Date . Venue: Thursday November 16th, 2017 - The Studio, Auckland
I'm sitting here at 2AM having just got home from seeing drummer Mike Portnoy's "Shattered Fortress" epic progressive metal show - celebrating not only his 50th in style, but gaining much-needed closure from his departure from Dream Theater - and finally performing his "twelve step program" live, something he never managed to do during his tenure behind the skins.
Portnoy is, for want of a better phrase - like many in the progressive music scene, a musicians musician. Anyone with even a passing interest in drumming can't go far without hearing the name mentioned, not only for his work with Dream Theater, but Avenged Sevenfold, Adrenaline Mod, Transatlantic and Neal Morse, to the new Sons of Apollo project - Portnoy is everywhere.
And last night Portnoy returned to Auckland. I remember 2009 clearly - the year Dream Theater first played New Zealand, it wasn't long after that show that Portnoy's departure was announced and I was so happy to have been able to see that lineup.
But tonight! This wasn't Dream Theater here, this was Portnoy, backed by a more recent favourite progressive band Haken. It was like a double whammy of love and I couldn't have asked for a better band to complement Portnoy for this special experience. There were the occasional moments where I was mentally expecting to hear James Labrie, then jolted back to reality with Ross Jennings giving an impressive interpretation of each song. Both voices have unique elements to their timbre and it often took me a moment to shake that familiarity with the original to truly enjoy that element of the performance. In the scale of things this was so close to irrelevant it may not be worth mentioning, it did, however, make me feel somewhat sad that Haken wern't performing their own sideshow whilst in this part of the world.
To be honest - I'm sitting here thinking there's not entirely much more I can say about the show that hasn't already been written about Portnoy's performance, technical ability etc, over the many many many years of performing. But I will say - unlike 2009's Dream Theater show where I was seated fairly distant from the band to being in the pit and side of stage - being able to see clearly the ease with which Portnoy's drum microphone swings into and out of position for those times Mike tackles vocal duties. It was one thing to see that on video, but entirely another seeing it up close - there's a fluid motion the show, it's a well oiled, perfected machine that, within the chaos of shifting time signatures and thundering power grooves, feels like an organic entity with a life of its own.
I don't think I really need to dive into waxing lyrical and just how wonderful each different member was playing their chosen instrument, we know these guys can play - they wouldn't be here otherwise, that well oiled organic machine is... well, a well oiled organic machine of metal.
For me - tonight was THE gig of the year. I've been a melodic/progressive metal nut at heart for as long as I can remember, with Dream Theater/Portnoy being there for my entire musical journey - to say I was impressed, and far far far from being disappointed is an understatement.
Licensed and supported by Genesis and Peter Gabriel, Montreal-based Genesis’ tribute The Musical Box recreates the iconic show featuring music from the prog pioneers 1973 album Selling England By The Pound.
After reviewing the latest album by The Sad Song Co. I wanted to sit down and chat more with Nigel Powell about how it came together, and how being a solo artist fits into his life touring with Frank Turner.
Over the last week there have been lots of discussion surrounding the unfortunate events at last weekend's Windhand/Cough show at Auckland's 'Kings Arms Tavern', and if there's one one thing to take away from it - it's that you should always be prepared for the worst, and have some form of plan for dealing with it.
In the mid to late 90's, when grunge began to wither away and MTV strived to find the next easy to access label to attach to new batch of up and coming rock bands, global attention started to shine on the Alt Rock scene.
The I Love The 90s Tour returns to Auckland next year March 23rd at Auckland’s Spark Arena, with a completely off the chain lineup featuring classic Hip Hop crew Naughty by Nature. Vin Rock from the Grammy Award winning rap group speaks fondly of this country and love of our people.
The Soundsplash Festival is returning to Raglan in January 2018. Local reggae favourites Katchafire are returning to feature on the bill. We sent a few questions over to lead vocalist Logan Bell ahead of the festival.
Following 2015’s Kitty, Daisy & Lewis'The Third', the sibling trio are back stronger than ever, harnessing their ability to create pop-infused soul, blues, rock n roll and a large mix of genres to perfection, in the shape of their fourth studio album, Superscope.
Kylie Price has just released her new album Bones. Last week she appeared on theNZ Entertainment Podcast, where she sang a new song I Dont Want To Go off the album while talking shop about her dream gig to play with Ed Sheeran and her Philipino roots.
Last week I caught up withPeter Hook ahead of returning down under for Australasian leg of the Joy Division and New Order Substance tour. We had a great chat about the spirit of punk, what it takes to write a book and why shows like the X-factor are so unhealthy…
Long established as one of New Zealand’s finest acts, South Pacific reggae-soul legends, The Black Seeds are set to tour the country in September, following the release of their long awaited 6th studio album Fabric, (out today - Friday September 8th).
Jacqueline Nalpant is a Booking Agent for the Paradigm Talent Agency, and is heading to New Zealand early next month where she'll be one of the speakers for the Going Global Music Summit (Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September at Roundhead Studios, Auckland).
Since making her musical debut with her song Drift early last year, fast attracting a solid fan base and over 1 million plays across Spotify and Soundcloud in just a few months, Madeline North, better known by her musical moniker So Below, has once again blessed us with a moodier, masterful electro-pop banger, titled Ruin.
Since forming in 1998, the Antwerp, Belgium based trio Triggerfinger have long become a mainstay on the rock scene, building a solid reputation across Europe, the US, Canada and beyond, as one of the hardest-driving and sharpest dressing bands around.
Popular metalcore group Northlane are on their way to New Zealand. The Sydney band are touring North America taking in countries like Chile and Mexico as they head our way down-under next month to play Wellington’s San Fran then Auckland at the iconic Kings Arms.
Returning to New Zealand for the first time in three years, Australian metalcore band In Hearts Wake are on their way to our shores next month for a quick run of shows supporting their label cohorts Northlane.
Courtney Marie Andrews has landed in New Zealand, and set to play two concerts this week with Joe Pug - tonight at San Fran in Wellington (Wed July 19) and tomorrow night at The Tuning Fork in Auckland (Thu July 20).