Showbams’ best live music photography of 2012

Ultraísta at The Independent – By Michael Frash
Ultraísta

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Click the band and venue link to view the photo’s full article.
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M83 at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Marc Fong
M83

Future Islands at The Independent – By Maggie Corwin
Future Islands

Die Antwoord at The Fox Theater – By Marc Fong
Die-Antwoord

Charles Bradley at Royce Hall – By Pete Mauch
Charles-Bradley

Santigold at The Fox Theater – By Michael Frash
Santigold

The Lumineers at The Chapel – By Marc Fong
The Lumineers

Best Coast at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Marc Fong
Best-Coast

The Faint at Regency Ballroom – By Michael Frash
The-Faint

Yeasayer at The Fox Theater – By Marc Fong
Yeasayer

Japandroids at The Fillmore – By Michael Frash
Japandroids

How To Dress Well at Rickshaw Stop – By Michael Frash
How-to-Dress-Well

Blondfire at Rickshaw Stop – By Maggie Corwin
Blondfire

The xx at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Marc Fong
The-xx

Geographer at Bonfire Sessions – By Michael Frash
Geographer

Gossip at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Marc Fong
Gossip

Simian Mobile Disco at Mezzanine – By Michael Frash
Simian-Mobile-Disco

Devine Fits at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Marc Fong
Devine Fits

Knife Party at The Fox Theater – By Marc Fong
Knife-Party

Red Baraat at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass – By Michael Frash
Red-Baraat

Of Monsters and Men at Not So Silent Night – By Michael Frash
Of-Monsters-&-Men

Electric Guest at The Independent – By Michael Frash
Electric-Guest

Bloc Party at The Fox Theater – By Michael Frash
Bloc-Party

Bombay Bicycle Club at The Fillmore – By Chaya Kranz
Bombay-Bicycle-Club

Tame Impala at The Fillmore – By Michael Frash
Tame-Impala

Matthew Dear at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Michael Frash
Mathew-Dear

Father John Misty at Bonfire Sessions – By Michael Frash
Father-John-Misty

Rufus & Martha Wainwright at The Fox Theater – By Marc Fong
Rufus-Wainwright

Bassnectar at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – By Marc Fong
Bassnectar

Jack White at Not So Silent Night – By Michael Frash
Jack-White

Sea Wolf at The Independent – By Marc Fong
Sea-Wolf

The Shins at Not So Silent Night – By Michael Frash
The-Shins

Wilco at The Greek Theater – By Michael Frash
Wilco

White Fence at Bonfire Sessions – By Michael Frash
White-Fence

Django Django at The Independent – By Michael Frash
Django-Django

Justice at The Warfield – By Michael Frash
Justice

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead at The Independent – By Marc Fong
You Will Know Us...

Treasure Island Music Festival: 10 best sets

Treasure Island Music festival has a lot going for it. It’s smack dab during the nicest time of year in San Francisco, and the weather obliged this year. No sets overlap – you can see every single there if you can manage to get there in time – and the two stages are right next to each other. The view of the city by the bay never gets old, and many artist rightfully pointed out how great the view is. And the music curation delivered, as this year was a bit of a sleeper.

Scroll down to view the 10 best sets of the weekend, along with 10 more great sets.
What was your favorite set of the weekend? Leave a comment below.

1. The xx

Sunday was more crowded than Saturday, which is a testament to the rising worldwide power of The xx. Their newfound headline status was re-confirmed, as they were anything but mellow or boring. From the first notes of “Angel,” the festival crowd was rapturously involved. They were loud during the blasts & dance parts, and quiete during the subtleties. And the fan girls – The xx now has a screeching contingency of fangirls as if we were watching The Beatles or Justin Bieber.

The surprisingly respectful crowd added to a mind-blowing live show. Jamie xx has had a clear impact on The xx’s live show. Mid-set there was a string of songs that included “Reunion,” “Sunset” & “Swept Away” and was bridged by Jamie xx’s micro-house beats. A 20-30 minute dance sequence was not expected but certainly invited. And Romy Croft & Oliver Sim have such great voices live, and they play the parts well that they have invented in their songwriting. They were worth the price of admission Sunday.

2. The Presets

Aussie-Pop dance duo The Presets returned the US friday to play an epic show at The Independent. They were just as entertaining the second night in a row at TIMF. Their new live show melds dance beats and drops, live instrumentation, apocalyptic Aussie-charm vocals, and a killer light and video show that will satisfy most contemporary music fans. Their live show, which featured many new songs from Pacifica, turned into a dance party in no time.

They proved they are ready for the festival circuit just as it wraps up in the northern hemisphere. They’ll return come 2013 to headline Coachella, Bonnaroo, and everywhere in between if they’d like. After putting out one of the best albums of the year and showing the Bay area this past weekend that they put on a stellar show that plays both to small and large audiences.

3. M83

M83 has been touring on “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” forever. And why not, it’s one of the best albums of the last decade. The best part about the epic touring schedule is that they’ve gotten much better live. Last November at the Mezzanine they performed “Midnight City” without a saxophone solo and killed the momentum of the set with a poor performance of the wonderful slow song “Wait.”

About a year later, they have crafted a spectacular festival set that features songs that turn into dancey remixes of themselves and no slow songs. The group’s energy was infectious sunday, with Anthony Gonzalez, Yann Gonzalez & Morgan Kibby blasting off with kinetic energy nonstop. The 50 minutes passed by and the show ended with Anthony spraying the crowd with champagne as if they’ve reached the finish line. M83 indeed has come a long way in a year.

4. Matthew Dear

Matthew Dear put on a rock & roll set that showed off his dance moves, voice & stage presence. He stays away from adding many effects or relying heavily on digital music with his live group, and the super bassy vocal effect he uses on his voice on the newest LP was almost missed on tracks like “Headcage” & “Her Fantasy.” But their reconstruction of digital-sounding dance tunes worked well live, even though the crowd was sparse and Matthew Dear’s set would play better at night or inside (with lights).

5. araabMUZIK

AraabMUZIK is a beat machine. The thought “this guy is so completely unique and talented” crept into thought at least 5 times during this set that flew by Saturday. Abraham Orellana is a button pusher but damnit he’s probably the best there is (sorry Girl Talk). He controls and performs every live sound live on the fly with his MIDI pads and collection of mixers and effects. AraabMUZIK is pioneering a subgenre of spinning that micromanages the sound and adds a higher level technical proficiency needed to execute in the live setting. And by putting more on the line, it actually feels like a live performance because it is.

6. Los Campesinos!

7. Divine Fits

8. SBTRKT

9. Tycho

10. Youth Lagoon

10 more great sets

Public Enemy

Toro Y Moi

K Flay

The Coup

Grimes

Girl Talk

Wild Belle

Gossip

Joanna Newsom

Best Coast

New Music Tuesday: Swans • Wild Nothing • Matthew Dear • Dan Deacon • Divine Fits

Swans - The Seer

Every Tuesday, we focus on new music releases by naming our top tracks and supplying the latest videos for select albums.


SwansThe Seer

Top Track: “Mother of the World”


Wild NothingNocturne

Top Track: “Nocturne”


Matthew DearBeams

Top Track: “Her Fantasy”


Dan DeaconAmerica

Top Track: “True Thrush”


Divine FitsA Thing Called Divine Fits

Top Track: “My Love Is Real”