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Music Review
Porcupine Tree: Follows in the Footsteps of Legends by Rachel Brodsky

There are some bands which when heard, travel through your ears and form a connection to the place where the listener's emotions are manufactured: the heart. When in concert, the mark of a decent band is connection. Fervent music fans look for written proof that their feelings are shared; that when they walk around inside of their minds, that others are doing the same. The listener contains swirling emotions within themselves which often remain locked inside, for let's face it: American society is not particularly friendly when it comes to emotional purging. This is after all why so many Americans are in therapy. The progressive/alternative with a smattering of psychedelia Porcupine Tree is one of those bands which slide into the soul with such ease, you'd think they were coated with KY Warming Jelly. Porcupine Tree offer themselves as therapy for those who have no licensed professional to visit. Because they form such a tactile bond to the emotions by way of a recording, I was leaping-out-of-my-pants thrilled to see Porcupine Tree live at San Francisco's Fillmore Theater with another cult favorite, King Crimson's own Robert Fripp. Would Porcupine Tree be one of those bands that wear placid poker faces of indifference while jamming, or would they do what music fans like best: form the bond?

The show began promptly at 8:30 with Robert Fripp quietly stepping onto the historic Fillmore stage where so many legends had performed before him. Fripp appeared to be but a shadow on the stage; his hands barely moving, creating a gargantuan fusion of sound from his guitar. "SCHITZOID MAN!" yelled one fan, referring of course to one of King Crimson's more popular tunes. Fripp continued, staying on track with his own material. If you stood still long enough, it wouldn't matter where you were in the Fillmore; the music would enrapture, mesmerize, and send the listener into a trance. Recollections of my life flashed before my eyes, and I sank deep into thought accompanied by Fripp's penetrating notes.

Fripp's set ended just as quickly as it began, as he walked offstage without a word, and a few bows. His silence meant little to his fans however; he was warmly welcomed and elatedly bid goodbye.

Arriving fashionably late, Porcupine Tree at last made it on to the stage surrounded by a backdrop of tragically beautiful images; a sample of what you might find within any CD booklet of theirs. Leaping into such progressive ballads as "The Sound of Muzak," (off of "In Absentia") and the gentle breeze of "Lazarus"(off of their newest album, "Deadwing") lead singer Steven Wilson's gangly bare-footed figure stood solidly on the ground, fair hair hanging deliberately over his face. Every so often (and repeatedly over the course of the show) he'd raise two fingers and point at the audience or to himself, and cock his head to the side to match the music's psychedelic, yet alternative tempo. Wilson, is without a doubt a fine entertainer who appears to have grown even more so through his years of experience. "So how many of you have followed us and know our older material?" asked Wilson with a smile before playing the remastered oldie-but-a-goodie "Up the Downstair." To this, the crowd screamed it's affirmation that they had indeed known of Porcupine Tree ten years prior. Wilson smiled again, this time with more hint of a smirk and stated that when the band arrived in America ten years before, they had played to all of three people in a smattering of hole-in-the-wall clubs in NYC. "Some of you are fibbing," laughed Wilson, and proceeded to introduce older material to the younger audience members.

Careening through waves of psychedelia combined with hints of nu metal and alt-rock, Porcupine Tree clearly enjoy what they do. The band dynamically shiver with a vibrant light, resurrecting memories of Pink Floyd, Journey, and Yes. Because of their resemblance to 70's rock artists in their heyday, I'd neglect from labeling them "progressive." Although they are obviously influenced by 70's rock 'n roll, I'd go as far as to dub them indie-core.

Porcupine Tree clearly go the extra mile to form a connection with their audience; from the way Wilson converses with them, to the rest of the band's obvious enjoyment on-stage, and to the deliriously positive feedback from their fans. Porcupine Tree is personable, imbued with fervent emotion, blended into their dreamy, yet omniscient lyrics. Ending their set with the spellbinding ballad "Trains," Porcupine Tree truly has what it takes to become more than just an organic prog/alt rock band with a cult following, for they certainly have been around long enough. For the time being however, Porcupine Tree remains the ideal therapy for the misunderstood dreamer with versatile taste.

Reviews and Comments about Porcupine Tree

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very usefull

APOSTOLIS  11/12/2008

[email protected] 
very usefull

APOSTOLIS  11/12/2008

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