By Jake Ebdale
Artist: The Crimson ProjeKCt
Date / Venue: Tuesday June 24th, The Studio, Auckland
So I've finally witnessed the Crimson ProjeKCt. In all honesty, this wasn't the most anticipated of shows on the 2014 calendar, but after nearly three hours of face melting, receding-hairline tech rock theatrics, I walked away deaf, a bit nerdier, and importantly, very impressed. This ProjeKct, the latest in a long list ofKing Crimson spin off groups, draws mainly off the Discipline/Beat-era Crimson material, which was by far the most groovy, commercial incarnation of the legendary prog rock band. Whilst being a challenge on the ears at times, it was also bloody good fun.
The experience of a three hour show comprising of six members split into two collectives - yep, the press release seemed pretentious as all hot hell. That was before I walked into to the venue, a packed Studio, with one of the weirdest, smelliest, yet jovial crowds I've ever been part of, which peaked out to late Crimson number ‘THRAK'. The legendary pairing of Adrian Belew and Tony Levin made this all worthwhile, and they never missed a beat - both have played on some of my favourite projects, Belew in particular (Stop Making Sense, Scary Monsters and a frequent Zappa collaborator).
Acting as unofficial frontman, Belew was a force to behold - age was not a factor, his voice in stellar condition - especially on ‘Three of a Perfect Pair' and the late set ‘Indiscipline', which offered all six players, including twin drummers, Levin on his signature Chapman Stick (which looks like a souped up fence post with two rubber bands around it) and what looked like someone's daughter on bass (she was a beast on ‘dem strings). One of the drummers even double-delayed the sultry sounds of a shrinking balloon and rubber chicken. The players genuinely seemed into the performance; though absolutely ridiculous at times, this was an amazing show with a wink. ‘Red' was mindblowing.
Look - I'm not the biggest fan to start off with, give me ‘In the Court of the Crimson King' any day. But these were world class musicians being appreciated for what they do best. A closing ‘Thela Hun Ginjeet' closed the deal, proving the band really were pioneers at, well, whatever they did. A full formed reunion would surely take the prog world by storm - your move, Fripp.