All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

13

Steven Wilson at Club Soda

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Steven Wilson
Club Soda
Montreal, Canada
April 25, 2013

When currently ex-Porcupine Tree founder/front man last played Montreal in November, 2011—touring in support of his second solo recording, Grace for Drowning (Kscope, 2011)—it was clear by the end of the performance that the next time he came to the Canadian city, the crowd which filled the 800-capacity Corona Theatre was certain to grow. Not exponentially, as Wilson's solo career has unveiled in a methodical fashion that is, for anyone who knows him, absolutely consistent with his personality. Wilson is undeniably a risk taker, but he's a careful one.

It may have been a risk to walk away from Porcupine Tree (at least, for the time being) to launch a solo career where, in his 2012 All About Jazz interview, he recounted how he'd been told by ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett to ..."expect your audience to fall by 80 percent." At the time of the interview Wilson had already managed to buck the odds, managing to retain about 50 percent of his Porcupine Tree fans. Less than a year later, with the release of The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) (Kscope, 2013) still fresh—and selling extremely well—that number is now more like 80 percent, and for a variety of reasons. No mean feat, considering he's in a more progressive arena than Porcupine Tree, writing material that blends deeper complexity with unmistakable lyrical appeal.

Wilson now has a band that, with the addition of guitarist Guthrie Govan to the pre-existing lineup of woodwind/reed multi-instrumentalist Theo Travis, keyboardist Adam Holzman, bassist/stick player/background vocalist Nick Beggs and drummer Marco Minnemann, is one of the best—if not the best—progressive rock groups on the road today, bringing a strong jazz sensibility to what is still undeniably a progressive rock show. And while he's still, for the most part, touring smaller venues than he did with Porcupine Tree, his audience is gradually building, and it's likely that, just as the Grace for Drowning tour grew his fan base, this year's extensive world tour will do the same...and, perhaps, even more.

For his return to Montreal, Wilson moved to the 940-capacity (standing) Club Soda, which was home to Jaga Jazzist's tremendous 2011 Montreal Jazz Festival performance, where the crowd's over-the-top response surprised a Norwegian jazz/prog group well-used to overzealous reactions. Montreal has long held a reputation for its particularly ardent audiences, and the sold-out Club Soda crowd didn't disappoint, responding to Wilson's show with so much enthusiasm—and so completely unwilling to let the group get away with just one encore—that Wilson decided to do something he's only done one other time on this tour: return for a second one.

The first encore was also something of a surprise, a version of Porcupine Tree's early, Pink Floyd-informed "Radioactive Toy," from 1991's On the Sunday of Life... (Delerium). Wilson explained that since the first three recordings were really solo recordings (not forming a touring band until he needed one a few years later), he figured it was fair game to include a song from that repertoire. True enough, but a second encore medley of Grace for Drowning's "Remainder the Black Dog" and Insurgentes' "No Twilight Within The Courts Of The Sun"—its unusual segue between tunes explained away by Wilson backstage after the show as, "there's no easy way to get from 15 to 21," referring to the two songs' irregular meters—only demonstrated, in very clear terms, just how far Wilson has come as a writer since those early days, from 1988-1991, when he conceived, wrote and recorded that important first album.

Montreal's outrageously enthusiastic response to Wilson's show was not without extreme good reason; if his 2011 show was superb, his April 25, 2013 Club Soda performance was even better, an intense, dramatic show filled with epic writing, memorable melodies and stellar playing. The group has clearly come a long way in 17 months in terms of chemistry, comfort and trust, but it's the addition of Govan that has finally completed Wilson's band; a guitarist as compelling, capable, imaginative and dynamic as the rest of his band mates, it's the final piece of a puzzle Wilson has been creating since he first toured Grace for Drowning two years ago.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood Vampires, Black Asteroids & Paul Lamb Live Reviews
Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood...
by Martin Longley
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe
by Chris May
Published: September 15, 2018
Read 12 Points 2018 Live Reviews
12 Points 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 14, 2018
Read Chicago Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Chicago Jazz Festival 2018
by Patrick Burnette
Published: September 12, 2018
Read "Curtis Brothers At Scullers" Live Reviews Curtis Brothers At Scullers
by Steve Provizer
Published: February 28, 2018
Read ""A Love Supreme" with Ravi Coltrane" Live Reviews "A Love Supreme" with Ravi Coltrane
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: October 6, 2017
Read "Gabrielle Stravelli at The 75 Club" Live Reviews Gabrielle Stravelli at The 75 Club
by Tyran Grillo
Published: December 21, 2017
Read "Crosscurrents at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor" Live Reviews Crosscurrents at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 15, 2017
Read "Bill Laswell/Milford Graves/John Zorn at The Stone" Live Reviews Bill Laswell/Milford Graves/John Zorn at The Stone
by Tyran Grillo
Published: December 22, 2017