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Live Reviews : Porcupine Tree (Sydney) – 06/02/2010

By on February 7, 2010


w/ Sleep Parade

Enmore Theatre, Enmore – 6th February 2010

Well, originally I had the best intentions to catch Porcupine Tree on their latest Australian tour as I missed their last venture down under. Unfortunately this show just had to clash with another major international show that I had prior commitments to attend. So naturally I was kinda bummed as I caught Porcupine Tree in Europe back in ’08, and although they were both down a member and they had to play a most abrupt set for a progressive band, I was absolutely blown away by their performance and wanted to catch them at every possible chance from there on.

So a few weeks back, Paradise Lost were forced to delay their tour due to visa issues (but it’s all good as they’ll now be coming in April) so I naturally jumped straight back onto the opportunity to see Porcupine Tree!

Last year Porcupine Tree released a dual disc opus called “The Incident”, which comprised of two parts. The first disc consisted of a fourteen track epic which, in total, made the centre piece track, “The Incident”, while the second was more of an EP effort, with tracks that were obviously written to be deemed as a separate entity from the preceding disc. The album was received extremely well, so it was no surprise that Porcupine Tree announced that they would be playing the first disc in it’s entirety on their impending world tour, with tracks from both their vast discography as well as selected tracks from the second disc of their latest release.

I arrived at the venue as support band, Sleep Parade, were just kicking into their second track. I’ve heard about this Melbourne band from different people over the last few years, but have never had a chance to catch them live. I was quite captivated by their set, as they reminded me of the more popular hard rock/alternative bands that have been dominating the scene as of late, such as Karnivool and Cog. Sleep Parade definitely seemed to either have a dedicated crowd following at the show, or that they had just immediately picked up a whole new group of fans, as the crowd seemed to be feeding straight from their hands, lapping up every note the band had to offer. Definitely a fitting opener for a band such as Porcupine Tree, while they mightn’t be as technical as the headliners, they definitely share the harder rock energy that Porcupine Tree bring to the genre.

After roughly half an hour wait, and an intro track that seemed to last decades, Porcupine Tree finally hit the stage, hitting straight into the promised set of the full track, “The Incident”. As the stage lights remained dim, the resonating notes of “Occam’s Razor” echoed throughout the venue as the silhouettes of each member appeared on stage, gracing Sydney once again with their presence. While I may have missed their last concert at the very same venue, I felt immediately captivated by the performance, along with the numerous fans surrounding me, who, judging by their 2008 tour shirts, had enjoyed this experience at least the previous time before.

The band continued playing through the many tracks that fabricated the epic that was “The Incident”. My personal favourite was the 11 minute-plus classic, “Time Flies”, which defined the band down to the core. With a mixture of both acoustic guitar passages and hard rock elements, the track worked an absolute treat, with every single person in the crowd screaming for more.

After finishing “The Incident” in its entirety, the band took a short intermission, which was followed by a set of classic Porcupine Tree tracks spanning their extensive career beginning with the album Deadwing’s “The Start Of Something Beautiful”. From here on, front man Steven Wilson, worked the crowd really well, initiating crowd interaction as well as the occasional sing-a-long.

A highlight of second set definite was found with the second part of Fear Of A Blank Planet’s “Anesthetize” which sent shivers down my spine. Not only does this track have a groove section that could kill, but the heavy interlude that shows off drummer Gavin Harrison’s colossal skill would have been worth the entry fee alone.

Porcupine Tree closed the concert with the encore of two classic tracks from the In Absentia album, “The Sound Of Musak” and “Trains”. After a few sound issues between the two tracks, “Trains” pulled out the biggest crowd sing-a-long of the night, with pretty much every inhabitant discharging their heart felt vocals throughout the venue.

This band has definitely risen to be a leader of progressive rock for the modern generation. Steven Wilson, in my humble opinion, is a musical genius, and this is a band that must be witnessed by as many as possible on their next visit to our shores.

Set List

Set 1:

Occam’s Razor
The Blind House
Great Expectations
Kneel and Disconnect
Drawing the Line
The Incident
Your Unpleasant Family
The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train
Time Flies
Degree Zero of Liberty
Octane Twisted
The Séance
Circle of Manias
I Drive the Hearse

Set 2:

The Start of Something Beautiful
Russia on Ice
Stars Die
Strip the Soul
Bonnie the Cat

The Sound of Muzak