On Stage: Hackett keeping Genesis’ sound alive

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Steve Hackett

It would be an understatement to describe former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett’s fanbase in the area as sizable.

Genesis was one of the best progressive rock bands ever — one of the genre’s trailblazers. The band broke up quite a while ago and prospects of any type of reunion are non-existent. Fortunately, the band’s guitarist Steve Hackett is keeping the timeless music of Genesis alive. Hackett is renowned as an immensely talented and innovative rock musician.

He was lead guitarist with Genesis as part of the band’s classic line-up with Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford – the line-up that produced several of the band’s most-acclaimed albums including “Selling England by the Pound” and “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.”

Hailed for his electric guitar playing and his composing, Hackett employs influences from many genres, including jazz, world music and blues. He also has made classical albums that include renditions of pieces by composers from Bach to Satie.

Hackett visits the area for a show – or shows – every time he tours the states and ends up with a sold-out show (or shows) every time.

In 2017, he packed the house at Santander Arena in Reading. Two years before that, Hackett played three SRO shows in four days at three different venues – Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Delaware; Scottish Rite Theatre in Collingswood, N.J.; and the Keswick Theatre in Glenside. In 2014, he sold out the joint twice during another visit to the Keswick.

Hackett’s shows feature two parts – one set devoted to a particular Genesis album and the other featuring various tracks from his solo albums and other Genesis LPs.

In 2017, Hackett’s “Genesis Revisited with Classic Hackett” celebrated the 40th anniversary of the classic Genesis album, “Wind and Wuthering,” Hackett and his band also played Genesis fan favorites such as “The Musical Box” and other Genesis numbers never performed before by his band. He also included some material from “The Night Siren.”

The tour prior to that was “From Acolyte to Wolflight Tour 2015” which celebrated his latest solo album “Wolflight” and the 40th anniversary of the release of his first solo album “Voyage of the Acolyte.” The also featured a unique blend of Hackett solo material and Genesis classics, including as-of-yet unperformed Genesis material. 

His Keswick shows in 2014 were part of the “Genesis Extended Tour,” which was a continuation of the 2013/2014 “Genesis Revisited II Tour.” That tour, which broke box office records in the UK, Europe and Japan, featured all Genesis material accompanied by a specially designed light show.

Hackett nails the Genesis sound with his band, which features Nad Sylvan (vocals), Roger King (keyboards), Craig Blundell (drums, percussion and vocals) and Rob Townsend (sax, flute and percussion).

On September 28, Hackett, returns to the Keswick Theatre (www.keswicktheatre.com) with the latest iteration of his critically-acclaimed “Genesis Revisited Tour.”

Hackett and his band will perform the iconic Genesis album, “Selling England By the Pound,” in its entirety plus a special 40th Anniversary celebration of his solo album “Spectral Mornings”. He will also play highlights from his brand-new album, “At The Edge Of Light.”

“I’m playing the whole of ‘Selling England By the Pound’ along with an extra track from that session,” said Hackett, during a phone interview Friday morning from his hotel room in New York

“The track is called ‘Déjà vu.’ Pete (Genesis vocalist Peter Gabriel) wanted the band to do the song. But it never got recorded. I recorded a version with Paul Carrack many years later. And now, we play it live and Nad loves singing it.”

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years since ‘Spectral Mornings’ came out. It’s been a long and interesting journey.

“This tour in the states will be about two months. It’s hectic. Life is hectic – but it’s fun. I’m surprised to be working so much. A few years back, I wondered if my career would continue. In the last 10 years, it’s gone up and up.”

Hackett will release “Genesis Revisited Band & Orchestra: Live” on October 25 via InsideOutMusic as 2CD + Blu-Ray digipak and 2CD + DVD Multibox internationally, and 2CD + Blu-Ray + DVD in North America.
The album was recorded on October 5, 2018 at The Royal Festival Hall, London, during the  2018 Genesis Revisited Tour – a tour that fulfilled Hackett’s long-time dream to perform the music of Genesis with a live orchestra.

“I had an idea of doing one show in London,” said Hackett, who released his 25th studio album “At the Edge of Light” in January.

“We had already done one show like that in Iceland and one in Buffalo. Between those shows, we had charts for an entire gig.

“I wanted to do one show in London, but my agent booked six shows. They all sold out. We booked a few more at the Palladium and they sold out. Then, there was the Royal Festival show which we filmed.

“The challenge has always been there for me to do it (perform accompanied by an orchestra). You get more ambitious as you get older. We started the project and it came out very well. Fan of that material will be very happy with that recording.

“When I do Genesis stuff, it’s opening doors wide to the museum. But the new stuff is important too. I’m not just an archivist. I’m very happy to bring people’s dreams to life but there are so many things with my Genesis afterlife.

“I’ve always been a risk-taker — and a radical. There are quite many things I’ll touch but most people won’t. I think it’s great to change people’s perspectives of what they like.”

Video link for Steve Hackett – https://youtu.be/oIcTis6KgJY.

The show at the Keswick Theater will start at 8 p.m. Tickets prices range from $49.50-$85.

Zombies are coming to Upper Darby this weekend – and the “Day of the Dead” is still more than a month away.

These zombies are not “eaters’ but rather “treaters.” Instead of eating people’s flesh they treat people’s ears.

The Zombies

In the world of fiction, zombies are creatures who die and then come back to life. The Zombies, a British rock band, have had a career that resembles the fictional characters with whom they share their name.

In the mid-1960s, the London-based band scored a number of hit singles including “Tell Her No” and “She’s Not There” and then went four years without a song in the charts. In 1968, the Zombies rose from the dead and had a Top Five hit with “Time of the Season.”

In the early 1970s, the group disbanded and headed off to the rock-and-roll graveyard.

Amazingly, the Zombies found new life in the 1990s when founding members Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone reunited for a series of dates in the U.K. The reincarnation felt like a good thing — for the two core members and for the band’s many fans.

In May 2019, The Zombies announced a co-headlining tour with Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys called “Something Great From ’68’” featuring The Zombies performing “Odessey and Oracle,” in addition to other greatest hits. This tour would also feature the four surviving original members (Colin Blunstone, vocals; Rod Argent, keyboards, vocals; Chris White, bass, vocals; Hugh Grundy, drums) in addition to the band’s current lineup — Steve Rodford, drums, percussion; Tom Toomey – guitars, backing vocals; and Søren Koch – bass guitar, backing vocals; Argent; and Blunstone.

The “Something Great From ’68’” tour will touch down at the Tower Theater (69th and Ludlow streets, Upper Darby, 215-922-1011, www.thetowerphilly.com) on September 28.

“We’re one of the few 60s bands that are still alive and still like each other,” said Chris White during a phone interview from a tour stop in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Because there are co-headliners, we don’t do a set as long as usual. This time, the touring band will play four numbers and then we all come on to do ‘Odessey and Oracle.’ We play it from beginning to end. Rod and Colin won’t play ‘Odessey and Oracle’ unless we have the band that recorded the album.”

The “Odessey & Oracle” album is a major reason that the Zombies have an appeal that is multi-generational. Had it not been for legendary keyboardist/guitarist/songwriter/producer Al Kooper, the album would have never been released in America. By the time “Odessey and Oracle” came out in the U.K. in April 1968, the group had been dissolved for months and the album’s sales in the U.K. were poor.

“I loved that album and wanted to do something for it,” said Kooper, during a phone interview. “I was working and recording for Columbia Records. The label’s president Clive Davis decided he didn’t want to release the album in America, but I convinced him that he should.”

White recalled the band’s struggles from that era.

“We recorded ‘Odessey and Oracle’ and nobody wanted it,” said White. “So, we decided to call it a day. Rod and I wanted to continue writing together. Then, eight months later the album was a hit. ‘Time of the Season’ went up to Number One.

“All of us have stayed friends through the years. Rod and I produced Colin’s first three albums and all of Argent’s albums. Rod and I put Argent together and I wrote ‘Hold Your Head Up.’ I stopped playing in the band because I wanted to focus more on production.”

If a rock band is still alive more than 50 years after its first show, it almost definitely has shown the ability to come back from the dead.

Zombies — undead beings created through the reanimation of human corpses – obviously know how to come back from the dead.

The Zombies played their first show in 1962. Still alive as a band today, the Brit rockers definitely know how to come back from the dead.

The Zombies have been building their fan base for more than 50 years and that fan base still continues to grow. One reason that it grows is because the band’s catalog of great songs continues to grow.

The Zombies released their latest album “Still Got That Hunger” in October 2015.

“With regard to our initial reunion 12 years ago, Rod was doing a charity with his band Argent,” said Blunstone.  “I was in the audience and he called me up to sing a few songs with him. I had some solo dates not long after that, so Rod came and played those dates.

“We only expected to play together for those shows. But it went great, so we decided to keep it going. Halfway through the first show, it felt as though we had never stopped playing. In reality, it was a 30-year gap.”

White said, “With the Zombies, you get four of the five original members. The only one not here is Paul Atkinson, who passed away in 2004,” Video link for the Zombies –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQYlTNlOQxg.

Brian Wilson

The show at the Tower Theater, which also features Brian Wilson, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $69.99.

When Daniel Avery presents a show at Warehouse On Watts (923 North Watts Street, Philadelphia, https://www.bandsintown.com) on September 28, you can be sure it will not be a replica of what he did in his previous show and know that it is different from what he’ll do in his next show.

Avery is a highly respected electronic music producer and DJ from Bournemouth, England.

“I’m flying solo this time,” said Avery, during a phone interview Thursday from a tour stop in Boston.

Daniel Avery

“It’s very simple. I’m a light-travelling DJ. Technology saved my life.

“I’m playing all night long in Philly. “I like that because it gives me a chance to play all kinds of things. 10 hours was my longest last year.

“When I play all night, I can play a lot of genres. I love people walking into a venue, sitting on the floor for ambient and ten later dancing wildly to techno. I like to build the atmosphere from the ground up.”

Avery grew up in a musical environment.

“It all started with my dad’s record collection,” said Avery. “Our house was never silent. He was a big fan of Kraftwerk and New Order.

“I rediscovered that music later – bands like Neu and Silver Apples. I discovered it when I worked at a record shop in Southampton when I was in college.”

Five years after his critically acclaimed debut “Drone Logic,” Avery released his critically acclaimed second album, “Song For Alpha,” in April 2018.

“I’ve been back in the studio a lot this year,” said Avery, who now lives in London. “My ‘Drone Logic’ album came out in 2012 and I’ve never stopped making music since.

“When I’m working in the studio, I try not to go in with any preconceptions. I have a studio in my apartment in London. It’s an unusually quiet corner of London along the River Thames.

“I think the setting itself has informed my music over the last two years. I step back and let the music decide. Even when I’m making loud, fast music, the environment seems to remove the aggression. Living in a quiet environment taught me a lot about myself.”
Video link for David Avery – https://youtu.be/PRMnGzznRMI?list=OLAK5uy_kqRtJ6KVCdSUKH3vyWjJXJDcoupLCCiM8.

The show at Warehouse On Watts will start at 10 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Steve Kimock

Guitar ace Steve Kimock has played a number of shows in the Delaware Valley over the years and keeps showing up with something new every time.

On September 28, Kimock will return to the area for another show at the Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com).

Kimock, who released his most recent album, “Satellite City,” in 2017, will be performing with a seasoned quartet featuring his son John Morgan Kimock on drums, Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green) on bass and vocals, and Jeff Chimenti (Dead & Company) on keys.

“The guys are familiar with each other and that’s what makes it go,” said Kimock. “It doesn’t matter if you know the song.

“When we’re getting ready to play some shows, there is always some kind of rehearsal.

“Usually at the start, we’ll just go in at 3 p.m. and play. With regard to a set list, I’d rather just get up and say — what do I feel like doing?”

If you had to pick a genre for Kimock’s music, it would have to be “rock” or, even better, “rock plus.” Over the past few decades, Kimock has explored various styles based on where his head was at the time — blues, jam, funk, jazz, gypsy, prog-rock, traditional American, boogie, folk, psychedelic, or world fusion.

Kimock’s signature sound is marked by his ability to articulate crystal-clear tone, melody and emotion into music crafted with technical brilliance. He always seems at his best when he is performing live.

 Kimock grew up in Bethlehem and then moved to northern California in the 1970s. About 17 years ago, Kimock departed California and ended up back in Pennsylvania. Later, he changed coasts and, more recently, has come back to the Lehigh Valley.

“I’m back in Pennsylvania,” said Kimock. “We moved in late summer. I have kids that are 15 and 11 and I like the school system here.”

Over the years, Kimock has built a legion of fans through touring and recording. His musical resume includes jamming with Jerry Garcia (the Grateful Dead guitar legend who, shortly before his death, called Kimock his “favorite unknown guitar player”) and playing with musicians from the now-defunct Grateful Dead.

Kimock has performed with Bob Weir in Kingfish, with Vince Welnick in Missing Man Formation and with Phil Lesh in the Phil & Friends. He has also played in the Heart of Gold Band with Keith and Donna Godchaux and has toured with Merle Saunders and Bruce Hornsby.

He also has recorded with a number of his own bands, including Steve Kimock Crazy Engine, Zero, the Steve Kimock Band, Praang and Steve Kimock & Friends. His current line-up adds more versatility to the mix.

Kimock seems to always have several irons in the fire.

“It’s one from ‘Column A’ and then one from ‘Column B,’” said Kimock. “I just go the way I’m supposed to go. I do my own band. I work on collaborations with my son John. And, I’m doing some shows with Zero. I haven’t done any Zero in a while.”

Kimock’s upcoming schedule includes three shows with Zero in California later this month and a gig as “special guest” on Jamcruise 18 in January.

Video link for Steve Kimock – https://youtu.be/b8rUSszNzR4.

The show at the Ardmore Music Hall will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $28.

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