Steve Hackett – Live at The Oakville Centre, 2nd March 2017

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Steve Hackett made a welcome to Canada this week for a show at The Oakville Centre For The Performing Arts in Ontario. This was the penultimate performance of the North American leg of Steve’s  new ‘Genesis Revisited with Classic Hackett’ 2017 tour.

Review and photos by Tim Darbyshire

This was Steve Hackett’s fifth appearance at The Oakville Centre in just over three years and it’s always a pleasure to see him and his band play here. There’s not a bad seat in the house and the sound is always crystal clear in this compact 470 seat venue.  Despite being a frequent visitor, this year’s set list was very different to last year’s, such is the quality of Steve’s solo back catalogue as well as the depth of his work with Genesis.

This tour sees him showcasing new material from his as yet unreleased new studio album ‘The Night Siren’ (out later this month on Inside Out) as well as celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Genesis classic ‘Wind And Wuthering’.

The first half of the set focussed on the new material, including ‘In The Skeleton Gallery’ and ‘Behind The Smoke’ interspersed with some classic solo Hackett songs such as ‘Every Day’,  ‘The Steppes’ and ‘Shadow Of The Hierophant’.  ‘Hierophant’ ended the first part of the set with a climactic crescendo including Nick Beggs sitting cross-legged on the stage pounding his bass pedals with his fists.

Without having yet heard the ‘The Night Siren’, the songs played tonight seem to indicate that the new album is carrying on the Hackett tradition of a multicultural cross-genre collaborative approach, in a similar vein to 2015’s ‘Wolflight’, with many guest musicians from around the world. Rob Townsend (wind instruments) certainly proved his mettle on the newer songs with an impressive display and a variety of styles.

The second half concentrated on the ‘Wind And Wuthering’ album – ‘Eleventh Earl Of Mar’, ‘Blood On The Rooftops’ (with drummer Gary O’Toole providing the vocals), ‘In That Quiet Earth’, ‘Afterglow’ – and other familiar Genesis classics including ‘Firth of Fifth’ and ‘Dancing With The Moonlit Knight’.  Nad Sylvan once again handles the vocals for the Genesis material and seems to be developing his own style with the songs more and more.  Roger King plays Tony Banks’ keyboard parts effortlessly – including the notoriously tricky piano intro to ‘Firth Of Fifth’.  The major surprise of the night was the inclusion of ‘Supper’s Ready’ for the first time on this tour (at the expense of ‘One For The Vine’, ‘Dance On A Volcano’ and ‘Inside And Out’). With Steve and his band due to play ‘Supper’s Ready’ with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra the following night, I guess it’s not surprising they felt like giving it an outing. The appreciative audience was treated to ‘The Musical Box’ as the encore.

Backed as ever by his highly talented band (including the returning bassist Nick Beggs), Steve Hackett and co once again delivered a stellar performance lasting over two hours. Seeing Steve up close and playing the solo in ‘Firth of Fifth’ will always be a highlight of the show for me.

Touring continues in Europe in late March, April and May in Europe and the UK.  Steve seems to be currently on a two year new album/new tour cycle  – if so, hopefully he’ll return to Canada/North America next year when he is rumoured to be playing the Montreal and Quebec areas.

Set List – Steve Hackett, The Oakville Centre – 2nd March

Every Day
El Nino
Out of The Body
The Steppes
In The Skeleton Gallery
Behind The Smoke
Shadow Of The Hierophant (closing section)
Eleventh Earl Of Mar
Blood On The Rooftops
…In That Quiet Earth
Afterglow
Dancing With The Moonlit Knight
Firth of Fifth
Supper’s Ready

Encore
The Musical Box

Steve Hackett: Guitars, Vocals
Nad Sylvan: Vocals
Nick Beggs: Bass
Roger King: Keyboards
Gary O’Toole: Drums
Rob Townsend: Wind Instruments

Click here to read my review of Steve’s performance with The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on March 3rd

Click here to read my interview with Steve Hackett, discussing ‘The Night Siren’

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Steve Hackett – Live at Kleinhans Music Hall Buffalo with Philharmonic Orchestra, 3rd March 2017

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Steve Hackett wrapped up the North American leg of the ‘Genesis Revisited with Classic Hackett’ 2017 tour in Buffalo with a special one-off  show of predominantly Genesis songs with the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra at Kleinhans Music Hall – an event not to be missed.

Review and photos by Tim Darbyshire.

After months of detailed planning with conductor Bradley Thachuk of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, it was finally time to see Steve Hackett and band fuse classic Genesis material with a full orchestra.  There was a tangible sense of expectation as the audience filtered into the grand concert hall with the orchestra already seated and tuning up.

Seating 2400, Kleinhans is renowned for its excellent acoustics and as the band kicked off with ‘Dance On A Volcano’ it was clear we were in for a special evening. The orchestra added texture and colour, filling spaces normally occupied by Roger King’s lush keyboard sounds. Steve seemed to be playing with a permanent smile on his face, although the most animated person on stage was conductor Bradley Thachuk who was clearly having the time of his life.

The strong positive vibe continued throughout the show as Steve mixed full on Genesis classics such as ‘Firth of Fifth’, ‘Dancing With The Moonlit Knight’ and ‘Supper’s Ready’ with more subtle solo numbers which highlighted the orchestral contribution like ‘The Steppes’ and ‘Serpentine Song’. The rapturous applause after the set closer ‘Supper’s Ready’ was long lasting as the band and orchestra soaked up the sell out crowd’s appreciation. The band minus orchestra returned to the stage and finished the tour with a rousing version of ‘The Musical Box’.

Steve has of course been playing Genesis material on tour for the last four years, but having been influenced in so many ways by classical music this rare opportunity to play with the orchestra was one he clearly relished. Although not playing at the same volume as a regular gig,  Steve’s band delivered a superb performance as ever and special mention must go to the sound engineer Ben Fenner for giving us the perfect blend of electric band and orchestra.

I’m sure relief was among the emotions displayed at the end of the two hour show due to the nature of this one-off performance. Hopefully it’s an experiment Steve will be able to repeat again in the near future.

Setlist – Steve Hackett at Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo:

Set 1:
Dance On A Volcano
Out of The Body
The Steppes
Firth of Fifth
Dancing With The Moonlit Knight
Blood On The Rooftops
Shadow Of The Hierophant (closing section)

Set 2:
….In That Quiet Earth
Afterglow
Serpentine Song
Supper’s Ready

Encore:
The Musical Box

The 2017 Touring band:

Steve Hackett: Guitars, Vocals
Nad Sylvan: Vocals
Nick Beggs: Bass
Roger King: Keyboards
Gary O’Toole: Drums
Rob Townsend: Wind instruments

and The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Bradley Thachuk.

Click here to read my review of Steve’s performance in Oakville the night before.

Click hear to read my interview with Steve Hackett, discussing ‘The Night Siren’.

King Crimson 2017 North American Tour Dates

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The first batch of 2017 King Crimson live dates have been announced via the band’s website – http://www.dgmlive.com. Some are still to be confirmed, and extra dates including New York City in the Autumn are expected to follow.

Three Canadian dates are scheduled, at Montreal, Toronto, and Quebec.

Bill Rieflin returns to the fold for 2017, completing an 8 man line-up, which potentially includes 4 drummers.

13th June – Seattle, WA – Moore Theatre
15th June – Saratoga, CA – Mountain Winery
17th June – San Francisco, CA – to be confirmed
19th June – San Diego, CA – Humphrey’s
21st June – Los Angeles, CA – to be confirmed
24th June – Denver, CO – to be confirmed
26th June – Minneapolis, MN – to be confirmed
28th June – Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre
30th June – Rochester, NY – Kodak Hall
3rd July – Montreal QC -Montreal Jazz Festival
5th July – Toronto, ON – Massey Hall
7th July – Quebec, QC – to be confirmed
9th July – Red Bank, NJ – Count Basie Theatre
14th July – Mexico City – to be confirmed
15th July – Mexico City – to be confirmed

Big Big Train – Grimspound album arriving 28th April

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Big Big Train have revealed the artwork and track listing for the 28th April release of their ‘Grimspound’ album.

Hot on the heels of 2016’s ‘Folklore’, ‘Grimspound’ contains 8 tracks and will be the first Big Big Train release to feature a guest vocalist with  Judy Dyble of Fairport Convention fame singing lead vocal on one track.

2017 also sees Big Big Train return to the live stage with three shows at Cadogan Hall in London on September 29, 30 and October 1.

The album will be available on CD, 180g double vinyl, hi-resolution 24/96 download, standard resolution download and via streaming services.

Pre-orders will begin 2nd March, from Burning Shed and The Merch Desk.

‘Grimspound’ Track Listing:

Brave Captain
On The Racing Line
Experimental Gentlemen
Meadowland
Grimspound
The Ivy Gate
A Mead Hall In Winter
As The Crow Flies

Mew announce new album and tour

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Danish band Mew return in 2017 with their seventh album, entitled ‘Visuals’ and a European Tour. The album is released on 28th April 2017 and can be pre-ordered now from Mew’s website.

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World wide tour dates are expected to be announced soon, the following dates in Europe are now confirmed:

FEB 9, Academy of Music (Copenhagen, Denmark) – two shows
MAY 17, Paradiso (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
MAY 19, Point Ephémère (Paris, France)
MAY 20, TRIX Centrum voor Muziek (Antwerp, Belgium)
MAY 21, Trinity Centre (Bristol, UK)
MAY 22, O2 Ritz Manchester (Manchester, UK)
MAY 23, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire (London, UK)
MAY 25, Luxor (Cologne, Germany)
MAY 26, Knust (Hamburg, Germany)
MAY 26-27, Immergut Festival (Neustrelitz, Germany)
JUL 14, Ilosaarirock (Joensuu, Finland)
JUL 20-22, Musik i Lejet (Tisvilde, Denmark)

Fans have become accustomed to waiting a few years between Mew albums, so today’s announcement has come as a welcome surprise. Front man Jonas Bjerre explained that the tour that accompanied 2015’s ‘+-‘ album found the band reaching a creative peak that they felt was too exhilarating to be dampened by a period of extended cave-dwelling. They arrived home with demos that had been written on the road and the spark was lit. They wanted to break the cycle and make an album quickly.

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Track listing for the new album is as follows:

1-Nothingness and No Regrets (4:28)
2-The Wake of Your Life (4:41)
3-Candy Pieces All Smeared Out (3:37)
4-In a Better Place (4:40)
5-Ay Ay Ay (3:41)
6-Learn Our Crystals (5:21)
7-Twist Quest (3:19)
8-Shoulders (2:53)
9-85 Videos (4:37)
10-Zanzibar (2:04)
11-Carry Me To Safety (4:27)

They have also released a video single ‘Carry Me To Safety’, the last song on the album:

 

Our Top 5 Live Albums of 2016

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Just a few personal favourites from 2016…..

1. STEVE HACKETT – The Total Experience Live In Liverpool

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2. BIG BIG TRAIN – A Stone’s Throw From The Line

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3. IQ – Live On The Road Of Bones

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4. KING CRIMSON – Radical Action (To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind)

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5. STICK MEN – Midori

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Our Top 10 Prog Albums of 2016

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1 BIG BIG TRAIN – Folklore
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2 MARILLION – F.E.A.R.
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3 HAKEN – Affinity
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4 RIVERSIDE – Eye Of The Soundscapetop5-riverside-eots

5 THANK YOU SCIENTIST – Stranger Heads Prevailtop5-tys-stranger-heads

6 SYD ARTHUR – Apricitytop5-syd-arthur-apricity

7 STEVEN WILSON – 4 1/2top5-sw-4-1_2

8 VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR – Do Not Disturbtop5-vdgg-do-not-disturb

9 STICK MEN – Prog Noirtop5-stick-men-prog-noir

10 OPETH – Sorceress
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Big Big Train – Live Album ‘A Stone’s Throw From The Line’

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Recorded at the band’s sold out shows at London’s Kings Place in August 2015, ‘A Stone’s Throw From The Line’ documents Big Big Train’s return to the live stage after a 17 year absence. Review and photos by Tim Darbyshire.

Recorded over three nights (August 14th – 16th), each song performed over the three night residency is represented here, in the order they were played on this double cd. Such was the success of Big Big Train’s return to the live arena that they were awarded Prog Magazine’s prestigious ‘Live Event of the Year’ award.

Since the addition of vocalist David Longdon and drummer Nick D’Virgillo in 2009, Big Big Train have seen a welcome upturn in their fortunes. ‘The Underfall Yard’ (2009) and ‘English Electric Part One/Part Two’ (2012/13) have helped to expose the band to a wider audience. In 2014 it was decided they would plan for some live gigs, so the band assembled at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios – some of them meeting each other for the first time – to see how their complex studio arrangements translated to the live environment. (This was captured on the 2016 blu-ray ‘Stone And Steel’).

Live, the band comprises founding members Greg Spawton (bass, backing vocals) and Andy Poole (guitars, bass, keyboards) along with  Danny Manners (keyboards, double bass, backing vocals), David Longdon (lead vocals, flute, banjo, percussion), Rikard Sjöblom (guitars, keyboards, backing vocals), Nick D’Virgilio (drums, backing vocals),  Dave Gregory (guitars, piano, backing vocals) and Rachel Hall (violin, backing vocals).  An additional five piece brass ensemble brings the number of musicians on stage up to a healthy thirteen! (Dave Desmond – trombone, Ben Godfrey – trumpet and cornet, Nick Stones – french horn,  John Storey – euphonium and Mike Poyser – tuba).

The setlist is not surprisingly dominated by songs from ‘English Electric’ (2012/13) and ‘The Underfall Yard’ (2009).  ‘Wassail’ from the then unreleased ‘Folklore’ also gets an outing.  Big Big Train are quintessentially English and take us on a two hour plus story-telling journey pinned by the epic ‘The Underfall Yard’ and the spectacular ‘East Coast Racer’. The musicianship is exemplary, providing the perfect backdrop for David Longdon’s passionate vocal performance. The band thrill their audiences with an eclectic array of dazzling melodies (‘Hedgerow’), crazy rhythms and time signatures  (‘Judas Unrepentant’) and soaring emotional songs (‘Curator Of Butterflies’), fully utilising the wide sound palette available to them.

The sound quality of the live recording is very good of course – recorded and mixed by long time band collaborator Rob Aubrey – and it’s a given that any Big Big Train fan should buy this release. As an introduction to the band though, I’d recommend ‘English Electric’ (recently remastered and repackaged), for the full lush studio experience.

Since these concerts, the band have released ‘Folklore’ – which is many people’s album of 2016 – and have announced three shows for late September 2017 at London’s Cadogan Hall, and at the time of writing some tickets remain for the last show.

The album comes in a gloss, laminated soft pack with a 40-page booklet and maintains the standard of high quality presentation we’ve come to expect from Big Big Train.

‘A Stone’s Throw From The Line’ is available now from The Merch Desk  and Burning Shed

Full track listing:

CD1
Make Some Noise
The First Rebreather
The Underfall Yard
Uncle Jack
Victorian Brickwork
CD2
Kingmaker
Wassail
Summoned By Bells
Judas Unrepentant
Curator Of Butterflies
East Coast Racer
Hedgerow

 

 

 

Steve Hackett announces new studio album ‘The Night Siren’

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Steve Hackett’s new studio album is called ‘The Night Siren’ and will be released by Inside Out Music on March 24th 2017……..

Steve discusses the new album and forthcoming tour here.

The official press release below is taken from HackettSongs.com :

Guitar virtuoso and rock legend, Steve Hackett (formerly of Genesis), releases his latest album The Night Siren on 24th March 2017 through InsideOut Music (Sony). As implied in the title, The Night Siren is a wake-up call… the warning of a siren sounding in this era of strife and division.

The Night Siren showcases Steve’s incredible guitar playing as strongly as ever, along with regular Hackett collaborators and also musicians from several different countries who Steve invited to join him in celebrating multicultural diversity and unity. This includes singers from Israel and Palestine, who both actively campaign to bring Jewish and Arabic people together. There are also instrumentals from the USA and Iraq and a multiplicity of sounds, including the exotic strains of Indian sitar and Middle Eastern tar and oud, the ethnic beauty of the Peruvian charango and the haunting Celtic Uilleann pipes.

Steve is widely travelled, making friends everywhere he goes and has always embraced multicultural diversity. In these times of unrest, he has been inspired to express his belief that the world needs more empathy and unity. His wish to involve a range of musical sounds, instruments, musicians and singers from different parts of the world is both a development of his eclectic approach to music and shows how people can be brought together, even from war torn regions.

Talking about his latest work, Steve says, “This latest waxing represents a bird’s eye view of the world of a musical migrant ignoring borders and celebrating our common ancestry with a unity of spirit, featuring musicians, singers and instruments from all over the world. From territorial frontiers to walled-up gateways, boundaries often hold back the tide. But while the night siren wails, music breaches all defences. To quote Plato, ‘When the music changes, the walls of the city shake’.”

The musical journey takes us from ‘Behind the Smoke’, focusing on the plight of refugees throughout the ages, to the penultimate track ‘West to East’ which reflects on the damage of war and the hope for a better world. From personal to universal, the themes celebrate the life force, breaking free from chains of repression.

The album features: Steve Hackett (guitar & vocals), Roger King (keyboards & programming), Nad Sylvan (vocals on Inca Terra), Rob Townsend (all things wind), Amanda Lehmann (vocals), Gary O’Toole (drums), and Benedict Fenner (additional keyboards & programming). Also featured are singers Kobi and Mira (Israeli and Palestinian), Nick D’Virgilio (drums) from the USA, Malik Mansurov (Tar) from Azerbaijan & Gulli Breim (drums & percussion) from Iceland. Additional musicians who add to the rich flavour of the album are Christine Townsend (violin & viola), Dick Driver (double bass), Troy Donockley (Celtic Uilleann) and Leslie Bennett (keyboards on The Gift).

Full Track Listing:-

1. Behind the Smoke
2. Martian Sea
3. Fifty Miles from the North Pole
4. El Niño
5. Other Side of the Wall
6. Anything but Love
7. Inca Terra
8. In Another Life
9. In the Skeleton Gallery
10. West to East
11. The Gift

The Night Siren will be released through Inside Out Music on 24th March in the following formats:
Special Edition CD/Blu-Ray Mediabook featuring 5.1 surround sound mix & making of documentary: 88985410452
Standard Jewel case CD: 88985410462
Gatefold black 2LP vinyl + CD: 88985410471
Digital Download

Album artphotos by iconphoto.ch

Steve Hackett is returning with an exciting new show Genesis Revisited with Classic Hackett for a 15 date UK tour in April 2017. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the classic Genesis album Wind and Wuthering, Steve and his band will be performing several tracks from the album as well as fan favourites such as ‘The Musical Box’ and other Genesis and solo numbers never performed before by Steve’s band including ‘Inside & Out,’ ‘One For The Vine’ and ‘Anyway’ as well as material from The Night Siren.

Photo by Tina Korhonen © 2016, all rights reserved.
Photo by Tina Korhonen © 2016, all rights reserved.