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...

4

Steven Wilson at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Steven Wilson
Salle Wilfrid Pelletier
Place des Arts
Montréal, Canada
November 23, 2018

Singer/songwriter Steven Wilson's star has been on the ascendance since he first began releasing albums as Porcupine Tree in the early '90s, a solo project that ultimately became a band when early releases were so successful that it became necessary to form one in order to take the music on the road. When he decided to part company with the group and go solo, under his own name, with 2009's more broad-scoped Insurgentes (Kscope), he was warned that, despite his de facto leadership of Porcupine Tree, he should expect only a relatively small percentage of his audience would go with him into a solo career that, over the course of three additional studio albums on Kscope, from 2011's Grace for Drowning through to 2015's concept album, Hand. Cannot. Erase. , asserted his interest in progressive-leaning music while remaining as stylistically unbound as ever.

First beginning to tour under his own name in 2011, including a staggering performance at Montréal's Corona Theatre in November of that year, and an even more spectacular show at the city's Club Soda in 2013 in support of that year's The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) (Kscope). With expansive musical interests that range from pop and metal to electronic music, drone music and progressive rock, Wilson's similarly superb 2016 date at Theater St-Denis that found him in something of a transitional period in support of Hand. Cannot. Erase.—still catering to his core audience while simultaneously drawing in entirely new demographics.

Bucking all predictions, Wilson has not only managed to retain a large percentage of his Porcupine Tree fans but attract new ones as well, increasingly with each successive solo album. From the very beginning of his time spent on the road as a solo artist, Wilson formed the core of a group that has remained constant to this day, while continuing to grow his audience one city, one show and one album at a time. Wilson's record sales of both studio and live albums have been remarkable enough, given the current landscape of the music industry, but are all the more so given his steadfast insistence on doing everything on his own terms. From the music Wilson writes to increasingly immersive live performances, he's built a reputation for groups with commanding musicianship, along stunning sonics and visuals that many more commercially successful artists, often with much larger budgets, fail to match.

Wilson surprised some of his more progressive-leaning audiences with the release of To the Bone. A decidedly more pop- oriented recording—albeit still imbued with the broad stylistic interests that have driven his entire career and containing songs like the near-disco "Permanating," which sound uncharacteristically joyous from a generally more dark-themed singer/songwriter—To the Bone is still a progressive-leaning album, though one more closely inspired by similarly pop-oriented but still trendsetting '80s artists like Japan, Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush—even ABBA, Wilson's self-admitted second-favourite pop group next to The Beatles). Wilson has also clearly moved to the next level with his solo career, moving from Kscope to the larger Caroline International, along with a new management company equally capable of handling an artist whose star continues to rise, with no end in sight.

It's rare that an artist can return to the same city twice within twelve months, rendering Wilson's return to Montréal at Place des Arts' Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, after performing at the Olympia Theatre just seven months prior, particularly remarkable. That said, Wilson has always preferred standing room venues for, amongst other things, the greater energy he gets from the audience, making the seared Salle Wilfrid Pelletier somewhat less ideal. Still, with a first set more disposed towards the progressive side of Wilson's last two studio albums, being seated wasn't as much of a liability, not to mention that Montréal audiences remain amongst the most enthusiastic around, so there was plenty of energy off of which Wilson and his group could feed. With the second set weighing, at least to some extent, towards Wilson's more (but far from exclusively) user-friendly material, the crowd was more than willing to spend the majority of that set on its feet.

The set list intersected, to some extent, with Wilson's recently released concert film Home Invasion: In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall (Eagle, 2018), not to mention his April show at the Olympia. Still, amongst the dozen songs from the Olympia show also performed at Wilfrid Pelletier, Wilson also changed things up with an additional seven songs drawn from Hand. Cannot. Erase., The Raven That Refused to Sing, his interim, EP-length release, 4 1/2 (Kscope, 2016) and some choice material from the Porcupine Tree back catalog.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Date Detail Price
Dec9Sun
7:00 pm
Steven Wilson
Variety Playhouse
Atlanta, GA
Dec11Tue
7:00 pm
Steven Wilson
Vinyl Music Hall
Pensacola, FL
Dec16Sun
7:00 pm
Steven Wilson
Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Jan17Thu
7:00 pm
Steven Wilson
L'Auditori
Barcelona, Spain
Mar2Sat
7:00 pm
Steven Wilson
October Palace
Kiev, Ukraine

Related Articles

Read Joe Gransden's Big Band At Cafe 290 Live Reviews
Joe Gransden's Big Band At Cafe 290
by Martin McFie
Published: December 9, 2018
Read U2 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin Live Reviews
U2 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 9, 2018
Read David Johansen at The Space at Westbury Live Reviews
David Johansen at The Space at Westbury
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: December 9, 2018
Read Joshua Bowlus Trio at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Joshua Bowlus Trio at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: December 8, 2018
Read Arturo Sandoval At Yoshi's Live Reviews
Arturo Sandoval At Yoshi's
by Walter Atkins
Published: December 8, 2018
Read Julian Lage Trio at Flynn Center for the Performing Arts Live Reviews
Julian Lage Trio at Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
by Doug Collette
Published: December 7, 2018
Read "WDR 3 Jazzfest 2018" Live Reviews WDR 3 Jazzfest 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 16, 2018
Read "Steve Harris tribute at the Lighthouse Arts Centre" Live Reviews Steve Harris tribute at the Lighthouse Arts Centre
by Barry Witherden
Published: October 7, 2018
Read "Steven Wilson at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier" Live Reviews Steven Wilson at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier
by John Kelman
Published: December 1, 2018
Read "Jazztopad Festival 2017" Live Reviews Jazztopad Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "Anat Cohen Tentet at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Anat Cohen Tentet at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: December 16, 2017