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Best Musical Performance in the Past Year (touring or local)

1st Place: Gaelic Storm at the State Theatre
2nd Place: The Shouting Matches’ “secret show” at The Mousetrap
3rd Place: Mojo Lemon Blues Band at Durand Blues Fest

Gaelic Storm really took the town by – wait for it – force with their State Theatre performance in March, bringing in their Celtic-influenced music just in time for St. Paddy’s Day. But beyond that performance, local performers nabbed the second and third spots, an oddity in the Best Musical Performance category, which usually goes to national acts passing through. In second, The Shouting Matches’ “secret” show at The Mousetrap might’ve tested the capacity of the bar (and the temperature a music fan can take), but the packed gig was well worth it with Justin Vernon, Brian Moen, and Phil Cook dazzling a captivated local crowd welcoming their hometown heroes. In a similar note, the Mojo Lemon Blues Band would’ve blown the roof off the Durand Blues Festival last fall (if there had been a roof). –Thom Fountain