This past Saturday I went to see Frogg Café for the 4th (?) time at the Old Franklin Schoolhouse in Metuchen.
It was a really good show, and I thought the band was even more "together" than they have ever been. It should be noted that this is quite a statement considering the fact that one of the focal members of the band, Nick Lieto, was absent (along with his brother John). I don't know exactly why he wasn't there, just that the water cooler talk is that he's "taking a break." One gossiper opined that he is trying to work out marriage problems. What that would have to do with brother John is anyone's guess.
It was interesting to see how they were going to manage without Nick's vocals and horns. As it turned out, Steve Uh handled the vocals very well, with Andrew Sussman and Bill Ayasse backing him up. As for the horns, most of the main parts were picked up by Bill Ayasse on violin, with some slack being picked up by the keyboards (I forget the guy's name filling in).
Anyway, as I said, it was a good show, and it was especially enjoyable because of the very intimate setting of the venue. It may as well have been someone's large living room. I sat in the front row, which meant that if the guitar player dropped his pick, I could have picked it up and handed it to him without either of us really moving from our respective spots.
Despite the fact that the show started over an hour late, and my disappointment that they were actually the opening band (for a band called 3rd Degree , whom I'd never heard of before), they actually played a nice set, including Abyss of Dissension, Frank Zappa's 'King Kong' (with a Big Swifty tease), and a killer cover of King Crimson's 'Red.'
I took a few pictures of each band, which can be viewed by clicking the pictures above.
Elsewhere in music this week, today marked the U.S. release of Porcupine Tree's 'Fear Of A Blank Planet.' Despite already hearing it in it's entirety last October in concert, as well as on several "unofficial" live recordings, I was able to enjoy this material as if it was brand new. This is an amazing album, and in my opinion is one of their most cohesive albums to date. That the entire album flows flawlessly from one song to the next, with no song being out of place, only helps the fact that this is a concept album.
From a lyrical content standpoint, it's a rather depressing album. It focuses on modern teen angst ("Don't try engaging me. The vaguest of shrugs, the prescription drugs. You'll never find a person inside."), offering no hope for resolution and no happy ending.
So, while I listened to this album 3 times today (4th as I type this), I thoroughly enjoyed the music, while at the same time being grateful I am not a parent of a teen, and feeling sympathy for the people I know who are.
I do highly recommend the album though. It is truly a work of art.
For a much more detailed review, click here.
It should be noted that I found this review AFTER I typed this blog post. I add this disclaimer because there is a line or two that is almost verbatim to what I said.
Two years, one week, three days, 17 hours smober
25924 cigarettes not smoked, saving $6,805.30
Life saved: 12 weeks, 6 days