Porcupine Tree show last night...

Discussion in 'Live Performance & Stage Sound' started by Drew, Oct 1, 2005.

  1. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Went down to see these guys last night after work at Berkley with a buddy of mine who I'm about to help to move into Waltham in about a half hour, so I want to bang this out real quick before I go carry stuff.

    Robert Fripp opened the show - I knew he was doing the next few shows with Pt, but I wasn't expecting to see him on this one. he got kinda a bad rap on the G3 dates he opened for, for understandable reasons, but ambient, wash-of-guitar stuff makes a little more sense before a band like Porcupine Tree hits the stage. He was good, but he started to lose me after 20 minutes- there really wasn't much rhythmic variation to what he was doing, and you can only do so much with synth-guitar swells if all you're varying is the notes, IMO. (That and as somewhat of a sonic anarchist I've got vague issues with synth guitar - I feel as if I could have done at least as much, if not more, with just a good amp, an echoplex, a whammy pedal, and maybe another delay and a chorus or something). He played against a slideshow of tour pics and live pics and general scenery pics, and all in all it was interesting, but, well... Better context for the guy, anyway.

    After he finished his set, a few techs switched over the stage and they turned the house lights back up. My buddy showed up during this break, so we talked for a while before the band hit the stage. They opened with an empty stage and this repeated bass loop with some synth stuff going on in the background playing for a minute or so, before walking out and grabbing their instruments as the song died. then, a moment of darkness and they broke into the opening riff to "Open Car," off their newest, Deadwing. It made a great opener, with the low palm-muted stacatto stuff at the beginning before the whole band kicked in and the stage lights came up proper. PT had picked up a second touring guitarist to sing the harmony parts and back Steven wilson up, and he wasn't half the vocalist Wilson was, but between their complimentary tones (Wilson - fairly true to "In absential," a Bad Cat sounding big and gainy, and the other guy, a middier, cleaner overdrive with less high end) and the added depth a second vocalist echoing wilson where needed added, the overall sound was great, and captured a lot of the "layered" feel of the albums (further ambience was added by a bit of heavily filtered delay on Wilson's vocals, something after listening to lots of live Floater I sort of expected them to do, to capture the feel of the discs - sounded great).

    Anyway, "Open Car" killed, as an opener, and had an additional bridge section, very stacatto and jarring and heavier than I'd have expected of PT. they followed that with "Blackest eyes" from In Absentia, another favorite of mine. The set from that point on was apparently a bit of a departure from what they'd been doing on tour previously, and Wilson said something about how they'd been looking for a slightly heavier show. They did "Lazarus" and "Deadwing" off the new disc, then an older tune from Stupid Dream I'd never heard called "Don't Hate Me." Wilson also mentioned he'd finished remixing SD for re-release in stereo and 5.1, and that it should be out shortly, something he'd been working on for a while and I'd been waiting for for ages. Ithis was one of three tunes they played I'd never heard that night - this, a polyrhythmic instrumental, and a Floyd-like peice with some great heavy powerchord/high open string riff stuff in the chorus. they drew the rest of the set from the two newest, "Arriving somewhere but not Here," "Gravity Eyelids," an unreleased track from the Lazarus single, "So Called Friend," that missed the final cut for Deadwing largely because Wilson wanted to keep it upder 60 minutes, "Heart Attack in a Layby," and one or two more. They ended with "Start of Something Beautiful, walked off to thunderous applause, and came back a couple minutes later to do that track I didn't recognize, before finishing with "Trains," one of my favorite PT songs that they'd aparently retired, but had a lot of fun screwing with it at a sound check, so they decided to bring it back.

    the whole concert was done against a backdrop of grainy video sequenced to the music - occasional lyrics, occasional appropriate images, and just some bizarre stuff (like, "The Start of Something Beautiful" was done against a storyline of what appeared to be two claymation robots, and a death/decay/rebirth thing with worms and flowers) whch actually added a lot to the show and was quite impressively done.

    Overall, it was just a phenominal show - I've got this thing at even really great concerts where After an hour or so I start to get bored, even if just because I'm itching to pick up a guitar. Porcupine Tree played a solid two hour set, and it just blew past me. For me, the highlight was probably "Arriving Somewhere but not Here," a great song in its own right (the "Gravity Eyelids" of Deadwing, IMO) and one of the conceptually strongest works on the new album, but as the song ended, the crowd broke into an impromptu standing ovation - we were in the Berklee theater, which didn't really ned itself to getting up and jumping aound (sadly, in a smallish club with no seating, the energy would have been amazing last night), but as the last notes faded, the whole crowd rose to their feet and started cheering - it was just a brilliant performance of a brilliant song, and the crowd seemed to know that.

    This is one of the better shows I've seen in years - if any of you guys get a chance to catch them on this tour, I can't recommend it strongly enough. Porcupine Tree is one of the most interesting rock bands out there now, in my opinion, and they put on a hell of a show.
     
  2. eleven59

    eleven59 None shall pass. Contributor

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    Damn, I really wish I could see them live. Hopefully a live DVD will come someday...

    "Trains" and "Heart Attack In A Layby" are two of my favourites of theirs right now.
     
  3. darren

    darren Decibel Guitars Forum MVP

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    Thanks for the fantastic review, Drew... i can't wait to see them here on Thursday!
     
  4. Shawn

    Shawn Ibanez Guitars Forum MVP

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    Awesome review! I wish I could've seen them. They are very talented. Glad you had fun. :yesway:
     
  5. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Direct quote from the show...

    "We hope to be back in Boston soon... ...hopefully to promote a DVD."

    Wilson didn't elaborate, so I'm thinking one of two things, either the screenplay "Deadwing" is based on, or a concert. ;)

    FWIW, "Trains" is played with a capo on the 3rd fret... never knew that, no wonder I was having such a hard time getting the voicings right in open position, lol.
     
  6. eleven59

    eleven59 None shall pass. Contributor

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    Sweet! I hope both a live DVD and that screenplay end up being made :D

    And thanks for the tip on "Trains", I haven't been tackling much Porcupine Tree stuff on guitar yet, but I've been learning some on bass and having loads of fun with it.
     
  7. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Nice... The verse bit for "Trains" is just Em - Dsus2 - C, capo'd on the 3rd, with a C for the "the hiss of the trains on the railway head..." bit. Kinda hit on to the Em and C chords, and you're there.

    -D
     
  8. eleven59

    eleven59 None shall pass. Contributor

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    Cool, I'll try it out. Do they use a bunch of different tunings? Because most of the songs I've learned on bass seem to be in drop-D.
     
  9. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I'm pretty sure they write almost everything in Drop-D, although the guitar tech handed Wilson another guitar (he was playing PRS singlecuts through Bad Cats - those amps sound sick, by the way, absolutely great heavy modern crunch tone) for "Gravity Eyelids," so I'm wondering if that one was tuned to something different... Alternatively, he might have just needed a retune. :lol:

    I really want to transcribe most of that album...

    -D
     
  10. darren

    darren Decibel Guitars Forum MVP

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    I'm a big fan of sus-2 chords. In fact, that's how i play almost all of my A-pattern barre chords.

    Drew, is Robert Fripp on tour with them, or was he just the Boston opener?
     
  11. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    he's doing a few shows with them... Going off their site, I'm guessing he won't be in Ontario, but it doesn't quite specify, and that leaves them witout an opener. So who knows.
     
  12. eleven59

    eleven59 None shall pass. Contributor

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    Funny you should mention that, because my theory teacher last year basically said that we wouldn't be learning about sus2 chords because no one in pop/rock music uses them, and I had to raise my hand and let him know that I probably over-use them :lol:

    To be fair, I've had much more theory training that just that class, and he was pretty out of touch with modern music.
     
  13. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    You're kidding me.... They're all over the place.
     
  14. darren

    darren Decibel Guitars Forum MVP

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    Last night's show here in Toronto was fantastic. No opening act, and the set list seems to be pretty much identical to what was posted here earlier, except they didn't play Deadwing which was my only disappointment.

    "Arriving somewhere but not here" was also the highlight for me. Wicked.

    And let me say that a PRS hollowbody with the piezo option sounds phenomenal. The second guitarist in the band was playing one on a few songs, and when he switched from electric to acoustic, the sound was amazing. He did play an actual acoustic as well, one of those ones with the strings that go through the bridge and then anchor to metal studs around the periphery of the lower bout.

    Awesome show.
     

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