Friday, October 19, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 283 - Portishead - Roseland NYC Live

Album – Roseland – NYC Live
Artist - Portishead
Key Players – Geoff Barrow – decks, drums. Beth Gibbons – vocals. Adrian Utley – guitar, keyboards
Produced By - Portishead

Release Date – November 10, 1998

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I was shuffling the ipod the other day and a track from this came up.

Overview - Formed in 1991 in Bristol England Portishead the band started as a duo consisting of Gibbons and Barrow. They'd craft moody trip-hop and lo-fi electronic music and release their debut “Dummy” in 1994. They'd try to avoid press, but the debut was fairly successful and the band followed it up three years later with a self titled release. This live record would then follow. This live album was recorded primarily from the Roseland Ballroom in New York City on July 24, 1997 (Sour Times was recorded on April 1, 1998 in San Francisco and Roads was recorded on July 3, 1998 from the Quart Festival).

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The New York Philharmonic orchestra warms up amongst a few audience cheers and the shrill of a theramin gets “Humming” off to a slow start. Muted trumpets and a few slow keyboard lines as the deep bass from the strings compliments the theramin. This goes on for about two minutes before Gibbons finally begins to sing. The back beat is methodical,almost robotic. The strings are a nice compliment to her angelic voice. Immersed with headphones you feel like you are there, the album is recorded really well seeming to capture not only the sounds of the night, but somehow how it might have smelled. Its odd I realize to say that. “Cowboys” has a more rock feel to it. The bass line is a bit more attacking, and the keyboards have a lot of samples with stop tempos. Gibbons sounds a little more gruff vocally, but she still soars over the moody track. The choppy, vinyl scratching sound mixes while Adrian Utley works across the guitar. There is time for an audience clap,a fade and then “All Mine” begins. At the start is sounds like the intro to a James Bond movie. The bright brass instruments with heavy bass drum before the ease of the tempo comes in. This is an assault on the ears, in a good sense. There is so much going on. The swirling guitar, to the long sustain on the organ to the bright horns. Everything is clear, nothing seems to out hustle the other. Met with a loud road “Mysterons” begins. This is every example of the bands sound. Clean, tight and haunting. Whatever Barrow is doing on these “decks” is something. The samples to the chilling theramin like instrument. It all just feels perfect. The band is great about mixing up tempo and vibe. “Only You” follows and with spoken samples and dj scratching that are then blended with flugel horn, trombones and saxophones. The bass line keeps it all slow, but the horns make it smooth. The shrill of strings with the plucked bass notes open “Half Day Closing”. There is a light effect on Gibbons vocals, giving them a shimmering feel. “Over” has the single guitar portion to open with quiet sustained keyboard passages. This track is not as busy as the others, but it is still strong. The string section opens up “Glory Box” and Gibbons greats that with a nasally delivery. The keyboards offer light touches before the buzzy guitar from Utley returns. Perhaps the most well known track from the band “Sour Times” follows. The bass work from Jim Barr is subtle and drummer Clive Deamer is careful to not get overzealous. The samples are awash through out. Gibbons is in fine form, easing in to her delivery, but by the end she is a frantic as you'll ever hear her. “Roads” is another easy sounding track full of samples and low key drum work. The collection concludes with “Strangers” a musically heavier track that most at the start, but then its almost like a jazz guitar part is played. Utley and Gibbons are alone for the first verse and the audience even begins to clap along in unison. Then the band goes deep and Gibbons pushes herself vocally. The end is the pay off with the big horns and really wonderful crescendo that is met with a thunderous roar from the audience. A perfect closer to this collection.

Where are they now? - After the release of this live record the band went on hiatus. The members focused on various solo projects. The band released the album “3” in April of 2008. The band has reported they are working on new material and are 'excited' about the process. As of this writing there is no time frame on a release.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I have never seen the band live, but would like to very much.

FDF Overall Take – This is a good place to start if you are new to the band. You get very full, and honestly a little bit stronger versions of the tracks. The production is great. You can hear everything from the bass, to the horns and back. A very solid release and one that is a great introduction to the band.


Curious? Check out some MUSIC!
(i've been trying to imbed..but always get errors)

You can still get the record here

Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.


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