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The Crimson ProjeKCt


The Crimson ProjeKCt bring their three-hour prog rock extravaganza to the Fly By Night next Wednesday, July 2. PETER HODGSON reports.

The Crimson ProjeKCt is a King Crimson offshoot featuring three current members of that historic, nay, iconic band – Adrian Belew, Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto – along with Julie Slick, Tobias Ralph and Markus Reuter. 

And a typical Crimson ProjeKCt concert is a marathon of musical might which shifts through many moods and configurations.

“What happens is this: Stick Men (Levin, Mastelotto and Reuter) play a set of their music – which includes a Crimson track or two – then the Power Trio (Belew, Slick, Ralph) plays a set of my music, which also includes a Crimson track. Then Tony and Pat and I play a Crimson song as yet another trio, and then comes the big finale – both trios play more than an hour’s-worth of Crimson music as a double trio.” Belew explains. “It’s a helluva show!

“To me it’s a celebration of all the things that we’ve done in King Crimson, all the things I’ve been a part of for the past 30-plus years,” explains Belew, who in addition to an extensive Crimson tenure has also worked with the likes of Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Talking Heads and Nine Inch Nails.

“But also there’s improvising so the show is fresh for us as well. It’s the closest you’ll have at this point to King Crimson, at least for the moment.  As a six-piece band we play about an hour-and-a-half of Crimson music and we cover everything, one era to the next. So it’s a lot of fun. It’s part of my legacy and I really enjoy doing it.”

Belew says that at this point there’s no particular need to take liberties with the material or put it into a new context. “These are comfortable shoes for me now,” he says. “I just put them on and I’m ready to run. But that’s not so much what it’s about. It’s not about the invention of something. It’s a celebration of this music. But I will say it’s different night to night.

“Different things happen that will surprise me. I might know the music so innately after all these years but there’s always going to be something that happens that I’ve never heard before. It’s music that you have to really concentrate on even if you know it really well. You can’t just be looking around. It’s really complicated and everything has to be really connected if you want it to work right. Especially in a band with two drummers and two bass players.”

Curious listeners who might not be well-versed in the Crimson lexicon but would still like to have a jumping off point to appreciate the show should know that the band has explored many different styles, from the vaguely hippy-ish psychedelia of Moonchild to the prototypical progressive rock of 21st Century Schizoid Man to the more recognisably prog Dinosaur and the angular math-rock of Thrak.

But Belew has a suggestion for a suitable kick-start.

“If you want to start with the Crimson that I’ve been a part of that started in 1981, I would start right there with the first record that we did, myself, Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford and Tony Levin. That was called Discipline, and even to this day the Discipline record is something that people still talk about a lot as being something that was kind of unique. Nothing ever sounded like that before.

“I think if you heard that record you would know right away if that was something you’d be interested in, and strangely I think it still sounds ahead of its time despite being over 30 years old.”

The Crimson ProjeKCt play Fly By Night next Wednesday, July 2. 

Get your tickets here.

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