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Concert Review: Blackfield At Studio 7, Seattle, WA, 5/31/11

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For the Seattle stop on Blackfield’s current American tour, the near capacity crowd at Studio 7, a tiny, hole in the wall club located in the city’s industrial Sodo district, just a stones throw away from Qwest Field — where MLB’s Seattle Mariners beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 on the same night — caught a break.

Following the passing of guitarist/vocalist Steven Wilson’s father, several Blackfield shows were canceled as Wilson flew back home to England to pay his final respects. Thankfully for Seattle fans, their Studio 7 show marked the bands return to active duty, for what turned out to be a home run show.

Despite his recent personal loss, Wilson in particular, seemed to be particularly energized during a blazing and well balanced two hour set, drawing generously from all three of Blackfield’s studio albums. When he is not busy with a multitude of other projects ranging from his more famous band Porcupine Tree to overseeing the remastering of King Crimson’s back catalog, Wilson fronts Blackfield along with Israeli singer/songwriter Aviv Geffen.

For the Seattle show, Wilson even sat in briefly for the opening set from Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess. In addition to Wilson’s unscheduled appearance, Rudess’ treated the enraptured crowd to a virtuoso solo performance on the keys, highlighted by a brief medley of classic progressive rock tunes including Genesis’ “Blood On The Rooftops.”

After a brief break allowing for just about enough time to quaff a quick adult beverage, Blackfield took to the stage with a powerful version of “Blood” from their new Welcome To My DNA album. Like most of the new songs from DNA performed in Seattle, “Blood” took on a new power in a live setting only hinted at on the studio version. It was a killer opener, and a perfect segue into the song “Blackfield” from the bands debut album.

“Glass House” and “Go To Hell” also proved to be standouts from the new album, the former displaying Wilson’s vocals and soaring guitar, and the latter showcasing an equally impressive vocal from Geffen. More than anything, the new songs proved just how well these two great musicians jell together as a unit.

Blackfield II — their best record for my money — was also well represented in Seattle. Although it would have been nice to hear the mysteriously absent “Christenings,” great versions of “Epidemic” and “Miss U” proved to be just the right antidote.

A three song encore brought one of the best moments from Blackfield II though, as Geffen sang the lyrics to “End Of The World” from under a black hood in an apparent reference to living under the ever present shadow of terrorism in his native Israel.

It was a very powerful ending to an amazing show.

Setlist:

Blood
Blackfield
Glass House
Go To Hell
Open Mind

Pain
DNA
Waving
1000 People
Once
Hole In Me
Miss U
Zigota
Epidemic
Oxygen
Where U My Love?
Dissolving

Encore:
Hello
End Of The World
Cloudy Now

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About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at The Rockologist, and at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.
  • Michael

    awesome review and awesome show!

  • Kashif

    That is really superb movie with superb review. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Bert

    “Two hour set”? 95 minutes = more realistic…