thenaturalstoners Top 10 Shows of 2012

By thenaturalstoner


Hello again dear readers, how are ya?!?  2012 was a pretty interesting year for me… saw lots of great shows, my dogs turned 5 (fucking 5!!) years old, and my house flooded while I was in Canada, displacing me from my home for over a month.  All of these experiences are what life is all about though, and this list below details some of these adventures in my top 10 musical sets of the year.  Besides WSU Football, live music is the best entertainment in the world, and I saw some pretty epic shit this year:


10. Warren G – 8/31/2012 – John’s Alley, Moscow, Idaho.

He may be a little older than he was in the summer of 1994, but make no mistake, The G Child can still put on a solid show!  It’s not every day that we get hip hop icons to perform concerts up here in Idaho, but we were blessed this past August with one of the Kings.  ‘This DJ’ to start and end the show, all of his hits and a medley of rap classics from others had the dance floor bouncing all night long!

9. Alabama Shakes – 5/26/2012 – Sasquatch Festival, The Gorge.

On this Saturday, I had one of my only schedule conflicts of the entire Sasquatch Festival: Alabama Shakes vs The Civil Wars vs Portlandia in the afternoon.  Thank God I picked the Alabama Shakes set!  Brittany Howard is awesome and the Bigfoot Stage was packed full of fans that were loving the young bands soulful sounds.  This was one of the best sets I saw all weekend and I hope the Shakes blow up in 2013.

8. Starfucker – 10/22/2012 – The Belltower, Pullman, Washington.

Starfucker is my favorite electronic pop band, and this show was only a few blocks from my house!  My first Starfucker show was at this same venue, and The Belltower should be given credit as their audio improvements between the shows were drastic.  This show sounded great, had a great vibe, and I danced my ass off!

7. Silversun Pickups Acoustic Set – 5/28/2012 – Sasquatch Festival, The Gorge.

I somehow randomly ended up in a Kokanee contest area at this years Fest, drunk on rum we snuck in that morning, then spun some big spin wheel and ended up landing on the rare “Kokanee Acoustic Tent Tickets” piece!  There is this small (200 people or so fit in there) tent setup in an out of the way area and acoustic sets happen each day at Sasquatch.  I was lucky enough to get a pair on the last day of the Festival and see the Silversun Pickups up close.  Nikki Monninger was totally checking me out the whole set and the bands jams were awesome.  I very much enjoyed this over their plugged in electric set on the Main Stage later that night.

6. Gary Clark Jr. – 5/28/2012 – Sasquatch Festival, The Gorge.

Gary Clark Jr. is the MAN and he ripped The Gorge a new one this day.  My favorite set of the entire Sasquatch Festival and it was a thrill to see him play guitar in person.  I hope we can get a repeat appearance soon… like 2013 soon!

5. The Darkness/Foxy Shazam – 2/25/2012 – The Neptune, Seattle, Washington.

My introduction to The Church of Rock and Roll capped off an epic weekend in Seattle (see show #4 below).  Foxy came out and blasted us with a great set, and then the Darkness followed with over two hours of their own!  A nice long show with two great rock bands.

4. Sleigh Bells – 2/24/2012 – The Showbox (at the Market), Seattle, Washington.

Sleigh Bells nailed us with a LOUD, thrashing show on this Friday night in the big city.  We were able to get inside the venue and close enough (super close) to really enjoy this experience in a proper fashion.  After the show the band called it one of the three best shows they have ever played.  After missing most of their set a year prior at the 2011 Sasquatch Fest, it was great to finally see them do their own show.  I think my ears are still ringing.

Sleigh Bells Seattle

3. Snoop Dogg – 7/20/2012 – The Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC, Canada

I feel like these top three shows of 2012 are on a separate level from the others…. these three were A+, some of the best shows in a long time, type of gigs.  Snoop Dogg in Vancouver, BC was just what I needed at this random point in my life.  I was up in Canada for the week at this half work/half vacation thing, when I got a call from my landlord that my house had flooded and everything was a disaster.  Of course, this made the Canada trip an immediate bummer, and I needed some sort of positivity boost for the rest of the time we were up there.

On our last night in Canada we were treated to an hour of the D O Double G that brought a great feeling of happiness and life back into my depressed body.  Playing a mix of hits new and old, this show was off the charts.  Probably my favorite hip hop concert I have seen.

The venue was easily the smokiest venue I have ever been in (and I have been to Ween, Phish, Grateful Dead members, etc.), which made the 2 hour wait for Snoop to come out fairly tolerable.   Loved his hour long set and him encoring with ‘Young and Wild and Free’ with tons of blunts being smoked on stage seemed like a fitting end to this interesting trip across the border.

2. Alice Cooper – 11/17/2012 – The Northern Quest Casino, Airway Heights (Spokane), Washington.

I don’t know if I can accurately describe in words how great this show was.  Alice Cooper has still got “it” and he dominated the stage for almost two hours on this Saturday in Spokane.

You know that feeling that happens, honestly only a handful of times in your life, where you go to a show and you really only want one song to be on the setlist.  Like, this song MATTERS, and you just want to see it played live once before it’s too late. But then you look up recent setlists and notice that the song has been shelved for quite some time.  Well, my Alice Cooper song is ‘Hello, Hooray’ and he hadn’t been playing it at all that I had seen.  It’s the only song I felt I HAD to see live and he isn’t playing it.  But, oh man, “WHAT IF”??? I probably said “What if” a hundred times leading up to this show.

Then the lights in the venue drop, the intro guitar jam happens and then the curtain falls exposing the band and gear.  POW! ‘HELLO, FUCKING HOORAY’ to open the damn show!  Are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?!?  It’s these moments of pure joy that are the reason I go to concerts and have complete faith in music.  Besides winning the Apple Cup (zinger!) there are no greater sources of entertainment and elation than moments like this.

Oh yeah, and the rest of the show was great as well.  REALLY great. Soooo glad I got to see this show.  It is probably the best non Phish or Pearl Jam related show I have seen in several years, no joke.

1. Pearl Jam – 9/30/2012 – Adams Center, Missoula, Montana.

A show so great it launched an “Instant Classic” download franchise, Pearl Jam dominated their only full United States show (non-festival set) of 2012 in beautiful Missoula, Montana.  A benefit for recently re-elected Senator Jon Tester, this two and a half hour set was scorching from top to bottom… well, except for the mini acoustic set which was much more relaxed.

Due to the demand for tickets, most every fan in that building had traveled some distance and really WANTED to be there, which led to an amazing environment. “This is the coziest place we have played in quite awhile”, in reference to the small basketball gym the show was in, and “This is the best U.S. crowd we have had in a very long time” just really brought this show to another level.  And it was true, the atmosphere was thick in there.  Some people couldn’t quite handle themselves, getting too drunk and passing out in the hallway, or the guy about 6 people down from us who puked on the 4 people in front of him pre-show, this was a special night of mixed energy in Big Sky country.

A home state show for bassist, Jeff Ament, this show had everything.  Even if Eddie Vedder was a little under the weather he didn’t show it as he was all over the place.  Not as much as Mike McCready though, that man is a monster, bouncing all over the room while shredding guitar in his Team Gleason shirt.  Mudhoney opened the show and they came out for a sweet ‘Kick Out the Jams’ with PJ, but my personal highlight was the ‘Fortunate Son’ Creedence cover late in the set.  Ending the show with no ‘Yellow Ledbetter’ was a nice change, my first show out of six where I didn’t get that song in the setlist. A fantastic night all around.

Oh and to the annoying guy from Cleveland that I met at The Rhino bar, who did NOT appreciate my “LEBRON” t-shirt:  You are still from Cleveland and ‘The King got his Ring’.

 Pearl Jam Missoula


Just missed the cut: Beck Sasquatch, Fruition/Danny Barnes Moscow, ID, Jack White Sasquatch, Foxy Shazam Portland, OR, John C. Reilly Sasquatch, Starfucker Sasquatch.


Moment of my year: ‘Hello, Hooray” from Spokane.  I think you can get a feel for the joy I was feeling by hearing how pumped I get in the video clip:

thenaturalstoner is a Northwestern United States concert going human being who enjoys documenting his experiences. These are not always limited to the concert stage. thenaturalstoner likes his WSU Cougar football and collection of wet wipes as well (try ‘em out instead of toilet paper sometime!).
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