This tells a much different story from the records I've been listening to this year. It's much more heavy on rock and it tells the story of Ace of Cups (opened very late summer last year) really coming into its own with Jeff Kleinman's booking. 6 1/2 out of 20 shows that spoke to me enough to list here happened there. Looking at the track I kept, 35 shows out of the 115 I saw this year were there. A lot of money and a lot of nights almost all well-spent, all at least worth taking the chance on.
Obviously this is cyclical and a vacuum never lasts for long, but this year I really felt like a couple of venues took up Little Brother's mantle so I no longer missed much of anything and there were significantly more nights where I was torn between what I should do. Ace of Cups got rock in all its permutations, Woodlands covered the jazz and jam bands that almost no one had booked in Little Brother's absence and booked some of the larger Americana acts that Rumba Cafe had been holding down , and watch for Natalie's Coal-Fired Pizza on the come up. Next year I can almost guarantee that latter will be on here, an initimate listening room that I think will be perfect for some things they've got booked (Carrie Rodriguez, Fred Eaglesmith, Eilen Jewell) in the coming months because the sound and sightlines are terrific and they're going for a more mature vibe.
Let's also take a minute and thank the independent promoters not working with just one venue - Alec Wightman's Zeppelin Productions whose stuff I mostly missed this year because of travel and conflicts but not for lack of quality, and he's upping the ante again with a return visit from Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis and Jesse Winchester, both of whom I'd be surprised if they didn't turn out Show of the Year shows; Gerard Cox, whose free jazz shows have started up again and while I missed a couple is one of the series I'm most looking forward to in 2013; BenCo Presents who came out with some really strong, diverse offerings in 2012 and has an interesting slate lined up; and anyone else I'm forgetting.
Also, before the list, I should take a second to remember two of my favorite New York venues which closed this year. Lakeside Lounge, which was my and A's favorite bar in the city, and while I'd been there a couple of times before she and I were dating it wasn't anything like a regular stop for me until our first trip together. My favorite bartenders, some of my favorite shows. And Zebulon which never failed to show me something on a bill that took my breath away. Sunrise, sunset.
Last but not least, not only did I inadvertently not post this, somehow I didn't do my last save, so only half of these had commentary when I noticed it. Better I delete what was there, post it for memory, and move on to big 2013!
As with the other posts, everything is Columbus unless otherwise noted.
Firewater, 10/06/12 (Grog Shop, Cleveland)
Lee Ranaldo Band, 08/04/12 (LC Pavilion)
OBN IIIs, No Bails, and Day Creeper; 05/27/12 (The Summit)
Tune-yards, 06/11/12 (Wexner Center)
Millenial Territory Orchestra with Henry Butler, 08/23/12 (Jazz Standard, Manhattan)
Charles Bradley, 02/22/12 (Skully's)
El Jesus De Magico, Guinea Worms, and Unholy 2; 01/27/12 (Ace of Cups)
Mary Halvorson Quintet, 12/01/12 (Wexner Center)
Joshua Redman Trio, 04/19/12 (Village Vanguard, Manhattan)
Gentleman Jesse and Barreracudas; 05/17/12 (Ace of Cups)
Dead Kenny G's, 05/29/12 (Woodlands)
White Mystery, The Hexers, and Los Vigilantes; 04/11/12 (Ace of Cups)
The Hexers, The Girls!, and Betty Machete and the Angry Cougars; 06/23/12 (N8 Glass Studio)
Sun Araw, 04/20/12 (Le Poisson Rouge, Manhattan)
Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang and SMOD; 07/27/12 (Wexner Center)
Kidd Jordan and DD Jackson with Brett Burleson, Roger Hines and Roger Myers (Dick's Den)/Necropolis (Ace of Cups), both 09/05/12
Giuda, 09/05/12 (Ace of Cups)
Sao Paulo Underground, 09/23/12 (Wexner Center)
King Khan and BBQ, 12/04/12 (Ace of Cups)
Scrawl and Cobra Verde; 10/27/12 (Ace of Cups)