Best Concerts of 2015

BestOf2015_Buddies2Once again my wife Artina and I had a wonderful year of travel and concerts, stoking our love of music and performance. It was another year that saw many acts from the 1970’s and 80’s coming back to town, along with several new bands we’ve followed over the last 25 years. Here is a list of the eleven best shows (one more than 10!) more or less ordered from best to less best, from where we sat:

Steven Wilson, San Francisco & London

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We were privileged to catch Steven on his Hand.Cannot.Erase. tour stop at the Warfield theater in San Francisco, and then again one the second night of his London show at the Royal Albert Hall. Both were spectacular, but the London show was special as Ninet Tayeb was on hand to sing a devastating, beautiful lead vocal for “Routine” and Wilson performed many Porcupine Tree classics including a song I’ve happily not been able to get out of my head “She’smovedon.” Wilson and his concert production team are adept at staging his work live, setting the mood with long dissonant ambient sounds, muted lighting and surrealistic imagery projected on a stunning high definition screen. As with earlier shows in the tour, the lighting techniques were clever and colorful. Sound was crisp and clear, reproduced by the top-notch audio system, which sounded amazing in the acoustic-friendly Royal Albert Hall. Even with all the finery, the primary focus remained on the band members and guest musicians demonstrating their virtuosic skills throughout.

Änglagård, Cruise To The Edge

Anglagard_BandSax_72dpiNot my wife’s favorite, as they can be very angular, but I’m working on her! I find this band from Sweden to be on the forefront of modern progressive rock. Taking cues from King Crimson, and European peers Shylock, SFF, and Ragnarok, this band manages to hit both beautiful and melancholy sounds in perfect harmony, calling in mind things like “Lark’s Tongues in Aspic” while being completely original. Their two sets on the cruise were a rare treat given their infrequent tours. Änglagård incorporated flute and acoustic instruments, putting Anna Holmgren (flute, saxophone, Mellotron, recorder, melodica) at center stage, Tord Lindman on guitar and occasional vocals, and the rest of the talented band all anchored by Johan Brand’s confident leads on Rickenbacker bass. Their live performances are more fluid and accessible than on record, as is true of the best bands.

Martin Barre, Cruise To The Edge
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This long time Jethro Tull guitarist led his crack band of blues-rockers through a roots-oriented show, focusing on new songs from his latest solo album, the excellent return to form Back To Steel. A follow-up morning gig featured more Tull classics including a very condensed version of a Tull epic they called “Thin As A Brick” after which Martin expressed the desire to carry on indefinitely, threatening to play the 1973 opus A Passion Play backwards! On the new album and in concert, vocalist and second guitarist Dan Crisp shines, bringing his own style to the new tracks, and the older Tull songs. Clearly, all members of the band, which included skilled drummer George Lindsay and veteran bassist Alan Thomson were in fine form. Martin looked happy and relaxed, joking that it was the first gig they played on coffee, and announcing, “Thank you for choosing us over porridge…were going to be the best breakfast you ever had!” Truer words…

Gryphon Fly Again

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Gryphon recorded 5 albums from 1971-1977, each with a slightly different contemporary take on traditional English folk music including medieval and Renaissance era sounds, and original compositions, which blended instruments like bassoon, crumhorn, recorders and mandolin, with modern electric bass, guitar, and keyboards. We had the rare opportunity to see their reunion show earlier this year, which was a consistent display of virtuosity from each of the skilled multi-instrumentalists. Drummer Dave Oberle and Brian Gulland occasionally sang in rich bass and baritone voices undiminished by their long absence from the stage. Dave’s work on drums and percussion, along with bass player Jon Davie anchored the songs with rumbling toms, and a thick and varied bottom end. Guitarist Graeme Taylor spent the evening seated with his acoustic guitar front and center, adding shimmering rhythms and leads to the music. Relative newcomer Graham Preskett filled in on all sorts of instruments including the only electronic keyboard, along with guitar, violin and winds. Founder Richard Harvey and Brian led with solo and dueling winds and traditional keyboards, each thrilling the audience with their display of talent. Richard’s lightening fast leads on recorders bring honor to a sometimes-maligned instrument. Brian’s skill on the bassoon is a fun listen – certainly something you won’t often hear elsewhere. And, you haven’t seen anything in progressive folk/rock until you witness two expert crumhorn players duel with rapid-fire counterpoint!

Camel’s Long Journey, Rambin’ Man Festival

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Founding guitarist Andrew Latimer’s shows a rare restraint, like contemporaries Eric Clapton and David Gilmour, wringing powerful emotion from every note, never crowding the measure. On top of this, he sings and plays flute, and these skills were all on display at the summer festival. He traded leads and harmonies with Colin Bass (who makes everything he does look easy, paired with Denis on drums) and shared solos with keyboard wizard Ton, who was in great form. Although this was a great show, the band was rushed offstage, seeming to be surprised at the shorter time they were allotted. Prior nights on this brief tour included a three track set from Dust and Dreams (1991) a keyboard instrumental, and “Long Goodbyes” from Stationary Traveller, (1984), one of our favorites, none of which they were able to play. The rush seemed unnecessary; the stage time allotted to the comparatively pedestrian Scorpions would have fit Camel’s entire set list. It was not an arrangement befitting one of Britain’s most talented musical outfits. Nonetheless Camel packed a punch during their truncated 80 minute set and made the trip to England special for us.

Alan Parsons at Club Nokia

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Alan Parsons and his supremely talented band played the Nokia Club in Los Angeles, performing in town for the first time in 6 years on June 11, 2015. The group was at the absolute top of their game, driving through a set list that included many of their hits recorded over the years as The Alan Parsons Project, and in particular highlighting one of their most popular albums, The Turn Of A Friendly Card (1980). Parsons and his musicians were all in a great spirit, reproducing the sound of the studio records with pinpoint accuracy but also with some improvisation, and room to demonstrate virtuosity. The band on this night were: Alastair Greene (guitar), Dan Tracey (guitar), Guy Erez (bass), Danny Thompson (drums), Tom Brooks (keyboards), Todd Cooper (lead vocals, saxophone, cowbell J), and long time vocalist P.J. Olsson who just nails the delicate, emotive vocals of songs like “Time” and “Old and Wise” –truly wonderful.

Robert Plant’s Still Got It!

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Robert Plant totally rocked the BottleRock festival in Napa California on May 30, 2015. We brought a dozen friends along for our birthday weekend, and went in with mixed expectations – knowing he would do some of his own material and of course some Led Zeppelin classics and generally just hoping to see this rock n’ roll legend perform at his best. From the start we were actually a bit shocked at how incredible the show was. Robert opened with “The Wanton Song” an old Zeppelin classic, performed pretty much as originally recorded. What followed was a mix of his solo work, covers, and Zeppelin songs, including “Black Dog”, “The Lemon Song”, “What Is and What Should Never Be” and others. During Robert’s rendition of “Going To California” a 20 something woman behind me started to cry and I realized what an impact Zeppelin’s music and Robert’s vocal prowess have meant to generations.

Dungen’s Groove

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Swedish band Dungen’s sound has softened a bit over the years since the debut in 2001. Since it’s music that’s hard to describe, it’s best to listen to a few tracks. Check out this video for “Akt Dit” which sports an intro and melody reminiscent of French duo Air. Or for an earlier more challenging psychedelic track try “Högdalstoppen” from the album Skit I Allt (2010). While the majority of songs are more pastoral and melodic, each show has at least one long instrumental “freak out” such as “Högdalstoppen.” Best to salve the dissonance with a typical follow up track such as “Satt Att Se” which sports a nice animated video. As if to confirm the difficulty one has describing their sound, front man Gustav Ejstes explains on their website that the 2010 album Skit I Allt “is about a certain feeling: you’re with your friends and mates, all hanging out till 6 in the morning. You’re the last one left at the party and you call this person that you want to be with. They’re asleep, but they still say, ‘Ah, fuck it, come over.’ It’s that feeling.”

Kansas Carry On…. In Valencia, California

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Kansas is now touring again, populated with the two original members Ehart and Williams and new members that have joined over many years. Original member Dave Hope (bass) left in 1983 and Billy Greer has played bass with the band since then. Robby Steinhardt (violin, vocals) retired almost 10 years ago in 2006 and David Ragsdale has been their violin player since that time, with Greer covering Steinhart’s vocal parts. Principal composer Kerry Livgren (guitars, keys) was in and out of the band until his final departure in 2000, and since then both Williams and Ragsdale cover his guitar parts. After Walsh’s retirement last year, the remaining players hired Ronnie Platt primarily to cover his vocal parts, along with some keys, and David Manion to supply primary keyboard parts and add some background vocals. The good news is, as seen carrying on this year, Kansas is definitely back and ready to roll.

Ty Segall’s Glam and Grind

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Ty Segall is a 27 year old indie rock wunderkind from San Francisco. Ty has released eight studio albums, beginning with 2008’s Ty Segall and continuing thru to 2014’s rocker Manipulator, building a solid fan base over these last seven years. In addition, he has released more than two-dozen singles and EP’s and played on as many albums by other indie bands. We caught up with him at the Great American Music Hall last January. From the first note it was clear that Ty’s punk roots remain strong. Hard core fans populated a mosh pit up front, slowing to rapt attention only during some of the new numbers, and building to a fever on the rest. The performance was energetic and unrelenting, as Ty, dressed in workman’s jump suit attacked both guitar and vocal leads with aplomb, recalling an early, angular Pete Townsend, though channeling less anger, more excitement (he is from California after all).

Blancmange Semi-Detached

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Blancmange recently completed a two-night live stint at The Red Gallery in London. We were fortunate to be over from San Francisco, to catch the first of these on Friday May 15, 2015. Blancmange last made it to my city by the bay way back in the early 1980’s when I felt similarly fortunate to catch a show at the Old Waldorf. There we witnessed Neil Arthur (vocals, haircut, quirky moves), Stephen Luscombe (keyboards) and David Rhodes (guitar, rhythm) play along with a reel to reel tape, backup singers, and a harried drummer who had occasional trouble keeping up with the pace of Stephen’s drum machine. It was a fantastic show – one of my favorite memories of 80’s era “new wave” concerts we attended in and around San Francisco. Blancmange is now primarily the vehicle for singer Neil Arthur and his current day electronic music. Founding partner Stephen Luscombe is said to be ill, unable to join on this album and live shows that follow. For the concert, long time guitarist and collaborator David Rhodes, was present once again. It was a fun show from these talented artists.

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David Gilmour, Heart, Of Montreal, Yes, Marillion, Three Friends, PFM, Moon Safari, Haken, Steeleye Span, Robin Trower, U.K., Mew, Billy Idol, Paula Frazier, Tempest, Midge Ur, Magma, Blue Oyster Cult, Simon Phillips and David Pack were all excellent as well – we feel blessed to have seen more than three dozen incredible artists perform in concert this year.

Honorable mention must go to Madonna, who brought her stage extravaganza to the bay area this year. Her shows are akin to Las Vegas productions, much like veteran diva Cher, complete with hi-def video, large band, dancers, and lots of props and production value. It was a fantastic show – the only pop oriented band of the year, owing to the fact that I am buried in 1970’s history at the moment, finishing a book on that era’s defining rock concerts. From here forward, we have a definite plan to put away the AARP card, and get out to hear more new bands. We are already set to include Beach House, Ra Ra Riot, Muse, and many more.

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I’m also happy to be learning more about how to take concert photos at these shows. Artina does some, and has a great eye, and I’m trying to catch up. Last several shows I’m using the “bridge camera” Lumix FZ-1000 and liking the results. Given I’ve been fortunate to meet some of the greatest photographers of the rock era this year, it’s been an inspiration!  Happy New Year to you and yours….. Doug

Nightmare at the Hollywood Bowl

Nightmare_Ad_300dpiThis last November 1st I had myself a late Halloween “trick” and an early Christmas “treat.” The event was a trip to Los Angeles to see Danny Elfman, the cast members, and live orchestra perform the score from Tim Burton’s stop-motion animation classic The Nightmare Before Christmas at the Hollywood Bowl. It was a truly spectacular show from start to finish, with an encore that had Elfman bringing out Oingo Boingo’s guitarist and composer Steve Bartek for a rendition of one of their most well known tracks, “Dead Man’s Party,” the first time they played the song together since the band’s last show 20 years earlier.

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Danny Elfman began his career as leader of the musical theater group The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo in the mid 1970s. The band shortened their name to Oingo Boingo in 1979 and released their first proper album in 1981, Only A Lad, one of those debut albums that perfectly define an artist. I first saw the group after their next two album releases Nothing to Fear (1982) and Good For Your Soul (1983) opening for The Police at one of Bill Graham’s last “Day on the Green” shows, which included The Fixx, Madness and The Thompson Twins! Oingo Boingo stole the show that day with their amazing live act, using all manner of drums and percussion, a full horn section, and the Elfman/Bartek one-two punch on guitar. Elfman’s stage moves and vocals were amazingly energetic and perfectly on pitch. The entire audience was caught up in the jubilation of the show. The band continued to record and tour into the mid 1990s, ending their run at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles in 1995 for the last of what had been many thrilling shows staged annually on Halloween night. These concerts always seemed appropriate given the frequency of Elfman’s references to frightening, dramatic subjects, best exemplified by the 1985 album Dead Man’s Party.

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After the band broke up, Elfman went on to focus on film scores; he has been nominated for four Academy Awards. Steve Bartek has been orchestrator for most of these scores. The first one was composed while Elfman was still in Oingo Boingo, for Tim Burton’s Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, and their collaborations continue to this day, most recently for the movie Big Eyes. Their projects often include strong themes of dark fantasy, including those found in Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Batman, and in particular, one of their best realized works, 1993’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.

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Nightmare is in many ways one of Tim Burton’s most personal creations and his deepest collaboration with Danny Elfman. Burton wrote the poem on which the story is based back in 1982, a couple of years before leaving the Disney studios. He and Disney finally inked a development deal in 1990, attracting Henry Selick to the director’s chair. It’s a very well regarded film, a sort of cult classic that has been rereleased many times, even in 3D.

The musical follows the story of lead character Jack Skellington, the “Pumpkin King” who has grown tired of being in charge of Halloween year after year. Stumbling on a portal that leads to other holiday worlds, he explores the land of Christmas, returning with a plot to take over the holiday and reinvigorate his life. Of course these plans go horribly wrong, as the residents of Halloween town don’t know the difference between a trick and a treat! But in the end, Santa saves the day. Jack is redeemed, even “getting the girl” at the coda, as he admits his love for his rag doll costar Sally. Besides composing all of the music and songs for the movie, all of Jack’s numbers are sung by Danny Elfman. The cast of this delightful holiday movie included Chris Sarandon as the speaking voice of Jack, comedienne Catherine O’Hara as Sally, William Hickey as Doctor Finkelstein, Ken Page as Oogie Boogie, Paul Reubens (Pee-wee) as Lock and many others. It’s a heartwarming holiday tale full of Burton-esque imagery, both beautiful and strange.

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Jack and Sally Profess Their Love
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Ken Page, the Oogie Boogie man!

Most of those cast members were on hand at the Hollywood Bowl for the live performance of the soundtrack. After an introduction by the orchestra, the movie began, and the rest of the music and vocals were performed in sync with the film. Elfman’s voice has not diminished over the years, and despite some reportedly serious hearing loss, he was in good health, animated and pitch perfect. It was particularly fun to see Ken Page reprise his role as the Oogie Boogie man, and to have Catherine O’Hara perform her songs as Sally. Having most of the remaining cast and added singers line up as a sort of choral section helped make the backing vocals, and especially the sometimes annoying parts of the obnoxious Halloween brats Lock, Shock, and Barrel more fun and relatable. For the encores, Elfman came out to reprise “Oogie Boogie’s Song,” one of his stated favorites, and to join Catherine and others for a reprise of “Kidnap The Sandy Claws.” Finally, Steve Bartek joined him for that rendition of “Dead Man’s Party.” The orchestra was brilliant, the staging festive, and the night was everything any of us could have hoped for. Should it happen again next year, it would be a very good time for all fans to make the trip to Los Angeles!

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Steve Bartek
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Danny Elfman

Zappa at the Roxy and Warfield

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Frank Zappa


In 1980, when I was in college in San Luis Obispo, a then sleepy town half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, our exposure to the early advance of punk and “new wave” music from Britain was delayed. In the mean time, one of my best friends from High School moved up and we roomed together during that transitional year. We were both very into 1970’s progressive rock, but Ron was more attuned to jazz-fusion, modern classical music, and sometimes genre-bending experimental work. So we schooled each other in our tastes, which meant that while I pitched him Camel and Gentle Giant, he shared with me artists like Jan Hammer, National Health, and most importantly Frank Zappa, all of which required peer pressure and repeated listening to appreciate! I eventually screwed up that friendship, but ended up with a life long gift from Ron’s patient tutelage.

Zappa was the taste that took the longest time to develop. His compositions were often bizarre, shot through with absurdist humor and outrageous musical interludes that crossed multiple genres including rock, jazz, classical, progressive and the avant-garde, sometimes within one song! For some reason, probably due to my young age, I first understood the allure of Zappa via Roxy & Elsewhere (1974) and the opening track “Penguin in Bondage:”

She’s just like a penguin in bondage, boy….
Way over on the wet side of the bed!

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Chester Thompson

Somehow this made my late-teen funny bone rattle every time I heard it. Being a fan of low-budget horror films at the time, the song “Cheepnis,” a kind of tribute to those films, also became a favorite, along with “Don’t You Ever Wash That Thing,” which featured dual drum solos from Chester Thompson and Ralph Humphery. I had already seen Chester play alongside Phil Collins when Genesis came to Los Angeles in 1977 and after, so that was a known entity. Also, I knew Ruth Underwood for her work with drummer Burleigh Drummond on the urban-jungle themed “The Brunt” from Ambrosia’s wonderful album Somewhere I Never Travelled. References intact, my journey began.

As it turned out, Roxy & Elsewhere, and the masterpiece the followed, One Size Fits All (1975), brought together what remains for this patron one of the strongest Zappa lineups in history, the final version of his “Mothers of Invention,” featuring:

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Ruth Underwood

Napoleon Murphy Brock – flute, tenor sax, vocals
George Duke – keyboards, vocals
Ruth Underwood – marimba, vibraphone, percussion
Chester Thompson – drums, sound effects
Tom Fowler – bass guitar
and guests

Zappa_OneSizeCover_72dpiOne Size Fits All kicks off with the impossibly complex masterpiece “Inca Roads” for which a groundbreaking Claymation video was created. George Duke’s silky-smooth vocals are paired with his similarly stunning synth leads. Ruth Underwood absolutely owns the vibraphone, playing at a pace that defies the imagination (“that’s Ruth!”) Chester Thompson pins the whole thing down with an impressive display of fills and fusion riffs (“Chester’s Thang!”) It’s a fantastic way to lead off an album that never lags as it goes on to explore many diverse styles and moods. The upbeat “Can’t Afford No Shoes” grounds the record with some pure rock, “Sofa No. 1” brings some after-hours Manhattan soul, “Po-Jama People” sports some of Frank’s most entertaining lyrics, along with a lengthy, labyrinth guitar solo. And that’s just side one! Of note, three tracks on the flip side, “Florentine Pogen,” “San Ber-dino” and “Andy” demonstrate the best side of Zappa and his band’s many talents, veering as they do into the most difficult yet tight jazz-fusion excursions on record.

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To my great surprise, more than 40 years after it’s release, Frank Zappa’s son Dweezil, who continues to perform his father’s music under the touring name Zappa Plays Zappa, came to the Warfield in San Francisco, December 5th to perform One Size Fits All in its entirety, along with many other classics. The show was truly spectacular, as Dweezil and band have mastered the art of recreating Frank’s music, while breathing new life into the compositions. Everyone on stage put in amazing performances, and the very complex pieces received their due diligence from:

Dweezil Zappa: Guitar
Scheila Gonzalez: Saxophone, Flute, Keyboards & Vocals
Ben Thomas: Vocals
Chris Norton: Keyboards
Kurt Morgan: Bass
Ryan Brown: Drums

Ben took on the monumental task of covering vocals as diverse as Napoleon Murphy Brock, George Duke, and most notably Frank himself, proving his ability to pitch even the most satirical and wry bits without sounding like a mimic. Chris, Scheila, Kurt and occasionally Dweezil ably assist him and when they all sang together it was harmonic perfection. It was pure heaven to witness these amazing songs played live by this group of talented musicians and the man who keeps it “all in the family.” My only nit about the whole evening was the lack of a vibes player to take Ruth’s parts, which were instead simulated on synthesizer. Scheila captured the sound, but for those rapid-fire leads there’s no substitute for real vibes.

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But as it turns out, a film of Frank Zappa and the final Mothers performances at the Roxy Theater way back in 1973, including an early version of “Inca Roads” with Ruth in all her mallet-driven glory is now available on Blue-Ray disc! Some of the Zappa_RoxyMovie_Cover_72dpiperformances from those three nights were used on the audio only release Roxy & Elsewhere, but many remained on bootlegs or in the vaults, and the films have been completely unavailable, in no small part due to technical difficulties which rendered the audio elements nearly impossible to sync with the film footage. After extensive rework and painstaking editing, the films are finally available. The camerawork is excellent, as there are four cameras on stage and positioned at the back of the small club for the wide shots. The lens swoops in and out of the action, capturing crystal clear close-up images of each musician hitting their most challenging notes, while delivering the vocals, humor and stagecraft. At the end of the raucous evening, the stage is packed with guests, including a stripper who attempts to distract the dedicated players! Any fan of Zappa’s music during this period must have this video release – it’s an important document of the man, his band, and their most amazing musical performances.

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Änglagård at Sea

CTTE_Poster_72dpiLast month we attended the third annual progressive rock festival, Cruise To The Edge. Of the many performances on that voyage, including sets from Yes, Marillion, PFM, Three Friends, Martin Barre, Moon Safari, and so many others, there was one group that made a very rare appearance, and stood out from the pack, and that was Swedish progressive rock band Änglagård. Their two sets were masterful, florid demonstrations of the sonic power and grace that this genre can attain.

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Änglagård charted a new course for the progressive rock genre beginning in 1991 with the release of their debut Hybris. With influences such as King Crimson, SFF, Shylock, Ragnarok and other European bands, Änglagård incorporated flute and acoustic instruments, along with electric guitars, keyboards and vocals, all anchored by Johan Brand’s confident leads on Rickenbacker Bass and then drummer Mattias Olsson’s massive array of toms, bells, and varied forms of percussion. The debut was a spectacular, influential masterwork that drew audiences already attuned to the prog genre, along with new fans attracted by the mix of beautiful pastoral and euro-folk songs infused with powerful, metal passages.

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Fans and critics also rightly applauded their second album, the all-instrumental Epilog in 1994. At this point, unfortunately, the band went on a very long hiatus. With the exception of several performances in 2003 including one at Nearfest, the group did not return to the spotlight until July 2012 when they released their third album Viljans Oga. Shortly after this, Tord Lindman rejoined the band and they recruited new members, touring on and off during 2013, with the following lineup, unchanged when we saw them last month on the cruise:

Anna Holmgren (flute, saxophone, Mellotron, recorder, melodica)
Johan Brand (bass, moog Taurus basspedals, atmospheric sound
Tord Lindman (guitar, vocals, gong and atmospheric sound
Erik Hammarstrom (drums, cymbals, vibraphone, glockenspiel, tubular bells, gran casa, gong)
Linus Kase (Hammond B3, Mellotron, fender phodes, moog voyager, piano, soprano saxophone, vocals)

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One of the tour stops in 2013 was for a series of performances on March 15, 16, and 17th in Japan at Club Sitta. These were recorded for an amazing new live album, Prog pa Svenska, Live Anglagard_LiveCD_72dpiin Japan released January 2014. The album captures the band in top form, with older tracks revitalized and colored with a broader palette, a more dynamic range. In liner notes for the album, Matt Di Giordano claims rightly that the band “paint a hurricane of sound with more subtle shades than ever.” The album begins with a new track “Introvert
us” described as “melodies and riffs of all kinds flying across the room. Intricate drum patterns, whining guitar, ripping bass lines, beautiful Mellotron, proggy Hammond riffs, fuzzy Wurlitzer melodies, blistering saxophone and ornamented flute.” It’s an amazing document of a band coming back to form, and going beyond their beginnings, captured at just the right time in front of rapturous fans. It’s the launching point for their work on a new album.

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In correspondence with bassist Johan Brand, he told me about the band’s work on that new album. I asked how the work was progressing, and if there will be a change in sound or approach:

Johan: Everyone in the band has amassed quite a lot of new written material that we are going to put together now as new Änglagård songs. I dare not comment on how the new record might sound. But we are not a band which softens with age and begins to play more readily available prog …No… Änglagård are uncompromising when it comes to song composition, sound, recording and artwork.

Therefore we will complete the entire process ourselves. We are being meticulous in creating a new record will have the same high quality as the early albums.

I dare not say when the record will be completed but it shouldn’t take 10 years this time! What I can say is that we plan to record each track as much as possible live in a studio environment. We think it is important that the material have grove and feel real and free.

In the meantime, fans and newcomers will be interested to know that this month the Japanese record label, Disc Union will release a deluxe CD box as a tribute to the album Hybris titled 23 years of Hybris.

The box is limited to 500 numbered copies. It will be three CDs with lots of inserts and a thick book of photographs from the early years that have never before been published:

CD1, Original Studio Recording, Hybris
CD2, Early Tapes, old demos, live material, jam sessions
CD3, Radio documentary

For any fan of progressive rock, or adventurous music in general, this will make a stylish holiday gift!

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One of the very cool things about Änglagård’s sets on the cruise is that they varied the two shows so as to play a larger cross section of their excellent material. The set lists for the cruise were:

Pool stage.

Höstsejd
Vandringar i vilsenhet
Sorgmantel
Jordrök
Sista somrar

Atrium stage:

Prolog
Höstsejd
Längtans klocka
Introvertus fugu part1
I från klarhet till klarhet
Kung bore

Every attendee I talked to was excited to vote for Änglagård’s return to the next Cruise To The Edge voyage planned for 2017. Let’s hope that happens, as this band embodies modern progressive rock, and deserves to be seen and heard by every fan of the genre.

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