Monday, September 28, 2009

Porcupine Tree x2

PT is presently one of my favorite rock bands. When the tour to support The Incident was announced, I was a little disappointed that I would have to fly to see them (again). I originally bought the tickets for the Philadelphia show, back in April. Things looked like they were working out well for me, since I could also visit my family, and catch a Ravens game during the same trip. I had also arranged to meet up with some friends from Austin, who were flying to see them in Philly, as well.

Several months later, a Baltimore show was added on Friday night, making my (and my friend's) schedule a bit more complicated. As a result, I ended up having to drive from Leonardtown to Baltimore, catch the PT show, drive to Philly the next day for the second show, then get up at 4:30 AM to drive back to Baltimore to tailgate, on Sunday morning. Needless to say, it was exhausting, but I made it. Fortunately, next weekend will be nice and relaxing with just the ACL Festival (LOL ;)

Rams Head Live - Baltimore, MD - Friday 9/25

In hindsight, this may have been the show of the year for me. It was the better venue and performance of the two shows. The only slight minus was the lack of seating. It's a GA venue, with one web site listing the capacity at about 1600 people. If it wasn't a sell-out, it was close, because the club was packed.

The openers, Kings X, played for approximately an hour, followed by 2 sets of an hour each, by PT. For this tour, the first hour set consisted of a complete performance of the Incident, with the 2nd set consisting of a rotation of some older material.

The band had posted a No pictures or recoding request at the venue, and I complied with their request, for both shows. I was able to secure a position, right behind the sound board for this show, which made for an excellent listening experience.

Afterwards some members of PT were out and about. In particular, John Wesley, Colin Edwin, and Richard Barbieri. I'm not much of an autograph collector, but I did get to chat with Colin for a second. I noticed Richard Barbieri high tailed it quickly out of there, and that unlike Houston in 2007, Steven Wilson was nowhere to be found. I asked Colin to talk the band into playing Texas more, and in particular Austin. It sounds like their agent is deliberately restricting them to large metros, because of concerns about the US economy.

Electric Factory - Philadelphia, PA - Saturday 9/26

This venue was also GA, and a bit bigger, holding approximately 2000 to 2500 people. The sound was good, but not exceptional. In general, there's a certain vibe that comes with attending a Philly/South Jersey show that detracts from the experience. True to form, a fight did break out during the show. I called it about 2 minutes before it happened, to my friends. It's kind of sad that this wasn't a surprise.

There were quite a few faces in the crowd that I recognized from the previous night, and this show was the first indication for me, that PT is becoming very popular. The set list was essentially the same, with some differences in the second set, as had been noted on the PT boards. One surprise however, was Normal from the EP, Nil Recurring.

I did talk to several people who mentioned that on previous tours, PT had played the Keswick when they came to Philly (where I saw King Crimson and which has seating). I also noticed, that there were a significant number of females in the audience, which is noteworthy for any band that might even tangentially have the label Prog associated with it. Perhaps this shouldn't be surprising since although they are labeled, Neo-Prog, they seem to be able to attract fans from the Prog, Metal, and Pop worlds in a way I've never seen before.

Opening Act - Kings X

My friends, Ron and Alissa, have raved about this band for a while. They are actually from Houston, and after seeing them twice, I am now sorry I didn't go see them at the Red Eyed Fly in Austin. The lead singer/bass player, Brother Doug, is awesome. The guy is one of those classic rock scream/singers like Robert Plant or Ian Gillian, but takes it to a new level.

I will go see these guys, next time the return to Austin.

Good News

Steven Wilson mentioned a Spring Tour! Here's hoping for a stop in TX.


PT has a blog and pictures from the Electric Factory show

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