, but the sing-along that was 'Community Property' was indeed the set highlight.
6The Jezabels

I had to get one Aussie act on to this list and it happens to be Sydney-based indie-rockers The Jezabels. Seemingly going from local nobodies to worldwide stars in the matter of a heartbeat, the quartet began with arguably their most well-known song 'Endless Summer', with 'Mace Spray' not too far behind! Lead vocalist Hayley Mary captured the crowd's attention through her strong voice, enthralling movements and interesting attire, while her three band-mates were concentrating on delivering their music to the best of their ability. There still may be a few kinks to iron out, but The Jezabels are a force to be reckoned with live and it is difficult to dispute that their career will only burgeon from here.
7Alter Bridge

I was kind of intrigued as to how effective Myles + Creed would be in a live setting, and I must say that I came away impressed. The often derided rhythm section were mixed to the fore to excellent results, yet did not take anything away from the two distinctive stars of the show; singer Myles Kennedy and guitarist Mark Tremonti. The former wailed away with an increasingly confident stage presence, while the latter wailed away with all kinds of different guitar settings. The only thing that was missing was a huge sing-along spectacular... Which made it a little bewildering as to why 'Metalingus' was not part of their set-list "on this day".

And the pleasant surprises just kept on coming. These under-rated Virginian rockers were right up there with the best of the day at Soundwave and no-one who was there to see them would have left disappointed. In fact, I'd say Conditions are better live than on record, since the extra punch actually adds diversity to their consistent batch of tunes. Anthemic choruses just kept coming our way, with the guitars soaring impressively. And the band knew their place too... They knew they had a smaller - if constantly growing - crowd than most acts and played up to that fittingly. In fact, the quintet seemed genuinely flattered at the crowd reaction and used the energy to fuel their performance as the set progressed.
9My Chemical Romance

This was way back in January 2012 and I didn't have time to write a blog on the show, so my recollection of it is a little bit sketchy. I recall it being a fun show as per usual for MCR, with pretty much every one of the 22 tunes receiving a massive sing-along from their adoring fans. The setlist was a nice mix of old & new, with the newer tracks off derided LP 'Danger Days' being a surprisngly good fit for their live show. Musically, they're still improving steadily, but are never going to tear the house down. All in all, a rock-solid show.
10Royal Republic

Talk about a set that was a fantastic way to start a festival! I'd hardly heard of this Swedish band before seeing them play, but not only are they great on record, they also sounded near-perfect live. Think a mix of The Hives, Franz Ferdinand and Electric Six. And yes, citing that latter band does suggest that there are some humorous elements to this outfit, which went down an absolute treat live. Even before the clock had struck noon, 'All Because of You' had us moving, 'Underwear' had us laughing, and 'Full Steam Spacemachine' had us singing along.
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