Top 5 London Live Shows of 2012
VNV Nation @ The Purple Turtle, January 8th
London began the gig year with a fan-chosen set from EBM masters VNV Nation. Euphoria doesn't even come close to the experience felt by the crowd packed into the smallest venue VNV have played in town in the last few years. Sweat flew, arms were waved and happiness followed.
Skepticism and Pantheist @ St Giles in the Fields Church, January 28th
St Giles in the Fields Church sits at the heart of London's West End, and it was the perfect setting for an evening of exquisite funeral doom and beautiful heartbreak. Skepticism played for the very first time in the UK and the sight of vocalist Matti sermonising his doomed frequencies from the pulpit ,backed by incredible and wonderful lighting, is one that will never be forgotten.
Alcest, Les Discrets and Soror Dolorosa @ The Purple Turtle, February 18th
Soror Dolorosa's 1980s influence cold wave tones were the perfect starting point for an evening of gorgeous French sounds. Les Discrets performed for the first time in the UK and Alcest proved that they are more than deserving of the hyperbole that has shadowed them for the last couple of years. Throw in a in welcome and frantic Amesoeurs song (there's a lot of history to go into here) and more shimmering guitar than you can shake a stick at and this show was an early highlight of the year.
Agalloch, Velnias and Fen @ The Underworld, April 11th
Agalloch finally deigned London worthy of their presence after many, many years away and their extended set was entirely worth the wait. Supported by England's Fen and the American group Velnias (a band many thought would never grace our shores), Agalloch took all they are known for and wrapped their atmospheric wonder around the sold out venue. A surprising rendition of their Sol Invictus cover Kneel to the Cross was made all the more important and extraordinary by the appearance of Sol Invictus founder Tony Wakeford.
Katatonia, Alcest and Junius @ Islington Academy, December 10th
This is the most recent addition to this list, and if it didn't happen, many other shows would have been vying (possibly) for the final spot. As it is, Katatonia absolutely crushed at this particular show with the songs from their Dead End Kings record sounding oh so sublime live and older tracks tearing out the very hearts of those wedged into the too small space. Alcest and Junius were fantastic, but this night was all about Katatonia and the soaring voice of front-man Jonas Renkse. Stunning.
Shows that might have made number 5 if it wasn't for that pesky Swedish bunch - Inverloch/d.USK, Anathema, Primordial, Manilla Road, Anaal Nathrakh and the mighty Neurosis.