Author Archives: The Doctor

Forever Still: World Premiere of “The Last Day” New Official Music Video from @ForeverStillDK

The Last Day” is an excellent song from a very promising new group from Denmark:

********** Forever Still **********

You can find the new video at Beneath the Grid Music.

You can also listen to their debut EP Breaking Free at Bandcamp and even download a song for free.

Maja Schønning is a gifted vocalist who pours everything into her stunning performances.

Supported by the careful craft of top-notch musicians, she is clearly someone to watch.

I am very much looking forward to the LP that she has in the works. The EP is superb.

maja

Remote Control Killed the Video Star

Dan Flynn explains “The Rise, Fall, and Strange Rebirth of the Music Video“:

The paradox of music videos is that they grew worse as their budgets grew better. Initially, too-literal visual interpretations of lyrics, cheap, clichéd images such as smashing glass, and singers earnestly acting as actors signaled disaster. Later, when the productions resembled, in budget at least, a typical James Cameron film, the pretentiousness clashed with the inherently kitsch format. Think “November Rain.” Aspiring to make an epic music video misses the point.

The jarring new Pixies clip for “Snakes” depicts paper-mache piñata people escaping encroaching predators. It is as off-kilter as the band that doesn’t once appear in it. The disturbing mini-movie makes more sense after a few viewings, which makes sense given that, unlike real movies, music videos aim for hundreds of repeat screenings. The surprise ending, positively Shyamalanian if not Hitchcockian, makes clues, meaningless upon first glance, exude meaning after repeat YouTube visits.

YouTube appears as a worthy successor to MTV. Surely its manner of monetizing—brief ads as payment for watching a clip—works better than the expectation that an inherently impatient demographic, clicker in hand, will waste two-minutes waiting for the songs to return. It’s also less one-size-fits-all MTV, and more user-friendly ’50s jukebox, in its all-request approach. Alas, no Martha Quinn or Triple J walks you through the process, and, like so much on the web, you must go knowingly in search of cool—cool isn’t going to come find you.

Still, making one of the best music videos ever after musicians have largely stopped making, and fans have stopped watching, music videos evokes the idea of a great radio serial broadcast in the 1980s or an eighteenth-century army going into battle with bows at the ready.

Lessons in humility from the cover of the Rolling Stone

Here are a few more thoughts on Dennis DeYoung’s Vancouver concert. The article begins:

“Babe, I love you,” sings Dennis DeYoung in the hit song he wrote for the rock band Styx. It was 1979. “Babe” was on Cornerstone, the band’s ninth album. It went triple platinum, selling over three million copies.

The last time Dennis visited Vancouver was in 1981. Styx had just released Paradise Theater, their tenth album, which also went triple platinum, thanks to phenomenal songs like “Too Much Time on My Hands” and “The Best of Times.”

But in 2014, Dennis finally returned to British Columbia, with six other musicians alongside him to play a concert, “The Music of Styx,” at the Hard Rock Vancouver. One of them, on background vocals, was his wife Suzanne.

Dennis introduced Suzanne to the audience as the woman he sings about in the song “Babe.” He also pointed out that their marriage has lasted forty-four years. After all these years, the song still stands strong as an inspired testimony to true love.

Although he is himself sixty-seven years old, Dennis sang all the songs at this year’s Vancouver concert with the same stunning, mega-talented voice and passionate conviction that he had in his youth.

Dennis and Suzanne are both Catholics. Both half-Italian, they grew up in the same Chicago neighborhood. They met at the ages of seventeen and fifteen as visitors to a dance at Mendel Catholic High School.

The article continues over at The B.C. Catholic Web site.

The Yes Family Tree

PROG mag (Issue 40) has a great poster to help you keep track of the sprawling epic that is Yes! Click to enlarge:

New Yes Album: Heaven and Earth (July 8, 2014)

The new Yes album is called Heaven and Earth.

It will be released on July 8.

The band has announced their 2014 summer tour:

Yes will perform 1971′s Fragile in its entirety as well as every track from 1972′s Close To The Edge, followed by an encore of the band’s greatest hits and material off their new studio album, Heaven and Earth, which is due on July 8.

Bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, keyboardist Geoff Downes and singer Jon Davison will kick off the tour in Boston on July 8.

The 35-show run is currently scheduled to come to a close on August 24 at the Greek in Los Angeles.

YES Tour Dates – Summer 2014

JULY 2014
7/8 Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, Boston, MA
7/9 Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY
7/11 Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Wallingford, CT
7/12 NYCB Theatre at Westbury, Westbury, NY
7/13 Newport Yachting Center, Newport, RI
7/15 Warner Theatre, Washington DC
7/16 Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, Hampton, NH
7/18 Seneca Allegany Casino, Salamanca, NY
7/19 Tower Theater, Philadelphia, PA
7/20 Carnegie Music Hall, Munhall, PA
7/22 Meadow Brook, Rochester Hills, MI
7/23 Hard Rock Live Northfield Park, Northfield, OH
7/25 Overture Hall, Madison, WI
7/26 Copernicus Center, Chicago, IL
7/28 Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN
7/29 Louisville Palace, Louisville, KY
7/30 Symphony Hall, Atlanta, GA

AUGUST 2014
8/1 Seminole Hard Rock Live, Hollywood, FL
8/2 Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg, FL
8/3 Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, Orlando, FL
8/5 Bayou Music Center, Houston, TX
8/6 Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie, Grand Prairie, TX
8/7 Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland, Kansas City, MO
8/9 Paramount Theatre, Denver, CO
8/10 TBA
8/12 Ikeda Theatre at Mesa Arts Center, Mesa, AZ
8/13 Legends Theater at Route 66 Casino, Albuquerque, NM
8/15 The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV
8/16 City National Grove of Anaheim, Anaheim, CA
8/18 Humphrey’s Concerts By the Bay, San Diego, CA
8/19 City National Civic, San Jose, CA
8/21 Tulalip Amphitheatre, Tulalip, WA
8/22 Spirit Mountain Casino, Grand Ronde, OR
8/23 Thunder Valley Casino Resort, Lincoln, CA
8/24 The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

The 35-date summer tour will feature YES performing–in their entirety–1971’s groundbreaking album FRAGILE for the first-time ever and a repeat performance from last year’s tour of 1972’s CLOSE TO THE EDGE, followed by an encore of the band’s greatest hits and material off their new studio album, Heaven and Earth, which is due on July 8.

Kicking off July 8 in Boston, the tour will then stop at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall July 10 before making its way throughout the Northeast, hitting Wallingford, CT, Westbury, NY, Newport, RI, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and more. Among their many tour stops, YES will perform in Detroit, Madison, Chicago, Nashville, Louisville, Atlanta, St. Petersburg, Orlando, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Diego and San Jose before wrapping August 24 at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. …

During the encore on the upcoming tour, the multi-platinum progressive rock band–bassist CHRIS SQUIRE, guitarist STEVE HOWE, drummer ALAN WHITE, keyboardist GEOFF DOWNES and singer JON DAVISON—will also perform material off HEAVEN AND EARTH, their new studio album, out July 8.

Currently the band is touring Canada with their three-album concert tour.

I just saw their magnificent show in Vancouver and will post a review soon.

Review preview in brief: Yes is still stunning live. Catch them if you can!

Dennis DeYoung: Live at the Hard Rock Vancouver (March 21, 2014)

ddy1

A few days ago, I read the totally awesome review right here on Progarchy of the Dennis DeYoung show in Joliet, Illinois.

I soon realized that Dennis was bringing his show to Vancouver on March 21, 2014! (1981 was the last time he visited the city.)

But I was scheduled to see Yes in Vancouver on March 20. Would I also be able to make it to the DeYoung show?

Well, as it turns out, my wife and I had an amazing time at the Yes show, where we also met new Progarchy friend Paul Fitzgerald of See It Live Canada, who encouraged us to join him at the DeYoung show the next night.

So, in about as much time as it takes to say “SHOW ME THE WAY” we decided to hit the DeYoung show the next evening. After all, I had it on good authority from Progarchy’s Brian Morey that the show would be awesome.

And what can I say? Progarchy is truly here to show y’all the way. Because the show was incredible.

All the musicians were so insanely superb that the Styx songs were actually even more impressive live than on the original recordings, and how many times can you say that about a concert?

I mean, these guys were such pros that they even took in stride the odd technical difficulty, like wireless guitar frequencies suddenly dropping out, and didn’t miss a beat at all. Nothing could stop them from having fun on stage! They turned everything into an occasion for maximum musicality and celebratory joy.

As Brian wrote, DeYoung added a healthy dose of stand-up comedy to the evening, including various jokes about being 67 and yet still on stage acting like an 18-year old. Even all his stage moves had the right balance of self-deprecatory self-awareness and unfiltered joyousness. The amazing thing is that DeYoung is so mega-talented that his voice and keyboard chops are still in prime condition.

Paul captured some of the excitement with his photographs, a few of which I include in this post.

ddy3

Brian couldn’t recall the full set list in his excellent review, but thanks to the front-row Styx super-fan named “Chrystal Ball” (indeed, that is how she was introduced to me by Paul), I was able to take a photo of the set list given to her by the band at the end of the evening; here it is reproduced in full below:

ddy0

For me, the songs with the biggest emotional impact were “Show Me the Way” (which DeYoung dedicated to Canadians and Americans who serve in the military), and “Best of Times” (which seemed to be the show’s end, but to the crowd giving a standing ovation, DeYoung said that he would skip the silly ritual of going off-stage and pretending not to come back, and then they proceeded to launch right in to the two encore songs), and “Come Sail Away” (which was even more incredible in the prog-enhanced live version than on vinyl).

ddy2

But objectively it is hard to pick favorites from the set list, since every song played was a classic track now super-enhanced with live musical adrenaline. Watching the mega-talented axe-men August Zadra and Jimmy Leahey trade off guitar solos or even play in unison was a continual delight throughout the evening. Also, Zadra’s vocals were so incredible that they make that other entity touring under the name “Styx” look merely like a Larry Gowan cover band. I can’t imagine anything better than DeYoung’s show. (Although I guess I should admit that I actually do like the Cyclorama Styx album of 2003.)

ddy4

Also part of the touring team are Tom Sharpe on drums, John Blasucci on keyboards, “the Reverend” Craig Carter on bass guitar, and — last but certainly not least — Dennis’ wife Suzanne DeYoung on backing vocals. Married for 44 years, she is the real inspiration for the classic Styx song, “Babe.”

Don’t miss this show! A+ entertainment.

Yes: Live in Vancouver (March 20, 2014)

yes-vancouver

I was at the amazing Yes show last night in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Note the Vancouver skyline outside the QE Theatre in the show poster above.)

The concert was superb! A dream come true!

An awesome display of guitars rotated through the hands of Steve Howe and Chris Squire and Jon Davison during the show. This was a revelation to me, because when I listen to the albums I have never imagined all the changing guitar models throughout the songs! It was so much fun to see this live.

My review and recollections will appear soon on Progarchy. In the meantime, here’s an excerpt from a Victoria newspaper about the preparations for the Canadian tour. Victoria was the first stop of the tour and Vancouver the second:

Esquimalt has been rehearsal headquarters for classic rock band Yes as it prepares for a cross-Canada concert tour that starts tonight in Victoria.

The British rock group, famous for the hits Roundabout, I’ve Seen All Good People and Owner of a Lonely Heart, rented the Archie Browning Sports Centre on Monday and Tuesday so that its eight-person crew could stage a dry run of the two-and-a-half-hour concert.

“They all live in different parts of the world, so they have to get together to jam,” said production manager Joe Comeau, who oversees the band’s stage show. “It’s a chance for the band to work through the kinks.”

It’s unusual for a touring act to have space on its schedule for a full-scale rehearsal even for a single day, let alone two. Days off are usually spent travelling instead of rehearsing, but these practices were necessary, Comeau said.

They come on the heels of a six-month layoff for Yes. Though it was time-intensive to set up the band’s gear, it gave everyone involved some peace of mind heading into a series of concerts. “It’s the longest break we’ve had in a long time,” Comeau said.

Various band members and Yes crew were in action Monday morning, but the curling rink at Archie Browning didn’t get into full swing until Tuesday, when drum, guitar and lighting techs began readying gear for the full band’s arrival.

Yes members Alan White (drums), Steve Howe (guitar), Chris Squire (bass), Jon Davison (vocals) and Geoff Downes (keyboards) were all present for a full practice by late afternoon Tuesday and ran through the concert in its entirety.

The real thing will be unveiled tonight during the band’s inaugural Victoria performance, the first of 10 dates in Canada on the Grammy-winning band’s Triple Album Tour. The band is scheduled to perform three records, The Yes Album (1971), Close to the Edge (1972) and Going for the One (1977), front-to-back tonight.

In an earlier interview with the Times Colonist, White preached the need to practice while in Greater Victoria.

Though various members have been with Yes since 1969, the band doesn’t like to leave anything to chance.

“You’ve got to tighten things up,” White said. “Some of these songs, we haven’t played for six months. We need to get in the mode.”

Joe Comeau strings Steve Howe’s 1955 Fender Telecaster for practice sessions by rock band Yes at Archie Browning Sports Centre in Esquimalt. by Mike Devlin, Times Colonist; Photo: Darren Stone.

My Wave: Soundgarden and Superunknown

.@soundgarden performed at #itunesfestival at SXSW. Watch the free show http://itunes.com/festival.

Rolling Stone reports:

Things got super-heavy on night three of the inaugural iTunes Festival at SXSW in Austin last night, as Soundgarden dove back into the thundering grooves of 1994′s Superunknown, performing the career-defining album in full for the first time. It was a lesson in grunge at its prime, delivered with swagger and Chris Cornell’s perfectly unhinged wail, still as piercing and musical as ever.

The sound was dark and slippery, and in 2014 seemed as tough and timeless as key hard rock influences Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.

Here’s the video for “My Wave.”

Yes is Still Epic

It seems to me the headline (“Yes: ‘No Epics’ on New Album“) gets the story wrong:

Drummer Alan White shed a little light on the new music during a recent interview, sharing his satisfaction with producer Roy Thomas Baker’s work behind the boards. Looking back on a botched attempt to record with Baker in the ’70s, White called it “A blessing in disguise, because it wasn’t turning out like we wanted it, but this one is. Roy’s doing fine. He’s doing a great job. He’s getting some great sounds on the instruments.”

Baker’s getting those sounds the old-fashioned way, too. As White put it, “We spent quite a while getting the drum sound right. Roy is quite meticulous about which microphones get the right sound. We were using about $50,000 worth of microphones on the drums alone.”

As for the songs, White added, “It’s all fresh music. Everything on the album was conceived within the last year or so. No epics on this album. There are some longer pieces with intricate parts to them, but there are some shorter tracks too which are right to the point.”

Well, that just sounds like it is more 90125 and less Topographic Oceans. So what!

90125 is one of their best albums. So… no reason to panic, Yes fans!

By the way, I find it annoying that the sensationalist headline makes White into the official spokesman for Yes.

How misleading.

At least the original story has a less misleading (although equally sensational) headline.

Speculation mode:

Perhaps the songs from the 70s’ Baker sessions may give us something of a taste of what is in store?

All of the songs associated with the Paris sessions have eventually surfaced, in one form or another. Two (“Tango” and a song once known as “Flower Girl” that was retitled “Never Done Before”) found a home on the 2002 In a Word box set. Four others — including “Dancing with the Light” and “In the Tower” — were part of an expanded remaster of Drama, the 1980 follow up to Tormato. “Everybody Loves You” was later reworked for Anderson’s 1980 solo album Song of Seven.

Additional material from the subsequent Drama sessions also made up the lengthy title track for Yes’ 2011 project Fly From Here, though White says this Yes new album will include all new songs. Don’t look for a similar suite of songs, either.

“It’s all fresh music,” White confirms. “Everything on the album was conceived within the last year or so. No epics on this album. There are some longer pieces with intricate parts to them, but there are some shorter tracks too which are right to the point.”

The title of that one song is actually “Dancing Through the Light.” There is also “Golden Age” and “Friend of a Friend.” These are all great bonus tracks on the Drama reissue.

A tip of the Progarchy hat to our friends in Lobate Scarp for the heads up about this news! (Follow them on Twitter.)

Don’t forget… Yes visits Canada starting next week!

War Pigs: Black Sabbath and Rise of an Empire

Reflections on why Black’s Sabbath’s “War Pigs” is the music of choice for 300: Rise of an Empire (over at CWR):

It is odd to hear this song’s denunciation of the demonic evils of war paired together with the film’s nauseating spectacle of cruel violence, which even includes graphic sexual violence. But the song’s prominent placement reveals a strange form of magical thinking. Apparently audiences want both to take pleasure in the most perverse displays of torture and murder, and yet at the same time to adopt a pose of moral superiority towards it all, as if their delight in the spectacle is not a real delight.

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