Want List: Stephen Duffy – I Love My Friends DLX RM

A.K.A. – A Young Person’s Guide To “I Love My Friends”

Here’s some great news for fans of songwriter Stephen Duffy. His 1997-1998 album “I Love My Friends” is getting a third lease on life. The 1997 issue on Indolent Records [as seen at left] barely made it out to the wilds before being withdrawn and the album was reissued the next year on Cooking Vinyl instead. I managed to snag the Indolent copy on the early days of eBay back when I actually bid on records and CDs there! [a fair two decades ago]

What we didn’t know back then was that the label didn’t have the confidence to release the album that Duffy had recorded, and he was admonished to go back into the studio with Lilac Time producer Andy Partridge to got some “single ready” material. So “You Are” and “What If I Fell In Love With You” replaced material in the original running order before the Indolent much less Cooking Vinyl versions reached the fans. I can’t say anything bad about the sumptuous pop of “You Are,” a song that ranks among the finest I’d ever heard from Duffy in what was then a dozen years of fandom.

1998 version

Cooking Vinyl ‎| UK | CD | COOK CD144 | 1998

Stephen Duffy: I Love My Friends UK CD [1998]

  1. Tune In
  2. Eucharist
  3. 17
  4. Lover’s Beware
  5. You Are
  6. The Deal
  7. She Belongs To All
  8. Autopsy
  9. What If I Fell In Love With You
  10. Something Good
  11. Twenty Three
  12. The Postcard
  13. One Day One Of These F***s Will Change Your Life

In 2001, I was in Toronto shopping and found the Canadian “You Are” 5-track single.

Page Music ‎| CAN | CD5 | D1379 | 1998

Stephen Duffy: You Are CAN CD5 [1998]

  1. You Are
  2. 17
  3. House Of Flowers
  4. In The Evening Of Her Day
  5. Comedown

Years later I saw on Discogs that there had been a 3xCD issue of “17” on Indolent though I have never been able to source these releases.

Indolent Records ‎| UK | CD5 #1 | DUFF 006 CD1 | 1997

Stephen Duffy: 17 [CD #1] UK CD5 [1997]

  1. 17
  2. Mao Badge
  3. Comedown
  4. Hey Kat

Indolent Records ‎| UK | CD5 #2 | DUFF 006 CD2 | 1997

Stephen Duffy: 17 [CD #2] UK CD5 [1997]

  1. 17
  2. House Of Flowers
  3. Barbarellas
  4. Hanging Around

Indolent Records ‎| UK | CD5 #3| DUFF 006 CD3 | 1997

Stephen Duffy: 17 [CD #3] UK CD5 [1997]

  1. 17
  2. Holding Hands With Grace
  3. In The Evening Of Her Day
  4. A Darling Who Can’t Wait To Taste You

What I did manage to find was the single CD Cooking Vinyl version of “17” instead. And that wasn’t all that easy, either.

Cooking Vinyl ‎| UK | CD5 | FRY CD68 | 1998

Stephen Duffy: 17 [reissue] UK CD5 [1998]

  1. 17
  2. Mao Badge
  3. In The Evening Of Her Day
  4. Barbarellas

To make thing even more complex, the following Lilac Time album had two of these B-sides appended as some of the five bonus tracks on the US version of “Looking For A Day In The Night” the following year.

spinART Records ‎| US | CD | SPART77 | 1999

The Lilac Time: Looking For A Day In The Night – US – CD [1999]

  1. Salvation Song
  2. The Nursery Walls
  3. A Dream That We All Share
  4. A Day In The Night
  5. I Won’t Die For You
  6. Broken Cloud
  7. The Family Coach
  8. Morning Sun
  9. All Over Again
  10. Back In The Car Park
  11. Mayfly Too
  12. Sleepy
  13. The Spirit Moves
  14. Reunion Ball
  15. Hard For Her
  16. Comedown
  17. Holding Hands With Grace
  18. Ratoon

I have no idea if these are Lilac Time re-recordings of the B-sides or not. I suspect not, but I can’t check now. All of this detail is getting a new coat of paint with the DLX RM of the title that new label Needle Mythology [their very name taken from the Duffy song title] will be issuing on May 10th. The original running order of “I Love My Friends” has been restored and the two Andy Partridge session tracks have been appended as a bonus 7″ in the case of the LP. The CD version is the one for us, though. The original running order is appended by the two Partridge tracks at the end and there is a second disc of demos included in the package. Wait! It gets better.

Stephen Duffy: I Love My Friends DLX RM UK 2xCD [2019]

CD 1 : orignial album

  1. Tune In
  2. The Deal
  3. Eucharist
  4. Mao Badge
  5. Lovers’ Beware
  6. In The Evening Of Her Day
  7. Holding Hands With Grace
  8. The Postcard
  9. Seventeen
  10. Twenty Three
  11. Autopsy
  12. She Belongs To All
  13. One Day One Of These F***s Will Change Your Life
  14. You Are
  15. What If I Fell In Love With You

CD 2: Blown Away: Selected Demos Volume 1

  1. Night Thoughts
  2. Blown Away
  3. The Whole Earth Singing
  4. C’est La Vie, C’est La Guerre
  5. Go
  6. Suburban Symphony
  7. Another Golden Shot
  8. The Waitresses Story
  9. An Ear For Silent Voices
  10. The Girl Of The Year
  11. Lupin
  12. We Continue For Australasia

The cost of these discs of wonder is a modest £14.00 [$18.14] and pre-orders from the Superdeluxeedition.com store will be signed by the artiste. I’ve done this weeks ago, but if you’ve an interest, then click here.

Canny shoppers will hold on to that earlier release of the album, because “Something Good” is missing from either of the new CDs. Furthermore, six of the original “17” B-sides are still missing from the story in this new edition. So those remain on the ever-expanding want list. Analyzing the revised running order shows that the original song order built an emotional powerful narrative arc that had been torn apart to lose its collective power for the sake of commerce. As dazzling a single as “You Are” is, the listener is being far better served by the artist’s original intent. It will be interesting to see if other Duffy albums will get the renewed love and attention that this one has. His second album,”Because We Love You,” was originally called “Cocksure” after one of the B-sides from singles of that period and I can imagine that one getting the reissue nod as well. Especially since the Japan only CD of that title is incredibly scarce.

– 30 –

Posted in A Young Person's Guide, Core Collection, Want List | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Wang Chung Reactivate With Orchestra

August Day ‎| UK | CD5 | ADAY042 | 2019

Wang Chung: Dance Hall Days [Orchestral] UK CD5 [2019]

  1. Dance Hall Days [Orchestral Version] 4:24
  2. Dance Hall Days [Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca Vocal Remix] 5:29
  3. Dance Hall Days [Kim & Buran Disco Mix] 6:15
  4. Dance Hall Days [Psychmagik Remix] 4:04
  5. Dance Hall Days [Orcapella] 4:06

It used to be that merging pop bands with orchestras resulted in kitsch-bombs like “Days Of Future Passed” by Moody Blues, but the best brains behind the more-influential-than-we-knew Visage Orchestral album have obviously sensed a trend. They also produced an orchestral album with A Flock Of Seagulls last year, and now August Day records has picked another UK New Wave band with a much higher profile Stateside than in the UK to get the nod.

Wang Chung have been in various states of activity from 1997 onward. They actually produced a [great] album called “Tazer Up,” in 2012 that has been DL only, so it has been lower of profile. They have toured both with and without core members Jack Hues or Nick Feldman, depending on either’s availability and inclination. When Hues was not there, Gareth Moulton of Cutting Crew has taken the lead vocal spot in those cases. Hues has had a parallel career with his own prog/jazz band, The Quartet. So they have been keeping busy but not so busy of late as when the band were swept away to join the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra in the creation of their upcoming album, “Orchesography.”

As usual, John Bryan and Sare Havlicek have been mixing and producing the sessions with the orchestra. With Hues having a classical musical education, his abilities were certainly up to the challenges of arranging the material for the new cost of sonic paint and he joined the production team with their usual arranger, Pete Whitfield in the writing for the orchestra. The album will be released on May 10th, but the lead single, a revisit of “Dance Hall Days” [but not “Dance Hall Days Revisited!”] has been out for almost a month.

The single is available in DL and CD5! We should all be so lucky, but August Day have never shied away from my preferred single format, so huzzah! The album mix is not a radical shift for the song. The song still has an effulgence that gives it a pass no matter how many times I’ve heard it in public. The Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca Vocal Remix deep-sixed the smooth orchestra for a clattery, synthpop re-build that sounded gimmicky to these ears. Better was the Kim + Buran Disco Mix which imagined the song as a Barry White Love Unlimited Orchestra production. The funky rhythm guitar slinked through it just right. The Psychemagik Remix was another gimmicky dip into the synthpop pool. Better was the Orcapella mix that isolated the reason why we’re all here; the orchestra.

So the single is a go for the Kim + Buran mix and the Orcapella. I might just opt for those two mixes as DLs, but since it’s actually a CD single, I’m inclined to take the “hard format” plunge. If I ever get some pocket change. We’ll find out what the full album holds in just 20 days; probably sooner as the wheels start turning. As for me? I’m laying odds that August Day will be calling The Fixx right about now with an offer they could not refuse.

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Posted in Want List | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

Chaos Theory In Practice

Can you resist the jolly, CANDY-LIKE Random Post Button® at the right hand side of this page?!

A new widget button has been added to this website that provides function that I have wanted for a loooooong time. Clicking this button on the right sidebar will serve up a random page from the almost 1800 [as of April 19th, 2019] pages of content here. It’s like playing a slot machine, crossed with a time machine, except that it’s free. I thought in the early days of this blog that this would be easy to implement, then I saw that it was not [when thinking conventionally]. As it turned out, it really was disgustingly simple to implement in the end; years after I looked into how to achieve this the first time. Sigh. But that’s all behind me, now.

– 30 –

Posted in metablogging | 15 Comments

Shriekback Are Back…Back…BACK! Crowdsourcing Album #15

It’s 2019 and the band that Shriek’s together…uh… peaks together? Yeah, I meant to do that!

We’ve been deep in long threads [more to come soon…] and simply dealing with life, but the world never ceases turning just because we’re in the weeds. Last week Shriekback launched their latest crowdsource campaign. This time for their next album, rather than the successful… and unsuccessful  stabs at becoming a live band again in Europe and North America.  The last campaigns were on Kickstarter, but the music industry had flocked to the PledgeMusic platform…until they collapsed like a house of cards this February. Looking elsewhere, the band have opted for the Indiegogo platform to get the financial juices flowing this time.

“O Monk,” I hear you saying, “The band cut their crowdsource teeth in 2003 with ‘Having A Moment’ so early in the game that the word ‘crowdsource’ had not been coined yet! They have managed to release five canonical albums without any rattling of the virtual busker’s cup. Why this? Why now?”

In the background on this campaign, Mr. Andrews released that while it’s all well and good that the band can make albums on laptops and home studios scattered hither and yon, the last album was such an accomplishment, that they feel that to move forward artistically, they should get together in a room the old fashioned way and write together and bounce ideas dynamically off of each other.

¡Mamacita! If you mean to tell me that the wondrous “Why Anything? Why This?” was cobbled together in bits and pieces then I am well and truly amazed. By all means, let’s pitch in and get the band in the same place and see what magic will be the outcome. Goodness knows that OMD have benefitted from using that approach on their last two albums, and that is also the methodology that Heaven 17 has subscribed to for their next album [should it ever appear]. But the glory of the last Shriekback album was that I never would have guessed that it was made any other way. My bet is that if Shriekback pull off this latest campaign, then even the lofty achievements of album #14 could recede into the woodwork of revised history. So this money will pay for travel/lodgings/rehearsal studio time for the group to unite for this noble cause.


As with any crowdsource campaign, the buy-ins are highly stratified. Let’s observe:

  • $1.00 – nets you thanks from the band
  • $20 – CD and DL
  • $39 – CD/DL, film updates, a hand drawn postcard from Shriekback
  • $98 – CD/DL, film updates, a hand drawn postcard from Shriekback, signed “Selected Lyrics” book
  • $130 – CD/DL, film updates, a hand drawn postcard from Shriekback, handwritten lyrics to any Shriekback song suitable for framing
  • $260 – CD/DL, film updates, a hand drawn postcard from Shriekback, unique t-shirt and object used to make the album
  • $650 – One member of Shriekback will record your song [not provided]
  • $650 – Commissioned song. As with “Elated World” you provide the title and Shriekback write a song for it of a two minute length.
  • $650 – A unique remix from their new album… or yours [not provided]
  • $1300 – Shriekback Acoustic Jukebox – CD/DL, an acoustic version of any Shriekback song you specify on video with a personal message – guaranteed not to be folk music!
  • $2600 – Studio time and gig – Hang out in their studio for a while and also see the band do a scratch gig at a local Eastbourne pub for the benefit of you and any friends you invite. CD/DL, film updates, your name in the CD liner notes, 2 night accommodations in “a nice B&B.” [air travel not included]

Happily, after a week’s campaign, the band have netted a third [$10,766] of their $33,500 goal. But as we’ve seen, this by no means guarantees the finish line. On the further upside, only one of procured pledges has been at the highest [$2,600] level thus far. Meaning that the rest has been achieved via the middle range of pledges from $20-$260. None of the $650-$1300 price points have pledges yet. That gives me hope. As much as I’d love to drop $2600 on the gig, that’s surrealistic. I would like to hit the $39 price point but may have to just go for the $20 CD, which I will need in any case! Right now the budget is squeaking like a pinched balloon neck after all of this travel! The album will be ready in December, so this is on the front end of the process to ensure that it is the Shriekback album that we all richly deserve. Pledge by hitting the banner below!

– 30 –

Posted in Core Collection, Want List | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Big Ears Roundup [part 7]

The last roundup at Sunday night with Harold Budd + Friends @ The Bijou

[…continued from last post]

Harold Budd + Friends: As Long As I Can Hold My Breath

After we stumbled out of the Tennessee Theatre following the amazing performance by Nik Bartsch’s RONIN, we were dehydrated and hungry. It was time for dinner, so we walked to Bistro at the Bijou, and got a meal there. Afterward, my wife and I were uninspired by the desserts on offer. My wife wanted to go to the chocolate shop, so we walked there. Not liking chocolate, I saw an ice cream shop and got something there. While I was in line, my wife walked to where the car was parked north of downtown, and found a spot close to the Bijou, since rain might be in our future. Then, at about 6:45, we queued up in the line for the final concert.

We were let into the Bijou at 7:30, meaning that this was the first Budd concert that would start on time for this festival. After being held captive in the bar, they finally opened the doors to the theater and we got our seats. Unlike the first two Budd shows, the audience for this one was less than capacity. I guess other Sunday night headliners had more pull with the revelers this time. Unlike every other Budd concert we have seen, there was no gong solo to mark the transition into Budd-space. The musicians got right down to business.

These were the friends of Harold Budd taking the reins for this show

The performance was an expansive 90 minute version of “As Long As I Can Hold My Breath” from Avalon Sutra with ACME strings, Tim Story [keyboard & electronics], Terrence Budd [guitars and keyboards], Sean Connors [percussion], Lisa Raschiatore [clarinet], and Trenton Takaki [piano]. Budd did not play piano this time, only synth as Trenton Takaki did the honors on the 88 keys. As with the earlier performance with ACME, I was astonished at how they managed to play such long, slow drone notes and that capacity was stretched to the limit here as the entrancing beauty unfolded in the vintage theater. This was really the most familiar performance of the festival thus far.

Most of what he had played at Big Ears was new, unreleased material, or music re-arranged for the ACME strings. Anyone with a copy of “Avalon Sutras” would have recognized this as the content of disc two, taken to even further extremes of length. It was notable that after twenty or so minutes of playing, that Mr. Budd took his leave of the stage, leaving his son  Terrence [also playing guitar], as conductor for the performance. And in this act, one got a sense of how Budd has put his artistic legacy into his sons hands. This was music that would outlive Budd and perhaps all of us. And thank goodness as this was the perfect way to finish up a four day music festival with ambient loops of sound [albeit played by hand] circling, and re-circling into a delicate dance of splendor. At the conclusion the composer joined the musicians for their bows and that was that. We had now experienced three Harold Budd concerts in as many days!


After this, my second full festival attended, I have hit upon a proviso or two that I need to live by the next time I find myself attending one. Flitting from portions of a performance to another is not satisfying, and I need to remind myself to avoid this going forward. It’s best to see an entire performance, since festival sets are usually brief in any case. If an artist is not enjoyable, always have a backup you can attend, preferably nearby. And finally, if David Torn is playing, think very hard if you want to attend or not. And then don’t go. No matter how much you may like his playing on other people’s albums.

In common with the Moogfest I attended in 2014, there were two utterly dazzling breakout performances here that astounded me and thrilled to no end: Mimi Goese and Ben Neill and Nik Bärtsch’s RONIN. Those two more than made up for every show we walked out of quickly! I treasure those kind of musical jolts that have always been genuinely rare with me. I tend to intellectualize my response to live music [ya think?] and relish the rare opportunity to be genuinely rocked by a performance that comes out of nowhere to make a very big impression.

Big Ears was a very different festival with most attendees being older in keeping with the relative lack of rock on offer. I saw more people my age than twentysomethings bopping around. The vibe of the festival is more sedate. Now that they have brought Budd there, it may be that we don’t venture to Knoxville any more to see it because outside of Ryuichi Sakamoto, I can’t think of another artist of significance who would be a likely feather in the festival’s cap that we are that enamored of. Well, maybe there’s always John Foxx or Nits [crosses fingers].

– 30 –

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Big Ears Roundup [part 6]

After the bleak K.I.A., Thompson returned for the admittedly slightly less bleak repertoire set

[…continued from last post]

Richard Thompson + The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra: Repertoire

Having seen the dour first half of the show, I would have imagined that the second half might have been a lot lighter in tone. Thompson quipped words to that effect after leaving the stage after K.I.A., but when the second half started the songs were still filled with characters undergoing bleak circumstances. My wife was ready to leave but we couldn’t; the policy for this show was strictly entry/exit during intermission. We were there for the 45 minute or so duration.

As with the first half, his guitar playing was superb. I just didn’t feel any sympatico with the content of the songs or with his vocal style. Especially the song set in pre-judgement limbo with an unrepentant serial killer happily recounting all of the women he had slain in his life. I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of the murder of women being considered entertainment. Right then and there I never wanted to hear another murder ballad again. It would make a certain Nick Cave + The Bad Seeds album unlistenable… and I’m fine with that.

Near the end of the set Thompson pulled a surprise move on the crowd and slipped a cover version into the flow. He and the orchestra performed a great version of The Rolling Stones “Out Of Time” that was really winning material. I imagine with the orchestra there, Thompson may have thought “what can’t I normally do?” and thoughts turned to The Rolling Stones string-laden tune from 1966’s “Aftermath.” Even better, Thompson sang the song in a more vigorous, full-bodied vocal style. The show ended one or two songs after that and there was a rare encore. Another cover. This time of The Beatles” “Eleanor Rigby;” another swinging sixties string-laden hit. Though I’m no Beatles fan, the performance was strong and lyrically, this was one of the better Beatles songs. The words could have come from Ray Davies’ or Mick Jagger’s pen. With that the show was over and I’d finally heard Richard Thompson. I can’t say we were bowled over, but the format of the show was unusual so we gave it a shot.

Nik Bartsch’s RONIN were the breakout hit of Big Ears 2019

Nik Bärtsch’s RONIN

When Thompson ended at 3:30, we had two options. I was still potentially interested in seeing some Bill Frisell music that I might like, and he was playing with Harmony at The Mill + Mine at 4:00, all the way across town. Or we could walk over to the Tennessee Theatre  immediately [200 yards away] and see Nik Bärtsch’s RONIN, also on our schedule. There was no line outside of the venue so we opted for the easy way out. We easily entered the theatre and got our seats and within 3 minutes were watching the band playing. This was undoubtedly the best move we had ever made!

The band launched into a complex structure that the four members defined, redefined, then expanded upon. With Bärtsch on piano/synths and his team on sax, bass, and drums holding down multiple time signatures within the trance structures of their jazz for the next 20 minutes as the music unfolded like a lotus flower of dazzling and inordinate intricacy! To hear this music felt like I was moving at high velocities in my seat. I had to remind myself to breathe. Next to me, my wife seemed stunned. At first I thought that she might be put off by the performance, but I eventually realized that she was simply spellbound like I was. When the first piece climaxed there was rush of energy from the audience. This was obviously another one of those unpredictable music moments where I was undergoing imprinting with new and vital information being introduced to my DNA with long-range repercussions. Through it all, Bärtsch smiled gleefully at the extraordinary work his band was doing; only pausing to occasionally strike his piano strings with a mallet to coax  new sounds out of them that their manufacturer never anticipated.

Then they played their second song, which lasted some 40 minutes. Our minds were stretched to a new place by the end of that time. Now I like some complex pop music. There’s Japan or Rush, and as always King Crimson is my standard bearer of such things, but in all candor; this made King Crimson sound like ABBA®. It was like a ballet of pure oxygen imparting its energy to the audience like an element that was missing from our diet. How had we gone for so long without this being a part of our lives? One big difference between this music and that of King Crimson was that the punishment/reward dynamic of that band was nowhere to be seen. This music was far more intense without having any harshness in it. When it was over we were thrilled that we had stumbled onto this revelation.

Nik Bärtsch told the audience that they would be meeting any fans at the merch table and my wife raced to the table like a champ. We bought their latest album, “Awase” and Nik and two of his band cohorts [Sha – sax, Tomy Jordi – bass] listened to us gush for a minute or two as they signed our CD. Nik even drew a sketch, and my wife also opted for the CD by Sha’s Fetel; the “more rock oriented” side projects from the sax/clarinet player. Here is a video of  “Modul 58,” the first number that they played in their two song, hour-long set. The producer of it does not allow embedding but it’s well worth the click. Watch and learn!

Next: …Budd’s Valediction

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Big Ears Roundup [part 5]

L-R: David Torn, Craig Taborn, Vijay Iyer, Nik Bartsch, Steve Lake, + moderator Nate Chinen

[…continued from last post]

Day 4 – March 24th, 2019

My wife wanted to attend mass on Sunday from 11:00 to noon so I looked at what was happening at that hour to keep busy. Our first scheduled show was Richard Thompson with the Knoxville Symphony Strings with K.I.A. at 1:30 at the Bijou – or the Alvin Lucier and the Ever Present Orchestra [with Steven O’Malley and Oren Ambarchi] performing the works of Alvin Lucier @ the Knoxville Museum of Art. At the last night’s Budd show, the gent sitting next to us got a cough drop from my wife [he needed one!] and he was part of the Ever Present Orchestra.

ECM @ 50 Panel

I saw the panel on ECM records @ 50 that was actually close to the church where I had dropped my wife off at so it got the nod. There was no music yet. But there was a queue outside of the Visit Knoxville center that was hosting the event. And it was not moving. I wondered if it was the overspill line already, but no, the event was running late. We got into the small room some time around 11:15 and I was able to stay for an half hour before rendezvousing with my wife.

On the panel were David Torn and a host of artists [see above cutline] that I was unfamiliar with. The panel was moderated by Nate Chinen and both his questions and the artist responses were interesting to a music fan like me no matter how few ECM Records discs were in my Record Cell. The significance of certain labels is something dear and dear to the heart of every music geek, and it was interesting hearing more about ECM, who I had known by reputation since the early 80s, although I only ever owned a single ECM disc [until this weekend]. I left the discussion to meet up with my wife and see what she wanted to do next.

Richard Thompson + The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra: K.I.A.

While I had been interested in finally seeing/hearing the much-vaunted Richard Thompson on the front end of the festival, I was open to seeing the Alvin Lucier show. Even though the presence of Steven O’Malley from Sunn O))) in the lineup frightened me. My wife opined that the Thompson show was very atypical for him [and it certainly was!] so that we should ultimately take the opportunity to see that after all. We had received a notification from the Big Ears app that informed us that audience could only leave the show at its intermission, which also sat well with us. One of the banes of festivals are people coming and going throughout the performance [except when we HAVE to leave… immediately!]. We walked to the south of downtown Knoxville and got in the queue. Oh my goodness. It was our friend Travis in front of us again. Well, we chatted some more and I met a gent behind us who was thinking of retiring to Asheville, our home town, so we spoke about the vibe there. Once again, I saw Cristina Horn of Hudson K in the VIP line but she was talking on her phone so I missed the opportunity to chat.

The first half of the set was grim indeed…

This show was starting exactly on time so we sat in the vintage vaudeville theater and got ready for some heavy going. Thompson’s K.I.A. was commissioned by the WWI Centenary and it was a grim parade of new forms of death and destruction wreaking havoc on teenaged doughboys way out of their depth in the trenches of WWI. Much of the lyric text had been taken verbatim from letters and communication from the war, but not all of it. There was a semblance of musicality that was just there to hold it all together. The occasional composed phrase/structure from Thompson. He played acoustically for this show and I have to admit, I was quite taken by his authority with a guitar.

His reputation for being a player’s player was quite evident by his acoustic playing and I would enjoy the chance to hear him plugged in as well. I was less taken by his singing. As I feared, Thompson, coming from the folk music side of the fence, tended to employ that “Celtic lilt” in his singing that rubs me so strongly the wrong way where folk music is concerned. I cannot fully embrace the form largely due to this factor. The arrangements of the material for orchestra showed nuance and sensitivity, but the vibe was unremittingly grim. If Thompson was attempting to capture a portrait of the first modern war, in all of its horror, he succeeded admirably. After an intermission, the second half of the set continued with a program of more typical Thompson material.

Next: …[spoiler alert] Nik Bärtsch’s RONIN Blows Our Little Minds! 

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