Herald critics' best gigs of 2012

Devo at A Day On the Green High energy fun with hits galore. Whip It good.

Tame Impala, Enmore Theatre Ranked as having released the best album of the year with  Lonerism, the collective of Perth surfer dudes make it look like a breeze.

Bill Bailey, Civic Theatre The Black Books star  delivered non-stop laughs with his clever mix of comedy and music.

The Bootleg Beatles, West Leagues Club They’re a tribute band but they don’t come much better than this. The band  is the best in the business. Hey Jude, Ticket To Ride, From Me To You, Strawberry Fields Forever ... it was all there and it was all brilliant.

The Stone Roses, Fuji Rock Festival  Two decades after a bitter split, the influential Brits reunited for a world tour. They’re on fire (and coming to Australia in March 2013).

Radiohead, Rod Laver Arena The band’s elaborate stage set-up is one of the best you will see. And, of course, there’s the music too.

Coldplay, Suncorp Stadium Talk about sensory overload: colourful confetti, laser lights, fireworks and light-up wristbands controlled on stage – and that was just the first song. Without a doubt one of the best stadium gigs you could ever see.

Public Enemy, Groovin’ the Moo, Maitland The hip-hop veterans played arguably one of the most exciting sets of the day, proving age is no barrier as they led the young crowd through rap anthems Bring The Noise and Don’t Believe The Hype.

Jade Lazarevic

Yuksek, Field Day,  Sydney French electronic music producer, remixer and DJ Yuksek shone above big headline acts. His tune Extraball was a set and festival highlight.

The Whitest Boy Alive, Sets On The Beach,  Scarborough Beach Amphitheatre The boys lived up to their much-hyped live reputation with a set mixing pop, mellow and more energetic tunes.

Friendly Fires, Future Music Festival,  Sydney The UK dance outfit earned a spot in my top five with an energetic set which saw frontman Ed Macfarlane throw himself around the stage. 

Muscles, Groovin’ The Moo, Maitland Melbourne electronica act Muscles impressed a packed dance tent. The set included massive singalongs of Sweaty, Icecream and a taste of tunes from his latest album Manhood.

The Presets, Parklife, Sydney A rapturous crowd enjoyed a mix of old and new tunes from the dance music stalwarts.

Kate Tarala

Ryan Adams, Sydney Opera House  He was in top form. Highlights included Come Pick Me Up, Sylvia Plath and (yes) Wonderwall.

Steve Earle, Lizotte’s Newcastle The legend was up for the blues – South Nashville Blues, Tennessee Blues, Hometown Blues, My Old Friend the Blues – and playing as sweet as ever.

Gentlemen of the Road Stopover, Dungog Mumford & Sons capped the day with a superb set featuring their  Babel album. But Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros stole the hearts of the audience.

John Butler, Civic Theatre There is talent, and there is genius.  He delivered: Revolution, as you never heard it before; Danny Boy, Kimberley and his classics Zebra, Ocean, Pickapart.

Tim Rogers, Lizotte’s Newcastle His cover of Bob Dylan’s Boots of Spanish Leather was worth the price of admission. You’ve Been Good To Me So Far wasn’t too shabby either.

Jim Kellar

Missy Higgins, Newcastle City Hall   Showing wisdom and a rather more jovial approach to her music, fans adored the songstress and her  collaborator Butterfly Boucher.  Higgins showed why she is still boss. 

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros,  Gentlemen of the Road Stopover, Dungog   Exploding with joy and bursting with a full sound, the nine-piece band displayed genuine showmanship. 

Feist, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival A beautiful meshing of soul, folk, pop, rock and harmonies.

Gin Wigmore, The Great Northern Hotel  Wigmore delighted fans with her shining voice, heartfelt bluesy ballads and a great backing band. The New Zealand beauty’s got grit, despite absolutely charming the crowd.

Austra, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival  At an indie festival saturated with new music, Austra smashed it. Her classically trained vocals soared above other acts on the bill.  

Jess Kellar

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