Credit: Stephanie Rudig

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I’m not one for year-end lists. I’m not opposed to them completely, but I find that there’s something inherently misguided about ranking art in any sort of definitive manner. Experiencing art is a completely subjective experience in and of itself. So in lieu of a traditional “year-end list,” I gave City Paper’s music writers a simple prompt: What musical moments of 2018 moved you? This could take the shape of an album, a song, a concert, a lyric—whatever. The single caveat: It had to be, in some way, local. Here’s what they picked. —Matt Cohen

Bathtub Republic’s Final Farewell Festival, July 28-29, 2018

For two hot summer days and nights, the beloved house venue Bathtub Republic ended its five-year run with relentless sets from BRNDA, Tony Kill, Light Beams, Luke Stewart, Anthony Pirog, The North Country, and 20 other artists indebted to the house’s hospitality and commitment to do-it-yourself art and music. Unlike the quiet, unexpected deaths of countless other DIY venues, Bathtub’s celebration of wildly diverse and loving performances replaced any sadness and regret with picturesque togetherness, creative momentum, and local pride. —Lindsay Hogan

 Every time Sir E.U ended his set by jumping through the drum kit, onto his drummer

If you made it to the end of any of Sir E.U’s vividly chaotic, experimental rap performances this year, you’ve seen him finish his set by hurling his body through the drums and onto his happily unfazed and resilient drummer, Rob Stokes. It’s an endearingly punk moment, channeling a legacy of musical defiance in one reckless leap; both a reverse stage dive and an audacious hug. —Lindsay Hogan

Lorde at The Anthem, April 8, 2018 and Impalers, Red Death, and Asesinato at Comet Ping Pong, August 23, 2018

A mess of outstretched hands reached over the barricade in an attempt to graze Lorde, as she descended from the stage at The Anthem last spring. As star-shaped confetti fell like snow from the ceiling, the audience rode a collective pop-fueled high. Months later, bodies overflowed out the doors of Comet Ping Pong’s back room as Austin hardcore outfit, Impalers, and locals Red Death and Asesinato conducted the space. A familiar abandon was present among those packed from wall-to-wall. Though a far cry from the posh waterfront venue eight miles south, the electricity in this small room was akin to that in a crowd with 1,000+ attendees a few months prior. The scene, however, was admittedly a bit sweatier. —Callie Tansill-Suddath

The sounds of the city on the evening of the Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup victory

It started with silence as we held our breath, but it quickly crescendoed with car horns and chants of “We won the cup!” bolstered by the exuberant go-go bands at full throat. The sound of an entire city overcome in the present is the most unforgettable musical moment in 2018. —Justin Weber

The Thousand Incarnations of the Rose: A Festival of American Primitive Guitar, April 13-15, 2018

The Thousand Incarnations of the Rose festival in Takoma Park in April 2018 was not only a celebration of Takoma Park native and solo guitar legend John Fahey, but a reckoning, too. Rare is the festival that lets one geek out about a niche fandom and also question and move beyond its biases and limitations. —Justin Weber

The Hip-Hop Museum

 At the tail end of 2018, Jeremy Beaver—aka DJ Boom—the owner of the Listen Vision Studios and WLVS Radio launched a partnership with Culturehouse, the Southwest art gallery and performance venue formerly known as the Blind Whino. The most interesting part of this collaboration is the creation of the Hip-Hop Museum, DC, described as “the largest collection of hip-hop memorabilia in the world.” The official launch of the museum will be Jan. 18 with performances by Melle Mel and other rap legends. —Sidney Thomas

Beat Konductaz beat battle

The Beat Konductaz beat battle drew D.C.’s most talented DJs, rappers, and producers to a non-descript single-family house on Rhode Island Avenue NE. Grand Whizard emerged victorious and he will face the winners of other beat battles in a tournament-style format. DJ Ohlow founded Beat Konductaz to help local producers and audio engineers find better and more lucrative placement for their music. —Sidney Thomas

Foo Fighters at Merriweather Post Pavilion, July 6, 2018

Somehow, some way, the Foo Fighters managed to avoid playing one of the best venues in the Greater Dave-Grohl-Hometown area for more than 20 years. Massive rock shows don’t get much better than this one was. —Keith Mathias

Luna Honey, Among The Rocks and Roots, Social Station, and Kamyar Arsani at Hole in the Sky, July 13, 2018

One of the best new projects from one of D.C.’s best independent labels celebrated the release of their album by capping off an eclectic night of music with a stellar performance. Everything good about the D.C. DIY music scene in one show. —Keith Mathias

Huda Asfour at Atlas Performing Arts Center, May 18, 2018

D.C.-based Palestinian oud player and singer Huda Asfour’s release show at the Atlas Performing Arts Center for her album Kouni was ambitious and artistic. She performed with a diverse group including D.C.-based musicians like Zambian guitarist and producer Sitali Siyolwe, African-American trumpeter and arranger Thad Wilson, and Iranian daf player Kamyar Arsani. The performance was stellar, bolstered by striking backing videos for each song. —Steve Kiviat

Spencer Taylor & The Highway Q.C.’s at the House of Praise, Dec. 1, 2018

Ninety-year-old D.C. gospel singer Spencer Taylor often leaves the heavy lifting to his bandmates in The Highway Q.C.’s. But during one song at a recent multi-show bill at the House of Praise in Northeast, he took the lead—it was a marvelous sight to behold as he and his fellow singers sauntered down the aisle singing their songs of worship. —Steve Kiviat

Sarah Hughes and Elijah Easton

The two definitive moments in local jazz centered around two saxophonists: Sarah Hughes, whose new band and album Coy Fish is an astoundingly original and distinctive vision, and Elijah Easton, whose residence this year at U Street’s Service Bar became appointment music. Those two also led trios into an astounding summit at CapitalBop’s Rhizome jazz loft in December. —Michael J. West

Paal Nilssen-Love’s Large Unit at RhizomeDC, June 16, 2018

For the second year in a row, local art-rock trio The Caribbean put together their Seventh Stanine festival—a day-long endurance of some of the best experimental, rock, and outsider music in the D.C. area and beyond (and, for some reason, my dumb band). Each performance was sublime, but the clear highlight was Norwegian musician Paal Nilssen-Love leading his 19-member free-jazz orchestra on an outdoor stage. Stay weird, Takoma Park. —Matt Cohen

Philip Glass Ensemble performing Koyaanisqatsi at The Kennedy Center, March 16, 2018

Godfrey Reggio’s experimental 1982 film Koyaanisqatsi is, I think, one of my favorite films of all time. That’s in no small part due to Philip Glass’ iconic, stirring score. Watching Glass lead an ensemble of a live scoring of the film at the Kennedy Center was perhaps one of the greatest performances I’ve seen. Just thinking about it makes me misty-eyed. —Matt Cohen