Porcupine Tree @ Nokia Theatre Times Square (10/6/2006)

Porcupine Tree was once again visiting NYC and while I would not be there personally, our esteemed colleague Skeleton Pete would be on point to let us all know how it went. This is one of the more interesting musical bands of our time and Wilson is an incredible composer, so the band is very worth catching. Peter’s report follows the logo.

Logo - Porcupine Tree

Artist: Porcupine Tree
Venue: Nokia Theatre Times Square (New York, NY)
Opener: ProjecKt Six
Date: 10/6/2006
Label: Roadrunner Records

If we take the word progressive in one of its oldest forms to mean, “Engaging in or constituting forward motion” then Porcupine Tree’s show at Nokia Theater in New York City on October 6, 2006 plants them firmly as the current epitome of a Progressive Rock band. While their current group of shows essentially supports the release of the DVD release documenting the “Deadwing” tour; the members of PT have chosen not to mimic that product but instead have taken the opportunity to open a door to their future by previewing as yet unrecorded material for their next CD (due in early 2007). Porcupine Tree are honing this material in an approximately ¾ hour long chunk opening their show.
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“Hard Rock Treasures” by Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Hard Rock Treasures”
Label: MPI Home Video
Release Date:
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 4/5

If you have ever paid a visit to the Hard Rock Café in your life then you know firsthand that the contents of the place are a veritable Rock and Roll Museum. No matter where you focus your attention you will see some of the most important pieces of music history. There are costumes galore from bands such as KISS, performers like Elvis Presley and Freddie Mercury and if you’re a fan of guitars well then here is the real treat. The axes of the very founding fathers of musical genres are present within these walls and you will find Tony Iommi’s hardware alongside Eric Clapton and Cheap Tricks Rick Nielsen’s in range of Ace Frehley’s. Truly, a guitarists dream and you can almost feel the music coming off them as you stare in wonder. Once your head clears and the magic of these items in full dissipates you will most probably find yourself asking, “How on Earth do they find and even get this stuff?” This DVD provides the answer to this question and gives you a great background on the Hard Rock itself. For 90 minutes you are the traveling companion of Don Bernstine, the “Indiana Jones of Rock & Roll” as he travels the world visiting auctions at Christie’s and the homes of some of the most royal of rock royalty as he interviews and obtains treasures from their collection for use in the HRC. There are some historic moments as Don gets the guitar used for many of the early Sabbath records from Iommi and items from Jimmy Page who had for years never parted with any of his performance artifacts.
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“Yesterday” (EP) by Grave Digger

Artist: Grave Digger
Title: “Yesterday” – EP
Label: Locomotive Music
Release Date: 10/10/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 3/5

Germany’s Grave Digger has returned hot on the heels of their Live DVD “25 To Live” which was a great way for Metal fans to enjoy the best songs from across their career. This time around the return finds the band delivering their favorite ballad of all time “Yesterday” that has been modified slightly and now bears the (2006) in its title. A second version with an Orchestra is provided for the listener to enjoy a different take on their classic tune and given the ballad nature I am leaning toward this version in particular. A Grave Diggerized version of the Led Zeppelin classic “No Quarter” is a nice touch but I would have preferred it be done a little more traditionally throughout than changed to a little heavier than the original. Why change what works in my opinion. There is also a standard Heavy Metal song “The Reapers Dance” which is ok at best and more along the lines of what the listener is expecting from Grave Digger. The entire piece runs at about 20 minutes and is aimed more for the die hard fan than the casual listener; still it was an enjoyable chance to listen to three Digger songs. The EP comes with a free DVD recorded in 2001 but since one was not provided for me in the promotional release I cannot comment on its worth or lack thereof.
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“Highest Hopes: The Best Of Nightwish” by Nightwish

Artist: Nightwish
Title: “Highest Hopes: The Best Of Nightwish”
Label: Century Media Records
Release Date: 10/31/2006
Genre: Symphonic Operatic Metal
Rating: 3/5

And so we come to the release of “Highest Hopes: The Greatest Hits of Nightwish”. This single CD collection features some of the bands best material from across the albums that made them famous and allowed them to become one of the most beloved and respected of the Operatic Symphonic Metal groups of all time. I admit that there are some signature tracks missing like “Come Cover Me” and “She Is My Sin” and the die hards would probably also agree that this would have been better if served up as a double disc Anthology package. The group truly had too many good songs to be relegated to a single CD yet despite this some killer stuff is present such as “Over The Hills And Far Away” (the Gary Moore cover), “Dead Boy’s Poem”, and “Nemo”. Marco gets to sing solo on “High Hopes”, which is a Pink Floyd song that does not hold much resemblance to the classic Progressive Rock act.
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“Louder Harder Faster” by Nuclear Assault

Artist: Nuclear Assault
Title: “Louder Harder Faster”
Label: Screaming Ferret Wreckords
Release Date: 10/10/2006
Genre: Thrash Metal
Rating: 2/5

Formed in 1984 at the onset of the Thrash Metal movement Nuclear Assault was a brutal example of what the genre could do to the ears of the audience. Dan Lilker (originally a member of Anthrax), John Connolly, Glen Evans and Anthony Bramante always aimed to destroy on stage and while not everyone’s cup of tea developed a fan base for years to come and released revered Thrash epics such as “Survive” and “Handle with Care”. Unlike many of their peers who changed and modified their brand of sound over the years, Nuclear Assault never veered from the path and as a result remained high on the list of their most ardent supporters while at the same time losing some who might have grown out of the style they played. This DVD is the first ever for the band and while it includes what seems to be a kick ass set of material the release itself is nothing more than a disappointment. Shot during the “Louder, Harder, Faster” festival in 2005, this DVD of the same name is a terribly produced effort that uses minimal camera angles and a sub-par sound recording. Drums are too loud in the production while vocals and lead guitars are impossible to hear. Lilkers bass seems to cut through and perhaps this was the positioning of the mics while this was being done.
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Where Heavy Music & Pop Culture Collide

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