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Lists! Favourite concerts of 2012

Again not as many gigs as i hoped to visit this year. I’m starting to become a bit of an old grump when it comes to gigs as i’ve seen the majority of bands that i like already. Besides that the area that i live in doesn’t really have a lot of interesting gigs going on, except for the Baroeg in Rotterdam of course, and i have to really like a band to travel more than an hour to go to gigs these days.

Did see quite a bit of interesting bands that didn’t make this list, Biohazard, Meshuggah, Agalloch, Fehler and Oranssi Pazuzu where ranging from enjoyable to fun. The only real let down was Ministry. Basically the same setlist as a couple of years ago, just added a few mediocre songs from their mediocre Relapse album instead of their previous mediocre album.

Anyway, the 15 bands that where most enjoyable in my opinion.

15. Solstafir – Roadburn Festival, Tilburg

One of the highlights this year was the Roadburn festival and one of the bands i looked forward to the most was Sólstafir. Loved their Köld album and Svartir Sandar was also a favourite. Unfortunately the gig didn’t really live up to my expectations and i think the main reason for that was the fact that it was beyond hot in het Patronaat, a new venue for Roadburn, which made it hard to enjoy. Despite that it was still among the more memorable ones this year.

14. Mars Red Sky – Roadburn Festival, Tilburg

Again one i was looking forward to and again the crowded venue and the heat made this one a little less enjoyable than i anticipated.

13. Ancestors – Roadburn Festival, Tilburg

Unexpected as i was only partly familiar with their material, but their gig at het Patronaat was great.

12. Christian Mistress – Roadburn Festival, Tilburg

Love their old school heavy metal, unfortunately they suffered from the Roadburn problem. If you are a bit late for the smaller halls you can’t get in. Luckily we caught enough of their gig to get a good impression. Love this band.

11. Gavin Friday – Waterpop Festival, Waterpop

Waterpop is a local festival, and while i usually fail to be be aware of the latest acts this time it was different. A friend already said he wanted to see this gig and i decided to join him up front, was not let down.

10. Origin – Neurotic Deathfest, Tilburg

While previous Origin gigs were chaotic and a bit messy because of bad sound this one was very very solid. Their new singer also has a great stage presence so not only the incredible technical abilities of this band were enjoyable.

09. Devin Townsend – Distortion Fest, Tilburg

Talking about great stage presence, Devin is of course a master in entertaining an audience. I’m not too fond of his bombastic / theatrical albums anymore but it works very well in a live setting.

08. Ides of Gemini – Incubate Festival, Tilburg

Last year Black Math Horseman already made this list and this time it’s Sera Timms’ other band Ides of Gemini that was one of the most memorable gigs of the year. I hope they can make it to next years’ Roadburn Festival.

07. Yob – Roadburn Festival, Tilburg

I wasn’t too familiar with Yob before this. I have some of their albums but for some reason i never listened to them too often. The friday gig at Roadburn, where they played the Unreal Never Lived, was one of the highlights of Roadburn for me. Great sound, awesome music and a packed main hall.

06. Gorguts – Neurotic Deathfest, Tilburg

I never really expected to see this band live anymore. After their landmark album Obscura (which proved to be a huge influence for a lot of deathmetal bands in later years) they kinda went on a hiatus. But with the help of master musicians like Colin Marston and Kevin Hufnagel they are back. Gig was a bit unstable with the old material being completely different from the ‘newer’ Obscura songs. But still very enjoyable. Now hurry up and release that new album already.

05. Black Breath – Roadburn Festival, Tilburg

The biggest surprise of the Roadburn Festival for me. Extremely furious and catchy. Like a rock and roll version of Entombed. Whenever they are in your neighbourhood, go check them out. Amazing.

04. Esoteric – Baroeg, Rotterdam

Have seen Esoteric quite a few times already in recent years, but this was one of the better gigs i’ve seen by them.

03. Deafheaven – Winston, Amsterdam

A weird night really, bit of a weird venue and a shitload of hipsters who were more interested in continuously yapping throughout all the bands that played. The Deafheaven gig was short but intense. Great band, great live presentation. Hope they come back soon.

02. Suffocation – Neurotic Deathfest, Tilburg

Wow. I didn’t expect that. The albums since their return fail to grab my attention and i was a bit surprised seeing them headline the Neurotic Deathfest but they sure did deliver. Mainly old songs, most likely because of the Dave Culross return behind the drumkit. Extremely tight, heavy and an amazing sound. Probably the best i’ve heard in years.

01. Leprous – Boerderij, Zoetermeer

Wow. I didn’t expect that part 2. I went mainly because a friend wanted to go. I knew their album, and did enjoy that, but didn’t expect this to be this great. Definitely one of the best live bands i’ve seen this year, i’m pretty sure they are capable of playing any style you ask them to play. I was bummed i had to leave during their last song. Catchy, brutal, intense and weird. Loved it.

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