Thursday, 7 November 2013

Steven Wilson

Recently, three weekends ago, I went to London with my parents to a gig. This gig was my 4th this year, and over all, my 7th in total.

I went to see Steven Wilson, touring with one of his solo projects. Before I describe anything else, I feel I should go into a bit of background information about Steven Wilson.
He is one of the most well known and popular progressive rock artists at the moment, and for good reason. He is not as old as other famous groups and people such as Yes, Rush, King Crimson, Camel and others, but in a short space of 20 or so short years, he has almost managed to single handedly create himself a legacy that is a strong contender with them.
To explain this, he has, and still is in many groups: Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, No-man, Bass Communion. To cap this off, not only has he also released 3 albums as a solo project, but also has written music for famous artists such as Opeth, collaborated with groups such as Pendulum, but also has set up his own record label, K-scope.
And he's not even stopping, when I saw him live, he mentioned how he had already written more music for his next album. He's nothing short of a genius.

This was another first gig for me, as I had never been to a a proper 'rock' or prog gig before this. All the gigs I had seen were metal or punk, with the exception of seeing Fuck Buttons and The Haxan Cloak last month with my dad.

The tour that I saw was his second tour of his new solo album, The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories). The group that he has got together for this solo project is something of a supergroup, with Guthrie Govan, guitar virtuoso from The Aristocrats.
Theo Travis, who has played woodwind instruments on all sorts of jazz albums.
Chad Wackerman, who played drums in Frank Zappa's band for quite a while.
Adam Holzman, who has played keyboard with many jazz musicians including Miles Davis.
Nick Beggs, who has played bass and chapman stick in various prog rock groups.
And finally, Steven wilson himself, who played rhythm guitar and sung vocals.

The concert was the final in the run of UK tour dates, held in the Royal Albert Hall in London. It is usually a venue for classical music, so as you'd expect, it was massive. We were a little far back for my liking, however the sound quality was still great, which obviously matters the most.

Here is a picture or two to show how large the concert hall was

This is a picture directly facing the stage from the back of the hall

This is the view we had of the stage

The concert started off at 7.40, rather unconventionally, with a 20 minute film showing a street in a city, and eventually showing a busker setting up to play the acoustic guitar. As the busker began to play, Steven Wilson came on stage playing the song 'Trains', which is off a Porcupine Tree Album.

I did not expect this beginning at all, as from what a friend of mine who had gone to the first tour of this album, said they started with a different song. After playing Trains, the rest of the band came on and the stage lit up as they started playing Luminol, which is the opening track of the album that was being toured.

I'm not going to go through the entire concert like this, as it'd take a fair while to go through each song played and include a link to it on youtube. Instead, i'm going to write out the setlist from beginning to end:

Trains (Porcupine Tree song)
The Holy Drinker
Drive Home
The Watchmaker
Harmony Korine
Raider II
The Raven That Refused To Sing
Radioactive Toy (Porcupine Tree song)

Wreckage was a new song, that he said he had recently written. It turns out now, that it seems he played it on each tour date, but gave it a different title each time. It was roughly 15 minutes long, and quite soundscapey. I'm looking forward to seeing what it turns out to be like on record.
The song Raider II is in fact 24 minutes long, and due to this fact he played an abridged version of it, 15 minutes long, and joked, saying 'I don't do short'.
During Radioactive Toy, he requested that the audience join in with the chorus.

                                         Here is what the crowd interaction sounded like roughly:

I took a fair few videos and photos at the gig, and felt that I should post the at the end of the blog. I should also mention that some of the photos I downloaded from the Steven Wilson facebook page, as they are much better quality than mine.

Guthrie Govan playing, with Theo Travis in the background

Nick Beggs playing bass

Steven Wilson playing guitar

Steven Wilson playing Radioactive Toy, with the band in the background

Adam Holzman playing keyboards

Steven Wilson singing

Theo Travis playing the trumpet

The whole band playing

The band taking a bow

Now I will put my pictures up, you'll notice a large change in the quality of the photos..

Steven Wilson starting the gig off with Trains

The band starting off with Luminol

I would have included some videos that I took, but I can't upload them as they are too big. A bit of a shame really, as the recordings were of surprisingly alright audio quality.

The next gig I have coming up is another prog gig, however a little different. I am seeing Karnivool and TesseracT, who are giants of the prog metal (or 'djent' as it's been nicknamed) world.
I'm going with a friend that i've made at college, which should be fun, especially as the venue is fairly small.
However, i'm not going to go into detail here, instead make a post after the gig itself!

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