field report no.050417

LOCATION: Isis Music Hall AVL.NC
SUBJECT: Adrian Belew Power Trio

King Crimson grew on me slowly. They only took root when I heard ThrakAttack, an album of improvisational interludes from their 1995 Japanese tour, all stitched together into an instrumental monstrosity. Even though I've come around to their greater oeuvre, Crimson remains the greatest as a demonstration of instrumental prowess and power. Likewise with Adrian Belew, who was a guitarist and the voice of King Crimson for decades (in their on-again-off-again way). By far my favorite of his solo records is e, by the Adrian Belew Power Trio, an album of insanely complicated rock instrumentals.

While I've never managed to see King Crimson live—and actually just missing them on an upcoming trip to NYC—the Adrian's Power Trio had to stand in. They're more than a reasonable facsimile, as a good third of the material they played was, in fact, Crimson songs (along with a sampling from throughout Belew's illustrious career). The band are consummate musicians. All three made the gnarled material they tore through look too easy. Belew, especially, likes to goof around: mugging for the audience as he shows off, ultimately coming across like so many dad jokes. But this is a man who has worked with David Bowie, Talking Heads, Frank Zappa and Paul Simon (to name only a handful), he's allowed a bit of grandstanding or levity, if he pleases. He's got naught to prove.

NOTES: Adrian Belew Power Trio (featuirng Julie Slick, Tobias Ralph); Saul Zonana