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5uu's - Live at A.K.W., Würzburg, Germany, April 8, 1995 CD (album) cover




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kev rowland
Crossover Team
4 stars No prizes whatsoever for guessing this is a live recording, and where and when it took place. This was the first tour after drummer Dave Kernan had decided to reform the band with Bob Drake (bass, vocals), but with keyboard player Sanjay Kumar unavailable for the tour (although he did play on the album released prior, 'Hunger's Teeth'), they invited Scott Brazieal to take his place, with Mike Johnson (guitar, lap steel guitar, backing vocals) making up the final element of the band. Thanks to labels such as Cuneiform and Dur et Doux I have come to realise that my musical education regarding RIO is sadly very lacking indeed, but on a positive side I get to discover new music from bands who already have an established back catalogue! 5UU'S released two albums in the Eighties, with quite different line- ups, before releasing four more when they reformed, plus another just a few years back. The constant through this has been Dave Kernan, and I can see I have quite a lot to get my teeth into. This recent release is their only live album to date, which given the quality of what I am listening to is nothing short of a travesty, as music such as this needs to be heard.

Imagine if you will Yes taking a rather different turn during their career, and instead of moving into symphonic instead became a RIO outfit then you may have some idea of just what these guys were like. Anderson style vocals, Squire- style heavy choppy and distorted bass, guitar and keyboards moving in different directions, this is RIO being mixed with other styles of Prog in ways which should never make perfect sense but somehow do. I can only hope this album has been released with the notes contained in the press release, as each of those involved has contributed to what took place during that period (apparently Scott fell into a deep sleep before the gig and no-one could find him, and when they finally did they got him onto the stage before he was fully awake but somehow kicked into "Equus"). Yet another "New" prog band to me, if their recorded output is anything like this live release then they should be known by far more than a select few. This is true prog as it pushes the boundaries of RIO, something which is rare indeed, and fans of symphonic bands such as Yes and ELP will find much here to enjoy, much to their confusion.

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Posted Friday, March 8, 2024 | Review Permalink

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