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Assembly, Leamington, 6 April 2011
of modern progressive rock at its best at The Assembly, first up The
Pineapple Thief with a high octane set of power prog, the bands 40
minute set mainly showcased their latest album Someone Here Is Missing
with just one track from their back catalogue, standouts from the new
album included the two opening rockers 'Wake Up the Dead' and the
gloriously heavy '3000 Days' and they closed their part of the evening
by going back to the Tightly Unwound album from 2008 with the atmosphric
'Too Much To Lose'.
I was very
impressed with The Pineapple Thief, a talented band with plenty
of energy, and a highlight for me was the excellent and imaginative
slide guitar work of band founder, singer/guitarist Bruce Soord who is
also both an excellent front man and a superb showman.
Blackfield are a band that anyone with the preconceived notion
that progressive rock is all about 20 minute tracks played by men in
capes really need to have a listen to, the band is the magical
collaboration of Steven Wilson the founder member of Porcupine Tree and
Aviv Geffen an Israeli singer/songwriter, and all round musical
superstar in his own country.
albums are full of superbly crafted 3 - 4 minute numbers full to the
brim with great hooks, beautiful melodies and harmonies, with at times a
pop touch but also have the thought provoking lyrics of great prog rock
and the material covers both sides of the rock spectrum, up-tempo guitar
driven and delicate ballad.
This was my
first live experience of Blackfield and they reproduced the studio
quality of their albums perfectly, if anything, only making the numbers
more dynamic on the stage and by the look of the excellent turn out at
the Assembly they also have an excellent fan base.
also have a new album to promote, the excellent Welcome To My DNA and
tonight they played all but one of the tracks opening the set with the
eastern feel of 'Blood' from the new album followed by 'Blackfield' from
the bands 2004 self titled debut.
One of the
benefits of the band's songs being relatively short is they can perform
a large selection of numbers from both the current album and the two
previous releases, highlights from the latest work a laid back 'Glass
House' with some sublime guitar flourishes from Mr Wilson, the summer
acoustic vibe of 'Waving'. and 'On the Plane' written by Aviv Geffen for
that completely blew me away was the performance of 'Once' the opening
number from the 2007 album Blackfield II, a track that is 4 minutes of
pure musical brilliance, starting with heavy tribal like drumming this
song really has it all, drop dead gorgeous harmony vocals in the verses
with echoes of The Beatles and ELO.
explodes into life for the chorus, with rocked up indie/punk style
guitar work, and I've not stopped playing it since the gig (magnificent
on the album, stunning live). From the same excellent album they they
also performed a beautiful 'Miss U', and the catchy 'Where is My Love?'
end of the set, and for the encores, amazing cones of light cascaded
down onto the band from the lighting rig, a fantastic effect only adding
to the drama of the encores 'Hello' from their debut album and the
magnificently melancholic and haunting 'End of the World' which
seamlessly merged into the powerful final number 'Cloudy Now'.
of both Steve Wilson and Aviv Geffen gel perfectly during the harmonies
and both have outstanding voices in their own right with a plenty of
swapping of the lead vocals between numbers as we all know from the work
of Porcupine Tree, Steve is a top draw guitar player and multi
instrumentalist Aviv showed his skill on both guitar and keyboards
during the performance, the other musicians in Blackfield are also top
in a long list of outstanding rock gigs at The Assembly.