Blackfield + The Pineapple Thief

Friday 8th April 2011

Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Firmly nailing my colours to the mast of the good ship Prog - I love both The Pineapple Thief (TPT) and Porcupine Tree (PT) but have only slighty dipped my toes over the side as regards to Blackfield. I certainly felt in my comfort zone as I strolled down to the Empire at a very sunny Shepherds Bush alongside a number of fans attired in both TPT and PT t-shirts. So would the so billed Anglo/Israeli rockers turn out to be kosher or would alleged reports of pretentious prog fit the mark?

Anyway, first up, and hot on the heels of their storming Underworld set were TPT. So pleasing to see these guys performing on the bigger stage even thought it was obviously a reduced 45 minute set. Bruce and the boys couldn't fail to be moved by the reception they received from their fans as they arrived on stage. Thankfully it was not a case of 'after the Lord Mayors Show' as they crammed in six big hitters in a very loud and energetic set: Wake The Dead, 3000 Days, Nothing At Best, So We Row, My Debt To You and Too Much To Lose. More importantly, TPT will be more encouraged by the ovation they received from the Bush massive as they left the stage. Mission accomplished. Onwards and upwards.

In contrast, Aviv Geffen's musical influence on Blackfield resulted in their set being much softer - although this is no way a criticism - as Geffen's collaborator in crime, Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson, admits that Blackfield are more about the '3 minute pop song'. With the exception of 'Far Away', Blackfield boldly played their entire new third album 'Welcome To My DNA' the highlights of which were the opener 'Blood', 'Glass House' and 'Zigota' which is a reworking of Geffen's solo track from the album Memento Mori. Ably assisted by Eran Mitelman on keyboards, Seffy Efrat on bass guitar and Tomer Z on drums, Geffen and Wilson visited more familiar territory with 'Pain', 'Blackfield', 'The Hole In Me' and the excellent 'Glow' from their inaugural 'Blackfield' album. For those frustrated PT fans out there - a release valve was the driving 'Once' from 'Blackfield II' - brilliant. 'Miss U' and the delightful 'Where Is My Love' completed the 'Blackfield II' roll-call before a well deserved encore saw the guys finish with Blackfield classics 'Hello', 'End Of The World' and the powerful 'Cloudy Now'. Definitely a kosher set, with the strengths of both Wilson and Geffen's guitar, vocal and writing abilities complementing each other to the max. What a great double bill. Now let's find that Blackfield back catalogue ...

AJ