Porcupine Tree

August 1, 2003

[Porcupine Tree]Went to the Fillmore last night with a couple of “normal” friends to see Porcupine Tree. It was my second time to see them. If you like Pink Floyd, you owe it to yourself to check them out. Awesome musicians, lush vocals.

In most shows, the opening act is brief, maybe half an hour. But last night’s opener was a group from Sweden called Opeth. Originally a death metal band, they have transitioned to progressive rock, sounding much like Porcupine Tree. Anyway, even though they were the opening act, they did a full show in their own right — so Porcupine Tree didn’t even get started until 11:00 p.m.! After driving back from “the City” (well, we dozed while my buddy Chris drove), Kay & I finally crawled into bed at 2:30 a.m. (Thanks, Mike, for babysitting!) We’re pretty spent — but we got two great shows for the price of one. Both bands understand the power of dynamics, and are able to build from a solo acoustic guitar to a raging wall of sound.

Porcupine Tree projected video imagery for many of their songs. The images, like the one on the left, communicate despair arising from broken family relationships — powerful stuff. I wish I could match it in our worship with imagery communicating hope and healing. …Are there any VJs floating around San Jose who can do with video what DJs do with audio? If you’re out there, I want to talk and see if we can collaborate.

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

4 responses to Porcupine Tree

  1. You ask “Are there any VJs floating around San Jose who can do with video what DJs do with audio? If you’re out there, I want to talk and see if we can collaborate.”
    Talk to Travis @ Highway Video. He VJ’s for various people all around the US and is a hero-great guy.

  2. You really do seem like you have a good head on your shoulders when it comes to small group ministry. I’m thinking about starting one up in September. I may be emailing you for some thoughts. I’m actually a little intimidated of the idea and not sure if I can manage my other tasks well enough to do it…etc, etc.
    Anyway, I always like to read what you’re up to.
    Be good.

  3. ‘Fraid you’re making the same mistake as most press coverage! Opeth wasn’t the support act. This tour was a double-headliner, with P-Tree and Opeth sharing equal billing and playing for roughly the same amounts of time.
    Sorry to be picky 😉 but there’s one other slight error: Opeth haven’t switched from death metal to prog, it’s just a one-off project. They’ve always mixed ‘full-on’ and more acoustic elements in their songs, but in 2002, they recorded a matched pair of distinctive albums in the same batch of sessions, produced by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree. The first to be released, ‘Deliverance’, was solely metal, with negligable softer material. The second, ‘Damnation’ was the flip side: solely prog/gentler material, with no metal. The show you saw showcased this album. If you see them again, they’ll be back to their usual style.
    Needless to say, I agree with your review, and highly recommend both bands. In case anyone is concerned about perceptions of satanism in death metal, Opeth don’t perform any such material.
    The designer of the ‘In Absentia’ cover and P-Tree’s video backdrops is Lasse Hoile – try his website for more in the same slightly disturbing vein.

  4. Yeah, I didn’t know until after this posting about the double-billing thing. Apparently they even took turns opening for each other. That certainly explains why, the first time I saw PTree, there was plenty of room, but this time it was packed — it was all the Opeth fans.
    Heh. Opeth dedicated one song to “our Lord Satan.” I’m glad I’ve relaxed; there was a time when I would have freaked, or at least been offended. But in context, it was actually quite funny. One guy in the audience shouted out, “Leave religion out of it!” which was even funnier.
    In any case, thanks for setting the record straight. I went to see PTree, but they were actually a little sloppy that night compared to the first show. But Opeth was awesome!