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  1. #1
    Close 'n PlayŽ user Troy's Avatar
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    Porcupine Tree- San Francisco, 9/18/09

    I've seen this band every time they've played SF since 1999. It's been fascinating to watch them evolve and develop over the years. First time I saw them was in a small club South of Market with a capacity of around 500, but it wasn't full. This time they played The Warfield, an old movie palace downtown that holds about 3,000. The place was packed with rabid fans hanging on every note. It seems our little band is making a successful run at the big time.

    The show consisted of 2 acts, the first was the entire first disc of "The Incident" and the second was a handful of great songs from the last few albums.

    My reaction to this show was similar to when they played FOABP live . . . before it was even released. This album came out in the US, what, 3 days ago? I just wish I had a chance to get to know the songs in the first set better. "The Incident" probably has too many lulls to play it all the way through live. Tho, I suspect the heavily Pink Floyd influenced "Time Flies", the high point of set 1, will be a staple of their shows for years to come. Consequently, the second set was much better than the first, for me, and I could tell the rest of the audience felt the same way. The crowd was berzerk for "Strip the Soul" and "Buying New Soul" and they all sung along to "Lazarus." Wilson, and the whole band seemed moved by that. Some dizzy chick was throwing flower petals on the stage during Lazarus, it was adorable. The whole band seems to have really stepped it up with their stage presence. Wilson in particular was more animated than I'd ever seen him, but again, this was by far, the biggest, most active and enraptured crowd I've seen him play in front of. I was a little sad to see them skip all their early material, but I suppose it's inevitable as the band gets more and more popular and these new fans only want the recent material.

    Maybe that all sounds negative, but that's not my intention. They are a killer live act. So tight and effortless, with so much power behind them. Every time I've seen them they get more polished, more comfortable in front of an audience. This was the biggest, slickest show I've seen them do, but I'd personally prefer it if it was a little more intimate, and I wish they'd play songs that the fans have a chance to be more familiar with. I hope someday I can see them do a gig that's a healthy mix of old and new songs, rather than simply pimping a new album. Great band, go see them when they come to your town, you won't be disappointed.

    And I gotta mention the opening act. That 1 Guy. A jazz bassist who was looking to . . . not be normal. So he built a weird looking home made 2 string bass out of pipes and covered it with buttons to trip to samples and sound FX. Also had some foot pedals and a snare, turning him into a real one-man-band. What a riot. After all the crappy 4th-rate emo shoe-gazer bands I've seen as openers over the decades, That 1 Guy was wonderfully goofy and refreshing. A perfect example that humor DOES belong in music and that so many bands have forgotten that they are on stage to entertain us.

    Check out this video of him:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayjVgMotJJo

  2. #2
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    Nice writeup Troy. I'm a little late getting into this band but recently saw the Arriving Somewhere DVD. I also got to see Gavin play with Crimson last year and I really enjoy his drumming. I do have Deadwing and like most of it.

    The vid and the rest if 1guy are cool. I wouldn't mind seeing that as an opening act.

  3. #3
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troy

    And I gotta mention the opening act. That 1 Guy. A jazz bassist who was looking to . . . not be normal. So he built a weird looking home made 2 string bass out of pipes and covered it with buttons to trip to samples and sound FX. Also had some foot pedals and a snare, turning him into a real one-man-band. What a riot. After all the crappy 4th-rate emo shoe-gazer bands I've seen as openers over the decades, That 1 Guy was wonderfully goofy and refreshing. A perfect example that humor DOES belong in music and that so many bands have forgotten that they are on stage to entertain us.

    Check out this video of him:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayjVgMotJJo
    Never even heard of That 1 Guy, looks great. Reminds me of Captured by Robots. I had the distinct pleasure of seeing this guy in Toronto and it was off the chart entertaining.

    I would have to agree with you Troy, alot of bands aren't connnected with the old school ethos...GOTTA GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT!! Showmanship has been traded for on stage loathing and posturing, can anybody say "thanks MTV!" Anyhow, don't want to rant too much.

    I think that hands down, the most entertaining show I've ever seen was Gwar. It was insane from beginning to end. It doesn't even matter if you like their music or not, the show is mind boggling and I was laughing through most of it. Check the link for Captured by Robots...nice post Troy!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B0t_v8NYjI

  4. #4
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review Troy. We'll be seeing them for our fourth time at the end of September.

    I'm glad to hear that Wilson was a little more animated this time around. The last time we saw them, he came off as kind of a pompous ass and I was a little turned off by his whole attitude...like he was doing us a favour by being there. Hopefully, he'll be a litte warmer this time.

    So far, I'm digging the new disk and am looking forward to this show. But I agree that playing a new album in full can be a drag for the audience if a) you don't know the material and/or b) you don't like it. It seems to be the new trend for bands promoting a new disk. But as an audience member, I would much prefer that a band mix things up a bit. As much as PT calls The Incident one 55 minute song. It is easily broken up into 14 songs.

    I was suprised to see the track list from the early shows of this tour (last week) and see that of the 8 non-The Incident songs, three were from In Absentia. Not that I mind, it's a killer album, but there is so much great older stuff that I didn't see a need to have the song choices so heavily weighted on one CD.

  5. #5
    3LB
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    what a buncha sell-outs!

    I'd love to see these guys, but in the PNW, they play dates like Tuesdays and Wednesdays at clubs that guarantee parking five blocks away in the worst parts of town.
    Repost this on your wall if you love Jesus.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3LB
    what a buncha sell-outs!

    I'd love to see these guys, but in the PNW, they play dates like Tuesdays and Wednesdays at clubs that guarantee parking five blocks away in the worst parts of town.
    I think that will be why I may never see them. I'm sure they should be able to sell out a better venue than the little standing room only, fire hazard clubs in Philly.

  7. #7
    Stainmaster Finch Platte's Avatar
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    Hate, Roy-

    Thanks for the review. I was curious how the show was, hoping I didn't miss much. :^P

    I knew 3 people that went, you included. One friend who went wasn't all that big of a fan, but man, was he impressed. I got a text from him early the next morning, and all it said was "Wow! They were rawkin."

  8. #8
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FA
    I'm glad to hear that Wilson was a little more animated this time around. The last time we saw them, he came off as kind of a pompous ass and I was a little turned off by his whole attitude...like he was doing us a favour by being there. Hopefully, he'll be a little warmer this time.
    I saw PT in Toronto last night, with King’s X opening. King’s X was okay. I’m not a big fan of theirs and the sound mix was horrible for them. But there were lots of their fans in the crowd and they gave a standing ovation at the end of the set.

    I agree with Troy’s comments about PT. The first time we saw them was the In Absentia tour and they played to about 200 people in a tiny little club. This time they sold out about a 2,000 seat theatre. They were tight and polished and they rocked.

    As great as the show was, I have to rant about Steve Wilson for a moment. He might be the nicest guy in the world but, honestly, I still think he’s an arrogant ass. The theatre last night was a “seated” theatre. And so, the audience sat. In fact those who tried to stand in the aisles or near the stage were asked by security to go back to their seats. But after each song the audience enthusiastically cheered, applauded, whistled and yelled. They were loud. And still, Wilson made a comment similar to “you’re all sitting down, I can’t see whether you’re enjoying yourselves”. What’s the problem Steve, are you deaf???

    Near the end of the second set he made a comment about not being able to tell if the audience appreciated the music. This was after several, I repeat several, standing ovations throughout the show. At that point, all I saw was SW not appreciating the crowd appreciating the music.

    I think that someone must have said something to him about it, because when he came out for the encore he (almost nervously, it seemed) said that we were a great audience and everyone in the band agreed that it had been fun playing for us.

    I have trouble believing that he was sincere.

  9. #9
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troy
    I've seen this band every time they've played SF since 1999. It's been fascinating to watch them evolve and develop over the years. First time I saw them was in a small club South of Market with a capacity of around 500, but it wasn't full. This time they played The Warfield, an old movie palace downtown that holds about 3,000. The place was packed with rabid fans hanging on every note. It seems our little band is making a successful run at the big time.
    As usual Troy, well written and not to be out done, FA had a very nice post as well. I've got to tell you though that I'm a bit surprised that this band is still playing 2 and 3 k venues. Maybe it's because there are so many of you guys here that have been digging PT for so long that I was caught a bit off guard by the numbers. I just figured that surely by now, after 10 years, that they'd be holding down much larger venues. Heck I've even got a couple of PT albums and I'm not even of the prog. persuasion! Guess there's no accounting for the taste of the general public when the mega tours of absolute crap get sold out in minutes and the decent music struggles to stay afloat. Rave Recs musical choices are of course above reproach.

    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  10. #10
    Close 'n PlayŽ user Troy's Avatar
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    I dunno Jim, how does a band become popular in 2009? These guys certainly don't get any airplay on the radio. What band can fill out a 2-3k seat venue that's never had a radio hit? PT's rise has been built purely on the web and word of mouth. That they can fill places this size all over north America is actually quite an accomplishment. The next step for them is some sort of mainstream breakthru. There's a 5 minute edit of the new 11 minute epic song "Time Flies" (a total Animals-era Pink Floyd homage) that really has potential as a radio song. If they can get on the radio with something like that, the skies the limit, IMO.

    Sorry if SW was mean to you FA. Lots of bands don't like playing for seated crowds because they lack the energy of a packed standing crowd and it's pretty well documented that PT is one of them. So why do they play seated venues? I dunno. If they don't like playing them, they shouldn't book them.


  11. #11
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troy
    So why do they play seated venues? I dunno. If they don't like playing them, they shouldn't book them.
    That's what I said. There are several standing venues that will hold a couple thousand people in Toronto.

    If they have to play seated venues then they should just suck it up and be happy that they have fans who can sell the place out instead of whining about it. Really, I found the whole thing insulting. I could understand if it had been a quiet crowd...but it wasn't.

  12. #12
    Stainmaster Finch Platte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    That's what I said. There are several standing venues that will hold a couple thousand people in Toronto.

    If they have to play seated venues then they should just suck it up and be happy that they have fans who can sell the place out instead of whining about it. Really, I found the whole thing insulting. I could understand if it had been a quiet crowd...but it wasn't.
    I wonder if he was wearing the in-the-ear monitors & couldn't hear the audience.

    Also, when you're on stage & have the lights in your eyes, it's really hard to see much of anything out in the crowd.

  13. #13
    3LB
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    I have to agree with FA - what churlish behavior. This has been mentioned over at PE as well. Wilson needs to check himself. I would like to ask him if he thinks his fanbase has anything to do with the venue choice. The dude has spent 99% of his career not getting the recognition he craves (and deserves IMO), but now he's going to take exception to the venues and audiences on what must be their most successful north-american tour? That's curious behavior indeed. He needs to take the venue choices up with his management, not the people who go through concerted effort to see PT.
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  14. #14
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte
    I wonder if he was wearing the in-the-ear monitors & couldn't hear the audience.

    Also, when you're on stage & have the lights in your eyes, it's really hard to see much of anything out in the crowd.
    So he couldn't hear or see the audience? All the more reason for him to shut up about it if he doesn't know what's going on.

    Really, it was a great show and I'm just being a bitch about this. But it wasn't the first time and I just find the whole thing disrespectful to the audience.

  15. #15
    Stainmaster Finch Platte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3LB
    ...churlish...
    Weird.

    churl⋅ish  /ˈtʃɜrlɪʃ/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [chur-lish] Show IPA
    Use churlish in a Sentence
    See web results for churlish
    See images of churlish
    –adjective 1. like a churl; boorish; rude: churlish behavior.
    2. of a churl; peasantlike.
    3. nigg@rdly; mean.
    4. difficult to work or deal with, as with porcupines.



  16. #16
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    Porcy Tree

    Nice review Troy, I'm seeing them locally in Leeds (UK) next week let's hope they are not too jet lagged. The venue is very similar about 3,000 but I'm not sure if it's seated or standing but should be good. I need to invest some time listening to the new album...

    The one CD I can't stop playing at the moment though is The XX debut album, it's so good. With shades of Electrelane/Electrelene (I've seen it spelt both ways) The Notwist and all mixed up with a modern slant on the 80s sound. Vocally the male singer reminds me of Greg Dulli of the Twilight Singers. It's short and some of the songs sound like they need developing but the interplay between the male/female singers is great.

    Cheers
    Mike

  17. #17
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike
    Nice review Troy, I'm seeing them locally in Leeds (UK) next week let's hope they are not too jet lagged. The venue is very similar about 3,000 but I'm not sure if it's seated or standing but should be good. I need to invest some time listening to the new album...

    The one CD I can't stop playing at the moment though is The XX debut album, it's so good. With shades of Electrelane/Electrelene (I've seen it spelt both ways) The Notwist and all mixed up with a modern slant on the 80s sound. Vocally the male singer reminds me of Greg Dulli of the Twilight Singers. It's short and some of the songs sound like they need developing but the interplay between the male/female singers is great.

    Cheers
    Mike
    Hey Mike! Great to see you around. Where you been hiding?

    Enjoy the PT show. Despite my beef with Mr. Wilson, it's the best PT performance that I've seen yet.

  18. #18
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    Hi FA, I had trouble getting my password to work ages ago I seemed to be going round in circles getting nowhere and in the end just gave up. Nice to be back.

    Cheers
    Mike

  19. #19
    3LB
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte
    3. nigg@rdly; mean.
    [/I]

    say what!?!?!?!?!

    Repost this on your wall if you love Jesus.

  20. #20
    Stainmaster Finch Platte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3LB
    say what!?!?!?!?!

    *Shrug*

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