This year, I am only doing one year-end list because I haven't had the time to listen to enough albums in its entirety, too scattered to recall singles and other lists that are popular... so can only do one on live performances because I can actually recall how it feels. They are singular and tangible experience unlike listening to recorded music over and over.
Note: since I don't often have the luxury of witnessing entire sets at festivals, very few from made this list. All shows were in Portland unless noted and in chronological order. There were many more faves but decided to narrow down to these - time, time time! Click on the links to see/read more.
The Orwells, Twin Peaks at Star Theater (March 26): This show was pure romp of rock - it may have been ugly and sloppy at times but sure got my money's (if I had paid) worth of entertainment.
Future Islands at Doug Fir (April 5): This was the first time I experienced their live set, and the first of three times I caught them this year. The other two at FYF and Musicfest NW. I suppose the so sold out small venue intimacy and energy exceeded the festival experience.
TOY at Doug Fir Lounge (April 29): I couldn't believe the day finally came where I got to see TOY! Their perfect blend of lush pop and psych rock is heavenly on the record and even more so live.
The Horrors, Austin Psych Fest (May 3): These Brits have come a long way since I first saw them in Portland in 2009; they came out of their coffins (not that I didn't like their goth period). From the moment The Horrors entered the stage that night to the last reverberation of the final note, they had me hypnotized.
Eagulls at Doug Fir (June 2): This show is probably more memorable for the 24 hours following the set. It was a pleasure to see the UK punk band I first caught in Brighton in my home turf but to share a bottle of whiskey... oh how sweet is the pain!
Dean Wareham at Bunk Bar (June 26): How unjust it seemed for an influential musician like Wareham to play in one of the tiniest venue in town. But he played with humility and the crowd gave every support their cells could muster.
Foxygen at Pickathon (August 1,3): My first Foxygen experience and I freakin' loved it. They were the only act that I caught both of their sets in its entirety. While some reviewers found their performance to be slipshod, but it is what it is - glam psych rock by the young and the restless. And what a blast!
Christopher Owens at Great American Music Hall, San Francisco (October 11): Owens' US tour concluded in his hometown, and he gave a grand performance that was part gospel, part country, and part pop for an exquisite experience that one usually expects from icons.
Iceage at Elbo Room, San Francisco (October 31): Thought it was a good idea to spend the Halloween not dressed up and go see the dissident Danes at an iconic venue. For almost a month afterwards, big blue bruises reminded me that it really was a punk show and it was so good.
Slowdive at Crystal Ballroom (November 10): The main reason I decided to attend FYF in LA was to catch Slowdive. Unfortunately, I didn't have the luxury to witness more than 4 songs before rushing to my next assignment at the most chaotic music festival of all time. Fortunately, I returned from my fall trip in time to catch the whole show in Portland. It was ethereal and beyond. Sob.
Jacco Gardner: I caught this Dutch musician at three festivals (Austin Psych Fest, FYF, Bumbershoot) and two shows at Mississippi Studios, and it's difficult to say which one was the best set, but the most memorable one was at Bumbershoot because I did a behind the scene mini doc and there were kittens and puppis.