Year in Review: Best concerts of 2012

Four music reviewers from our InOut team rates the best live shows of the year

As selected by Justin Cremer:


1. Bruce Springsteen 

Roskilde Festival, July 7

In a show to a massive and adoring Danish audience, this was a very personal and strangely American experience for me. Having grown up in the Midwest in the 1980s, Bruce is etched into the fabric of my life. Seeing him in the flesh fully master the arena setting was nothing short of amazing. Read the full review


2. My Morning Jacket 

Store Vega, June 26

MMJ had been on my personal ‘to-see list’ for quite some time, and clearly on Copenhagen’s too. Playing their first ever gig in the city, the Kentuckians put on a show to remember, whether it was delivering rip-roaring guitar solos or acoustic numbers in which Jim James’s hauntingly beautiful voice entranced the crowd. It was well worth the wait. Read the full review.


Mastodon lumbered through their Store Vega set (Photo: Rasmus B.S. Hansen / Mastodon

Store Vega, January 16

While there might be a lot of Roskilde Festival shows in these best-of lists, this performance by Mastodon blew away their 2011 outing on the Orange Stage. The Georgia metal beasts blasted with boundless energy through a two-hour show that was heavy on tracks from last year’s The Hunter. It was loud, fast, hard and crazy – in other words, just what the crowd wanted. Read the full review


4. Wilco

Falconer Salen, February 28

I’ve seen Wilco several times, but never like this. In a seated concert at Falconer Salen (come on, sitting at a rock concert is lame), the Chicago veterans treated fans to a career-showcasing gig that also featured a bit of awkward interaction between Jeff Tweedy and his Danish crowd. Read the full review.


5. Hank 3

Roskilde Festival, July 6

A show that leaves you with a distinct ‘Holy shit!’ feeling is something of a rarity. But this concert most certainly did, particularly when Williams let the hair down, put a bandana over his face and the whole thing went from a honky tonk to thrash metal show. Only somewhat familiar with Hank 3 before this, I left a big fan of his unique Hellbilly style.  


The best of the rest:

6. Baroness, Beta, August 7 (Baroness also played the Roskilde Festival – read that review here)

7. Amadou & Mariam, Roskilde Festival, July 8 Read the full review

8. Jack White, Roskilde Festival, July 6 Read the full review

9. The Roots, Roskilde Festival, July 7 

10. Kurt Vile, Pumpehuset, July 28


As selected by Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk


1. The Roots

Roskilde Festival, July 7

The Roots are what hip-hop used to be way back when. The Philly natives shun the pathetic self-referential, revenge-tinged bollocks and swap it for purely eclectic, instrument-rich genius at its most refined. This is what the legendary crew managed to pull off at Roskilde’s massive Orange Stage. Read the full review


2. Klumben & Raske Penge

Roskilde Festival, July 3 

Roskilde’s bookers must have had their hearts in their mouths as the chaos unfolded at Klumben & Raske Penge’s show at Pavillion Junior. The stage is a breeding ground for some of Denmark’s soon-to-be-huge bands and rarely gets packed over capacity. This show was one of a kind however, crammed long before the dancehall dons even set foot on stage. 


At his Lille Vega show in April, Kiwanuka showed that he was on his way to stardom (Photo: Søren Bo Basselbjerg / 3. Michael Kiwanuka 

Lille Vega, April 27

BBC Sound of 2012 winner Michael Kiwanuka’s soulful music has drawn comparisons to legends such as Otis Reading. Genuinely talented and refreshingly humble, Kiwanuka delivered his best on his debut on Danish soil at Lille Vega. This show paved the way for a second Danish appearance a few weeks ago, this time at Store Vega. Read the full review.


4. Coldplay

Parken Stadium, August 28

Despite their latest album being something of a disappointment, Coldplay’s live shows repeatedly prove why they are one of the best bands around. Glow-in-the dark bracelets, giant balloons, four huge screens and an explosion of special light effects made optimal use of the stadium space, so a good show was always guaranteed. 


5. The Vaccines

Pumpehuset, October 24

In a country where audiences are, in the words of Mike Skinner of The Streets, “almost impossible to please,” The Vaccines set Pumpehuset aflame with their dangerously contagious infusion of driven indie-rock. Props to the audience for dropping their usual poised appearances.   


The best of the rest:

6. Of Monsters & Men, Store Vega, September 19 Read the full review

7. Paul Kalkbrenner, Roskilde Festival, July 7 Read the full review

8. Charles Bradley, Lille Vega, April 29 Read the full review

9. Tinariwen, Lille Vega, April 23 Read the full review

10. Joe Sample & Randy Crawford, Store Vega, March 22 Read the full review


As selected by Michalis Nielsen:


1. The xx

Falconer Salen, November 25

A jazz drummer once told me the pauses are as important as the played notes. He could not be more right. Hailing from England, The xx are some of the bravest musicians in contemporary times, mastering minimalistic indie pop, where the atmosphere is created by the pauses and graceful instrumentation. A phenomenal concert, highlighted by the beautiful ‘Heart Skipped a Beat’.


2. The Eclectic Moniker

Lille Vega, November 15

The Eclectic Moniker proved on their debut album that Trinidadian calypso paired with indie pop is a winning combination. Their concert in Vega showcased sweeping arpeggios, deep sun-drenched basslines and the gentle tenor vocal of magnificent frontman Frederik Vedersøe. The Eclectic Moniker were at their ace at this show, they brought Caribbean warmth, and the crowd ate it up.  


The Roots performed as a cohesive unit throughout the Orange set (Photo: Scanpix / Torben Christensen)

3. The Roots

Roskilde Festival, July 7

To open for Bruce Springsteen is no easy feat, yet the Philadelphia based hip-hop collective took the crowd on a rollercoaster ride of gargantuan proportions. Whether you are a fan of hip-hop or not was no issue, as The Roots treated the audience to everything from their hit songs such as ‘The Seed 2.0’, classic rock covers, squealing guitar solos, and bombastic tuba playing. Read the full review


4. Mac Miller

Roskilde Festival, July 7

At only 20 years old, Mac Miller has risen to stardom at a supersonic speed. But despite all the media attention, he still expresses a humble disposition and an intense performing desire. Playing at the large Arena stage at the festival, Mac Miller played a solid set of quality hip-hop. The energy level reached maximum intensity at the arm-raising and swaggering single ‘Donald Trump’.


5. Rammstein

Forum, February 21

Back in 1995, Rammstein released the album Herzeleid and subsequently created a genre now called New German Hardness. As unique as the genre itself, Rammstein are known for having spectacular live shows with very co-ordinated choreography. With high doses of flamethrowers, a dynamic light show, and expertly executed instrumentation, Rammstein blew the crowd away once again.  


The best of the rest:

6. Bruce Springsteen, Roskilde Festival, July 7 Read the full review

7. Bomba Estereo, Roskilde Festival, July 7 Read the full review

8. Chris Cornell, Det Kongelige Teater, July 3

9. Lamb of God, Copenhell, June 16

10. Balkan Beat Box, Pumpehuset, May 11


As selected by Claudia Santos:


Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band delivered just the performance that Roskilde organisers and fans were hoping for (Photo: Scanpix / Martin Rosenauer)1. Bruce Springsteen 

Roskilde Festival, July 7

Bruce Springsteen’s three-hour performance at Roskilde Festival this year was the stuff of legends. His energy, musicianship and chemistry with the audience was amazing. At age 62, The Boss had full control over the massive crowd and turned the concert into an unforgettable street party. Read the full review


2. Mark Lanegan, 

Amager Bio, March 17

The Mark Lanegan live experience is as intense and raw as his notorious whiskey voice. His talent calls for no gimmicks or shenanigans; what you see is what you get and what the Amager Bio audience got was a beautifully haunting performance that proved once again that less can most certainly be more. Read the full review.


3. Lee Fields & The Expressions

Loppen, November 17

Feeling funky, sexy and ready to party are the main side-effects of a Lee Fields concert. The showmanship and vocal skills of the ‘faithful man’ were out of this world, taking the audience through an intense, colourful journey that satisfied all palates, from sugar to spice. There was dancing, jumping, clapping and singing along, and by the end of the show there wasn’t a soul in the venue who hadn’t been electrified by the performance.


Part of the audience may have been in a zombie-state but Machine Head stood their ground like the metal legends they are (Photo: Scanpix / Torben Christensen)4. Machine Head,

Roskilde Festival, July 8

Machine Head are a classic example of an old-school metal band that knows how to rock the pants off of an audience, regardless of whether that audience is ready for it or not. The Orange scene’s shameful zombie-state didn’t slow down lead singer Rob Flynn, whose was like a mad hurricane capable of destroying everything in its path. Read the full review


5. Helmet

Lille Vega, March 24

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their classic album, Meantime, this was an explosive evening, with band and fans equally excited. Helmet’s performance was extremely powerful and the band was as tight as ever. It was an intense reunion and a serious adrenaline rush. Read the full review


The best of the rest:

6. The Roots, Roskilde Festival, July 7 Read the full review

7. Refused, Roskilde Festival, July 7 Read the full review

8. Looptroop Rockers, Loppen, May 18 Read the full review

9. Björk, Roskilde Festival, July 8 Read the full review

10. Mew, Roskilde Festival, July 7