Prog, TeamRock+ and Classic Album Sundays helm album playback party
It’s not every Monday evening when you spot Steve Hackett, Roger Dean, Steve Rothery and Nick Magnus chatting at the bar, but then last night was something of a special occasion. We were all squeezed into Camden’s award-winning folk arts centre Cecil Sharp House for the very first collaboration between Prog, TeamRock, InsideOut and the team behind Classic Album Sundays: Steve Hackett’s album launch event for brand new album Wolflight. Many album launch events are designed specifically for the music industry but this intimate preview was geared more towards the fans, as competition winners and VIPs had the chance to rub shoulders with the great musician and ask him questions about his inspiration for the album.
There was a great atmosphere as we all had the chance to listen to tracks from the album over a fantastic sound system in a room with maximised acoustics. Audiophiles note: the kit involved a Rega P9 Turntable, Audio Note JINRO Integrated Amp and Audio Note AN-E Speakers. Members of the Hackett band and several of the album’s collaborating musicians were also in the audience in addition to family members which added to the intimate feel. It was a unique event, based around the format of Classic Album Sundays, that also included an interview by Prog magazine’s editor Jerry Ewing. The evening was compered by Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy, who has been involved with the semi-regular CAS events that gives music fans the opportunity to hear their favourite albums played through a quality sound system. The aim is to provide a truly immersive experience and that’s exactly what happened last night as we were treated to showcases of the cinematic title track, the very gothic Love Song To A Vampire (featuring Chris Squire on bass), the eastern-influenced Corycian Fire and the blues-inspired Black Thunder. Revealing the stories behind each song, Hackett was open and even invited his wife and co-lyricist Jo on stage to give more background to Corycian Fire. Hackett spoke candidly about working with wolves, the possibility of another Squackett album, modern progressive metal and his ambition to work with Canadian singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte Marie. “I’m thrilled that progressive music is being given a second look,” he told the audience, “and we’re not getting hammered by a punk press this time!”After the Q&A, the guitarist signed albums and posed for photos for fans.
“I’ve really enjoyed it and I’d love to do another one of these events,” Hackett told Prog. “It was a great-sounding system and I was pleasantly surprised that it sounded so great on vinyl!”
Steve Rothery was equally full of enthusiasm for both the event and the album, “I loved it and I loved the sound of the album; it’s very lush, cinematic and quite gothic at times. I think they’ve done a great job.” He added, “And it’s been good to catch up with some old friends here too.”