Steve Hackett Genesis Revisited Live –Band with Orchestra

From HackettSongs.com:

Following last year’s sell-out Genesis Revisited tour, prog icon and former Genesis guitarist, Steve Hackett, announces a 6-date UK tour in October. Treating fans to many favourite Genesis and Hackett numbers, this time Steve and his band will be accompanied by a 41-piece orchestra.

The decision to undertake this tour was cemented following the critical success of last year’s one-off US performance of the Genesis Revisited music with his band and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the charismatic Bradley Thachuk.

It went down a storm with the audience and sounded amazing, with the orchestra adding even more texture and colour to these classic tracks, prompting Steve to want to perform more shows in this way. Such was the gusto and verve brought to the performance by conductor, Bradley Thachuk that he will fly over to the UK to conduct the October shows. This show promises to be a transcendent experience!

Continue reading “Steve Hackett Genesis Revisited Live –Band with Orchestra”

Rick’s Quick Takes: Birzer Bandana, Of Course It Must Be

Accessible, but not mainstream.  Simple, though hardly simplistic.  Unfolding methodically but organically, without feeling confined to strict verse/chorus/bridge templates.  Ambient, but by no means aural wallpaper.  And definitely prog — but prog that can’t be pinned down with an easy label.

These dichotomies come to mind listening to Of Course It Must Be, the second album by this pair of Progarchists (including Our Beloved Founder).   It’s a gentle, subtly delightful listen: without ever getting in your face, it builds, minute by minute, from a spacey drone that kicks off “Adrift” to pumping acoustic guitar riffs on “Calm,”  paralleling a lyrical journey from desperation to acceptance.

The nameless protagonist of Brad Birzer’s “lyrical prose” drifts into the picture disoriented, grasping for connection (“Adrift”), vaguely remembering a moment of crisis (“The Void”).  Though there are tantalizing hints, we’re not really sure what’s happened.  And you could argue that nothing further really “happens” as the album continues.  The hero’s vision gradually comes into focus (“A View”), observing the good and the bad of a world turning below  (“There” and “There Again”), accepting “the beautiful and hideous … messed up, glorious” (“Yes”).  Whatever fate awaits him, he’s convinced that “humanity will continue/A beautiful mess/Made complete by love.”  And as “Calm” winds down, the narrator’s meditations simply fade out … like a still, small voice.  Can you hear me, Major Tom?

Another cool thing: you could conceivably follow this storyline even if the lyrics weren’t sung.  Dave Bandana’s music is understated, yet cinematic throughout.  Using a restrained, gradually brightening palette of tone colors, he deftly unfolds Birzer’s scenario with a precise balance of riffs, grooves and tunes, while leaving plenty of space for the music to breathe.  His singing is always committed and solid, and his work on guitar, keys and drums is consistently tasty (with occasional, appreciated echoes of Rick Wright in the synth solos).  Guests Kenny Miller on acoustic guitar and Olga Kent on violin light up the tracks they play on with gracious, melodic work.   There’s a cumulatively powerful growth to the music as a whole; on the last three tracks, the busier, somewhat poppier soundscapes are somehow the perfect complement to the hero’s breakthrough.  Musically and lyrically there’s contentment and quiet joy, even while looking darkness in the face.

Of Course It Must Be — what??  Something like you’ve never heard before?  Probably not.  A genre-defining breakthrough?  Not really.  A well-crafted, classy, worthwhile album that deserves an hour out of your life to hear it, as well as some of your hard-earned cash?  Yep, that’s the ticket.

You can listen to (and buy) Of Course It Must Be at Birzer Bandana’s Bandcamp page, along with their 2017 album, Becoming One.

— Rick Krueger

Latest @bigbigtrain News: Full King’s Place 2015 Video

From the mighty Big Big Train:

Dear All,

Live Dates in 2018
—————————————————————————–

We are playing two shows in 2018. These will be the only two gigs this year as we are currently writing music for a new album which we will be recording in the autumn.

July 11th, at The Anvil, Basingstoke (with support from Beatrix Players)
Tickets here:
http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/whats-on/big-big-train

July 13th, at Night of the Prog festival in Loreley, Germany
Tickets here:
http://www.nightoftheprogfestival.com/en/home-2/

Films of the Kings Place 2015 shows
—————————————————————————–

Films of our 2015 concerts at Kings Place, London have now been made available for rental or purchase from Vimeo. The films provide a complete set one and a complete set two. Links here:

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/bigbigtrainkingsplace1

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/bigbigtrainkingsplace2

Andy Poole
—————————————————————————–

Founder member of Big Big Train, Andy Poole, has recently left the band and we wish him well in his future adventures. We will make an announcement soon on the additional musician we have recruited to replace Andy for our live shows.

Best wishes

Danny, Dave, David, Greg, Nick, Rachel and Rikard

Well, I’ve bought my digital copy of the King’s Place shows. Have you??!! Take note that there are free downloads of three of the band’s music videos also available on Vimeo.

soundstreamsunday #95: “Jezebel” by Anna Calvi

calviYou could do worse than follow the 1951 Wayne Shanklin song “Jezebel” as a guiding aesthetic for launching a recording career.  A hit for Frankie Laine (1951), Edith Piaf (1951), and, remarkably, Herman’s Hermits (1966),  “Jezebel” is built around a flamenco figure that adapts itself well to pop drama and, as Anna Calvi demonstrated on her first single, shows a sympathy to the reverb-y guitar dynamics and thundering tom-driven drumming favored by surf guitarists and Italian directors of Spanish-set westerns.

Taking rough cues from Piaf’s French version of the song, Calvi here adds a visually arresting, emotional core lacking in many of “Jezebel’s” versions, setting the table for the feast of her self-titled debut (2011), a record ripe with passion and shadow, with unified sonic and narrative themes that you might call cafe goth.  Siouxsie and the Banshees comparisons certainly apply, but there’s an Americana bent to it, too, inhabiting the same territory Chris Isaak mines to such great effect, or even the darker work of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood in the 1960s.

The video for “Jezebel” is a live performance by Calvi and her band, Daniel Maielen-Wood and Mally Harpez.  It is a power trio upended, confounded, confirmed by Harpez’s harmonium, transporting the song to the bars of Sevilla, approaching midnight, as the walls jump to the shadows of a guitarist and her dancers….

soundstreamsunday presents one song or live set by an artist each week, and in theory wants to be an infinite linear mix tape where the songs relate and progress as a whole. For the complete playlist, go here: soundstreamsunday archive and playlist, or check related articles by clicking on”soundstreamsunday” in the tags section.

Review: Distant Horizon – Laniakea

Distant Horizon - Laniakea

Distant Horizon is a new band coming from Lapua, Finland who released their debut EP “Laniakea” in June 2017. This fully instrumental progressive metal project is led comprised of Joona Lehto on guitar, Jere Lehto on bass, Jesse Lehto on drums, and Matias Kalli on keyboards and guitar.

As is the case with most instrumental albums, “Laniakea” requires careful listening in order to be fully appreciated. It is definitely not the kind of stuff you can put on as a soundtrack for other activities — complex music, full of twists and turns, yet not unnecessarily complicated, or weird for weirdness’ sake. In fact, the music has a beautiful, natural flow, a clarity and melodic quality. Even though guitars make up a prominent part of the sound, they never get to the point of overwhelming the other instruments. As in most experimental music, however, the foundation of Distant Horizon’s sound lies in the rhythm section, especially in the jaw-dropping drumming patterns provided by Jesse Lehto.

Head-spinningly complex without being cold and sterile as other efforts in a similar vein, “Laniakea” can easily be (re)listed as one of the top releases of 2017. In fact, the sterling musicianship, coupled with an admirable sense of restraint, focuses on creating cohesive, highly listenable tracks rather than pointless displays of technical skill. However, it is also a release that will definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea. Strongly recommended to practising musicians and fans of intricate, challenging music, it may come across as daunting to those fans who prefer a higher measure of melody and accessibility, as well as a more conservative approach to progressive rock and jazz fusion.

The album is available from Bandcamp here.

Farewell to Kings (and Faith): Neil Peart, 1977

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the release of A FAREWELL TO KINGS.

rush farewell
40th Anniversary Edition

What followed, 1977’s A Farewell to Kings, though, had far more in common with 1976’s 2112 than it would with 1980’s Permanent Waves.  Not appearing on the market until September 1, 1977, A Farewell to Kings ended the new album every six months schedule Rush has followed thus far.  A brilliant album in and of itself, A Farewell to Kings still belongs to Rush 2.1 as I have defined it.  So does the follow-up album, Hemispheres.  Certainly, Rush tried many new things—in terms of album structure, lyrical depth and story telling, and musical complexity—than it had on the first several albums.  “We had written material that was a little beyond us, considering our level of musicianship at the time,” Lee later admitted.[i]  But the progress is in continuity, a major reform rather than a revolution.  “Our progress has always been sincere—not in an arrogant way, but for our own pleasure,” Peart stated in 1982.  “We’ve always incorporated music from people we liked, so it has made us stylistically schizoid.”[ii]

While there are no side length tracks on A Farewell to Kings, the album revolves around its two major songs, “Xanadu” at 11 minutes in length and “Cygnus X-1” at almost ten and 1/2 minutes.  Thematically, Peart continues to embrace both the fantastic—“Xanadu” based on the iconic romantic English poem, “Kubla Kahn,” by Samuel Coleridge—and science-fiction, “Cygnus X-1.”  At the time, Peart lauded fantasy writing in lyrics.  “It’s a way to put a message across without being oppressive.”[iii]

Continue reading “Farewell to Kings (and Faith): Neil Peart, 1977”

Marillion BRAVE pre-order news for U.S.

marillion brave
De-Luxe!!!

Dear Fellow Citizens of the United States,

At the moment, it is cheaper to order the 5-disc Steven Wilson remix deluxe version of the forthcoming BRAVE from Marillion through Marillion.com than it is through amazon.com.

At Marillion.com, including shipping, $42.

At amazon.com, including shipping, $49.98.

This has been a public service announcement from your friends at progarchy.com.

Yours, Brad