Fans from all over the world (54 countries!) came to see Arjen Lucassen bring Ayreon to the stage for the first time in 22 years, and I was lucky enough to see some of the shows. They took place in the Netherlands over September 15, 16, and 17 at the 013 in Tilburg. You can learn more about the shows here.
In this new format that straddles the line between our typical musical based show and a strict review I talk about my experience at the shows with songs thrown in here and there for good measure. Let me know what you like or don’t about this!
Tracks used in the podcast are as follows:
Ayreon – Prologue > Dreamtime
Ayreon – Blackboard > The Theory of Everything, Part 1 > The Theory of Everything, Part 2
Damian Wilson – Thrill Me
Toehider – This Conversation is Over
Nightmare – Ikarus
Star One – Intergalactic Space Crusaders
Ayreon – Everybody Dies!
And of course, some videos of some of this material for you to enjoy:
Hello there, it’s been quite a while! As I’ve eluded to during previous shows life has changed a lot for me over the past year or so. I took a new job with a much longer commute and a heavier workload. My girlfriend and I purchased our first house and have since stocked it with two more cats bringing our total up to four. And, I’ll admit, I’ve been feeding my gaming urge substantially more as well. All this has not only taken up a significant amount of time, but has made it increasingly difficult to do a scheduled broadcast every week.
Let me just say I’ve always prided myself in the prep for my shows and the three hour window of broadcast is only part of the time dedicated to each episode. There is preparing the set, preparing detailed notes and links to go with the set, promoting the show, then doing the show, then preparing the post and podcast, and finally promoting after that is released. With work, travel, and new home issues to attend to being able to broadcast at the end of the day just didn’t happen with enough frequency.
Initially I was going to put the show on an indefinite hiatus, and I suppose we unofficially had that as our last podcast was from May, however I feel like we have a possible avenue to move forward with this show that I’ve been doing nearly 10 years at this point.
Into the foreseeable future we’re going to be focussing on podcasts and new formats for the show, to be recorded and released as time permits. We will continue to do reviews and interviews. We will continue to do music mixer discussions about current and general topics. We will continue to bring new and exciting music to your ears. The difference is now it won’t happen every Wednesday. It’ll happen when we are sparked and want to bring you something. I foresee some shorter more focussed musical podcasts hopefully getting into more depth on artists. I’m also open to new ideas and formats as we push ahead.
As for the very immediate future here is what’s on the docket. Mason has a review in the works for the upcoming Iris Divine album The Static and the Noise. I’m going to be doing a show to recap my recent trip to the Netherlands to see the historical Ayreon performances. I’ll be doing a similar show as well focused on my experiences during Haken‘s recently concluded 10th Anniversary Tour here in North America, hitting on their involvement in The Shattered Fortress as well.
Thank you as always to those that have always listened live, downloaded podcasts, and given your feedback and support to the show. I hope we can continue to connect into the future and help one another to enjoy all the beautiful music out there for us.
Arjen Lucassen has been the genesis of many projects: The Gentle Storm, Star One, Stream of Passion, and Guilt Machine all started with Arjen, but no project comes with quite the fanfare of Ayreon. It was the project that made Arjen a household name in the progressive music community, and the one that continues to deliver all-star casts on every album. This of course holds true for The Source, due out April 28th on Mascot Label Group. James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Russell Allen (Symphony X), Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian), and Tobias Sammet (Avantasia) account for only a third of the vocal talent on the album. It’s nearly unfair to other bands that can struggle to have one vocalist of that calibre, while The Source manages to have twelve amazing singers, as well as instrumentalists like Guthrie Govan (Steven Wilson) and Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big). This album has all the elements fans have come to expect, and the array of different musical styles and voices will make it easy to draw in new fans.
In our twenty minute interview Arjen discusses getting a new album out to people, the interaction he has with his fans, the way technology has allowed fans to better experience his music, and of course the upcoming Ayreon Universe live shows happening in the Netherlands this September. Arjen revealed that this effort to properly bring much of the Ayreon catalog to the stage for the first time will be the culmination of two years of preparation. And while the shows have already sold out, a live release has been promised to document the experience. So listen in and take a glimpse into the world of the rock-opera master!
Let’s make no mistake about it, I’ve been pretty busy and as a result a little lax with the show as of late. That’s all going to hopefully turn around in April a little bit. As mentioned and teased in the show I recently conducted an interview with John Arch, original vocalist of Fates Warning, and that will be available to everyone later in the week. In addition we have an interview scheduled with the incredible Arjen Lucassen of Ayreon fame and that should be available next weekend.
Circling back to right now I’m happy to be featuring the fourth album from American progressive metal band Vangough, Warpaint. I still remember how I discovered the band with their debut album, Manikin Parade nearly a decade ago: I was engaging in a January tradition, looking at ProgArchives top 100 list from the previous year and trying to see what albums I may have missed that would warrant my attention. Everyone’s reviews on the album pointed to something I would enjoy, and I certainly was not disappointed that I decided to give them a shot. All these years later I think they have consistently improved and I think Warpaint is their best yet. You can check out a good chunk of the album in this podcast, buy the album here, and watch the video below.
As mentioned many times during the show Fates Warning has a live set coming out on April 28th called Awaken the Guardian Live, and you can grab that here and watch a performance from the release below.
Okay, now there is so much stuff covered in this show we’re going to go into the speed round…
Out April 10:
L’Anima – Departures (Buy)
Out April 21:
Labyrinth – The Architecture of a God (Buy)
Out June 9:
Anathema – The Optimist (Buy)
Kyros – Monster (Edit)
Vangough – Morphine
L’Anima – Path to Sirius
Fates Warning – Fata Morgana~
Labyrinth – A New Dream
Ayreon – Everybody Dies
MindMaze – Sign of Life
Vangough – The Suffering
Blackfield – Family Man
Nova Collective – Cascades
Lonely Robot – Everglow
Arch/Matheos – Neurotically Wired
Pyramaze – 20 Second Century
Big Big Train – Judas Unrepentant~
Pandora – Second Home by the Sea
The Pineapple Thief – No Man’s Land
Vangough – Till Nothing’s Left
Anathema – Springfield
The Neal Morse Band – So Far Gone
Tiles – Crossing Swords
Tiles – Facing Failure
Edensong – Chronos
Trusties – Outside of Place and Time
Vangough – Black Rabbit
Fates Warning – Apparition
Rush – Cygnus X-1
Our first normal broadcast of 2017 brings with it a feature for the first major release of the year, In the Passing Light of Day from Pain of Salvation. I’m not going to spend too much time on the album, because Joe already graced the site with a very insightful review here. While I personally was not turned off by the band’s Road Salt albums, I know many fans were, and if you were one of those people I truly think the band will bring you back into the fold with this release. While my favorite songs may differ from what Joe had in his review, I certainly agree with his overall very strong “A” grade on the album. And what is extra exciting is that American fans may get to see a lot of this material on the road as the band will be doing a full tour! Here are the full dates:
Feb. 7-11 Tampa, FL – Mexico – Cruise to the Edge
Feb. 12 Tampa, FL, The Orpheum
Feb. 14 Houston,TX, The Scout bar
Feb. 15 Dallas, TX, Gas Money
Feb. 16 Kansas City, MO, The Riot Room
Feb. 18 Chicago, IL, Reggies
Feb. 19 Detroit, MI, The Token Lounge
Feb. 21 Toronto, ON, Mod Club
Feb. 22 Quebec, QC, Le Cercle
Feb. 23 Montreal, QC, Le Tulipe
Feb. 24 Buffalo, NY, Iron Works
Feb. 26 New York, NY, The Marlin Room
And finally, don’t forget to buy the album here, and in case you need more convincing, the video for “Reasons” is below for your viewing pleasure.
Next up is some huge news, included in this podcast only thanks to my tardiness. On the broadcast on Wednesday I informed everyone that a new Ayreon album was on the way and it was to be titled The Source. Normally I would post the podcast later in the evening and that’s all we would know, but a day later we’ve got a lot more info, and one of the coolest videos I’ve seen in recent years! The album is due out April 28th and the 12+ minute video of the first track features every single vocalist on the album. You can choose from a myriad of pre-order choices here, and check out the awesome video below.
Although I don’t have much other info, it’s worth noting that April 28th will also see the release of Grimspound from Big Big Train. In more immediate release news Blackfield has the album V arriving on February 10th and you can pre-order that here. Next up is Tim Bowness releasing Lost in the Ghost Light on February 17th (order here), and The Mute Gods releasing Tardigrades Will Inherit the Earth on February 24th (order here). You can check out a track from each of those releases below.
Finally comes the tour news. Iron Maiden and Ghost will be hitting the road together and you can get full info and dates here. And just announced Coheed and Cambria will be touring, playing From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness in its entirety. They will joined by The Dear Hunter, and you can get a full list of dates here.
Dream Theater – Outcry
Pain of Salvation – On a Tuesday
John Wesley – A Way You’ll Never Be
Ghost – He Is
Iron Maiden – Empire of the Clouds
The Mute Gods – We Can’t Carry On
Pandora – The Way You Are
Tim Bowness – You Wanted to be Seen
Big Big Train – London Plane
Pain of Salvation – Reasons
The Dear Hunter – Mustard Gas
Coheed and Cambria – From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness
Kansas – What’s On My Mind
Yes – Heart of the Sunrise
Pain of Salvation – Full Throttle Tribe
Ayreon – The Charm of the Seer
Threshold – Watchtower on the Moon
Stick Men – Mantra
Trusties – A Dream I Never Had
Blackfield – Oxygen
Symphony X – Wicked
Firewind – Insanity
Pain of Salvation – The Taming of a Beast