Went to Progressive Nation '08 on Wednesday & Thursday!! - absolutely amazing tour!!
Between the Buried & Me
Every band was incredibly interesting and did a great job.
3 - While not musically cohesive at all time (in terms of form or development), they were extremely creative with the way they used their instruments (particularly their use of percussion, and one of the guitarists slap-guitar style) - absolutely one of the most interesting bands I've watched. They had a drummer and a percussionist ... both played synths at various points ... the drummer looks really young compared to the rest of the band & could really play .. not to mention he sometimes he did vocals ... all in all, very cool & very educational/progressive in demonstrating new ways to use instruments
Between the Buried & Me - I liked these guys more than I expected - the vocals matched the music very much, and the singer also played a synth for half the set ... overall, I think they're very interesting, though they definitely had moments I wasn't crazy about ... some of their fans annoy me too...
Opeth - Shame on me for not having listened to them in such a long time ... they played a combo of older music & some newer tunes & everything was amazing ... their keyboard player had some really cool stuff, and both Mikael Akerfeldt & the new guitarist did some amazing stuff ... for those who don't know, Mikael sings clean melody lines, growls, and plays rhythm and melodic guitar parts ... he's one of the only vocalists who's good at both styles ... I found myself watching him, the guitarist & the drummer the most ... it would have been much cooler if the keyboardist didn't have his boards covered (wonder what the point of that was...)
Dream Theater - Of course were absolutely amazing both nights!! And their setlist on night two was 100% different from the first night ... their use of video was absolutely amazing!! They really, truly stepped that up from the last tour ... the intro video was great, and the encore (The Dark Nintendo Night) was a remix of the Dark Eternal Night & Super Mario Bros.
... on top of that, Jordan's added some really cool stuff to his setup, and his stand is beyond awesome!! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfAz35yhn7U)
I miss their 3 hr. sets, but both nights were incredibly intense & the level of performance was beyond amazing ... i found myself watching John Myung (bassist) more, and am gonna make it a point to pay more attention to his parts. On top of that, the first night featured Percussive Nation '08, which involved Mike Portnoy's Drum Solo along with with each of the drummers from the previous band coming out 1 by 1, and then altogether to play with Portnoy - that was an amazingly inspiring and educational experience about collective improvisation ... incredibly cool.
On night 2, Mikael Akerfeldt came out for Repentance (part of Mike Portnoy's Alcholics Anonymous Saga) to sing part of the song - was quite cool... Erotomania was incredibly cool, especially since they cycled through all their albums with the video (makes me really want to watch Score) ... they also played Voices (2 from awake!!)... Jordan introduced Trial of Tears with some brand new, incredibly cool controller ... I need to find out what the hell that was!!
Here's the set list from both nights:
Through My Words
The Dark Eternal Night
"Percussive Nation" Drum Solo
As I Am
The Ministry of Lost Souls
II. Learning to Live
III. A Change of Seasons Pt. VII: The Crimson Sunset
(Intro Video / 2008 : An Ant Odyssey)
ITPOE part 1
Beyond This Life
Repentance (With Mikael )
Take the Time
l Trial of Tears
ll Finally Free
lll Learning To Live
llll In the Name of God
lllll Octavarium (Razor's Edge)
So after all that, I read through the Official Dream Theater Bio. that I purchased at the show (so glad they have a non-limited $20 edition!! Wish I could have afforded the special edition when it came out ... maybe some day I'll be able to get it off of ebay?? I still need to get Nightwish's End of an Era DVD!!) ... Anyway, the bio was incredibly awesome, though I wish it would have explored their side-projects more & featured some more interviews, as well as giving detailed run-downs of their equipment in each era & citing sources ...
But, as a result of watching that, I realized that I hadn't watched the Systematic Chaos documentary that I had ... so I watched all of that - it was all them in the studio. Incredibly informative & very cool ... it under-features Myung, but that's kind of the story of Dream Theater in general (at times...) ... It made me hear completely new things in the album & I'm gonna listen to it over & over again until I have everything memorized (the way I used to listen to music!! I'm returning to that) ... it also inspired me to check out some Rush (which has been sitting on my iPod for a while) ... um, where the hell have I been??? It's about time I gave them a listen (considering they're such a part of Dream Theater's roots) ... I finally feel like I can though, and I'm glad I did - very awesome stuff ... if I miraculously have the money, I'll go see them at Jones Beach next month ... but that requires that I miraculously have money (and that Amadeus School actually pays me sometime in the near future...)
The other big effect of me watching that documentary is that I've decided to start really paying attention to lyrics again ... I used to, but then I started neglecting them for other musical elements, and now I'm finally realizing (and others have pointed this out plenty before) that they're incredibly important & such a large part of the music (and have serious effects on the form & sound of it - particularly in rock music) ... so I'm gonna memorize all of them for all of my favorite bands...
Anyway, now from one favorite band to another: Metallica...
Recently watched Some Kind of Monster & When Metallica Ruled the World - both incredibly cool ... It's amazing how much they've documented everything since the Black Album (and even before then) .... so helpful and inspiring ... speaking of which, I got my brother back into the Black Album - very cool ... it's very interesting to watch their dynamics with Jason Newsted (who left the band of course), and to watch their personal and musical evolution in the years since they've become middle-aged ... I'm very curious to hear what their next album sounds like & at some point, I want to pick up their other dvds (which I've watched on Youtube - it's beyond amazing that a band could have that much prescence and energy on stage)
So not directly related to all of the above, I've found that a good way to end lessons with my ounger students is through story-time (I recently ended a lesson with The Swan and kind of narrated it as I went through it) ... it teaches them about the classical rep. while letting them chill out & watch (Students almost always seem to like watching their teacher play & in fact, I think it's an important part of teaching anything) ... just wondering if anyone can think of any other music that works for that purpose
On a final note, I ran into James Christessen after PN08 ... he had just gotten back from Pagan Fest 9which is oriented around Folk Metal), and earlier today gave me some links to a few bands:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dm8BiaHY-NA - KorpiKlaani - Keep on Galloping
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcFPFL0ZfyI - KorpiKlaani - Shall We Turn
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y150Lm4kZ_M - Turisas - Rasputin (cover)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iijKLHCQw5o - Eluveitie - Inis Mona
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efWTlEr4tMU - Eluvietie - Summoning the Rain
The last band is the most interesting (to me) ... it's very inspired by the Gothenburg sound (eg In Flames) & celtic music ... the Drummer is a huge DT fan, and it features a girl playing the Hurdy Gurdy, 2 bagpipers, a violinst & others...
Also, check out Haggard (a very cool classical/baroque & Metal Fusion): http://www.myspace.com/haggard2007
Guess that's all for now ... I really need to clean my room and get less dehydrated so I can start practicing again...