• 10-22-2005, 03:38 PM
    Troy
    Porcupine Tree- San Francisco 10/21
    So I went to see Porcupine Tree again last night. They were in San Francisco at the Regency, a converted movie theater. Never seen a show in that place before (I did see movies there until the mid-80s or so tho), I think they only very recently started having concerts there. Then again, maybe I just don't get out enough. Beautifully ornate post '06 quake victorian fillagree joint. Kinda dingy and tattered. Just right for a rock hall. There were some terrible dead spots for acoustics under the balcony tho.

    I've seen this band every time they've come to SF since 2000 or so. I think this is my 5th or 6th show. They just get tighter and tighter, more and more self-assured and polished every time they pass thru.

    Wilson really made an effort to include a block of songs "We've never played in San Francisco before" which I thought was a class act as much of the audience were repeat customers. They played "Don't Hate Me", one of my favorite PT songs for it's lengthy spacerock middle section. Extremely Floydy. Then they played a new song. An incredibly difficult and very metallic instrumental. I have no idea what time it was in, but I do know that bobbing the head in time with it was impossible for the entire audience and that it rocked unmercifully. Again, what a TIGHT band. I can only grin and shake my head in disbelief when I think about it.

    Another thing I noticed with this tour is that Wilson really went off on some moments of very Frippertronic-y ambience. Clearly he picked up on a lot when they toured with Bob opening for them last year. One can tire of that sorta thing quickly and Wilson only used it for moments of counterpoint to the heavy and loud sections so it ended up working really well. He understands that it's better as a side dish than a whole meal.

    Drummer Gavin Harrison simply put on a clinic all night. The guy was so damned syncopated and effortlessly driving. Truly, an amazing drummer. They were all really solid. Barbieri seemed a bit more up in the mix that usual and the vocals were a bit hot and distorted sounding. I could see complaining about the sound between the mix and the acoustics. It seems to be a common complaint about this band. I found it sounded better the closer you got to the stage. I bet it sounded like crap to those wearing earplugs. Go figure.

    The audience was really diverse. Sure, there were the proggers in their Marillion and Nearfest t-shirts, but there were also lots of families with early teens in tow (clearly the parents weren't dragged to the show by the kids TOO unwillingly), there were a ton of metal-types, a bongload of jamband types. We were talking to a guy before the show who seemed to be a Ramones fan. Lots of women. Soem reluctant girlfriends, but most of them were clearly fans. I saw little kids, under 10, I saw a few guys that were about 60, maybe older.

    I am just mystified by crossover appeal of this band. Why do they appeal to so may different types of people and WHY do they not get US radioplay, and where did all these people hear about Porcupine Tree?

    Great band. Great night out. Can't wait for the upcoming live DVD. It should KILL.
  • 10-22-2005, 06:32 PM
    ForeverAutumn
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Troy
    there were also lots of families with early teens in tow (clearly the parents weren't dragged to the show by the kids TOO unwillingly)

    What makes you so sure that it wasn't the other way 'round? :D

    Sounds like a killer show Troy. Thanks for sharing the experience.
  • 10-23-2005, 07:36 AM
    Finch Platte
    Same here.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Troy
    Can't wait for the upcoming live DVD. It should KILL.

    Hope it's as packed full of tidbits as they can muster. A drum clinic (ala Shadows Fall) on the DVD would be otay (he just died, doncher know http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...sn=001&sc=1000 ) by me.

    Thanks for the review, altho I still can't understand your disdain for those who choose to protect their hearing.

    fp
  • 10-23-2005, 08:14 AM
    Finch Platte
    1 Attachment(s)
    SPEAKING of earplugs...
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Finch Platte
    Hope it's as packed full of tidbits as they can muster. A drum clinic (ala Shadows Fall) on the DVD would be otay (he just died, doncher know http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...sn=001&sc=1000 ) by me.

    Thanks for the review, altho I still can't understand your disdain for those who choose to protect their hearing.

    fp

    ...the How Badly Brothers had a reunion gig at a party last night, and you can see me on the drums, inserting an earplug. :D
  • 10-23-2005, 02:15 PM
    3-LockBox
    Oh, to be close to venues where the big acts play
    I can't figure out why this band doesn't just explode...but then again...there are so few 'new' rock stations around that have the same broad age-range that this band has. Most older guys will eschew the hipper, youth oriented rock stations and the crusty old classic rock stations are just now 'stretching' into the early '80s for music. There is a huge gap of great music not being played on the radio anymore. As far as radio format programmers and some fans are concerned, the early '80s is about New Wave, the late '80s is about Hairy Metal, and the early '90s is about Grunge, and those are the formats everyone follows. But there is a lot of great music that falls in between. Same with today. You never hear Wilco, or Andrew Bird on any radio stations up here.

    Radio just isn't ''where its at'' anymore for music. I know some people who work in radio who grouse about how the internet is taking away their audience, but that's what they get for being so mired in such super narrow formats. You'd think that a station that plays classic rock would like to play newer material that was evocative of that genre, but no, its the same group of songs over and over again. For example, a radio station in nearby Bellingham, WA had a >'70s Saturday Night<, which was supposed to be a 6 hour marathon. A bunch of us friends got together and played games that night, and I knew that my wife would like the set-list that this station was going to be playing, so I set up our VCR to record off the radio. The set list that the radio actually played was repeated as much as 4 times in the few hours that I monitored it. And these guys complain about losing business? This isn't radio worth saving if this is their mentallity. There is now a trend in FM that former classic rock and adult-contemporary formated station are turning into "talk oriented" formats. See, these guys can't figure out why no one wants to hear the same Cars, Police, Eagles, Styx or Fleetwood Mac songs decades over. Idiots.

    Our favorite music will never become mainstream until there is a major shake-up in radio or, unfortunately, MTV starts picking up on these unknown and unheralded bands. But then again, maybe that's why we like them so much. Thank God I found RaveRecs.
  • 10-23-2005, 04:22 PM
    Troy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Finch Platte
    Thanks for the review, altho I still can't understand your disdain for those who choose to protect their hearing.
    fp

    Cuz it clips the highs and muddies the bass. You simply lose clarity.

    Anyone wearing earplugs has no business saying the sound was bad!
  • 10-23-2005, 04:24 PM
    Troy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Finch Platte
    ...the How Badly Brothers had a reunion gig at a party last night, and you can see me on the drums, inserting an earplug. :D

    Is Steven Tyler your vocalist?

    Great name for a band.
  • 10-24-2005, 09:45 AM
    Dave_G
    Rawk
    Ya earplugs generally mess up the sound but I wear 'em anyway.

    PT isn't "big" because of their name and their obscure music only appeals to us weirdos.

    Dave
  • 10-24-2005, 09:56 AM
    Dusty Chalk
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Troy
    Cuz it clips the highs and muddies the bass. You simply lose clarity.

    Anyone wearing earplugs has no business saying the sound was bad!

    The effects of tinnitus are much worse, macho man. And my earplugs do not muddy the bass. If anything, it's tightened up. I agree about the rolled off highs, though, but I'd rather have somewhat mildly rolled off highs and hear everything else clearly, than permanently distorted highs and a permanent buzz or whine or background noise that removes clarity from everything.

    Go to the middle of the desert, shut off the engine, and just listen. That's what not using earplugs and listening to your iPod too loud is doing to you. (And I know you listen to your iPod too loud.)
  • 10-24-2005, 10:34 AM
    BarryL
    Album Of The Year...
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 3-LockBox
    I can't figure out why this band doesn't just explode...


    At least that is according to Classic Rock magazine as reported by the Dutch Progressive Rock Page this week. They're still on the way up, as I see it. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, they'll be everywhere. Surely Wilson, today, stands on the precipice as artist, producer, guitar player, songwriter, and general all 'round musical maverick.

    It's kinda like Radiohead selling out Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto (about 18,000 people) on their OK Computer tour, even though nobody knew who they were. And yet they must have been getting big exposure somewhere outside the mainstream.
  • 10-24-2005, 11:52 AM
    Dave_G
    Betcha
    I betcha they stay obscure for ever and ever.

    But I love 'em, except Voyage 34, which is a piece of crap.

    Dave
  • 10-24-2005, 12:40 PM
    Dusty Chalk
    I betcha they neither explode nor stay obscure forever. I betcha they build a following slow and steady, and somewhere along the line, we realize that they are already mainstream.

    Perhaps Phish is a good comparison (in terms of how their popularity grew)?
  • 10-24-2005, 04:06 PM
    C-Z
    Thanks for the review, Troy. I agree with everything except the earplugs in certain instances. If the show is extremely loud, I'll take 'em out only for my fav tunes, or for softer numbers, but won't risk permanent damage, which will occur if it is screaming. Their SD show a few months ago was so loud that the speakers were distorting (it actually hurt and was not at all enjoyable naked). I'll bet your show was better sonically than that. Yep - plugs mess up the sound, so I prefer without, but unfortunately I think most sound people running the system are deaf and can't properly set up a show.

    I'm going to see them in San Diego tonight. I am very jealous of the kids you saw at your shows. I wanted badly to take mine (ages 7, 11, 17) who love PT, but I can't because it is over 21 only.

    I think that ambient in small doses like you described, as breaks or atmosphere table setting can be very effective.

    CZ
  • 10-24-2005, 04:18 PM
    Davey
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BarryL
    It's kinda like Radiohead selling out Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto (about 18,000 people) on their OK Computer tour, even though nobody knew who they were. And yet they must have been getting big exposure somewhere outside the mainstream.

    Hehehe, you forget that Radiohead had a huge international surprize hit song in "Creep" from their first album, and then they got a lot of critical acclaim on the Bends, and then got lots of initial MTV play with "Karma Police" and "Paranoid Android" when OK Computer came out. PT hasn't gotten any of that afaik. It would probably be tough to have a serious rock hit nowadays with most of the "modern rock" stations either gone or neutered in the extreme.
  • 10-24-2005, 06:43 PM
    3-LockBox
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Davey
    Hehehe, you forget that Radiohead had a huge international surprize hit song in "Creep" from their first album, and then they got a lot of critical acclaim on the Bends, and then got lots of initial MTV play with "Karma Police" and "Paranoid Android" when OK Computer came out. PT hasn't gotten any of that afaik.

    AFAIK, PT is 'big' in Europe, and recieve lots of critical acclaim, but yer right, Radiohead didn't take off until MTV started playing their videos, and I don't know if PT makes videos.



    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Davey
    It would probably be tough to have a serious rock hit nowadays with most of the "modern rock" stations either gone or neutered in the extreme.

    My point exactly...who's gonna play this kind of music, when it isn't "country" and it isn't "dance". Maybe some college radio station will pick up on it.


    Where's Arsenio Hall when you need him!
  • 10-25-2005, 09:49 AM
    C-Z
    The Tree in San Diego 10/24
    They were excellent last night at the House of Blues. And best of all, the sound was great!!! Not painfully loud, not distorted!! I gave my ears a break 2 or 3 times, but had my drums naked for at least 2/3 of the time.

    Pretty much what Troy said about the show. Took a guitar player friend of mine newbie who was mighty impressed.

    They don't pose, just play what works for the tunes. Hard to not just watch Harrison on drums - fluid, effortless, finesse or power.

    Will tour next year to support a concert DVD - their first!

    Anyone else go? Maybe Daigoro?

    CZ