Favorite Edition Live Report 2012

I go to more shows than this site would indicate, but I usually procrastinate in writing about them — not good for something so timely.

But in 2012, I moved from Austin to Seattle, and the latter’s concert scene is much more aligned to my tastes, particularly where classical music is concerned. I ended up going to many more shows, which are at least worth mentioning in a year-end review.

  • Kronos Quartet, Neptune Theatre, June 23 The last time I saw Kronos Quartet was in Austin with a program that resurrected a number of pieces from the 1993 album, Short Stories, perhaps the weakest album in Kronos’ oeuvre. I’ve seen the quartet numerous times, and this program was certainly not my favorite. The show at the Neptune was far better, showcasing a number of works from such young composers as Missy Mazzoli and Bryce Dessner from the National. The evening ended with WTC 9/11 by Steve Reich. The show was recorded for a potential live album, which I’ll snap up the moment if/when it becomes available.
  • Jeff Mangum, Moore Theatre, April 17 I heard rumblings about the reclusive Neutral Milk Hotel figurehead playing shows, but when I went to buy tickets for the Kronos show, I saw tickets were also available for Jeff Mangum. I didn’t hesitate, even if the seats were in the nosebleed section. The show was pretty much Mangum with a guitar, at times supplemented by old bandmate Scott Spillane and members of Elf Power. As much as I wanted to hear “Holland 1945” and “Two-Headed Boy Pt. 2”, it was “The Fool” that really clinched the show for me.
  • Matt Alber, Maury Grange Hall, May 12 This show was something of an adventure. I had to ride a ferry to Vashon Island, and the venue itself was just a community hall. But it was nicely transformed to an intimate performance space, and Matt even chatted me up before the show. (Really nice guy.) The weather was perfect, and the show flawless.
  • Natalie Merchant, Benaroya Hall, June 22 Natalie Merchant comes across as a Serious Artist in the press, but on stage, she’s way more playful than her reputation would indicate. Read the full review.
  • 1962, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, Oct. 19 For its first concert in the [untitled] series, musicians from the Seattle Symphony set up shop in the main lobby of Benaroya Hall, where the seating was general admission. The program consisted of works written in 1962, the year Seattle hosted the World’s Fair, and pretty much demanded a setting more relaxed than symphony audiences are accustomed to. John Cage’s centenary set the tone for the evening, his influence threading through works by Earle Brown and Morton Feldman. I’m hoping [untitled] becomes a regular staple in the symphony season.
  • Einstein on the Beach, Zellerbach Hall, Oct. 27 You can read the full review.