Steven Wilson: Night 1 – Royal Albert Hall 29th September 2015 – Concert Review

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The evening of Thursday 8th of November 2007 at the Oxford Academy, my first live exposure to the musical force that is Mr. Steven. Wilson. Introduced to his work via some very good friends of mine. Like many of you they were already long term fans back then – I was quickly educated by them on his existing body of work, in particular Porcupine Tree.

I now found myself standing a couple of paces back from the stage, and having familiarised myself with their then recent release; ‘’Fear of a Blank Planet’, I pondered, between slugs of warm lager gulped from a plastic cup, on what I might expect.

I came away from that evening having been hugely impressed by the intricate and expertly crafted music. Performed by an immensely talented line-up of rhythmically tight band members and wonderful melodic guitar interplay, framed between huge chugging riffs. Initially at least, I struggled with Steven’s awkward stage presence and sometimes clunky lyrics. But, they had done enough to hook me…

Fast forward Ooo, I don’t know, 8 years, and I find myself seated in the Circle at the Royal Albert Hall. Strapped in for two evenings with the very same man, now sans the ‘Tree. Having forged a very successful career all on his lonesome. Well, not quite. He has some very talented gunslingers at his side…


As I’m sure many of you are aware; in those intervening years Steven has worked incredibly hard at his career. And boy does it show. I have been lucky to attend many, many Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, and solo gigs in that time. Mainly thanks to my afore mentioned friends being unwilling to miss a single event. Until tonight that is. With the gigs clashing with their holiday plans, they very kindly bought me tickets to both evenings as a very generous birthday gift. Hence this article being a thank you of sorts, to try to give them a flavour as to what went down at RAH! Continue reading Steven Wilson: Night 1 – Royal Albert Hall 29th September 2015 – Concert Review

RIP: David Bowie

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A true original. Here he is being stalked by another of my Heroes:

Update 10/2/16: I was lucky enough to be present at Steven Wilsons recent Hammersmith gig at which he performed a touching tribute to Mr Bowie. Here is the official video featuring a wonderful duet with Ninet Tayeb on Space Oddity:

MotoGP: My First Time…

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On the morning of Friday the 22nd June 2007 I experience something that will live long in my memory. Stood alone on the infield slope beside the Craner Curves at Donington Park, wearing shorts in the driving rain, black clouds roll overhead. I contemplate why I had arisen at an ungodly hour, to travel the length of the M1, in order to suffer the discomfort I currently endured.

Between the beating of the rain, in the distance behind me, an engine fires… First Practice for the British GP had begun.

The revs rise and fall, gently at first. Gears begin to shift, the noise grows from distant to cacophonous in mere moments. To this day this may be the single most beautiful sound to ever pummel my ear drums. In the peripheral vision of my left eye a single small red projectile explodes into view. Flicking from side to side, as it negotiates the curves of the Craners. Down, down, towards the Old Hairpin, which on this day resembled the foot of a waterfall. The pilot, fresh from the pit lane moments earlier, is fully committed on the untested surface. Riding the grip of his bespoke Bridgestone wets as they cut through the surface tension of the standing water. The sound by now has reached its glorious peak. I no longer hear it, it is so loud it inhabits my very soul, inside my head, vibrating the fabric of my being from the inside out.

I can only describe the sound thusly; imagine what you might believe to be the sound of sheet metal tearing. Couple this with what can only be described as the ground opening up before you, topped off with a sprinkling of the finest violin concerto ever performed. This, my beloved readership, is the sound of the 2007 Ducati Desmocedici. With a young antipodean, named Casey Stoner, perched atop. You may have heard of him?

Stoner Craners 08

After years of following it on TV, this was my first ever sighting of a MotoGP missile in the wild. And boy did it deliver. It was visceral. The volume made it a struggle to concentrate. Stoner tipped into the old hairpin, and accelerating away to my right, possessing no fear in the lack of knowledge of the grip level he might find. The traction control, trying its best to rein in the rampant beast, sounding like a hail of gunfire. Continue reading MotoGP: My First Time…