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Goblin report


Mark Schmieder

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I received a complimentary ticket to see Goblin and Mondo Drag at UC Theatre in Berkeley CA last night, as my company was running the sound (or at least supplying the sound system, as we helped convert the building from an abandoned movie theatre to one of the Bay Area's premiere concert halls).

 

Mondo Drag are very tight musicians and have interesting mostly-instrumental compositions that remind me of ELP and Focus with a bit of King Crimson thrown in. They had a couple of Moog synths and a Hammond XK-1 on stage.

 

Goblin are even tighter and use a lot of weird time signatures, with their music covering a wide range but reminding me a lot of King Crimson (all periods) as well as early Genesis, and a bit of every other prog-rock band thrown in for good measure. Two keyboardists (I couldn't tell, but it looked like a Jupiter-80 and some Korg keyboards at least), a guitarist who doubles on Greek Bouzouki, and a phenomenal powerhouse of a bass/drums rhythm section.

 

Clips from various Dario Argento films were played on the screen throughout the concert, and Goblin for the first time performed much of their soundtrack music, including "Dawn of the Dead" (which Argento worked on with George Romero).

 

I was astounded by the musicianship all-around. Both keyboardist played very complex lines, arpeggios, semi-random sequences, etc., fully live with no tricks or backing tracks or on-board sequencers/arpeggiators. And yet they were rhythmically precise without an ounce of sloppiness. Lots of practice, I guess.

 

It certainly helped that the sound was so good, and as with The Zombies earlier this year, I imagine our floor monitors inspired the best performances from the musicians compared to other venues.

 

It was hard to tell whether the audio/visual cues lined up coincidentally much of the time or were planned in great detail, as there was also some looping of videos here and there.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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And in a weird coincidence, another bass player friend who I produced a few years ago, is opening for Mondo Drag in L.A. shortly, with his funk/psychedelic jam band.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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Somehow or another YouTube's predictive algorithm had never bubbled these to the surface for me, even though it (theoretically) knows what I like.

 

Of the two, Goblin seems more my cup of tea, but I confess that my ability to understand Italian is limited.

 

Once I got started on these two, YouTube coughed up Samsara Blues Experiment, which also sounds promising. Prog with an added dash of Iron Butterfly.

 

Grey

I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

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After year 2000 or so, Goblin splitted in several different versions and lineups. At the moment, I think there are three "Goblins": Goblin Rebirth, Goblin 4 and Claudio SImonetti's Goblin - each playing a majority of old repertoire, the soundtracks etc.

The guitarist for Goblin Rebirth, Giacomo Anselmi, is a friend of mine; he played in my electric jazz group, Syntaxis, for a while. So I'm curious: Which version of Goblin did you see?

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Hmm, I'll look those up shortly as I have to get somewhere before it closes for the day. But I will describe the guitarist, if that helps: wild long curly hair, all frizzled up, looking somewhat like Robert Fripp in his younger years (though this guitarist is late middle aged from what I can tell).

 

The lighting may have tricked me, but I think his hair is reddish, and he wore glasses -- sort of John Lennon style if my own poor eyesight was telling me the truth.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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Sure looks like Goblin Rebirth to me:

 

https://www.facebook.com/Goblin.Rebirth/photos/a.145413732182022.27401.145412722182123/883200165070038/?type=1&theater

 

At least, the guy on the right was the guitarist FRI night.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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Wow, there are currently FOUR versions of Goblin:

 

http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=9442

 

I think what I saw FRI was primarily Goblin Rebirth, but could have had ONE member of another Goblin band --- though the Facebook photo linked above does look like what the entire band looked like to me FRI night, in usual low light at a distance and sans binoculars.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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I saw a Dario Argento film (Suspiria) for the first time this year, and then kicked myself for missing Goblin's show in DC a couple of years ago.

 

They're coming to Baltimore soon, then will be playing DC in December. I won't miss a Goblin show this time.

 

I heard there are multiple Goblin lineups for touring because the founding members are all cranky old men who can only take each others' company in doses. ;). But at the same token I also hear that you can't really lose, regardless of which Goblin lineup you catch. Their soundtrack work on Suspiria is iconic for sure.

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...cranky old men who can only take each others' company in doses.

 

I want to take this opportunity to squelch the rumors that I am on tour.

 

With anyone.

 

I won't have them and they won't have me. We all hate each other and we like it that way.

 

This is all I have to say on the matter.

 

Harrumph.

 

Grey

I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

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I will describe the guitarist, if that helps: wild long curly hair, all frizzled up, looking somewhat like Robert Fripp in his younger years (though this guitarist is late middle aged from what I can tell).

 

The lighting may have tricked me, but I think his hair is reddish, and he wore glasses -- sort of John Lennon style if my own poor eyesight was telling me the truth.

Very good description! That's unmistakably my friend Giacomo, without even the need to look at the photos. :D

So as you have discovered already, you saw Goblin Rebirth. Very tight group.

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QUICKIE REVIEW:

I've been carrying open tabs in my browser for what seems like eons. One of them is for Samsara Blues Experiment, as mentioned above. I've now gotten back to that tab and...

 

I'm kinda liking some of what I hear. There are, indeed, Iron Butterfly moments (sitar? possibly a synth rendition thereof, but cool), then there are brief moments where they have Pink Floyd-esque influences, then they'll kinda go all Metallica, which is a bit jarring to me, but may suit some of you to a T. All in all, even in the parts that I'm not entirely comfortable with, they strike me as being a cut above the norm in musical skills.

 

I've heard a lot of bands that sound promising at first, but after the first three songs, you can begin to predict the way the next song will go--they don't really have a lot to say, musically, but they're adept at saying the same thing in different keys and at different tempos. This works for some audiences, but it soon leaves me wanting more. I have yet to get that feeling with SBE and I'm an hour into Long Distance Trip. I have not explored their other album(s?). I know nothing about them beyond this one album. Bear in mind--especially here at KC--that this album may be too guitar-centric for some.

 

Two notes:

1) Long Distance Trip has had well over five million hits. I'd never heard of them before, but someone likes them. Well, actually lots of someones. We should all be so fortunate as to have that many listeners.

2) Some of the posts below the album seem a bit touty--possibly the band or their representatives pumping the product. That said, a large percentage of the posts looks to be genuine.

 

Grey

I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

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