Reviews roundup – Peter Gabriel vs. Tohpati vs. Marshall X vs. Bodinrocker
Back To Front – Live In London [DVD]
25 years after he released the album “So”, Peter Gabriel got the original touring lineup back together to play the album in its entirety, for the first time. And here is the DVD, filmed at the London O2 using Ultra High Definition 4K technology. Which will be nice if you are one of the three people with a telly that understands that.
For the rest of us, though, it’s a very interesting release. Mr Gabriel does like to do things a wee bit differently and, alongside Manu Katche, Tony Levin, David Rhodes, David Sancious, Jennie Abrahamson and Linnea Olsson, he has done some reimagining of his back catalogue, along with some arty farty lighting and staging.
The set was split into three sections. An acoustic section, and electric performance of the “So” album and the encores. Maybe I’m just getting old, but it was actually the acoustic section, with numbers like ‘Shock The Monkey’ that interested me most. Odd. It’s not like me. Then it was off into the electric section, with ‘Solsbury Hill’ and others, before the “So” album arrived.
There is also some new music, some rarely heard music, and Mr Gabriel in full command of the stage. His fanbase will absolutely love this.
Well you know you’re always in line for something interesting on a MoonJune release, and this latest one from Tohpati is no different. You won’t be surprised to learn that it’s fusion, albeit fusion with an exotic twist, but with the addition of the rhythm section of Chad Wackerman and Jimmy Haslip, who’ve played with just about everyone, it’s moved up a level.
The music is diverse, the performances flawless and when everything combines, you get some of those rare moments when the whole is greater than the sum of its parst. Listen to the guitar work on ‘Rahwana’ and tell me I’m wrong. I’m not, and you know it.
But it’s not all about the solos as there is always a melody underpinning the tunes, something I demand in my fusion, and something that is guaranteed here. Materila like ‘Tribal Dance’ is as good as anything you’ll hear in this musical world this year, and you really owe it to yourself to check it out.
Broke, Busted & Blue
Off to Austria now to catch up with Marshall X aka Jay Boston aka Jürgen Bernauer. That’s a lot of names for one person, and I’d only seen one of them before, way back in the eighties, on a 12″ single by the then past their best Hot Chocolate. So I suspected that I may be in for some poor funk-lite.
Thankfully, I was wrong because Marshall X aka Jay Boston aka Jürgen Bernauer has done a lot more than that over the years, and has now settled into a seventies drive time groove, where you’ve lifted the soft top, strapped in your woman, and headed off down the coast. Of course, in my case, that’s the 26 bus to Port Seton, but if you can’t dream, what’s the point.
It’s a best West Coast, it’s a bit blues rock, it’s a bit soft rock, but it’s certainly a labour of love. When the songs match up to the passion, as they do on ‘Southern Rain’, ‘Love Is Blind’ and ‘So Hard To Handle’, then it’s a job well done.
Rock It The Right Way
Finally, for today, we’re off to Sweden, to meet up with Anders Bodin from Gothenburg. He’s had a few albums out over the years, both under his given name, and the one he is currently using. He’s obviously a proper person, as “inspired by Status Quo’s supposedly farewell gig at the ice stadium in Stockholm in 1984, Anders, along with his first band Blackboard, managed to get the entire school auditorium to sing along to Bye Bye Johnny.” A story that makes me like him even before hearing a note.
But it’s actually pretty good. Especially to someone like me who regularly attests to the Status Quo being the greatest rock and roll band ever. Now, this is a bloke who actually used to have a band called 12 Bar Boogie, so you won’t be surprised to learn which of his influences rise to the top here, what with the guitar riffs and Hammond organ. Thankfully, though, he can also write a good tune.
There are a few to choose from, with ‘The Race’, ‘Long Way Round’ and the title track getting a lot of repeat plays around my way. It’s not all Quo though, with some excellent hard rock and even some pop rock, along for the ride. It’s the sign of a good album when it makes you want to go back and check the previous ones. This one does just that.