Best Twin Cities concerts 2012

Photo by Ryan Cutler
10. Girls Got Rhythm Fest at Amsterdam Bar & Hall, 5/11/12 & 5/12/12 (Slideshow)

Sally Hedberg writes: "As far as local music productions are concerned, news of the inaugural Girls Got Rhythm Fest offered something completely fresh in the realm of Twin Cities music events. For one, the lineup was zeroed in on a niche: women. No, not in a sanctimonious, Lilith Fair sense. More, a platform of information and celebration honoring a diverse spread of female-fronted acts who weren't afraid to play loud. And additionally -- whether intentional or not -- it gave St. Paul's Amsterdam Bar & Hall an opportunity to further establish itself as a more accessible rock venue."

Photo by Erik Hess
9. Rock the Garden at Walker Art Center 6/16/12 (Slideshow)

"With precision that puts her among the great drummers of our era, the barefooted Garbus performed each tUnE-yArDs song -- many from last year's ebullient w h o k i l l -- standing behind a small kit and triggering sample pedals with her feet. No motion was wasted, and no sound from her vocal chords went unused as songs grew from loops into enormous things." Add in powerful sets from the Hold Steady, Doomtree, Trampled by Turtles, and Howler, and it was a seamless day.

Photo by Steve Cohen
8. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Xcel Energy Center, 11/11/12 (Slideshow)

"Multi-tasking proved essential as Bruce Springsteen attempted to touch, roll, crawl, and slide on his knees 'cross every corner of his stage, the long catwalk set up in the middle of the floor, and obviously into every beating drum inside the audience's chests. For how many people got to pat him on the back, slap their hands on his guitar, and scream into his microphone, it was never enough as far as he was concerned. This level of audience interaction reached a sweaty peak as the Boss fell into the masses and enlisted all the 'strong men and women' to carry him, wearing a 'don't you dare drop me' grin on his face, from the middle back up to the front of the stage during 'Hungry Heart.' Germaphobe he is not."

Photo by Erik Hess
7. Soundset at Canterbury Park, 5/27/12 (Slideshows)

"We'll be telling the story about that storm for the rest of our lives," Brother Ali said of the massive thunderstorm that overtook Soundset in the middle of Lupe Fiasco's set. It came after a massive day of heat and live excess. Macklemore (above) & Ryan Lewis proved to be among the many highlights of the day that included Kendrick Lamar, Grieves & Budo, Aesop Rock, and oh so many more from the Rhymesayers family and extended.

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Photo by Erik Hess
Twin Shadow at Lollapalooza 2012
6. Twin Shadow at the 7th St. Entry, 8/6/12

From Erik Thompson's review of the first of two nights at the Entry: "A massive ovation greeted Lewis and his bandmates as they took to the tiny stage, with one fan asking straight away, "Take your shirt off." Lewis laughed, and said, "Already?" And with that, the band launched into a funky, bass-driven version of "Shooting Holes" which got the set started with a shot."

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