27 November 2011

Recent gigs, briefly

Awhile go we headed up to Manchester to see Tori Amos, courtesy of tickets Paul had to unload before his departure to mooseland.
I lost track of Tori after Boys for Pele, although iTunes reveals I've got Venus and back lying around somewhere. Even if I have no idea what it sounds like.
Tori is, well, idiosyncratic. This tour had her and a string quartet, playing, from what I could tell, all new-ish stuff. Certainly post when she and I departed. I enjoyed it, the strings added quite a bit to what could have been a pretty boring concert. I'm glad I went, but won't be buying any CDs and unlikely to see her again. It got a bit 'samey' for me. Her piano playing is stunning, as you'd expect, and the use of piano/synth worked well.
I really enjoyed Manchester, lots of good food, excellent music shops, lots of vinyl, good coffee, beer. Yup ticked all the boxes for me. And it only pissed down when we headed to the gig.  recommend this pub btw.

Jim Lauderdale
Wasn't sure if I'd seen him before, discovered I hadn't, but I had heard some of his stuff before. I turned down a Fish gig in Nottingham, preferring to randomly hear some country/bluegrass dude in Leicester. I think I made the right decision. It wasn't rivetting, unlike other country stuff I've been to recently, but certainly enjoyable enough to pick up an album. Bluegrass and more pure country than I normally listen to, so something different.
The gig was just him and a guitar, so raw-er than this would suggest:

Pure Reason Revolution
Somewhat bittersweet, this being the bands final tour, as they will split after the London gig. Their debut album, the Dark Third, is a brilliant mix of choral, prog, electronic, beach boys. I love it.
Album 2 never clicked for me, but Album 3 'Hammer and Anvil' was a great mix of electro (Depeche Mode) and the prog side. Really rated that one.
The gig was good, with the feature being a full performance of the Dark Third. The support band, Long Dead Signal, were worth keeping an eye on too.
PRR were enjoyable, if odd. There's a lot of sampling, which caused a feeling of soulless-ness for some tracks. Although given it's electro, it kinda works. The Hammer & Anvil tracks were excellent live by the three piece.
The second half was the Dark Third (Euro version?) which is far more guitar based. Great to hear that live.
So yep, enjoyable gig, glad I went. Musically very good and great to hear them live, finally. Also good collection of hip young things, is prog cool?

that's from The Dark Third
and now one of my favourites from Hammer and Anvil

Dimmu Borgir
Shouldn't be a surprise that I went. Although did knock me a bit, two late nights! However this was an evening with Dimmu Borgir, so a 2 hour gig, with a complete performance of Enthrone Darkness Triumphant. Very early album from 1997, and not one of my favourites.
I prefer the newer stuff, but still good album. Nice to hear effectively old school Norwegian black metal.
There was enough of the newer stuff in the second half which was good. Excellent crowd in, as I've mentioned before, I like metal crowds - there for the music, not to be seen. And oddly, some hot babes, not many tho.
I've linked to this before, but it is everything I like about the band.

DANFest (progfest)
Hey a progfest in Leicester, I kinda had to wander along.
The Moscow Riley, not really prog. More an odd combo of Nirvana and Sabbath. Did not grab me.
Grey Lady Down, I remember these guys getting wraps many years ago on mailing lists. Then they disappeared. Apparently they've come back. Very 80s neo-prog, but the new stuff (they're working on a new album) is heavier, although as they admitted at the gig, needs polishing. I enjoyed them. May keep an ear out for the new album.
Guy Manning: I keep getting suggestions to listen to him. And I'd heard a couple of tracks on an old compilation album from a mailing list. This was an acoustic gig, and TBH was a bit dull. His music was folk-prog, and at least one of the backing singers annoyed me. At times he reminded me of Jethro Tull and Willard Grant Conspiracy. But not as good as either. I've been spinning some tracks from his website, and they aren't too bad. A bit of Fairport there too.

And that was halftime, I wandered to a cafe read the paper, and promptly smacked my hand while doing up my bag. That hurt quite a bit.

Alan Reed he of ex-Pallas. He's now recording an new album, his voice is incredibly strong. The new stuff sounds good, there's an acoustic EP available while he's working on the album. Really enjoyed the  new stuff, and his version of Who's to blame? was excellent, and his guitar playing is very good.

Paul Menel  knew I recognised the name, the ex-IQ singer. Fantastic live performer, charismatic, energetic, good material. Not very prog, outside of the IQ track, far more rock. Hugely fun live band, definitely recommend seeing them.

Sadly at this point my thumb got too much so I came home, missing IO Earth (who I saw at SummersEnd and was bored by) and The Tangent, who I really wanted to see. but with the gigs running late, i probably would only have had 30 mins of the Tangent before running off for a train.

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