Exposé Online banner

Paolo Baltaro — Live Pillheads
(Musea Banksville, 2018, CD / LP)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-12-30

Live Pillheads Cover art

Is there room in the world of music for a live album that’s not really progressive rock or retro classic rock, but consists of good tunes well played? Guitarist Paolo Baltaro is known to me through his work with SADO, which is a fairly experimental group in my experience. Live Pillheads is clearly a rock effort, though it is not the kind of music that is tightly arranged and sounds as if the performance is likely exactly like the rehearsals. The musicians know the tunes, and play with spontaneous energy and plenty of room for improvisation without sounding overindulgent or attention-seeking. A good example is their take on the early Pink Floyd tune “Bike.” They take a bit of psychedelic goofiness and turn it into an extended (nearly six minute) workout that exhibits the goofiness in a different way. In the course of the set, the talented band hits a number of moods and tempos, from rock ballads to boogie struts to big riffs with touches of blues. And at the end, they dive into a tune called “Cole Porter and Frankz's Birthday Party,” which provides a hint at where their aesthetic is coming from. This track should definitely apeal to fans of Frank Zappa’s 70s live work, with trading solos from guitar and synth. There’s also a version of “Angel of March,” a prog mini-epic from Baltaro’s previous band Arcansiel. Vocally, Baltaro has a pleasant, gruff tone that works well for the music, and he sings in both English and Italian. While it may be a little outside of what is normally considered progressive rock, anyone who appreciates a great band letting rip in a variety of styles should enjoy Live Pillheads.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Paolo Baltaro

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Edward Artemiev - Crime and Punishment – Opera comes with all sorts of preconceptions: large women breaking glass with their voices, too much vibrato, bombastic music. Edward Artemiev's opera Crime and Punishment (based on the book by...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues