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Showing posts from October, 2010

Van Der Graaf - The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome

Van Der Graaf Generator slipped mostly under the radar when I was into prog the first time round, but in the last 20 years or so they have risen to No.1 spot in my list of all time prog acts. This album was the last of the second phase of the band, released in 1977. They would not release another studio album until the third reunion in 2005. Having burnt themselves out physically and creatively by 1972 the first stable line-up split. They reformed in 1975 to release three albums in eighteen months with the same line up. Hugh Banton (customised organs & keyboards & bass pedals) then left again, swiftly followed by David Jackson (saxes, flutes). This prompted frontman Peter Hammill to radically alter the sound and direction of the band, recruiting Nic Potter (bass) who had briefly been in the band at the beginning, Graham Smith (violin), and taking up the guitar himself to become the sonic focal point of the band, and dropping "Generator" from the name to give fans an …

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First one missed off from last time due to losing the will to live...I'll try harder this time!

Gig no.239 - 27/01/07 - John Cale - Roadmender, Northampton
Exuding the studied menace of a man who has lived most of his life somewhere in the underbelly of left field performance art, Mr Cale enters stage right and launches into his version of Heartbreak Hotel, which if you've never heard it, skewers the original with a six inch switchblade and then tramples on the corpse. Wonderful!
By the second song the heat from the overhead lights was melting his subtle make up, which began to run from his hairline like a new wound. It fitted perfectly, along with his personal aide who stood with his back to the stage at the front staring threateningly at anyone he considered was "looking at my pint" in an unwelcome fashion. High camp but cool with it.
As well as promoting songs from his latest offering, the rather good Black Acetate, he delved deep into his back catalogue and came up w…

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Last week I said this would be the last part....no it won't, there's too much to cram in....

Gig no.181 - 21/01/93 - Man - Princess Charlotte, Leicester
When I was in seminary school, a man put forth the proposition....hang on I'm getting confused here......
Waaay back in the early 70s my best mate had a cousin who was five or six years older than us and occasionally he used to play us the latest waxings of the time. One of his favourite bands was the Welsh hippy space rockers Man. In 1973 they had one third of the live double album Greasy Truckers (a review - http://astoundedbysound.blogspot.com/2010/02/candy-for-ears-2.html). The main part of their contribution was the side long (that's 20 minutes to those of you too young to recall slabs of black vinyl) psych guitar overload masterpiece that was Spunk Rock. Still one of my all time fave bits of music.
Anyway, this gig was the one and only time I got to see the band, and this line up contained three of the original five…

The Orb featuring David Gilmour - Metallic Spheres

There are two tracks on this album. They are - A Sigh At The Gates Of Ennui, and  Soporific On The Far Edge Of Snore. Actually they're not called that at all as that would take way too much effort, maaan. The tracks are actually imaginatively monikered "The Metallic Side" & "The Spheres Side", which must've taken some time to think up.
What do you get when a band famous for their innovations in ambient dub music some 20 years ago meet up with their hero, the least adventurous guitarist in the annals of prog? Answer - wibble to the nth degree. Firstly I should point out that this album is billed as The Orb featuring David Gilmour, not the other way round, so don't expect a Pink Floyd guitar wig out every five minutes. Dave's noodlings never get out of first gear and are no more than the kind of thing he used to do in the ambient bit of Echoes, plain dull. In fact anyone who has ever mastered two chords and has access to an array of effects pedals …

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Last week there was a cock-up in the list reading department. That teaser about Gig no. 121 - sorry folks, I meant Gig no.180 - same band same venue, but 6 years later! Do we get to it this time??

Gig no.131 - 24/04/88 - Thomas Dolby - Roadmender, Northampton
Left field synth pop from the oddly coiffured Mr Dolby, slightly Germanic in places, strangely strange but oddly normal. Mr Dolby's support act was the R&B (old and proper meaning of the term) wailing of Sam Browne. An odd combination of acts that worked surprisingly well.
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Gig no.136 - 11/05/88 - The Sugarcubes - Leicester University
The band that gave the world Bjork. As I remember it the band had two main vocalists, Ms Godmundsdottir (hope that's right) and a shouty bloke who didn't so much sing as give Icelandic Tourettes stylee exclamations aided by amplification. They were very entertaining.
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Porcupine Tree at The Royal Albert Hall, London, 14th October 2010

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So, did I want to see my current favourite band at possibly the best venue in the country - a no-brainer. The tickets were acquired months ago by Phil W, and he, Phill H and moi trained it down to London full of anticipation. Phill H made it through the chronic back pain barrier to go, and he was rather glad he did. Coming at the end of a 13 month trek around the world, in promotion of their second breakthrough album The Incident, this gig came about in part I'm sure, because Steven Wilson's big buddy Mikael Akerfeldt with his band, Swedish prog metallers Opeth, had played at the same venue earlier in the year.

A rather convoluted trip from Tottenham Court Road tube station to the venue, due to signal failure problems on two different tube lines meant we took our seats in the circle just as the band were taking the stage. The Royal Albert Hall (about a mile west from Harrods, or at the southern end of Hyde Park from a tourist perspective) was built 130 years ago with a design …

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More from planet noise....

Gig no.51 - 4/08/79 - Led Zeppelin at Knebworth
The first of two shows by the biggest band in the world throughout most of the 70s found us hightailing it once more to deepest Hertfordshire. We were about 50 yards from the front and part of a massive crowd of over 200000 according to Zep's behemoth of a manager, or just over 100000 according to the promoter - the resulting dispute over ticket sales eventually bankrupted the promoter. Peter Grant was not to be messed with! Whatever the actual crowd numbers it was HUGE, as was the stage. I cannot remember anything about the support bands, but according to my list I gave Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes (a poor man's Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band) 8 out of 10. However I can recall Zep belting out a storming version of Kashmir immediately followed by the proto metal-funk of Trampled Underfoot, and they played my fave song Ten Years Gone too. I also remember having to brave the "wash…

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More memories from years of sonic attack.....

Gig no.2 - 22/01/76 - Genesis - De Montfort Hall, Leicester
The second gig I went to was to see Genesis at Leicester De Montfort Hall on the Trick Of The Tail tour, just before the album came out if memory serves. I can remember being gutted when Peter Gabriel left the band the previous year partly because I loved his wacky lyrics and the much needed showmanship he brought to the scholarly bunch that were most of the rest of the band. Steve Hackett used to SIT DOWN to play his guitar, the nerd! I missed Gabriel mostly because it meant I never got to see the "classic" line up of what was at the time probably my second fave band, after Led Zeppelin.

I need not have worried as Phil Collins although finding his feet as a frontman gave a great performance and the band played a lot from the Gabriel era including the magnificent but barking Supper's Ready, which worked even without PG's famous costume changes.

Trick Of The Tail soon…