My brother Jamie and I went to see Porcupine Tree play last night at the Middle East in Cambridge. Wow, what an excellent show. The opening band, Event was technically strong (Berklee grads), but IMNSHO pretty awful in the song writing department. To (mis)quote Jamie, “that was the worst act I’ve ever seen”. Every song started off with the bass going THUD THUD….THUD THUD….THUD THUD….followed by 5 minutes of guitar shredding (d00d! he shr3ds!). I guess I’ll never appreciate prog-metal. Oh well.
Jamie also pointed out the large number of pudgy, pony-tailed, middle-aged balding men. These guys were obviously the “keepers of the prog flame”. Guys who grew up in the 70’s who still wear their Nektar, Gentle Giant, and King Crimson t-shirts. Myself in 10 years? Definately no pony tail, hopefully not as pudgy.
Porcupine Tree came on around 10:30 (past the usual bedtime of this suburban dad). Every song was dead on perfect. The sound was great (after I put in my earplugs, that is), the light show was good, and best of all the band pulled off every song perfectly. Steven Wilson, the band’s leader, apologized that this was their first show in quite some time and that things were going wrong, but I couldn’t tell. They played 3-4 new songs from their upcoming album “In Absentia”, and each was better than the next.
Half way through the set, Wilson brought up the subject of P.T.’s reputation of being a “drug band” (news to me), mostly due to their psychedelic roots and songs like “Pure Narcotic“:
“I’ve written songs about serial killers, committing suicide, and the Earth being destroyed by nuclear blasts…it IS possible to write lyrics from an objective perspective”.