Getintothis' best of the rest 2012 part one: Top gigs, best event, Hillsborough Justice Collective, The GIT Award
Getintothis' Peter Guy delivers the final word on 2012 with his annual round up of Liverpool's best bits and the year's cultural highs and lows. Part one features the finest gigs, top event, a reflection on the Hillsborough Justice Collective's music campaign and The GIT Award.
Where, oh where, to start?
Taking a quick reflective glance at the five years of end of year compilations on Getintothis they seem to have followed somewhat of a trend; tentative openings to our musical year, packed middles and a gradual wind up to close.
This year was nothing of the sort. The music year of 2012 on Merseyside has been nothing short of monumental.
We've chatted throughout the year to various people connected to Liverpool music on the state of the landscape, and while it's often easy, particularly while you're trapped inside the bubble to believe there's obvious gaps or elements to improve upon, it's only once you take a big step back and remove yourself that you see a much more definitive picture. And having taken some considerable time to compile this year's Best of Liverpool Music list - we can definitively say, Liverpool music is in rude boy health.
Where 2010 wussed out with a whimper and 2011 threatened to plateau only to unexpectedly raise the bar, 2012 was an absolute whopper.
The result was a whirlwind. A whirling dervish both hard to capture and even harder to remain objective; for while Getintothis had it's busiest year for both traffic (we quadrupled audience figures) and contributions (from 275 posts up to 580), we also sometimes found ourselves questioning our own take on events. Was Liverpool really having it this good?
We think so. As a result, we've split our end of year round up into three parts. We think this shows that the foundations and cornerstones of what make Liverpool Music tick appear more secure than ever and more importantly the ambition and approach is even more committed. Whether this positivity translates into an improved 2013 is very hard to judge. Fingers crossed.
Bizarrely, what began with the cruel news that Liverpool Music Week had lost it's residency home at Mojo has concluded with perhaps the most positive Merseyside music news story in a long while - the Hillsborough Justice Collective securing the Christmas number one as their message was spread up and down the country.
A cover of The Hollies' 1969 hit, He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother sold 269,000 copies, 45,000 more than X Factor winner James Arthur's single Impossible which dropped to number two.
Of course, the fight continues but landmarks like this show that corners are being turned, and the families and all those connected are vindicated in their long search for justice.
Read all our Hillsborough Justice Collective Read full Getintothis coverage here.
Best Gigs of 2012:
Gigs in Liverpool started as they meant to go on, with a slap in the chops from Faris of The Horrors, as one drunken fan's over-zealous behaviour got the better of him (Getintothis on The Horrors at the Kazimier) while Jessie J dropped out of nowhere to play The Cavern with Chelcee Grimes.
And there was no messing about elsewhere as a raft of promoters upped their game plying our ears with heavy doses of aural gold. In particular, two new teams on the Liverpool block stood out. Behind The Wall Of Sleep ensured the wax in our inner ears was well and truly melted every time we ventured into one of their mind-crushing shows including the likes of Acid Mothers Temple, Carlton Melton and Damo Suzuki
Meanwhile Deep Hedonia, despite insisting that Liverpool wasn't ready for experimental electronic music, persisted with future sounds culminating in a whole day of avant-dance at their ARK01 event at Drop The Dumbells.
Among the other cats to plug in their lap tops, wiggle their mouses and make people nod their heads in unison were Holy Other, Vessel and Fort Romeau, Emperor X, ITAL and Laurel Halo (Getintothis chats to Laurel Halo). Next year could prove even more interesting for the DH crew.
Elsewhere, most ambitious show of the year was the collaboration between Andrew Ellis and Liverpool Biennial when they teamed up with Rhys Chatham on his 100 guitar orchestra at Liverpool Cathedral. What proved a deeply moving, ambient exercise in hypnosis couldn't quite match the phenomenal power of Chatham's previous Liverpool performance, and Getintothis' gig of 2011, in the Bluecoat. A triumph, nonetheless.
One of our favourite new initiatives was Rekordmeister's Used Vinyl Club which saw a raft of Liverpool bands play at Mello Mello while releasing a new EP. The nights always concluded with the customary indie karaoke and vinyl swap shop. A great idea which always proved popular.
1. Swans: Sound Control, Manchester (Getintothis review)
2. Teeth Of The Sea: Mello Mello, Liverpool (Getintothis review)
3. Savages: Leaf, Bold Street (Getintothis review, picture gallery).
4. Chilly Gonzales: Capstone Theatre, Liverpool (Getintothis review)
5. The Invisible: Studio 2, Parr Street, Liverpool (Getintothis review, picture gallery) Getintothis talks to The Invisible.
6. GNOD: Mello Mello, Liverpool (Getintothis review)
7. Rhys Chatham performs A Crimson Grail: Liverpool Cathedral (Getintothis review, picture gallery).
8. Mick Head: Leaf, Bold Street, Liverpool (Getintothis review)
9. Lindstrøm, Mr Paul, Deep Space Orchestra: The Kazimier, Liverpool (Getintothis review)
10. Friends: The Kazimier, Liverpool (Getintothis review, picture gallery, Getintothis chats to Friends).
11. Porcelain Raft: Shipping Forecast, Liverpool (Getintothis review)
12. Jonathan Richman: The Kazimier, Liverpool (Getintothis review).
13. Errors, Remember Remember, Vasco da Gama, Ninetails: The Kazimier, Liverpool (Getintothis review)
14. Esco Williams' Pledge Party: The Attic, Liverpool (Getintothis review)
15. The War On Drugs: The Kazimier, Liverpool (Getintothis review)
Best Event of 2012:
We've had to cheat this year, and call it a tie...
On a national level, The Stone Roses' reformation couldn't be touched - and their gigs on June 29-July 1 at Heaton Park were something else. Having witnessed three quarters of the original band during the Second Coming tour at The Royal Court, we felt privileged to have caught them first time round - but this time felt all the more special.
Few bands can match their arsenal of songs and their superlative musicianship - and even fewer can equal that unique chemistry which comes along only a handful of times in a musical generation.
For the cynics, this was their chance to scoff at yet another reunion and a watered down Britpop legacy which followed The Roses' demise, but they were hopelessly missing the point; this was a band with unfinished business, who deserved to shower their legion of adoring fans with tracks many of which wouldn't have heard performed live - and once again prove why they deserve their place among the greatest bands to have ever gotten together. At Heaton Park they unequivocally did just that. Along with Swans at Manchester's Sound Control later in 2012, The Stone Roses at Heaton Park will remain a live music touchstone.
Thirteen days later, and back in Liverpool, it was a gathering of a different sort which captured the spirit of 2012.
Promoters everisland had been experimenting with varying degrees of success on capturing their own happenings. Their January formula of Loved Ones, Sun Drums, Hive Collective and a rag tag of others triumphed in ambition but missed the spot in excitement.
Come summer, they tweaked things - and hit the jackpot in truly memorable fashion assembling acts with little in common but showing the richness of Liverpool in all it's glory, culminating in a coming-of-age set by Stealing Sheep as, what seemed like half of Liverpool's musicians, stormed the newly-opened Kazimier Garden stage for an impromptu knees up.
It was the event of Liverpool's year, not simply because everisland fashioned it - but because so many revelled in it.
The GIT Award 2012-2013
Of course, much of our year was taken up planning, preparing, staging - and recovering from the inaugural GIT Award.
We spoke enough on the night, and subsequently, on how special the occasion was, however, it's worth reiterating just how magical each of the 12 artists were that captured a special time in Liverpool's music future. While everyone that collaborated and helped make the event run so smoothly can't be thanked enough. It was a truly remarkable occasion.
We can't wait to see how the The GIT Award 2013 takes shape. In the meantime, here's some highlights.
Winners of the GIT Award 2012 Loved Ones speak after their triumph.
The GIT Award picture gallery part one and part two.
Esco Williams on his whirlwind year
GIT Award 2012: Liverpool scene report in the NME