Now you see them, now you don't: Our top shows for 2012

The title of this post became eerily prophetic when, one sentence away from completing it, a fateful ctrl-z erased every word. So here it is, plucked from the recesses of our memory. As we look forward to Hannah Georgas (a top show from 2010) at the Pike Room on Jan. 31, we look back on the best shows (in alphabetical order) we saw in 2012... and a few we didn't.

Now you see them...

Boxer The Horse: We saw a lot of great shows at NXNE; this PEI band's set was a standout, note-perfect and perfectly crafted.

Cadence Weapon: Canadian hip hop doesn't get any better than Cadence Weapon. With songs like "You Can't Stop The Machine," his Polaris short-listed album Hope in Dirt City should be Detroit's theme album. Too bad Detroit was lined up to see Flying Lotus, unfortunately booked the same night at Majestic.

 catl.: They gave us the blues three times last year, and we loved it every time. We'll miss them while they rest, recreate and regroup.

Delhi 2 Dublin: "Where else are you going to see a kick-ass fiddle player rocking out with a kilt-wearing Korean flanked by two bouncing Bhangra percussionists and a vocalist who looks like he would be at home in a Bollywood music video?" Like Cadence Weapon, they deserved a much bigger audience than they got.

Duchess Says: The best show we almost didn't see. N2D has never seen S2W dance so much. Or drag a lead singer across the floor.

Dusted / The Walkervilles: Two very different bands, one evening of great music. Dusted's "Into the Atmosphere" was so beautiful it gave us goosebumps.

Gentleman Reg: Reg Vermue has been an essential part of CBC Radio 3 for us since we started listening, whether as a solo artist or a member/contributor to bands like The Hidden Cameras and The Constantines. A genuine gentleman, and a genuine talent.

English Words / Molly Rankin / Crissi Cochrane: English words can't express how much we enjoyed this show. All people we love. The Words' Red Potion definitely has us under its spell.

Parlovr / Hooded Fang: The best less is more show. Everyone had gone up north for the 4th of July weekend, so we practically had the bands to ourselves. Loved the stripped-down Hooded Fang, with Daniel barefooted at the mic. And loved hearing Kook Soul live. One of 2012's most overlooked albums, in our opinion, even if it did make the Polaris long list.

MAZ: Best show by a band we'd never heard of before, at London's Home County Music & Art Festival. Celtic + jazz + banjo (Jayme Stone). Yes, please.

Royal Canoe: If we had to pick a #1 show of 2012, it would be Royal Canoe. Our show review pretty much says it all, but to sum up, they "beautifully straddle (or paddle, as the case may be), the line between adventurous music and music that is eminently satisfying to both the ear and the brain."

Now you don't...

Shows get canceled. Bands play the same night as other bands. Sometimes we just can't make it. These five shows were the ones we were most sorry to miss last year. Here's to second chances.

Photos: Russ Gordon/N2D Images