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Mid-Year Look: Top Shows of 2012
07/06/12 at 10:50 PM by Jake Denning
Here in Oregon, I've been blessed with lots of great shows over the last few years, thanks to the hard work and dedication of local promoters King Banana and Mike Thrasher Presents. Shows are often where I can kick back and relax, drink some coffee or soda with everyone before doors, and then have a blast rocking out to some great bands. I'm usually at 3 or 4 shows a month in the Portland area, so as you can imagine it's hard narrowing down some of my favorite moments of 2012 so far.

I'd love to hear from the rest of you, as to what YOUR favorite shows have been this year. Also, what shows coming up are you looking forward to?

(In no set order)

1. Andrew W.K.'s "I Get Wet" 10th Anniversary tour (Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR) w/ The Evaporators. -- Andrew W.K. was my first large interview, and I was really excited to catch up with him again a few years later and rock out to his iconic album "I Get Wet" from front to back, with more party favorites thrown in for good measure! His backing band was even more ferocious than when I first saw him at Warped Tour 2010, everything was kicked up 110%. You know what made my night even MORE special? Meeting my all-time FAVORITE interviewer, Nardwuar The Human Serviette! His band The Evaporators opened the show for 45 minutes, and it was by far the most entertaining set I've seen in a long time. This was definitely not a tour that I'll forget, and I'm looking forward to my next party with Andrew W.K.!

2. G.K. Tour featuring The Wonder Years, w/ Polar Bear Club, Transit, The Story So Far, and Into It. Over It. (Hawthorne Theatre, Portland, OR) -- This was a show I was looking forward to since Patrick (RockTheWalls) leaked it. Everyone on this tour was so cool, I definitely appreciated getting to see everyone again. Evan Weiss (Into It. Over It.) was hilarious, and crafted a fine live performance, weaving in various stories that inspired particular songs. The Story So Far got an incredibly massive response, and turned the venue into stagedive city for brief moments in time. I enjoyed getting to know Will and Kelen, and seeing how awesome and down to earth they are; this band will go so many places in the future, because they're in it for the right reasons. Transit was the dark horse of the tour, as many kids didn't show much appreciation for the heavy "Listen & Forgive" setlist, which really bummed me out. "Listen & Forgive" was such a heartfelt record and honestly has a great deal of lasting value, and I really hope kids take the time to sit down with it and appreciate it for what it is. Polar Bear Club is the band that always shows up on every tour package and gives everyone a fantastic time. Jimmy Stadt is one of the best showmen in the genre, and I'm really glad to hear that they're getting a great response on this year's Warped Tour. The Wonder Years once again came back to Portland to show everyone a good time, and boy, did we have a blast! Coffee Eyes, Melrose Diner, and Logan Circle all caused me to yell out, and eventually kill my voice. It was without a doubt my favorite experience watching the band, and I'm itching to see them again! I'm really stoked we have a great Official Thread that backs the band hard.

3. August Burns Red w/ Silverstein, Texas In July, and I, The Breather (Hawthorne Threatre, Portland, OR) -- August Burns Red is one of my favorite bands, I haven't missed them since I first saw them in early 2006. I was really looking forward to seeing a proper headlining set with more "Leveler" material showcased, as opposed to their set at Warped 2011. Silverstein never lets me down whenever I see them, it always amazes me the abuse Shane subjects himself to in order to give everyone a memorable experience. Texas In July had never sounded better and more crisp than they did on this tour, everyone was on point. I, The Breather also made a lot of new fans that night, as they were on the cusp of releasing their sophomore effort, "Truth and Purpose", which is a significant improvement from their debut.

4. Enter Shikari w/ Letlive., and At The Skylines (Branx, Portland, OR) -- Living in America is great, but sometimes it's difficult when great bands from "across the pond" aren't as popular over here, and are limited to short sets. So when I found out Enter Shikari would be coming back here to do a proper headliner with full production and everything, I was extremely excited. Letlive. is always great to have around as well, all those guys are super genuine and hilarious guys. At The Skylines showed some promise, but nothing close to ground breaking.

5. Set Your Goals w/ Cartel, Fireworks, Mixtapes, and Super Prime (Hawthorne Theatre, Portland, OR) --
I never gave Super Prime a chance, although they were extremely nice, and after talking to Jordan Brown (SYG) about their story, I have a WHOLE lot more respect for the band. There's some people on here that really like Mixtapes (including Thomas Nassiff), but as cool as they were to talk to, I just didn't really get them at all. Fireworks really left me wanting a longer set from them, they were so solid live. Cartel absolutely blew me out of the water with their live performance, Will Pugh has one of the strongest voices in the scene. Set Your Goals were great as usual, even though Dan had to go home again to attend to his ill father. The good news is, they have a really good friend in Justin Ksionzek (@giglife), who filled in once again (as he has over the last year or so), and did an excellent job. Great mixture of Mutiny, This Will Be The Death Of Us, and Burning At Both Ends material, and an excellent time overall.
Tags: Andrew WK, The Wonder Years, Polar Bear Club, August Burns Red, Set Your Goals
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