Monday, December 28, 2015

LIVE REVIEW - The Security Project/Casey Desmond, Tupelo Music Hall (Londonderry, NH) 12/13/15

Left to right: Trey Gunn, Jerry Marotta, Brian Cummins, David Jameson and Michael Cozzi of The Security Project (photo by Joel Gausten)

As previously discussed on this siteThe Security Project is a collection of musical heavyweights exploring the early years of Peter Gabriel's illustrious solo career. Heavily focused on the singer's four eponymous albums from 1977 to 1982 (known among fans as Car, Scratch, Melt and Security), The Security Project has none other than the singer's '77-'86 drummer, Jerry Marotta, keeping the beat. And when this intriguing supergroup hit the stage at the Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry, NH on December 13, the results were extraordinary.

Considering that Marotta's Security Project bandmates have also carved impressive individual niches performing left-field music (Trey Gunn with King Crimson, Michael Cozzi with Shriekback and Sky Cries Mary, Brian Cummins with Marillion's Mick Pointer, David Jameson with Beyond The Wall), it came as little surprise that the group succeeded in honoring the esoteric spirit of some of the most challenging material in Gabriel's 40-year post-Genesis adventure. 

The Londonderry show's many highlights included the Car numbers “Moribund the Burgermeister and “Humdrum,” Melt's “I Don't Remember” and “Intruder” and Security's “Lay Your Hands on Me” and “The Family And The Fishing Net.” The Security Project also had plenty to offer visually, as the mere sight of Gunn's Warr guitar and Jameson's Eigenharp proved that the evening would not be a typical Rock show.

Photo by Joel Gausten

In addition to beautifully echoing Gabriel's trademark voice, Cummins displayed the emotional depth necessary to capture the heart of this music. From being visibly moved during “Biko” to inspiring pin-drop quiet awe with his surprising acoustic rendition of show closer “Mercy Street” (from 1986's So), the man flawlessly demonstrated the difference between a mere tribute act and a group that truly feels the music they perform.

For a band devoted to exploring such high-brow music, The Security Project's performance at the Tupelo Music Hall was a lighthearted affair. The crowd joined the band in wishing Gunn a happy 55th birthday, while Marotta took center stage towards the end of the set to share some often amusing thoughts on his work with Gabriel. (“What kind of a guy writes things like I've tasted all of the strongest meats and laid them down in coloured sheets?” he quipped, referencing Genesis' “Back To N.Y.C.” off 1974's The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. “What the fuck does that mean? I've been singing that for years. I don't have a clue...”)

While high-caliber musicianship was expected from The Security Project before any of the group's members even walked on stage, equally captivating opener Casey Desmond was a pleasant surprise. The Boston-based singer and one-time The Voice contestant's all-too-brief set offered intriguing Ray Of Light-meets-Little Earthquakes Dance Pop that accentuated her commanding stage presence. 

Casey Desmond (photo by Joel Gausten) 

Desmond's set was bolstered by accompanying electric violinist Mei Ohara (an experimental New England musician whose “Bystanders” video and 2013 track “If You Keep Me Unkempt” are particularly fascinating) and Cambridge, MA synth master Avoxblue. Later, Desmond joined Cummins for an emotional cover of So's “Don't Give Up” and later brought up Ohara to join her and the rest of The Security Project for a spirited run through Melt's “Games Without Frontiers.” This exciting combination of musicians was easily the highest point in an evening full of unforgettable moments. (Furthering the night's King Crimson connection, Desmond's self-titled 2005 album featured an appearance by long-serving bassist Tony Levin.)

Left to right: Mei Ohara, Casey Desmond and Avoxblue (photo by Joel Gausten)

Either collectively or on their own, Desmond, Ohara and Avoxblue are creating some of the most exhilarating current sounds of this or any other scene. See them as soon as you can.

(On a related note, The Security Project guitarist Michael Cozzi's former Sky Cries Mary bandmate Joe Bass is currently battling cancer and can be helped through a special GoFundMe page set up to raise money for his treatment.)


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.