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Glass Hammer - Lex Live (DVD)

Glass Hammer - Lex Live (DVD)They are one of the best, if not ‘the best’, classic symphonic prog bands around today, have three female vocalists whose voices are every bit as attractive their looks and if they had been in business back in the early 70’s, they would have been on a par with bands like YES in status, album sales et al.

Lex Live is Glass Hammer’s first excursion into the world of DVD, filmed only a few months prior to the recent release of their highly acclaimed Shadowlands album.  The ‘Lex’ in the title is a reference to their previous album, Lex Rex, which is captured in its near-entirety in a live performance at Rhythm And Brews in Chatanooga along with music from Chronometree and Perlandra albums.

The DVD also contains some magical moments in a hotel room prior to NearFest 2003 but before you start speculating as to the nature of those magical moments, I will elaborate.  The DVD is split into two main sections; the main feature mentioned above and a treasure trove of bonus material which includes Gonzo style footage of rehearsals and equipment where the hand held camcorder is apparently passed between Fred and Steve whilst they each explain their rig set up; the magical hotel room scenario where the Glass Hammer entourage perform a run-through of their set prior to NearFest (more about that in a moment), NearFest sound check, a relaxing game of pool for beginners, back stage before the performance and, thanks to Glass Hammer fans’ illicit use of camcorder in the auditorium, footage from the performance.  If that wasn’t enough, there is also coverage of the Glass Hammer DVD Party with short ‘getting to know you’ interviews with individual band members and shots of the bespoke Glass Hammer celebration cake.  Finishing off the bonus section is footage of the recording of Tales Of The Great Wars from Lex Rex, edited to show the track in its entirety.

The hotel room performance is an absolute treat.  Fred is seated with keyboard perched on a coffee table.  Steve is there with his bass.  Amazing drummer, Matt Mendians has a snare and brushes with a pillow to further muffle the drum. Walter Moore stands with trusty electric guitar, fingers at the ready.  Eric Parker is by his side on the spare bed clutching his acoustic guitar.  And the girls share the double bed (oh, behave you lot!) and the remaining space on the floor.  Sound levels have to be kept to a minimum, this is a hotel room not a studio, but the performance is stunning, akin to watching five friends in your living room run through Gentle Giant’s In A Glass house with a bare minimum of instruments.  I mis-clicked the menu and saw the bonus material first, thinking it was the main feature and was knocked for six by it.  To me, the main feature was an added bonus.

Technical Aspects

Sound is superb throughout.  Picture quality varies between excellent and bearable, the latter applying to the Nearfest footage that was shot from the back of the auditorium on a hand-held generally at full zoom, so understandable. 

Package features

The menu sections are very easy to navigate with options to play the entire feature or select individual chapters. 

The DVD is Region 0 NTSC and should be playable on all DVD players and televisions (bar TVs that are not NTSC compatible.  Check the handbook.  Pal DVD players should be set to ‘auto’).  Cat No:  SR7112 and is available now. 

Summary

Lex Live is two hours worth of audio-visual joy and one of the best music DVDs I have had the pleasure to see thanks to the enthralling music, arrangements and performances and the lack of pretentiousness that often comes with those who are or think they are the pinnacle of prog rock.  Glass Hammer are perfectionists who work hard and treat the music seriously, yet clearly have a lot of fun in the process.

The music begs a European/world tour (28 UK dates minimum, please) and the prospects for this can only be enhanced by the release of this DVD.  Prog is Glass Hammer.

Jem Jedrzejewski

Glass Hammer

 

 

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