Last Night: Crimson ProjeKct at Warehouse Live
Let's get one thing straight from the very beginning: King Crimson, by any other name, is still King Crimson. This requires an understanding of the nature of the band, which fans have come to learn over the years. King Crimson is a living, breathing entity with no specifically static lineup and many, many off-shoots called ProjeKcts.
So when I tell people who I saw at Warehouse Live on Sunday night, I will automatically say King Crimson, albeit with a tiny asterisk beside the name.
That being said, this isn't your granddaddy's King Crimson. It's actually closer to your daddy's King Crimson. The erstwhile founder and only continuous member, guitarist Robert Fripp, is off in England somewhere enjoying retirement, and you won't find Greg Lake making any appearances.
What you will find are two members of the third "classic" version of King Crimson, the New Wave-inflected 1980s version, which featured Adrian Belew on vocals and guitar and Tony Levin on Chapman stick and bass. If you are unfamiliar with their names, check the liner notes of your Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, Talking Heads, and Frank Zappa records, to name just a few.
Rounding out the line-up are Pat Mastelotto on drums, a 1990s era member of King Crimson from their "dual drummers" period, Adrian Belew Power Trio members Tobias Ralph on another set of drums and Julie Slick on another bass, and Markus Reuter of Tony Levin's band Stick Men on touch guitars.
If that sounds excessive, it's because the production of King Crimson's music was often so layered and nuanced as to require all these people just to play their intricate polyrhythms and multi-tracking.
The show started out with trios first, before launching into the full-on King Crimson revival. Levin's Stick Men kicked things off with an extraordinary showing of the versatility and capability of the relatively underappreciated instruments of the Chapman stick and touch guitar. Then a firey set from Adrian Belew's Power Trio took things over, showcasing some of the best improvisational jazz jams from his solo career.
However, to remind you what you came for, Belew introduced a King Crimson song, an '80s semi-instrumental known as "Neurotica." It was an unexpected choice, but was easily the greatest showcase of the Power Trio's combined talents in their set. Slick in particular showed off some of the fastest basswork I've ever seen, making her fingers move like lightning.