Riverside…..And Then There Were Three

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After the untimely death of guitarist Piotr Grudziński earlier this year, Polish band Riverside have announced their intention to carry on as a three piece……..

From the band’s website:

Dear Friends,
We’d like to thank you again for your friendship and support throughout this most tragic time for us and we’d like to officially announce that we have made a decision about our future.
We have decided that we are not going to do a casting for a new guitarist. Thus we have ceased to be a quartet and have become a trio. In this line-up we will prepare our new studio album. Both in the recording studio and on tour – if we get back to touring – we will be playing with session guitarists, who are our friends, whom we know and like. But the line-up of Riverside will be as shown in the picture.
Yes, we do realise that this is not going to be the same band. We know that for many of you the story of Riverside ends here, this year, and that “Eye of the Soundscape” might be the last Riverside album you’ll buy. We know that some of you can’t imagine this band without the characteristic guitar of Piotr Grudziński and for you Riverside has ceased to exist. But our story is not over yet; with a flaw, with a scar, with a wealth of new experiences, we have decided to go on.
We know stories of many bands that have survived and have been successful, in spite of all. And we want to be the living proof that giving up is not an option and that we can be an inspiration for others, too. For as long as we can, we’ll continue to do our best to create and meet with you wherever the emotions are running high. Grudzień will still be with us. We are definitely not going to forget him. He’s a part of our lives. But in order for the memory of him to survive, we have to continue. And we want to. So we’re embarking on another journey and we are thankful to everyone who will join us.
Our plans for the nearest future?
Next year we’re going to start working on a new album. Marked by the circumstances, it will probably be a return to heavier and more intense sound. But before that, in February 2017, on the anniversary of Piotr’s death, we’d like to play our first gig. A very special gig which will be an exceptional event. We’d like to play it with guests, with friends, for Piotr, for us. And for you. We’d like our music to be the hero of that day, we’d like to let it speak for itself. We’ll give you more details about it in the coming weeks.
The river will never be the same again but it doesn’t mean it has to stop flowing.
Best regards,
Mariusz Duda, Piotr Kozieradzki, Michał Łapaj

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Released on october 21st, ‘Eye Of The Soundscape’ is a complimentary instrumental release – features 13 experimental and atmospheric compositions, including tracks previously used as bonus material for the ‘Shrine of New Generation Slaves’ and ‘Love, Fear and the Time Machine’ albums, rarities 2007/2008 (a new mix of ‘Rapid Eye Movement’ and the single ‘Rainbow Trip’) and four new compositions (‘Where The River Flows’, ‘Shine’, ‘Sleepwalkers’ and ‘Eye Of The Soundscape’ – over 30 minutes in length).
The album will be available as 2CD-Mediabook, 3LP (With both CDs as bonus) and Digital Download.

Preorder now from Burning Shed.
CD 1:
1. Where The River Flows (10:53)
2. Shine (4:09)
3. Rapid Eye Movement (2016 mix) (12:40)
4. Night Session – Part One (10:40)
5. Night Session – Part Two (11:35)
CD 2:
1. Sleepwalkers (07:19)
2. Rainbow Trip (2016 mix) (06:19)
3. Heavenland (04:59)
4. Return (6:50)
5. Aether (08:43)
6. Machines (03:53)
7. Promise (02:44)
8. Eye Of The Soundscape (11:30)

 

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Roger Dean – Isle Of Man Exhibition Photo Cards

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Words and photos by Tim Darbyshire.

In addition to the excellent stamp sets produced by the Isle Of Man Post Office for the current Roger Dean exhibition ‘Islands And Bridges’, a set of art cards – featuring all 26 paintings included in the exhibit – has been produced.

Ideal for framing, each full colour card measures 8 x 6 inches and is printed on quality paper stock. On the reverse of each card is a description written by Roger, detailing the background and inspiration for the painting.

The 26 images are a nice mixture of the familiar and the less so. There’s 10 or so images from YES albums, and the recent ‘Premonitions’ image used for Steve Hackett’s box set in 2015.

The outer wallet contains a brief biography and career outline, and the whole set makes a nice companion to the ‘Islands And Bridges’ First Day Cover and Presentation Stamp Pack. All these products – apart from the sold out signed version of the First Day Cover – are available direct from the Isle Of Man Post Office website.

For GBP 22.50 including worldwide shipping, the set is pretty good value and a welcome addition to any collection.

 

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King Crimson – Radical Action (to Unseat The Hold of Monkey Mind)

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It’s clear that this latest King Crimson offering from DGM/Panegyric is no normal live album. Based on their 2015 performances, the lavish packaging contains 3 audio cds, 2 dvds, a blu-ray disc and a 36-page booklet with tour photographs. This is the ‘Tour Edition’, also available is a 3cd/1 blu-ray standard version…………Review by Tim Darbyshire.

‘Radical Action (to Unseat The Hold of Monkey Mind)’ is actually the third live offering since Robert Fripp reassembled King Crimson in its current incarnation in 2014. 2015’s ‘Live At The Orpheum’ (recorded in 2014) was a 40 minute mini-album taster, and this year’s ‘Live In Toronto’ (recorded in 2015) is described as a ‘full raw concert performance from a single night in Toronto’ in the ‘Radical Action’ press release.

Things are certainly different this time – this is King Crimson after all. The audio cds are presented as individually themed ‘virtual studio albums’ with no audible audience – featuring a representative example of every song/piece performed by King Crimson on its 2015 tours of the UK, Canada and Japan.

‘Radical Action’ is described by the band as  ‘the most fully realised audio and visual statement from this band to date’.  The visual content is taken from a complete filmed performance in Japan in 2015 and is offered in high-resolution stereo and 5.1 surround audio. The blu-ray also features ‘picture off’ mode, allowing the listener to enjoy the hi-res stereo/5.1 surround versions without the picture and in one continuous sitting. For information, there is nothing on the dvds that isn’t on the blu-ray, but I guess they are included for those people who don’t own a blu-ray player.

So what about the actual music? The set list is expansive, full of classic Crimson – ‘Red’,
‘One More Red Nightmare’, ‘Epitaph’, ‘Starless’, ‘The Court of The Crimson King’ and ’21st Century Schizoid Man’, all perfectly executed of course – unsurprisingly the quality of the musicianship is peerless. Early versions of new songs are also aired – ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Radical Action’ – which are yet to be recorded. Only the 1980s era is ignored, with no songs from any of the three albums ‘Discipline’, ‘Beat’ or ‘Three Of A Perfect Pair’.

The three cds are ‘themed’,  CD1 is called ‘Mainly Metal’, CD2  ‘Easy Money Shots’ and CD3 is ‘Crimson Classics’. It’s a different approach, if you prefer some crowd noise you’ll need to watch the blu-ray/dvd. It also means the running order is tampered with  – again if you’re after a single concert from start to finish,  the double cd ‘Live In Toronto’ would fit the bill perfectly.

The video style of the performance (filmed in Takamatsu, Japan) is creative.  As there’s very little movement on stage, most of the time during the video we are treated to two or three images overlayed, presumably designed to make the film more interesting – see the video clip of ‘Easy Money’ included below.

Watching the three front-line drummers/percussionists interacting is fascinating at times…….Bill Rieflin in the centre of the three often seems to be in the eye of the storm as thunder and chaos in the shape of Pat Mastelotto and Gavin Harrison surrounds him. He also provides the much needed mellotron sounds for the likes of ‘Starless’ and ‘The Court Of The Crimson King’. The back-line is made up of bass/stick player extraordinaire Tony Levin,  Mel Collins (returning to the fold) on saxes and flute, Jakko Jakszyk providing vocals and guitar, and of course, Robert Fripp on guitar and keyboards.

It’s hard to fault King Crimson/DGM/Panegyric’s output these last few years. The super deluxe box sets they have been producing  – often running to nearly 30 discs – are a fan’s dream (if a little hard on the wallet) and are testament to Robert Fripp finally owning and controlling his back catalogue after a lengthy legal battle.

The entire product is superbly put together, both musically and in the way it’s packaged – even if the cyclops image isn’t to everyone’s taste! The discs are housed in 2 triple digipacks and fit neatly into the rigid outer case with the accompanying 36 page booklet. I’m sure if you were lucky enough (as I was)  to see any of the shows in the last couple of years,  ‘Radical Action (to Unseat The Hold of Monkey Mind)’ will be a welcome addition to your collection.

Order now from Burning Shed (includes free cyclops postcard).

 

 

 

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King Crimson:

Mel Collins: Saxes & flute
Robert Fripp: Guitar & keyboards
Gavin Harrison: Drums
Jakko Jakszyk: Guitar & voice
Tony Levin: Basses & stick
Pat Mastelotto: Drums
Bill Rieflin: Drums & keyboards

———————————————————————

CD 1: Mainly Metal

Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part One
Radical Action (to Unseat The Hold of Monkey Mind)
Meltdown
Radical Action II
Level Five
The Light of Day
The Hell Hounds of Krim
The ConstruKction of Light
The Talking Drum
Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part Two

CD 2: Easy Money Shots

Peace
Pictures of a City
Banshee Legs Bell Hassle
Easy Money
VROOOM
Suitable Grounds for the Blues
Interlude
The Letters
Sailors Tale
A Scarcity of Miracles

CD 3: Crimson Classics

Red
One More Red Nightmare
Epitaph
Starless
Devil Dogs of Tessellation Row
The Court of The Crimson King
21st Century Schizoid Man

Blu-Ray and DVD 1/2: Audio/Video performances:

Two DVDs featuring a complete filmed concert performance in stereo and 5.1 surround

Blu-Ray featuring a complete filmed concert performance in high-resolution stereo and 5.1 surround audio.

Threshold Soundscape,
Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part One
Pictures of a City, Peace
Radical Action (to Unseat The Hold of Monkey Mind)
Meltdown, Radical Action II
Level Five, Epitaph
The Hell Hounds of Krim
The ConstruKction of Light
Scarcity of Miracles
Red
VROOOM
Banshee Legs Bell Hassle
Easy Money, Interlude
The Letters, Sailor’s Tale
The Light of Day
The Talking Drum
Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part Two
Starless
Devil Dogs of Tessellation Row
In the Court of the Crimson King
21st Century Schizoid Man
Suitable Grounds for the Blues
One More Red Nightmare

————————————————————-

King Crimson are currently on tour in Europe:

King Crimson – Sep. 03, 2016 Aylesbury Friars at the Waterside Theatre
King Crimson – Sep. 05, 2016 Aylesbury Friars at the Waterside Theatre
King Crimson – Sep. 08, 2016 Stuttgart Beethoven-Saal
King Crimson – Sep. 09, 2016 Stuttgart Beethoven-Saal
King Crimson – Sep. 11, 2016 Berlin Admiralpalast
King Crimson – Sep. 12, 2016 Berlin Admiralpalast
King Crimson – Sep. 14, 2016 Prague Forum Karlin
King Crimson – Sep. 15, 2016 Prague Forum Karlin
King Crimson – Sep. 17, 2016 Zabrze House of Music & Dance
King Crimson – Sep. 18, 2016 Zabrze House of Music & Dance
King Crimson – Sep. 20, 2016 Wroclaw National Forum Of Music
King Crimson – Sep. 21, 2016 Wroclaw National Forum Of Music
King Crimson – Sep. 23, 2016 Copenhagen Falkoner
King Crimson – Sep. 24, 2016 Copenhagen Falkoner
King Crimson – Sep. 26, 2016 Oslo Sentrum Scene
King Crimson – Sep. 27, 2016 Oslo Sentrum Scene
King Crimson – Sep. 28, 2016 Oslo Sentrum Scene
King Crimson – Sep. 30, 2016 Stockholm Filadelfiakyrkan
King Crimson – Oct. 01, 2016 Stockholm Filadelfiakyrkan
King Crimson – Oct. 03, 2016 Hamburg Mehr! Theater

King Crimson – Nov. 02, 2016 Antwerp Stadsschouwburg
King Crimson – Nov. 03, 2016 Antwerp Stadsschouwburg
King Crimson – Nov. 05, 2016 Milano Teatro degli Arcimboldi
King Crimson – Nov. 06, 2016 Milano Teatro degli Arcimboldi
King Crimson – Nov. 08, 2016 Florence Teatro Verdi
King Crimson – Nov. 09, 2016 Florence Teatro Verdi
King Crimson – Nov. 11, 2016 Rome Auditorium Conciliazione
King Crimson – Nov. 12, 2016 Rome Auditorium Conciliazione
King Crimson – Nov. 14, 2016 Torino Teatro Colosseo
King Crimson – Nov. 15, 2016 Torino Teatro Colosseo
King Crimson – Nov. 17, 2016 Monte Carlo Opéra Garnier
King Crimson – Nov. 18, 2016 Monte Carlo Opéra Garnier
King Crimson – Nov. 21, 2016 Madrid, Madrid Palacio de Congresos
King Crimson – Nov. 22, 2016 Madrid, Madrid Palacio de Congresos
King Crimson – Nov. 24, 2016 Barcelona, Catalonia Auditori del Forum
King Crimson – Nov. 25, 2016 Barcelona, Catalonia Auditori del Forum
King Crimson – Nov. 27, 2016 Marseille Le Silo
King Crimson – Nov. 30, 2016 Vienna Museumsquartier
King Crimson – Dec. 01, 2016 Vienna Museumsquartier
King Crimson – Dec. 03, 2016 Paris Salle Pleyel
King Crimson – Dec. 04, 2016 Paris Salle Pleyel

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Review ‘Discovering Steve Hackett’ 5cd set

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InsideOut music have just released a budget priced retrospective collection of five of Steve Hackett’s less well known rock albums……..Review and photos by TIm Darbyshire.

This collection comes after last year’s mammoth ‘Premonitions’ deluxe box set reissue of the Steve Hackett Charisma albums (see my review here) and features every Hackett rock album from 1984 to 2006 (with the exception of the collaborative ‘Feedback 86’ released in 2000). The albums included are ‘Till We Have Faces’ (1984), ‘Guitar Noir’ (1993), ‘Darktown’ (1999), ‘To Watch The Storms’ (2003), and ‘Wild Orchids’ (2006).

The five albums come in card sleeves, replicating the front cover artwork of the original releases and a thin outer slipcase to house them. There’s no booklet or additional information, but this is a budget release and should be judged accordingly.

Taking its name from a C.S.Lewis novel, 1984’s ‘Till We Have Faces’ was Steve’s second album after leaving Charisma, (the all acoustic ‘Bay of Kings’ preceded it in 1983) and in some respects it’s a natural successor to ‘Highly Strung’, with contributions from Nick Magnus and Ian Mosley . However, the album was recorded in Brazil and adds World Music elements, particularly Brazilian percussion.  Highlights include the lengthy ‘Matilda Smith-Williams (Home For The Aged)’ and the minor chart hit ‘A Doll That’s Made In Japan’.

Steve of course teamed up with Yes’ Steve Howe in the mid-80s to form the supergroup GTR and released his second album of solo classical guitar pieces ‘Momentum’ in 1988, but it wasn’t until 1993’s ‘Guitar Noir’ that he resurfaced with an electric album.

‘Guitar Noir’ – as the title suggests, see Steve using a much darker guitar sound, but Steve’s signature smooth guitars style is also there – notably on ‘Sierra Quemada’. ‘There Are Many Sides To The Night’ has some lovely acoustic guitar, as does the short ‘Walking Away From Rainbows’.  ‘Vampire With A Healthy Appetite’ became a stage favourite for many tours.

1999’s ‘Darktown’ continues the dark themes of ‘Guitar Noir’ with the tracks ‘Omega Metallicus’ and ‘Darktown’. ‘Man Overboard’ and ‘The Golden Age Of Steam’ hint at a more familiar Hackett sound. Although the subject matter is largely dark – including ominous narration on ‘In Memoriam’ – this album has plenty of light and texture, with ‘Twice Around The Sun’ being a highlight. Long time Steve Hackett collaborator Roger King makes an appearance on this album.

For me though, it’s 2003’s ‘To Watch The Storms’ that is a real return to form, and the best of the 5 cds in this set. Coincidentally it also marked Steve’s return to the UK touring circuit with a full electric band for the first time in 10 years including Gary O’Toole, Rob Townsend and of course Roger King all three of whom are still with Steve today.

Highlights are the King Crimson-esque  ‘Mechanical Bride’, the beautiful ‘Strutton Ground’ and ‘Serpentine Song’ and the catchy ‘Brand New’ – which wouldn’t sound out of place on ‘Spectral Mornings’.

The set is completed with ‘Wild Orchids’ from 2006. Stylistically it follows on from ‘To Watch The Storms’ without reaching the same creative peaks for me. ‘A Dark Night In Toytown’ kicks things off in raucous style, ‘A Girl Called Linda’ provides light relief and the album’s closing tracks ‘The Fundamentals Of Brainwashing’ and ‘Howl’  provide great atmospherics.

For the price of this Limited Edition set, it’s a no brainer. I paid 16 Euros including shipping to Canada – a welcome addition to the collection, even if you only need one or two of the discs.

The next studio album after ‘Wild Orchids’ was the triumphant ‘Out of the Tunnel’s Mouth’ (2009), and from then Steve really seems to have been on an upward trajectory, both artistically and commercially.  ‘Beyond The Shrouded Horizon’ (2011) and ‘Wolflight’ (2015) have left fans of Steve’s music looking forward to the anticipated release of his new album in 2017.

 

Full track listing:

Disc 1 – Till We Have Faces
1.    What’s My Name
2.    The Rio Connection
3.    Matilda Smith-Williams (Home For The Aged)
4.    Let Me Count The Ways
5.    A Doll That’s Made In Japan
6.    Duel
7.    Myopia
8.    Taking the Easy Way Out
9.    The Gulf
10.    Stadiums of the Damned
11.    When You Wish Upon a Star
Disc 2 – Guitar Noir
1.    Sierra Quemada
2.    Take These Pearls
3.    There Are Many Sides To The Night
4.    In The Heart Of The City
5.    Dark As The Grave
6.    Lost In Your Eyes
7.    Little America
8.    Like An Arrow
9.    Theatre Of Sleep
10.    Walking Away From Rainbows
11.    Paint Your Picture
12.    Vampire With A Healthy Appetite
13.    Tristesse
Disc 3 – Darktown
1.    Omega Metallicus
2.    Darktown
3.    Man Overboard
4.    The Golden Age Of Steam
5.    Days Of Long Ago
6.    Dreaming With Open Eyes
7.    Twice Around The Sun
8.    Rise Again
9.    Jane Austen’s Door
10.  Darktown Riot
11.   In Memoriam
Disc 4 – To Watch The Storms
1.    Strutton Ground
2.    Circus Of Becoming
3.    The Devil Is An Englishman
4.    Frozen Statues
5.    Mechanical Bride
6.    Wind, Sand And Stars
7.    Brand New
8.    This World
9.    Rebecca
10.  The Silk Road
11.   Come Away
12.  The Moon Under Water
13.   Serpentine Song
Disc 5 – Wild Orchids
1.    A Dark Night In Toytown
2.   Waters Of The Wild
3.   Set Your Compass
4.   Down Street
5.   A Girl Called Linda
6.   To a Close
7.   Ego And Id
8.   Man In The Long Black Coat
9.   Wolfwork
10. Why
11.  She Moves In Memories
12.  The Fundamentals Of Brainwashing
13.  Howl

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Haken – Mod Club Toronto, 1st September 2016

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Haken’s ‘Affinitour v2.0’ in support of their fourth album ‘Affinity’ has reached Canada and the United States.   I caught the band live at Toronto’s Mod Club. Words and photos by Tim Darbyshire.

‘Affinity’ is already a strong contender to be Album of the Year for many people,  and as the band took to the stage the enthusiastic crowd greeted them like conquering heroes. Kicking off with ‘Initiate’ from the new album and ‘Falling Back To Earth’ (from 2013’s ‘The Mountain’), it was evident that this is a band playing at the top of their game. There’s a visible confidence emanating from all the band, almost a swagger – they know they’re good and they enjoy showing it.

Technically superb,  mixing out and out aural assault with refined quieter passages – where the crowd were almost singing as loudly as vocalist Ross Jennings – Haken deliver dizzying rhythms with rousing melodies. ‘1985’ is the standout track from ‘Affinity’  – keyboardist Diego Tejeide wants a piece of the action and takes centre stage with his keytar. Both guitar players – Rich Henshall and Charlie Griffiths – are playing 8 string guitars and Conner Green’s bass has 6 strings…..this is prog after all.

Most of the set is culled from the last 2 albums (‘Deathless’ and encore ‘Celestial Elixir’ being the exceptions). ‘The Architect’ – the longest track on ‘Affinity’ – takes us on a journey through many styles and allows both guitarists more space to shine with solos. The highlight of the evening for me, and clearly a crowd favourite, is a storming version of ‘Cockroach King’ , complete with its quirky time signatures and Gentle Giant style vocal harmonies, which has the whole club shaking to the rafters.

‘The Endless Knot’ brings the main set to a frenzied finale and the band sign off with encore ‘Celestial Elixir’ from 2010’s debut album ‘Aquarius’.

Haken of course cross the genres. It is heavy, it is loud, but they combine this with subtlety and emotion, weaving an intoxicating medley of styles. It’s all uplifting stuff, the affinity  between the band members themselves and the band and crowd. This is a band on a roll, that seemingly can do no wrong at present – catch them if you can.

My review of Haken’s  ‘Affinity’ album is here.

Setlist:
Affinity.exe
Initiate
Falling Back To Earth
1985
Earthrise
Pareidolia
The Architect
Keyboard Solo
Deathless
Cockroach King
The Endless Knot
Encore:
Celestial Elixir

Haken:
Ross Jennings – vocals
Rich Henshall – guitars
Ray Hearne – drums
Charlie Griffiths – guitars
Diego Tejeida – keyboards
Conner Green – bass

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Tour Dates – Affinitour v2.0 2016

haken tour

Thank You Scientist – Mod Club Toronto, 1st September 2016

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Thank You Scientist are supporting Haken on their ‘Affinitour v2.0’ across Canada and the US in September 2016.  To coincide, the New Jersey seven-piece have just released their second full album ‘Stranger Heads Prevail’ (on the Evil Ink label) which is receiving rave reviews. I caught up with the band at Toronto’s intimate Mod Club…..Review and photos by Tim Darbyshire.

Thank You Scientist are hard to define. They have been described as progressive, progressive metal, post hardcore, jazz fusion – helpfully their FaceBook page has their genre as ‘post genre sweet potato polka’.  Watching the band set up pre-gig , it’s clear we are in for something refreshingly different, with trumpet, sax and violin players. There’s no keyboards at all.

What is evident from the outset, is that the band is having a lot of fun. Bundle of energy front man Salvatore Marrano dances around the stage, his soulful vocals managing to cut through the backdrop of sax, trumpet, violin and crunchy guitar riffs. When it’s time an instrumental break, Marrano joins the crowd, preferring to watch from there.

The set is made up from tracks from the new album,  the funky ‘Mr Invisible’,  ‘A Wolf In Cheap Clothing’, ‘Caverns’ and the set opener ‘The Amateur Arsonist’s Handbook’, and cuts from 2014’s ‘Maps of Non-Existent Places’ including ‘Feed The Horses’, ‘Blood On The Radio’ and ‘My Famed Disappearing Act’. The set is concluded with a cover of The Beatles’ ‘I Am The Walrus’.

Thank You Scientist already have a loyal fan base, with a sizeable proportion of the enthusiastic young crowd joining in the fun singing along to every word. The queue to buy their cds after their set would suggest they are picking up new devotees every time they play, including yours truly…… I hope they’ve brought plenty of cds with them on the tour!

Thank You Scientist remain happily uncategorisable – funky, jazzy, proggy, often all at the same time – it’s an intoxicating melange of styles. Catch this tour if you can, their merch/cds are available direct from the band  here.

Thank You Scientist are:

Salvatore Marrano – Vocals
Tom Monda – Guitar
Cody McCorry – Bass, Theremin
Odin Alvarez – Drums
Ben Karas- Violin
Ellis Jasenovic – Saxophone
Andrew Digrius – Trumpet

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Tour Dates with Haken:

haken tour