(Cover Painting by Adrian Belew )
I received this tasty slice of time in the ol' postal receptacle yesterday.
Recorded live at Canal Street Tavern in Dayton, Ohio on
February 16th, 2007
If you have seen The Power Trio, or better yet, if you haven't,
you are going to be enthralled with this sonically thrilling roller coaster
ride that is anything but coasting.
As Adrian proclaims in the brief liner notes, "this is the raw unadorned account of
most of what happened next."
I actually like the fact that it's unpolished after the fact
and shows how cohesive and gifted this unit is.
On the other hand, it still has that edge to it that says
"this is live", warts be damned, of which there are few.
Julie Slick's bass comes through thunderously on this
recording and really shows her understanding of the
material, Julie is a Thonk Queen. Eric is capable of drumming with the best, and has.
I started listening, as I could, in my car and it sounded awesome. I decided to
move indoors to my HDCD decoding surround system and start
from the start. Wow !
This is as close to what it might sound like on the studio monitors
as a poor boy could get on a shoestring.
The disc clocks in at a tad over 67 minutes with a minimum
of stage banter and a focus on the music, as it should be.
John Sinks has settled nicely into the sound engineer seat
and this recording shows it. We all dearly miss Ken but I
think he would be tipping his hat to his friend for his
work at the helm.
Biff Blumfumgagne has taken over as stage tech and provided
those hither to mysterious backing vocals and harmonies.
The Crimson cuts, while having been recorded live in many
settings before this, take on a new life and are welcome additions
to the Trio cannon. Dinosaur seems fresh and driven with
a slightly quicker pace to my ears.
Young Lions, which has been one of the "solo" spotlights
in the past, is given the full three piece treatment here and
it is a rollicking rendition indeed.
The true "star" here though is the new material plus
"Of Bow & Drum". (Is it too late to tour the Op Zop album
proper ? )
The Grammy nominated "Beat Box Guitar" has some space in the middle
for Adrian, Eric and Julie to play around a bit and, they do.
"A Little Bit of Madness" is a barn burner and I'm surprised that the
venue is still standing at the end.
Adrian gives full voice to the Belewps concept in "Drive" with
the rhythm section on break. The sound of the car starting this
track off moves around in my speakers and drives right on by
as Adrian digs in.
"Writing on the Wall", "Ampersand", Matchless Man" all come across
as fresh and exciting, considering that Eric and Julie did not play
on the originals, they have had space to make these versions
their own. "Big Electric Cat", a favorite of college radio in
the way back when, is always fun and welcome, this rendition
is no exception with new life.
In the musical circles that I frequent, talk of the annual "best of 2007" lists
has already begun in earnest. I'm glad that Side Four has hit the ground
in time to be in mine.
As with the previous "sides", this one has cover art as painted by Adrian
with a great band photo by Mark Colman.
Mixed and Mastered by Saul Zonana.
Thanks to Rob Murphree, the official Webmunky, for keeping us
informed and providing a home for the Elephant Blog and download store
which has provided a whole new way for us to appreciate
and keep tabs on the world of all things Belew.
Thanks to Adrian for taking the time to share in the Blogosphere and
regale the loving public with so many fascinating tales.
Oh, and, thanks for the great music of which there has been an abundance,
in the past few years.
PS, Not to detract from the current Side Four news at hand but,
I have just uploaded various photos of The Bears and The Power Trio I.
Be sure and go order Side Four before you steer away.
( clicking on the cd cover above will get you to Adrian's site, see Store Belew )