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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Atrium Blurew

"We come in peace!" claimed the alien rock star descending from the loft at Cat's Cradle last Tuesday night. So began the Adrian Belew Power Trio's set. Yes, that photo you see may or may not be Adrian Belew, or his alien clone--some say the aliens cannot be photographed, hence the blurriness of the image, having nothing to do with the photographer's lameness whatsoever.

I grew up with Adrian, with the '81-'84 King Crimson in particular hitting me in my adolescent musical sensibilities, though really, pretty much everyone AB has worked with is on my favorites list. He played on "Remain in Light"--it doesn't get better than that! .. and Bowie, Zappa, and so on. His autobiographical video on his website gives a pretty amazing overview of his guitar hero life so far. So it can't be said that I am much of an objective listener.

The question is: what is happening now with the power trio (currently AB + brother/sister team Eric and Julie Slick)? I imagine the Slick's will appear prominently on the forthcoming release of "Side Four", though they do not appear in the credits of "Side Three" (2006), which features bass and drum support from Les (Primus) Claypool and Danny (Tool) Carey. I will say one thing: Adrian and the Slick's are touring like mad and kickin out the jams.

They began the evening with the funkiest song in the Adrian repertoire, "Writing on the Wall" (from the album "Side One"), and played a lot of newer material, some older Belew solo stuff, and of course, a few arrangements from the 80's KC. It was great to relive "Frame By Frame" and some of the 80's era masterpieces, though I did kind of want to jump on stage and fill in on the Fripp guitar lines--as if! Toward the end it was time to let go for some crazy guitar synth improv. The aliens would be proud!

I really enjoyed chatting with Martha Belew before the show, as she shared the insights into the mayhem that is the business these days. The sense I get is that musicians everywhere, even the "big guys", are really struggling during this great transition, where the industry is in decline and we are transitioning to new, download-based distribution economy. Well friends, the revolution is here! All we've got to do is make it happen.

"I can't wait to see what happens next." - AB
"Indeed." - DO

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