BEST OF 2012: The Best Live Shows of 2012

By Winston “Stone” Ford and Vickey Ford

The Stepkids, Soho House, NYC

Out of every act I’ve seen this year, I’ve seen The Stepkids the most. At least 5 times including the time we booked them at our Circus SXSW showcase. And the Stepkids brought it every time. However, there was something special about their Soho House show. I don’t know if it was the intimiate setting of the venue but this show was so good that I couldn’t go to sleep until 4 AM that night. My adrenaline was so high.

Quadron, Teletextile, Cameo Gallery Brooklyn

Our show with Popgun featured Quadron, an act that we know all too well here at The Couch Sessions. Their sold out show at Brooklyn’s Cameo gallery was pretty insane. I mean, it’s Coco singing, but it also marked the debut of some new material. And the Brooklyn crowd ate it up.

Kendrick Lamar, Fader FORT by Converse, SXSW

2012 was the year that Kendrick Lamar came of age, and his FADER Fort appearance was his crowning achievement. After lackluster performances in 2011, the dude brought it at the FADER Fort, bringing a stage presence that honestly was unmatched by any rapper I saw that week, except for Jay-Z.

Miguel and Bad Rabbits CS SXSW Showcase

Okay, we had to throw some shine to our own remarkable showcase. However, it’s not just to pat ourselves on the back. Miguel killed it, as he is known to do, but it was Bad Rabbits who surprised everyone–including us–by bringing one of the best shows at SXSW. I just remember random people grabbing me by the shoulder and screaming “WHO IS THIS BAND?” in my face. Always a good sign.

Action Bronson, Howard Theatre, DC

At his recent show at the Howard Theatre, he rapped his verse to “Larry Csonka” while balancing a handicap fan on his shoulders. I mean, come on, how can you top that???

Little Dragon and Red Hot Chili Peppers, Consol Center, Pittsburgh

Our favorite artists of all time (okay, maybe) opened up for our other favorite artists of all time (maybe again) in Pittsburgh! We had to be in the building.

Fishbone, La Société des Arts Technologiques, Montreal

As I say all the time–these young cats need to sit down and take notes. Fishbone can teach you a lot about stage presence and their rather exhilarating live show proved it. It was high energy from start to finish, and
even if you can’t get down with their sound (and most likely you can), you should attend this show simply for the sheer energy.

Ava Luna, Couch Sessions CMJ Showcase, DROM

Coming on at around 12:45 AM, the city that never sleeps, was unfortunately….sleeping. Despite being a new act for the majority of the people left in the building, they received one of the loudest ovations of the night, and were urged back for a 1:30 AM encore by every single person in the crowd.