Spock's Beard — The X Tour - Live
(Music Theories Recordings MTR 7357 2, 2012, 2CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2013-04-01
This set marks the end of an era for Spock's Beard. The tour in support of the 2010 album X was the last to include founding member, drummer, and singer Nick D'Virgilio. As with another notable prog band that had its drummer take over lead vocal duties, D'Virgilio gave "the Beard" bucketloads of talent and professionalism that will be missed. This outing (recorded at the Downey Theatre in SoCal) serves up fan favorites like "Thoughts" and "The Doorway," as well as the entire X album (a nice demonstration of confidence in new material for a group with ten albums to draw from). The entire group is firing on all cylinders, including Ryo Okumoto on keyboards, Dave Meros on bass, Alan Morse on guitar and live drummer Jimmy Keegan (now SB's permanent drummer). Okumoto flings chops around the hall on the instrumental "Kamikaze" while Meros shines on "The Quiet House," delivering the meaty and virtuosic bass lines he's known for. Alan Morse complements the keyboards via guitar work that is equally at home with textural backing and soaring melodic leads. Perhaps even more impressive than the instrumental fireworks Spock's Beard musters on stage is the group's command of multi-part vocal harmonies. I can't guarantee that some "sweetening" hasn't been applied in post-production, but the end result reinforces what has always been one of SB's trademark strengths. The sound quality on this set is solid, if a tad flat. The drums were sacrificed a bit to ensure everything else has clarity, but that's probably a worthwhile tradeoff. If the Nick D'Virgilio era is to be judged by this release alone then they have a document to be proud of. Note: This review pertains only to the audio portion of this release, which also includes a DVD with video of the same event.
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more