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Live and In Living Color 

The shows of 2012 that made us tingle, jiggle and scream

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PICKWICK
Red Room Lounge | March 9

Producing sounds funkier than Funkadelic, smoother than a 17-year-old scotch and more crisp and refreshing than a winter day, these six white men from Seattle know how to get you moving and shaking. Taking the Washington scene by force with their new and convincing, modern approach to soul, Pickwick is going places. Led by Galen Disston’s righteously sexy croon, the group had no issue filling the venue to capacity and keeping us dancing into the wee hours of the morning. (AUSTIN MELL)

THE COATHANGERS
Mootsy’s | March 30

This Mootsy’s show was billed as more of a White Mystery show, and while that two-piece absolutely killed, the Atlanta all-girl band, the Coathangers, stole my heart. And they still have it, damn it. Riot Grrrl has been on hiatus as long as Sleater-Kinney has, but no group since has made as strong a case for the genre. Their snotty attitude, discordant arrangements and bubblegum melodies were on fire that night. (JORDAN SATTERFIELD)

ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE
Object Space | April 19

When this Japanese psychedelic band played here a few years ago, they left Spokane in one big melted face puddle, begging for more. So to say this show was hotly anticipated would be understating things. After an unreal opening set by New Yorkers the Phantom Family Halo, AMT took the stage in a twister of grizzly beards and screaming guitars. For 30 minutes, it was cementing itself as the best show of the year. That was until the fire department shut it down. (LEAH SOTTILE)

JOHN FOGERTY
Northern Quest Resort & Casino | June 15

There were more women in sparkly-butted jeans at John Fogerty than I had expected — but I guess that shouldn’t have been a surprise given the location. From the first note to the very last, Fogerty proved every ounce of his status as a rock ‘n’ roll legend, performing for two hours straight without one single break. And, save for that horrible “put me in coach” song, he played every single CCR hit imaginable, belting out all the high notes like this was the first time these songs had been sung. Sparkle-butts jiggled alongside Hawaiian-shirted pot bellies, and the rest of us drank in the nostalgia. (LS)

THE MEN
Mootsy’s | June 21

The Men put on the best show I saw in Spokane all year. I had unreasonably high expectations, coming off the release of their fantastic LP Open Your Heart — expectations that were blown into yesteryear by 100 decibels of gritty, analog punk fuzz. The show was so fantastic that I blasted the album on my drive home, just to hear the tracks again. But I couldn’t hear anything. (JS)

GILLIAN WELCH
Bing Crosby Theater | July 30

When the perfect combination of performer, venue and crowd come together, you have the makings of a memorable evening. Standing on the 97-year-old stage of the Bing, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings had us eating out of their collective hand, and their spare, superbly crafted songs of love and heartbreak and old, weird America filled the tiled dome of Spokane’s best sounding room in a way I had never heard. Rarely have two musicians shared such chemistry on stage. (GAWAIN FADELEY)

FUN.
Knitting Factory | Aug. 26

Those of us who hadn’t had it up to here with fun. — after having “We Are Young” stuck in our heads for months — piled into the Knitting Factory to hear that and other earworms from their first two albums. The group performed with so much energy that, only a few songs into their set, lead singer Nate Ruess had to take off his bolo tie. I, on the other hand, was left pulling confetti out of my bag for days after the concert. (AZARIA PODPLESKY)

THE HEAD AND THE HEART, BLITZEN TRAPPER
Knitting Factory | Sept. 18

First, Portland’s gritty folk rockers, Blitzen Trapper, set the show up with a fuzzy, soulful set that a clearly familiar Tuesday night crowd ate right up. Then, Seattle’s The Head and the Heart showed Spokane how awesomely powerful they’ve gotten since the days when they were playing coffee shops here a couple years ago. The rockingly Americana sextet kicked off a big national tour with sing-along favorites from their self-titled record and also gave us some much deserved new material. (MIKE BOOKEY)

MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS
Knitting Factory | Oct. 16

Before their sold out show, Seattle rapper Macklemore and collaborating producer Ryan Lewis took a trip around Spokane to see Ferris grad Lewis’ teenage stomping grounds. On stage, both radiated a rare but genuine excitement to be here — if not also because their just-released debut studio album had already reached No. 1 on iTunes. Dozens of sweaty guys donned vintage fur coats like the getup Macklemore wears in the video for “Thrift Shop,” and the crowd’s screams when he asked to borrow some guy’s rank-smelling, fur monstrosity during the song’s performance, almost blew the roof off the place. (CHEY SCOTT)

BLACK TUSK
A Club | Oct 22

Stormy Monday nights aren’t conducive to show-going. And on this rainy evening, the A Club was a dead zone. But the Georgia metal band Black Tusk played their hearts out — almost like they were Pink Floyd and this was Pompeii or something. The trio thrashed and screamed and twirled their sticks on stage — so much so that the show bordered on hilarious. But the band nailed every single song, and at the end, they graciously thanked the audience of 20-some people for making their Monday night one hell of a good time. (LS) 

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