Mike Types to You from the road
March 28, 2023
Salutations from over here!
We are nearing the end of the Devin Townsend European Lightworks tour – as I type (in the dressing room in Stuttgart on March 25, the walls unexpectedly decorated with Beatles Anthology artwork, two stones’ throws away from Mercedes Benz HQ) there are 9 shows remaining of a 32-gig run.
It’s been remarkable. I really love this quartet and over the last few nights we appear to have kicked ourselves upwards to a higher level of communication and precision. Really satisfying. Unfortunately, in tandem with this playerly ascension, Dev has been dealing with respiratory ailments that have really taken a toll on his singin’ throat – if only the realities of scheduling could allow us to just say to everyone with tickets to the show, hey let’s all meet here a week from now and do all this then.
But he’s been powering through like the show-must-go-on sorta guy he is. And even last night in Brussels, which was probably the height of his throat issues, he still hit some performance peaks that were absolutely astonishing to me. He operates at a level that’s pretty well beyond belief.
But what about Keneally albums on vinyl, you say?
Funny you should mention it, ‘cuz Scott Chatfield and Chris Opperman and I were talking about this two nights ago. NONE of my albums are on vinyl, and there’s an obvious feeling amongst us that it’s high time we remedied that.
But we’re all like, what do we start with? Do we go with The Thing That Knowledge Can’t Eat since it’s new? Or do we go with one of the old “classics”? Do we go with something that requires two discs to get all the music on (a la Sluggo! or Dancing), or something that would fit neatly on one slab (like the new one, or Wing Beat, or Wooden Smoke)?
And then Scott was all like, we should ask the Keneallist readers what they think, and Oppy and I were all like, yeah!
So that’s what I’m-a doin’ now, asking YOU what album you’d most like to see us print up on vinyl. Or maybe a top 3, and then we can do some MATH over here and see which albums are the most coveted on wax. Please respond to us by replying to this email or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you think about this – thank you!
Paris in the springtime
NOW it’s March 26, and we just played a show to a really wonderful audience in Paris, at the legendary L’Olympia. I listened to some of that live Jeff Buckley album recorded there to get in the mood.
It really is a beautiful venue and the audience knocked us all out, including a very young girl (I’m thinking she was around nine) who Dev invited up onto the stage to select her choice from the multiple stuffed octopi festooning Darby Todd’s drum kit, and who then sat peacefully in front of the barrier with hearing protection on, happily clutching her new octopus while a series of crowdsurfing dudes spilled over her into the pit between barrier and stage (fear not, the security force were sure that no dudes landed on top of her – at the point that it seemed like the frequency/velocity of dudes was becoming unmanageable, she was relocated to a safer vantage point, further down the barrier.
She was totally chill about the whole thing and her guardians kept an eye on her the whole time. All of this was very interesting to witness from the stage perspective, believe you me).
And those TTTKCE reviews keep a-rollin’ in…
There’s been a cluster of nice new The Thing That Knowledge Can’t Eat press coverage since the last Keneallist…
- Actually, we did quote this review from Dmitry M. Epstein in the last Keneallist, but it’s such a special review to me I kinda want to highlight it again. It starts: “Prog polymath fathoms the frontiers of his fantasies and pushes their envelope to enforce a breach into the great unknown.” And it ends just as majestically, and in between hits some insights about my stuff that I really appreciate. Dude can write.
- This is a sweet track-by-track overview from Gary Hill at Music Street Journal.
- A really lovely piece by Greg Cummins at DPRP, including the first time, to my knowledge, that my music has been compared to a song by Mountain (and I totally get where he’s coming from with that, actually!).
(Note: we ferried to the UK yesterday, and now it’s March 28 and I’m backstage at Bexhill-on-Sea, on a drizzly, windy day by the seaside. Seagulls hover outside the window. Its the sort of place where if you listen carefully you can hear “Bungalow” by XTC emanating from the crevasses on the beach. Back to the press parade…)
- A well-timed review, considering I was just in Paris, is this one in the beautiful French language from Alain Bourguignon.
At the bottom of this review is a very considerately-placed Google Translate Link that will make life easier for English-language specialists, and I’d specifically like to highlight this translation of the section about “The Carousel of Progress”:
“After a simple, accessible beginning, the thing turns unexpectedly and completely moves away from the introductory plot. The instrumentalists let go completely, the lines move away, intersect, everything becomes sinuous, tortuous, surreal…One would think that our master builder did not come out intact! Then things calm down, find a clearer direction, return to the introductory melodic line. Awesome!”
- We finish up with a very good interview conducted by my long-time friend, and a very faithful supporter of my music for years now, Jedd Beaudoin, who found the best quote from our interview to title his piece, “Not so much boiled as cut in half.”
BFD passes the audition
Two days ago I received a set of mixes from Kip Stork (expert audio engineer and utterly sweet guy) comprising a MK/BFD show at a club called The Siren in Morro Bay, CA, from January 16 of this year. This was one show of a run of five nights featuring a heretofore untested BFD quartet lineup consisting of myself, Rick Musallam, Pete Griffin and Joe Travers.
The audio evidence suggests that the band is a very good one! I’ve just uploaded five of the tracks to Patreon.com/MikeKeneally over the last couple of days, and will very likely upload more during the coming week, so if this intrigues you you might like to check it on out. Thanks to Kip for a fantastic mix, and for the surprising and sudden delivery of same!
Mere minutes to showtime
Y’all are awesome. Thanks for reading all of this if you did. I listened to a bunch of Peter Gabriel today, which I haven’t done for a very long time, including loads of tracks I’ve never heard before and which were great fun to discover – when’s the last time YOU listened to songs from OVO? Anyway, listening to Peter Gabriel songs is a pretty nice way to while away some hours in a dressing room in Bexhill-on-Sea when the weather is dissuading you from actually being near the sea yourself.
Devin’s voice sounded amazing at soundcheck today, I think he’s going to be in full voice for tonight’s show which begins 59 minutes from the moment of this typing. And with that, I leave you for now.
Thank you Dan, if your name is Dan! If it’s not, thank you too!