“NYC (Blackfield Live In NYC)” [DVD] by Blackfield

Artist: Blackfield
Title: “NYC (Blackfield Live In NYC)”
Label: Snapper UK
Release Date: 11/6/2007
Genre: Melodic Progressive Pop
Rating: 4.5/5

If you weren’t already aware of this – the band Blackfield is the result of the creative energies from Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson and Israeli Alt-Rock star Aviv Geffen who joined forces to create material back around the year 2000. Their original plan was to do a simple EP but it ended up resulting in a full release in 2004 that even led to a follow up in 2007. The music that’s to be found on “Blackfield” and “Blackfield II” make these albums truly worthy additions to any fine CD collection. The reason for this is based on the group sounding entirely different from that of its members’ primary groups. With Blackfield you don’t merely get a side project that holds a ton of reference to that of Porcupine Tree and the work that Aviv does and instead the listener finds a breath of fresh air in the musical sense. While it’s Melodic Pop to some degree of the word it also has that Progressive and Alternative element to it and as result offers up some truly inspirational and thought provoking lyrical content. The bottom line is that it’s really enjoyable stuff and this DVD film “Blackfield Live in NYC” captures the group on a stormy winter’s night at the Bowery Ballroom. This is an intimate venue on the Lower East Side that holds just over 500 people and was truly the perfect room for this show to be filmed at. Having attended the performance I can confirm that the snow outside made travel difficult for everyone, it didn’t stop anyone and here we were at a performance that was sold out for many weeks in advance.

The people around me came from all different walks of life and to get a better gauge of the night I talked to those around me and found models and musicians, foreign transplants to the states from everywhere you can imagine and an audience who listened to everything from Hard Rock to Pop, Heavy Metal to Jazz Fusion. I admit this impressed me to observe and when the band hit the stage to perform you had awed silence until the electricity of their delivery brought them to a larger than life type of level. You might be wondering why I am musing about the show in the DVD review but that’s the amazing part of it since the film brings to the world this entire performance as it was done that night, song for song, band interaction after band interaction. As I viewed it I was as impressed and reminded of just how good the show had been and how impressed they had me. I was guilty of only having heard “Blackfield II” before the show and felt that while it was good, the record didn’t sell me right away. Live, these songs took on a whole new meaning and had much more of a resounding power to them. The production is top notch and comes from the same people who did the Porcupine Tree DVD “Arriving Somewhere” and they delivered on this and I thank them for an absolutely killer job. There are incredible camera angles and the sound is crisp and clean. The show begins with Steven Wilson strumming his guitar to the song “Once” over the pounding backbeat of drummer Tomar Z. and the smooth keyboards of their newest member Eran Mitelman. The response from the audience is nothing less than excited and when the group is joined by Aviv it’s just overwhelming. It was a band that had everyone’s attention from the moment they began until their rousing finale. As I reviewed the set list once again while the film played I tried to line out some of the finer highlights but realized that there were just too many from the show. Normally this would be impossible for someone with such a limited background on a band to feel, but Blackfield managed to make it happen.

The material on the film spans the bands two releases but there are also a couple of treats to enjoy on top of them. The first is a piano and guitar rendition of Alanis Morissette’s “Thank You”. Wilson does this number so well that I felt it even surpassed the original at times. We also get one of Geffen’s older songs, the originally done in Hebrew “Cloudy Now”, which is now in English and becomes the bands rousing finish and features the audience singing along. I also felt that tracks like “Miss U” and their self titled one of “Blackfield” stood out a little more than some of the rest. Either way this is one of those DVD’s that gets watched on a number of occasions and is easily enjoyed. Its not one that remains on your shelf and gets lost among your Sopranos and Seinfeld DVD season boxes. There is also some bonus material which is the promo videos for “Pain”, “Miss You” and “Blackfield”. Let’s hope these guys choose to release an audio only version of this because it worked so well. If you are a fan of Modern Rock, then Blackfield is a smart choice for you to make.

Track Listing:
1. Once
2. Miss U
3. Blackfield
4. Christenings
5. The Hole In Me
6. 1000 People
7. Pain
8. Glow
9. Thank You
10. Epidemic
11. Someday
12. Open Mind
13. My Gift Of Silence
14. Where Is My Love?
15. End Of The World
16. Hello
17. Once (encore)
18. Cloudy Now

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