Charlottesville City Limits: Local promoters’ favorite performances of 2012

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Photo: Jack Looney Photo: Jack Looney

Charlottesville is one hell of a music town these days. With 60-plus shows weekly, we are starting to feel on par with the heralded scenes of Athens, Asheville—and at this rate, someday…Austin! We reached out to local players in music promotion and asked them to name a show that stood out in 2012.

Rodrigo y Gabriela at nTelos Wireless Pavilion (above)
“For musical excellence, it has to be Rodrigo y Gabriela with their backing band, C.U.B.A. [They have] a sound that takes you aback with a presence so unassuming. Both are magic on the guitar: simply amazing to watch the dexterity, precision, fluidity, grace and passion that flows from these two.”—Jackie Knight, Starr Hill Presents

“The duo of Rod y Gab occupy a space unlike any other band. They pulled off a stunning exploration of Cuban music with the addition of a back-up band. Their speed, virtuosity, vitality, and style took the crowd on quite an exhilarating journey.”—Ann Jones, LiveNation/Ticketmaster

Bruce Springsteen at the Obama for America Rally at the Pavilion
“The musical moment for me this year was hosting Bruce Springsteen at the Pavilion solo acoustic. Being able to see him up close and in an intimate environment was pretty special. He brought a lot of passion to the show even though it was a short set and just him. It also was special in that the show just came out of nowhere but our staff was able to pull it all together in just a couple of days.”—Kirby Hutto, Starr Hill Presents

Photo: John Robinson

Kris Kristofferson at The Paramount Theater
“Kris Kristofferson told us backstage after his solo acoustic show, ‘That was exactly what I needed…I connected with tonight’s audience and it felt great, like it’s supposed to.’”—Jason Williams, The Paramount Theater

The Wood Brothers at The Southern Café & Music Hall
“Engaging, authentic, and sincere is the best way I can describe The Wood Brothers’ performance back in March. The band had total control of the audience and would go from being upbeat androwdy during songs like ‘When I WasYoung’ and ‘Shoofly Pie’ to the point [where] you could hear a pin drop during songs like ‘Luckiest Man’ and ‘Postcards from Hell.’”—Justin Billcheck, Cerberus Productions

Photo: Regan Kelly

“Great band, great group of guys, great show, and way sold out. Not bad for a Sunday night in Charlottesville.”—Andy Gems, The Southern Café & Music Hall

tUnE-yArDs at The Jefferson
“Walking into the tUnE-yArDs at the Jefferson. I was really exited to see how in the world one of my favorite albums of the previous year was not only going to sound, but how could it even be achieved. It turned out that the DIY girl showed us all that the songs translate very well to the stage and can be incredibly danceable. Isn’t that why we go see live music? To see something we can’t do in our own garages and be truly impressed.”—Matthew Simon, The Paramount Theater

Hank Strauss Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis at The Jefferson Theater
“Before the show, I was as much of a non-fan as one could’ve been. At the show, I was awesomely proven wrong. From the moment Ryan Lewis ‘Spiderman-ed’ up onto our opera boxes and launched himself into a welcoming crowd of fans, all the way through the next few hours of hits from The Heist, it was a truly remarkable show in this town. I’ve still got the album on heavy rotation in my car.” —Collean Laney, The Jefferson Theater

Photo: Roger Gupta

Rubblebucket at The Southern Café & Music Hall
“Rubblebucket (IMO: Talking Heads meets Bjork plus horns) playing a sold out show on their first headlining play in the market and C’ville transplants the Founding Fathers (Chris Pandolfi and Andy Falco of The Infamous Stringdusters) making their grand premiere. This was one of our first Festy Presents shows and it was amazing to feel the vibe of a festival brought into a club experience.”—Michael Allenby, The Artist Farm
Roger Gupta

Kool and the Gang at John Paul Jones Arena
“I attended the Kool and the Gang concert at the John Paul Jones Arena recently in celebration of Charlottesville’s 250th birthday. What made it special was the outreach by the city to promote an event with the consideration of attracting a diverse audience, the true makeup of Charlottesville’s communities. It was the responsible thing to do.”—Ty Cooper, Lifeview Marketing

The nTelos Wireless Pavilion’s 2012 season
“In an environment of deep economic uncertainty, venues are still trying to recover, and earn back loyal cultural customers by offering diverse programming at low fees. The Pavilion hit it on the mark this year with sold out shows one after another—and, to boot—visits within one month from the leader of the free world (Obama), a leader of the religious world (His Holiness the Dalai Lama), and the “Boss” of the rock ‘n’ roll world (Bruce).”—Mary Beth Aungier, State Theater (Culpeper)

Photo: Danny Shea

Dan Deacon at The Jefferson Theater
“I knew before Dan Deacon and his ensemble arrived at the Jefferson in their freaky bio-diesel schoolbus that we were in for a special night. Not a concert. A high energy collective experience of sensory overload. You must follow his instructions when he asks. Not only [is he] an incredible arranger and musician right now, but when you are at the show, he is the world’s best MC. He creates and directs the party with us. Participation is mandatory and highly rewarding. He brings call and response to a place you never expected. The songs are crazy, intense, and much more accessible than you would ever imagine because of Dan and the connection he makes. If you were there, you know what I’m sayin’.”—Danny Shea, Starr Hill Presents

Photo: Courtesy Black Market Moto Saloon

C’ville Knievel Vintage Bike Rally at Black Market Moto Saloon
“After living in Charlottesville for over 12 years, the greatest entertainment spectacle that I have witnessed was the Black Market Moto Saloon’s first annual C’ville Knievel Vintage Bike Rally. Starting at noon on a sunny June day with a Jinx roasted boar in the front lot, dozens of show quality vintage motorbikes and their fearless pilots gathered to enjoy circus performers, acrobats, a 12-piece marching band, surf guitar acts, psycho-billy rockers and more. The highlight of the evening was, of course, C-ville Knievel himself jumping through a ring of fire at midnight over a burning scale model Rotunda.”—Matteus Frankovich, Black Market Moto Saloon

The Abe Ovadia Trio at Fellini’s #9
“The most memorable concert this year was the Charlottesville Jazz Society’s B3 3 to 3 in July. What made it special was that every band that played from 3pm to 3am had someone play the B3 Hammond Organ. And the B3 they played was [Miss Lucy] the one that belonged to the late George Melvin. The musicians were amazing, and watching George’s brother sit all night and listen to every band and closely watch them play Miss Lucy, was touching and remarkable.”–Jacie Dunkle, Fellini’s #9

Ryu Goto at Cabell Hall
“We opened the 12-13 season with a 23-year-old Japanese-American violinist, Ryu Goto. He astonished and moved all of us with his effortless virtuosity and exquisite lyricism…I was filled with wonder at the artistry, humanity and modesty of this young man who is already distinguishing himself with an international career.”—Karen Pellón, Tuesday Evening Concert Series

  • Merrill

    The guys at the Moto Saloon who want to portray themselves as victims of a town that hates live music need to read that opening paragraph.

    • young hecho

      Dear Merrill,

      The stalking is kind of sad at this point. Please find a new cause to cry about.

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