Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Lamia

Back in the late 70s, I was a monster fan of the band Genesis, especially the early albums that featured Peter Gabriel. I actually discovered Genesis via the album And Then There Were Three, after both Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett had parted ways with Tony Banks, Phil Collins, and Mike Rutherford. It was a fine album in its own right, but once I started working my way backward, I discovered what an incredible progressive band they had been. One of their best works was the concept album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, which chronicled a surreal journey into a mysterious netherworld by a New York City Latino youth named Rael. My favorite cut was... is... the song The Lamia, in which Rael enters one of the many chambers of the weird world into which he has stumbled and discovers its lovely yet horrifying inhabitants. Steve Hackett has released some exceptional work in his time, and on his tours, he and his band play many of his compositions from his Genesis days. I saw one of Steve's solo shows in Atlanta back in 1980 or 81, at the Agora Ballroom, where I got to lean up against the stage and watch him play from ten feet away. It was a staggering experience for me — in the best way possible. Here is a decent video of The Lamia from a relatively recent show, featuring Nad Sylvan on vocals. He captures Gabriel's style and range without merely aping it. I'm quite keen on the extended instrumental at the end with Rob Townsend on woodwinds.


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