Consent Under Coercion by Brian Johnstone

July 4th, 2016 No comments

Consent Unde Coercion by Brian JohnstoneThe stunning new album Consent Under Coercion from keyboard player Brian Johnstone was released in May 2016. The album features 10 tracks with the magnum opus suite the ‘The Course of Empire’ taking 5 songs in itself.

Consent Under Coercion is Brian Johnstone’s 4th album release and features the amazing guest vocal talents of Kevin Kennie (Scarlet Inside).

Much harder hitting than his previous work this album demonstrates a heavier rockier side to his compositions but still features strong melodies, great arrangements and insightful songwriting.

Get Consent under Coercion and some free Mp3 downloads at the official Brian Johnstone website

More about Brian Johnstone musician, keyboardist, arranger and composer.


Categories: Albums, Modern Prog

Peter Gabriel (The Hydro Glasgow 2014) – Gig Review

August 23rd, 2014 Comments off

There is no question that Peter Gabriel is one of classic rock/prog rock heavyweights. He does not fail to deliver live shows with anything less than 100% commitment to quality in every respect of his performance. Having seen him 5-6 times since 1984 I have always come away from his show totally speechless and awe struck.

The songs, musicianship, atmosphere, delivery, sound, light and performance are all totally superlative. It is perversely ironic that the guy who was ridiculed for being pretentious (critics’ favoured word for prog rock for some reason) by wearing a fox’s head and red dress now delivers a full ‘multimedia’ live performance that sets the standard for this kind of music and the audiences of 12000-18000 per night


Peter Gabriel – Back to Front Tour

“Peter Gabriel Back to Front Tour 2014” Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Gabriel is a master performer in every sense of the word and has an on stage persona which is second to none (no matter how many times Sky Arts show Queen and Freddie Mercury!).

The true highlights for me were:

Mercy Street – performed laying on his back on the floor with interplay from the lights.

In your Eyes – with dance routines: true World Music which must touch everyone.

Secret World – a deceptively simple song with great dynamics that most rock artists are incapable of.

This is the Picture – I remember them playing this in the mid 80’s withe the whole band playing ‘strap on’ instruments with the obligatory wee dance routines. Awesome

Categories: Classic Prog, Modern Prog

People get Ready (Greg Lake – Songs of a Lifetime)

April 6th, 2014 No comments

I first saw Greg Lake performing this song at Tarrytown Music Hall in  April 2012. I had never heard the song before but I was totally gobsmacked at this song when he played it. With no introduction and as the last song of the set, he casually meandered over to the Nord Stage 2 keyboard sat down and played this Curtis Mayfield  cover on his own style with such soul and passion.

And you might wonder why would he play keyboards when his longtime bandmaster and collaborator is the best rock keyboardist in the known universe.  Either way he played a fairly simple piano/string pad arrangement of this song which was absolutely stunning. He sang with control and emotion and with a voice that is so rich and often gospel like (despite his comments about being staunchly European in his musical roots) he stunned the audience.

Greg Lake rarely gets a lot of credit for his voice but this song ( and many others in his repertoire to be fair) proves that he is a masterful musician both as a singer, bassist and performer.  If ever there was a showcase for him (but let’s face it does not have to prove anything to anyone) this song will destroy any preconceptions about being a prog dinosaur (yawn) and all the usual standard  music journalist cliches and proves that this guy is as good as singer/musician as anyone in rock music.

A great cover of  a great song by a superlative singer and performer. What else to say?

Whimwise at the Ferry Glasgow (supporting Focus)

June 23rd, 2013 Comments off

I had heard Whimwyse the last time they opened for Focus at the Ferry. I had not known a great deal about them or even their ‘name’ Nick Mays who is a graduate from The Enid school of musicians. They mostly look like a bunch of rejects from Middle Earth (and I don’t mean that unkindly) but they made some excellent music.

Some people may struggle with their brand of eclectic no limits prog fusion music but you cannot fail to be intrigued by this band. Keyboard player Gonzalo Carrera has a bit of a career with others but between him and Nick Mays (a tall lanky guitarist with bigger hands than Frank Dunnery.

Categories: Classic Prog

Fan views from Cleveland

April 2nd, 2010 2 comments

The IMWAN Forum has a few ELP Fans  chatting about the ‘debacle’ in Cleveland.

Robert Gerard Hunt  actually posted a photo of the empty Emerson Lake stage in Cleveland. in his blog.
How ironic is that!

Emerson Lake – first 3 shows cancelled!

April 2nd, 2010 23 comments

I have said it before many times: you get little reward for being a fervent ELP fan. It’s bad enough that (if you live long enough) you wait 15 years between tours then when the tour comes round it stutters to a false start.

Some people in Cleveland are a bit pissed off that that they drove 200 miles to the gig to be told it was cancelled at the last minute. I have spent months making all sorts of arrangements, and a fair amount of money, to fly from Glasgow, Scotland to New York to see the gig at The Nokia Theatre.

How angry do you think I’ll be if that gig is cancelled!

For sure it must have been incredibly disappointing and frustrating to get to the gig and waiting on it all happening only to be told that there is no gig. I have never heard of such circumstances in all the gigs I have  attended over 30 years.

It seems particularly irksome that there seems no good reason forthcoming at this point….. at least not yet anyway. There is a lot of speculation about in fighting but I personally don’t believe that. They must have been rehearsing for weeks before the tour and would have cleared up all artistic disagreements before this point.

Furthermore after the amount of time they have been in the business, they must have a degree of professionalism that would have overcome petty arguments.

I mean, even Roger Waters and Pink Floyd played music together at Live 8 in a professional manner and look how much abuse they had hurled at each other over the years. Even if you hate each other it is still entirely possible (and good for your career and reputation) to get over that and go and get the  job done. Yes the show must go on. Its is an entertainment cliche but it is true

My view is that it is some kind of health issue, bureaucratic issue or something more important than Emerson and Lake swinging handbags at each other. The management press release mentioned at states that the tour will continue from Monday at Annapolis MD. If you have an arguement you don’t generally agree a date for  a truce do you?

In the modern business/celebrity arena people are very cautious about opening their gob until they have worked out the ‘best outcome scenario’: check out Tiger Woods or these English footballers and their wives. And given how little ELP ever tell the world anything, it is not suprising that no info is forthcoming. I mean they barely told anyone about the bloody tour! All the fans had to find out via the jungle drums and private detectives and then passed information around the  Secret Society!

Let’s hope the tour continues on Monday and the long suffering fans get what they deserve: some ELP music played by EL(P): that’s it – surely not too much to ask!

Otherwise any one fancy a beer with a jetlagged scotsman in Time Square NYC on Thursday night?……. cos I may have a few spare hours to spare!

ELP set to continue working beyond 2010?

March 28th, 2010 No comments

In an interview for the first Emerson Lake gig of 2010 at Lakewood Civic Auditorium the website spoke with Keith and Greg and got some hints that we may see more from the duo/trio following this tour and the High Voltage gig in London in July.

Everyone knows that they have been writing together and the only reason to write is to record and release new music. This is very exciting since their creative output has been fairly minimal since their real ‘Imperial period’: the last real album was in 1994’s In the Hot Seat. Whilst the album certainly does have it’s moments the widely held view is that it is not an ELP landmark.

But then given the arm problem Keith had at the time and the ‘post tour syndrome’ they always seem to suffer these days it is hardly a surprise.

It sounds like both players have may have mellowed with age and realise the ‘chemistry’ the have (described by Greg Lake in one of his online chat sessions) is actually worth cherishing and hopefully they can find a way to give the long suffering ELP fans a reward for their endurance.

And given the amount of crap music we all have to suffer these days in mainstream media (including the internet) we could really do with some quality music to listen to. My Brian Salad Surgery CD (an album which is impossible to listen to enough) has been played so much it is as worn as my vinyl  – now that takes some amount of playing.

I personally can’t with to go to NYC next week to see the new gig format and have them chatting to the audience too!!!! wow. Like a rare warm scottish summer it looks like 2010 is gonna be a bumper year for ELP fans.

Frankfurt Music Prize 2010 for Keith Emerson

March 25th, 2010 No comments

Keith was awarded The Frankfurt Music Award for artistic and technical innovation. The award was given to Keith at Frankfurt’s Town Hall ‘Römer’on the eve of the annual Frankfurt Musikmesse, 23 March 2010.

See some German TV coverage of Keith arriving at the event, preparing for and playing at the event on Tony’s blog

The Frankfurt Music Prize was founded in 1980 and is awarded annually on the occasion of the international Musikmesse in Frankfurt by the Trustees of the Frankfurt Music Prize Foundation (Kuratorium Stiftung Frankfurter Musikpreis zur Internationalen Musikmesse Frankfurt) to personalities from the world of music for special achievements in the fields of interpretation, composition, musicology and teaching

The problem with Emerson Lake

March 18th, 2010 4 comments

Hunting for ELP information over the years has always been a slog. In the early 80’s I used to scour newspapers, magazines and libraries for any scraps of information I could find on ELP.

Being a generation too young I missed the early 70’s and did all this in the early 80’s after the band had split and the (always negative) British Music press were banging on about how punk changed the world (yea for about 2 weeks possibly and then they all disappeared into obscurity again), how brilliant Spandau Ballet’s clothes were and how exotic and expensive Duran’s Durans videos were.

There were a few ‘hardliners’ that I came across  who were dedicated to the cause and we shared whatever information we could get.

It is now an incredible irony that in this 2010  tour we are searching for information on Emerson Lake. The problem is that search engines (despite what Google and Bing have you believe) are still pretty crap. They really aren’t that clever at all such that I found myself searching for Emerson Lake and find a lot of information about watery lakes in the US. (surely a good enough reason for everyone to adopt the Scottish version of Lake and use Loch and we would all understand what we mean;-)).

I decided that I would try and clarify where the Emerson Lakes are for a bit of nonsensical and irrelevant fun. So here is what I found. If you have anything else to add please let me know

Emerson Lake, Allegan County, Michigan
Emerson Lake Fishing in Mason County, Michigan
Emerson Lake Fishing in Collin County, Texas
Emerson Lake San Bernardino County, California
Emerson Lake in Watonwan County, MN
Emerson Lake Inn – a restaurant in Walhalla, MI
Emerson Lake – Clark County, Wisconsin

What if they played an outdoor gig at each venue?
Emerson Lake do a tour of Emerson Lakes playing Emerson Lake compositions.
Ha Let see how the search engines deal with that!

Categories: Modern Prog

Nik Kershaw at Oran Mor, Glasgow 6 March 2010- Review

March 16th, 2010 No comments

Nik Kershaw at Oran Mor, Glasgow 6 March 2010

There is a common saying about great songs being able to stand up to a simple arrangement ie no matter how heavily orchestrated, produced or arranged a good song will still be a good song when sung with a simple accompaniments (eg acoustic guitar or piano) or even with a solo voice.

Nik Kershaw proved this point on Saturday 6 March when he performed an acoustic set at Oran Mor in Glasgow’s West end. In a set of old and new songs Nik Kershaw demonstrated exactly how to deliver his songs using his masterly songwriting and performing abilities.

Although most of his material has more colourful arrangements  he played a range of songs from throughout his career using just an acoustic guitar occasionally accompanied by a Roland sequencer which he records live parts to and played/sang over.

OK  a lot of people may not consider Nik Kershaw Prog Rock but here is an artist who, for me, knows no boundaries, has a unique approach and can write great songs, play and perform: that’s good enough for me.

Most of his eighties material contained synthesisers and drum machines he gave them all a new life in the ‘No Frills Tour 2010’. His songs are so well written and constructed that every single one of them sounded awesome and some even excelled beyond the original in terms pure emotional delivery (Have a Nice Life is a classic example whereby he mentioned that it often has grown men in tears).

Don Quixote is an awesome song which has a very distinctive rhythmic character and orchestration but with only a simple bass drum pattern backing he gave the song a whole new life.

Wounded has a very intricate Latin arrangement on record and also stood up to the unplugged treatment while Human Racing sounded miles better with guitar with all the chords and stark key changes being really emphasised in the bare sound.

In a style reminiscent of Neil Finn, Nik had some great banter and introductions to songs. Sure this always works better in a smaller gig and more intimate environment but a lot of musicians would do well to watch the likes of Nik Kershaw and  Neil Finn and learn how to provide an engaging performance with the audience.

With the ability to make fun of himself and his career ups and downs he gave an excellent performance on songs old and new. Highlights for me included Oh You Beautiful Thing,  Fifteen Minutes, Billy, …..erm in fact the entire gig was a highlight and every song was excellent.

Having said all that I would still love to hear all these songs with the ‘Festival Band’. As the songs can easily stand up to simple acoustic arrangements they would be equally powerful with a full and and some nice new fresh arrangements.

Oh and I would also love to get the keyboard gig in the band for that tour!

Requests for the next tour would be Wounded Knee, Radio Musicola, Can’t get Arrested, Show them what you’re made of, When a Heart Beats…..and your entire repertoire.

Categories: Modern Prog