29th January 2016
To prog or not to prog? Anyone familiar with Steve Wilson needs no convincing he is a master of the genre, but his gigs are no flowery affair. The gig at the Manchester Apollo was a jaw dropping experience says Mark Whiteside.
Wilson has so many great songs that he could probably play a different set each night.
Starting with a film the band slowly came to the song, To Power Into 3 years Older, shades of King Crimson and other of his influences are quickly apparent but with Wilson’s own twist.
The first set was basically the Hand Cannot Erase album. Aided by some of the best musicians around -Nick Beggs, Craig Blundell, Adam Holzman and Dave Kilminster – This band rock with the best but can also groove, soothe and Jazz. There are not many better live bands around as good as these chaps and even if prog isn’t really your thing the gig has so much interesting music it would fit nicely with fans of all styles…
The sound was loud and powerful and the lighting was interesting and with great visuals. Steve Wilson has come a long way since his early Porcupine Tree days and is a funny, likeable frontman with just enough quirkyness to keep you interested. The band were having a great time on stage and responded well to the applause of the fans.
Stand out moments were Ancestral, Dark Matter and Index with its perfect imagery matching the music.
There was a little dedication to Bowie with Lazarus, not the Bowie song but his own beautiful song. I’ve seen Wilson now quite a few times and he and the band never fail to impress and tonight was no different. A two and a half hour gig was value for money and I know people could have listened to another two hours of this brilliance. I would put this band up against King Crimson as the best around in this genre but whatever genre it is, it is mind blowingly great. Catch them next time and don’t let the idea of “un cool prog” put you off. This is seriously cool and just what a live show should be.
Check out Ancestral:
All words by Mark Whiteside. More writing by Mark can be found at his Louder Than War’s author archive.