Stick Men – US/Canada Tour Dates 2016

stick men

I’m excited about the return of Stick Men to Canada in April. Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto and Markus Reuter visit Montreal, Quebec, Toronto and Kitchener as part of a 25 date tour.

In other Stick Men news, their Pledge Music goal to fund the printing of full score books of the ‘Absalom’ and ‘Deep’ albums has reached its goal.

STICK MEN  Continuum Tour, USA/Canada 2016
April 13   Havana / New Hope, PA
April 14   Roxy & Dukes / Dunellen, NJ
April 15   Iridium / NYC
April 16   Iridium / NYC
April 17   Infinity Hall / Norfolk, CT
April 19   Turning Point / Piermont, NY
April 20   Daryl’s House / Pawling, NY
April 21   Iron Horse / Northampton, MA
April 22   Natick Ctr for Arts / Natick, MA
April 23   Van Dyck / Schenectady, NY
April 24   Loving Cup/ Rochester, NY
April 26   Lost Horizon / Syracuse, NY
April 27   Cafe Campus / Montreal, QE
April 28   Le Cercle / Quebec, QE
April 30   The Mod Club / Toronto, ON
May 1   Dallas Night Club / Kitchener, ON
May 3   Callahan’s Music Hall / Auburn Hills, MI
May 4   Reggie’s / Chicago, IL
May 5   Reggie’s / Chicago, IL
May 6   Shank Hall / Milwaukee
May 7   Hipps / Eau Claire, WI
May 8   Fine Line Music Cafe / Minneapolis
May 10   Rascals / Moline, IL
May 11   Old Rock House / St. Louis
May 15   Beachland Music Hall / Cleveland

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The Mute Gods – Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me

 

mute gods

The Mute Gods – ‘Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me’ is Nick Beggs’ collaboration with Roger King (keyboards) and Marco Minneman (drums) and is out now on Inside Out Records – Review by Tim Darbyshire

Nick Beggs is a busy man. Aside from touring and appearing on record with Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson seemingly almost constantly between 2009 and 2016, forming and recording an album with the excellent band Lifesigns (2013), joining Belgian band Fish On Friday (2014) – and these are just the prog related projects – he has now formed The Mute Gods with Roger King and Marco Minneman.

The division of labour is intriguing – Nick of course plays bass and stick but also handles the vocal duties as well as contributing guitar and keyboards. Roger provides keyboards, guitars, backing vocals and production, and Marco also contributes guitar along with his distinctive drumming style and ‘sound design’. Contributions are also made by Frank Van Bogaert, Nick D’Virgilio, Adam Holzman, Gary O’Toole, Rob Reed and Ricky Wilde.

Nick Beggs has spent a lot of time on tour with Roger (Steve Hackett) and Marco (Steven Wilson) over the last few years, and the result of this collaboration with these talented artists is a concept album of sorts – “a rather disgruntled rant at the dystopia we’ve created for ourselves and our children” according to Nick on The Mute Gods website.  Much of the subject matter concerns governments, corporations, religion and news media – conspiracies, cover-ups, scaremongering – and the fact we seem to be losing sight of what’s important in this life.

As expected from such a trio, the album is stylistically varied, experimental in places and expertly delivered. The music ranges from out and out prog (‘Swimming Horses‘, ‘Strange Relationship’) to catchy pop rock (‘Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me‘), with mellow interludes (‘Father Daughter‘, ‘Nightschool For Idiots‘) and extensive instrumental workouts (‘In The Crosshairs‘).  As with a lot of this kind of music, the cd is a grower….more and more detail is heard and appreciated on the second, third and fourth listens. The highlight for me is the beautiful closing song ‘Father Daughter‘ (see video below) featuring Nick’s eldest daughter Lula. To me this sounds like a reconnection and hope for the future after the preceding disconnection.

It’s a bit of a no-brainer that most fans of modern progressive rock will enjoy this album – and rightly so.  Nick deserves to be in the limelight for a change after many years backing up high profile musicians. Available now in limited edition digipack cd and double vinyl.

Track listing:

1 ‘Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me’

2 ‘Praying To a Mute God’

3 ‘Nightschool For Idiots’

4 ‘Feed The Troll’

5 ‘Your Dark Ideas’

6 ‘Last Man On Earth’ (bonus track on digipack cd release)

7 ‘In The Crosshairs’

8 ‘Strange Relationship’

9 ‘Swimming Horses’

10 ‘Mavro Capelo’ (bonus track on digipack cd release)

11 ‘Father Daughter’

 

 

 

 

Steven Wilson – 4 1/2

As the title suggests, ‘4 1/2’ bridges the gap between Steven Wilson’s highly acclaimed 4th studio album – 2015’s ‘Hand.Cannot.Erase.’ and his as yet unrecorded follow up, work on which is scheduled toward the end of 2016.  CD, Blu-Ray and Vinyl out now on K-scope.

Review by Tim Darbyshire.

Clocking in at 37 minutes, ‘4 1/2‘ contains 6 tracks comprising cuts that were recorded during both the 2013 ‘The Raven That Refused To Sing‘ sessions (‘Year Of The Plague‘) and the 2014/15 ‘Hand.Cannot.Erase.’ sessions (‘My Book Of Regrets‘, ‘Happiness III‘, ‘Sunday Rain Sets In‘ and ‘Vermillioncore‘) as well as a new version of the 1999 Porcupine Tree song ‘Don’t Hate Me‘ based on a 2015 live performance.

4 1/2‘ also sees the debut of touring band members Craig Blundell and Dave Kilminster on a Steven Wilson record. These two debutants are joined by long time Steven Wilson collaborators: Nick Beggs, Adam Holzman, Theo Travis, Marco Minneman, Guthrie Govan and Chad Wackerman. Ninet Tayeb makes a welcome return on ‘Don’t Hate Me

Stylistically, ‘4 1/2‘ is very varied. Initial listening suggests ‘My Book Of Regrets‘ to be the cornerstone of the cd, at nearly ten minutes in length, it’s easy to imagine this track sitting comfortably on ‘Hand.Cannot.Erase‘.  According to Steven Wilson, ‘My Book Of Regrets‘ and ‘Don’t Hate Me‘ are hybrid live/studio recordings. He records every live show in full resolution multitrack audio, and tweaks, adds, and re-records as he sees fit in the studio later.

I have been looking forward to hearing this again since I was fortunate enough to hear it performed live in Montreal last Summer – and it doesn’t disappoint on any level. Staccato guitars, a hooky chorus and a lengthy instrumental workout for the whole band should be more than enough evidence to prove to any doubters that this interim release is up to Steven Wilson’s usual high standards.

Year Of The Plague‘ is a gorgeous duet between Steven Wilson and Adam Holzman. It dates back to ‘The Raven’ album and is an atmospheric piece that contrasts nicely with the all-action preceding track.

Happiness III‘ is a more straight forward song with a catchy chorus, and dates back to 2003, though wasn’t recorded until the ‘Hand.Cannot.Erase.’ sessions. Originally written for the as yet unfinished ‘Deadwing’ movie, the highlight for me is Steven’s guitar solo.

Sunday Rain Sets In‘ is an atmospheric instrumental and the shortest piece on the cd. ‘Vermillioncore‘ – another instrumental – is a tour de force, slowly building up to an intense workout between Nick Beggs and Craig Blundell.

The cd is rounded off by the familiar ‘Don’t Hate Me‘. Ninet Tayeb’s vocals really lift the piece (as they do on the ‘Hand.Cannot.Erase.’ song ‘Routine‘).  Recorded live in September 2015 (at The Royal Albert Hall in London), Theo Travis’ sax is excellent, and overall the pace is slower, more languid than the original – and better for it to my ears.

Interestingly Steven Wilson has been re-introducing Porcupine Tree songs into his live sets more since the ‘Hand.Cannot.Erase‘ touring cycle began last year with  ‘Lazarus‘ and  ‘Sleep Together‘ featuring prominently. I was probably among many fans who wanted more from Porcupine Tree after ‘The Incident‘ in 2009, but now I’m happy to say I’d prefer a new Steven Wilson ‘solo’ record.

The 2016 ‘Hand Cannot.Erase.‘ tour continues as I write this and I for one am really looking forward to the Canadian shows in Quebec – 29th February, Toronto – 1st March and Montreal – 2nd March.

For more details on Steven Wilson’s tour, click here

Steven Wilson – “4 ½” (Kscope347)
1. My Book of Regrets (9.23)
2. Year of the Plague (4.15)
3. Happiness III (4.31)
4. Sunday Rain Sets In (3.50)
5. Vermillioncore (5.09)
6. Don’t Hate Me (9.34)

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Peter Gabriel & Sting announce co-headlining North American Tour

In an interview whilst recently on tour with King Crimson, bassist Tony Levin said he would be spending much of 2016 on the road with his own band, The Stick Men, King Crimson and “possibly with Peter Gabriel”.  It seems the Peter Gabriel work he alluded to is a joint tour with ex-Police frontman Sting.

The two artists will embark on a 19-date co-headlining North American tour this summer,  the Rock Paper Scissors tour will play a mixture of arenas and amphitheaters, beginning June 21 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.  Peter Gabriel is currently working on his new studio album – whether or not this tour will feature any new material remains to be seen.

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Dates and on-sale times:

June 21 Columbus, OH Nationwide Arena Mon. Feb. 1 (10am)
June 23 Washington, DC Verizon Center Mon. Jan 25 (10am)
June 24 Wantagh, NY Jones Beach Mon. Feb. 1 (10am)
June 26 Philadelphia, PA BB&T Pavilion Mon. Jan. 25 (10am)
June 27 New York, NY Madison Square Garden Mon. Jan. 25 (9am)
June 29 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre Mon. Jan. 25 (10am)
June 30 Detroit, MI The Palace of Auburn Hills Mon. Feb. 1 (10am)
July 02 Worcester, MA DCU Center Mon. Feb. 1 (10am)
July 05 Montreal, QC Bell Centre Mon. Jan. 25 (10am)
July 07 Québec, QC Festival d’été de Québec On sale March 2016
July 09 Chicago, IL United Center Mon. Feb. 1 (10am)
July 10 Milwaukee, WI Summerfest Mon. Feb 1 (10am)
July 12 Denver, CO Pepsi Center Mon. Feb. 1 (10am)
July 14 San Jose, CA SAP Center at San Jose Mon. Jan. 25 (10am)
July 15 Lake Tahoe, NV Harvey’s Mon. Jan. 25 (10am)
July 17 Los Angeles, CA Hollywood Bowl Mon. Jan. 25 (10am)
July 21 Seattle, WA Key Arena Mon. Feb. 1 (10am)
July 23 Calgary, AB Scotiabank Saddledome Mon. Jan. 25 (10am)
July 24 Edmonton, AB Rexall Place Mon. Jan. 25 (10am)

 

 

 

Jon Courtney (ex Pure Reason Revolution) forms Bullet Height

Ex-Pure Reason Revolution leader Jon Courtney has teamed up with Sammi Doll (IAMX) to form BULLET HEIGHT, a new Electronic Rock duo based in Berlin.

The duo are signed to Superball Music and the first offering from their partnership is ‘Bastion’.

 

Musically, ‘Bastion’ seems to be following on from the electronic style of Pure Reason Revolution’s last album – ‘Hammer And Anvil’, but with heavier tones.

 

From the Superball Press release:

Los Angeles, CA | January 14, 2016Superball Music is extremely pleased to announce the signing of Berlin-based electronic-rock duo BULLET HEIGHT to their worldwide roster. Featuring Sammi Doll (IAMX) and Jon Courtney (Pure Reason Revolution), the two met in Berlin one Halloween night, and shortly after began recording together and creating what is now known as Bullet Height.

Jon comments: “I left London, moved to Berlin, rented a dirt-cheap room in an old DDR building & started battering out the music that would go on to become Bullet Height. I wanted to create something darker & heavier than ever before – I’d always written & produced in the past under no creative constraint & that has continued with this new band. From the first vocal session with Sammi I knew we were onto something…Superball caught wind of things…now here we are!”

Sammi adds: “Jon and I met through producer Tom Bellamy at a dirty rock bar in Berlin on Halloween. He was looking for someone to collaborate on his new music, we met up a few days later and it became clear that this would turn into something much bigger than expected. It was exactly the release I needed at the time and became a bit of personal therapy.”

She adds on the signing: “This wouldn’t be possible without the support and platform of Superball Music who have just signed us on to their label. We are so gracious to have the opportunity to work together, only greater things can come from this.”

IQ – Live On The Road Of Bones

The latest in a (very) occasional series of Archive private releases, sold exclusively by the band at their gigs and through their website – Review by Tim Darbyshire

 

Recorded in late September 2015 on the band’s almost annual visit to The Met in Bury, England ‘Live On The Road Of Bones’ finds IQ in top form, riding on the success of 2014’s ‘The Road Of Bones’ album which topped many ‘Best of 2014’ polls.

IQ spearheaded (along with Marillion, Pendragon, Pallas, Solstice and Twelfth Night) the second wave of British progressive rock in the early 1980s.  Since then and 2014’s eleventh studio album proper, the band have built up a strong catalogue of prog classics ensuring this double cd  contains two hours of IQ at their best.

The whole of ‘The Road Of Bones’ is included – spread over the two cds – interspersed with classics dating back to 1985’s ‘The Wake’ (Headlong, Outer Limits, The Wake), 1993’s ‘Ever’ (Out Of Nowhere), 2000’s ‘The Seventh House’ (Guiding Light), 2004’s ‘Dark Matter’ (Sacred Sound, Born Brilliant),  and 2009’s ‘Frequency’ (Ryker Skies).

The sound is professional as expected, exciting, atmospheric, uplifting and intricate – everything we’ve grown to love about the IQ sound over the years. The humour is still there, with the band breaking into a mellotron washed rendition of Abba’s ‘Mamma Mia’ in the middle of the encore ‘Out Of Nowhere’.

IQ are currently Peter Nicholls (vocals), Mike Holmes (guitar), Tim Esau (bass), Paul Cook (drums) and ‘new’ boy Neil Durant (keyboards). Although have survived multiple line up changes through the years, they are now back to four-fifths of the seminal early 1980s line-up.

Housed in a 6-panel digipack sleeve, this is a welcome addition to any IQ collection, and as with the other Archive releases will sell out, so grab this one soon!

Buy it here : IQ-Store.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Big Big Train Update

A great way to kick off 2016 – Big Big Train’s highly anticipated ‘Stone And Steel’ Blu-Ray can be pre-ordered now  direct from the band.

Information from the band’s website:

Stone And Steel Blu-Ray (Pre-Order)

Stone and Steel documents Big Big Train’s return to live performance after many years as a writing and recording band. Released on Blu-Ray and high-definition download, Stone and Steel features performances of nine songs recorded live at Real World studios in August 2014 and four songs recorded live at the band’s London gigs in August 2015 alongside interview and documentary footage. All live performances are presented in 5.1 and stereo. Running time approximately three hours. The Blu-Ray release includes a 64 page booklet. The release date is March 14th, with Blu-Ray pre-orders being taken from January 1st and downloads being available from Vimeo in March.

stoneandsteel

A short promo to further whet the appetite is here on YouTube