The 20 Best San Francisco Concerts of 2012, According to Us

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Christopher Victorio
10. Radiohead at HP Pavilion, April 11
"Onstage in San Jose last night, Yorke stopped his jigging, bouncing, and limb-shaking only when seated behind a keyboard or saddled with a guitar. The rest of the time, his jester-like figure -- curt ponytail, scraggly beginnings of a beard, comical skinny red pants, plain vest -- fluttered around like a bird that had just eaten a jumping bean."

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Christopher Victorio
9. Fiona Apple at the Fox Theater, July 28
"Apple reached reached up into that damaged growl for "On the Bound," only the second song of her sold-out show at the Fox Theater on Saturday. It had us worried: Could she really push her voice that hard for a whole show?"

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8. Real Estate and Thee Oh Sees (and everyone else) at the Woodsist Festival in Big Sur, Aug. 4-5
An hour south of Carmel along the serpentine path of Highway 1, there's a bend in the road and a fence, behind which lies a lawn of the size that'd fit behind a standard suburban house, and a cozy wooden building surrounded by a deck. This is the Henry Miller Memorial Library. For one weekend each August, this is also the site of possibly the coolest hipster convention in the world, the Woodsist Festival.

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7. Frank Ocean at the Regency Ballroom, July 16
"The digital version of Ocean's official debut album Channel Orange also just came out last week, but between the big pockets of the sold-out audience who already knew every word of the new songs and Ocean's unflappable poise, it already felt like a well-loved classic."

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Christopher Victorio
6. Public Enemy at Treasure Island, Oct. 13
"The crew started hyping up the crowd long before the set even really started, so by the time Chuck D began pounding pounding through 'Public Enemy No. 1', people were bouncing like nuts."

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Joseph Schell
5. Wilco at the Warfield, Jan. 29
"It felt like a solemn celebration, a bracing reminder of the magic that can happen when a songwriter, a rock band, and a relatively small audience come together in just the right way. The songs themselves may have expressed misery, but the grace and energy given to them imparted a kind of a buzzing, heartworn elation."

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4. Body and SOUL at Mighty, Oct. 10
"The focal point wasn't the booth, but instead the physical and mental space in the room, both of which seemed to disperse the message of Body & SOUL to every corner from the bathroom on out."

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Christopher Victorio
3. Stevie Wonder at Outside Lands, Aug. 12
"Less than three minutes after Stevie Wonder takes the main stage on the final night of San Francisco's Outside Lands festival, keytar in hand and that beaming, always-loving smile of his worn proudly, he decides that it's time for the first singalong of the night."

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2. Pulp at the Warfield, April 17
So, last night, on the 29th anniversary of the release of their first record, svelte glammy/chatty Britpop heroes Pulp stormed the Warfield, where they played the shit out of their best singles and album tracks, stuck around for two encores after closing the main set with "Common People," and were either a touch longwinded or a revelation of the power of theatrical dork-sex rock and roll, all depending on your eagerness to take in songs from the six Pulp albums not called Different Class.

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Christopher Victorio
1. Metallica at Outside Lands, Aug. 11
Metallica, headlining Saturday night of the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, proved just about as huge and satisfying and powerful as Metallica can be in 2012.

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8 comments
SFNative
SFNative

Bassnector, Body & Soul, and DJ Harvey are not "concerts" but dance nights.

Not sure how you could leave off Wye Oak, Polica or The Maccabees.

Alfred Moser
Alfred Moser

I never miss an ALL SHOOK DOWN entry, since so little is reviewed or even acknowledged in the Chron. As your ' ear on Polk ' here's my 2 cents worth - TuneYards doing the Keaton shorts @ The Castro, Carletta Sue Kay @ Brick & Mortar, Blondie @ The Warfield, Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express @ The MakeOut Room after his HSG gig, Jenny Lewis @ GAMH, Beth Orton at The Regency Ballroom, Gossip @ Treasure Island, and Santigold @ The Fox. and hopefully Black Rebel Motorcycle Club next week @ Slim's.

Nick DeCicco
Nick DeCicco

Sigur Rós at Outside Lands. So ethereal with the nighttime fog and city lights to blanket Golden Gate Park.

Anil Pereira
Anil Pereira

#1. Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit. #2. Bruuuuuce. #3. Rush.

john.drefahl
john.drefahl

Wow, you guys totally forgot about the Brian Jonestown Massacre shows at the Fillmore.  Sucks when a city can't even figure out its own tallent.  I have to give a nod to the Pulp mention, that was unexpected.. 

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