Connecticut saw some really good live shows in 2012. As far as those covered in this column the year's best started at one of the state's bigger venues. Dropkick Murphys at Mohegan Sun was fantastic. Great openers; Ramshackle Army from Australia and England's own Frank Turner. With so many fans from Rhode Island and Massachusetts in attendance along with Tim Brennan's homeboys from West Hartford and other CT fans, the energy was ridiculous.
From there the best shows were found on smaller stages. The Space in Hamden hosted amazing "comeback kids" William Beckett and Teddy Geiger. Due a glitch with another venue, Anberlin brought their acoustic tour to the New Haven suburb. Another band returning to the game, Honor Society proved that great, pop-rock still exists.
Finally there was the return to Hartford of Warped Tour. Kevin Lyman's traveling caravan of musical gypsies made it's fourth stop at The Comcast Music Center. Although the route of the tour was changed so that no one got stuck at the border crossing trying to make the run from Montreal to the state capitol, the idea of switching the position of the main stages this year was not logistically a great idea. However, it didn't stop kids from not seeing Yellowcard make up to everyone who missed the October 2011 show at The Webster due to the snowstorm. VWT included Lost Prophets first show in the U.S. in a long time, the return of "old" Taking Back Sunday, Connecticut's punk princes Hostage Calm and quietly tucked in the back corner at the Acoustic Basement tent, the one and only Geoff Rickley who shared new music, classic Thursday songs and some surprising covers.
And the final addition to this "best of CT Live" was from the pop world and more specifically more of that great pop music that's not spinning on radio. Sam Sparro squeezed a stop at Stage One in Fairfield on his way to Highline Ballroom in New York City. Now being able to compare the performance to one a few weeks ago at Webster Hall, the Connecticut show proved Sam's merit as an entertainer. In a small theater with an even smaller audience, many of whom had no idea who he was, Sparro still put the same energy into his performance that he did to a crowd of over 500. He definitely added new fans to his base that night.
There were definitely other great shows in the state this year. Most not reviewed here. Connecticut has seen the addition of some new small venues that have potential to create an even bigger blip on the entertainment radar. Already 2013 will see Jukebox The Ghost's headlining tour stop at Arch St. in Hartford and Wess Meets West at The Heirloom. The Space will be adding yet another room that will hold about 500 and hopes to also have a full kitchen. But while you wait for Spaceland Ballroom, the coffee house is gearing up for The Almost, The Acoustic Basement Tour, and Astronautalis. At The Webster; The Used and Flyleaf and Toad's will serve up super ska to the tune of Reel Big Fish, major funk with George Clinton and a night that will include Vanna, Acacia Strain and headlined by Every Time I Die. Warped Tour has already revealed that Hawthorne Heights will return after a 6 year absence. Also returning after hiatus The Early November. Other Warped favorites Forever The Sickest Kids, VersaEmerge and Go Radio. Remember to check their site for new additions.