The Best Thing I Heard This Year: Live Edition

The most awesome concerts we saw this year.

Lady Gaga

@ Rose Garden, Jan. 15

The mechanical horse! The three-story castle! The raw-meat sofa! However bloodless and derivative her music, La Gaga's flair for curated scandal does lend itself to epic stagecraft. JAY HORTON.


@ Branx, April 18

We later realized the British vocal-house duo skipped Seattle because they'd be playing at Sasquatch a few months later. But for one night, Portland's electronic music scene shone at a sold-out, tuned-in and turnt-up Branx. MITCH LILLIE.


@ Roseland Theater, April 21

I mean, c'mon. A once-(well, twice)-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the best live performer of all-time (yup) in an intimate setting in Portland. Unfuckwithable. KENNY FRESH.

Big Boi

@ Roseland Theater, May 13

Smartly packaging the Outkast songs in medleys between his thwomping solo material, the Southern rap ambassador delivered a show with enough pimped-out energy to render the question of whether he and Andre 3000 will ever get back together moot. Wait, there's a reunion slated for 2014? We'll take it, I guess. MATTHEW SINGER.

Diarrhea Planet 

@ Mississippi Studios, Sept. 13

One would imagine seeing Nashville's Diarrhea Planet in concert would be a total shitshow (pun intended). But the meticulous sonics of Mississippi Studios made true the band's certain destiny: to fly high in the rafters of an arena. PETE COTTELL.

Father John Misty 

@ Aladdin Theater, Oct. 7

Josh Tillman's scrappy folk-rock meditation on Hollywood life was even more hair-prickling live than on record, thanks to an added hip-swaying coyness and sarcastic banter. GRACE STAINBACK.


@ Hawthorne Theatre, Oct. 19

Beneath projections of Italian actresses being slashed to bits, the '70s horror soundtrack purveyors—on their first-ever American tour—absolutely rocked a capacity crowd of gushing synth-prog enthusiasts. NATHAN CARSON.

Janelle Monae 

@ Roseland Theater, Oct. 29

Monae's futuristic, tour-de-force R&B show simmered before it scorched, then it literally brought the entire Roseland to its knees—with the exception of three unwavering assholes in the middle. BRANDON WIDDER.


@ Crystal Ballroom, Nov. 29

It's hard to re-create songs as carefully arranged as those found on White Lighter in a live setting, but Typhoon did so easily, delivering energetic renditions before creating a wonderfully tense moment of silence leading into the middle of "CPR/Claws pt. 2." KAITIE TODD.

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