Title - 'Screenplay' [2CD]
Artist - District 97
For those not in the know, District 97 is undoubtedly the most musically adventurous rock band in the world to feature an American Idol Top 10 Female Finalist!
Formed in the Fall of 2006 by drummer/primary composer Jonathan Schang, keyboardist Rob Clearfield, bassist Patrick Mulcahy and guitarist Sam Krahn, the band drew upon influences from heavy metal to avant-garde jazz.
The foursome from Chicago honed a no-holds barred style of eclectic and intricate Instrumental Rock before deciding the right vocalist was needed to complement their sound: enter 2007 American Idol Top 10 Female Finalist, Leslie Hunt.
With a look, sound, and stage presence comparable to a young Ann Wilson from Heart, Leslie's dynamic performances pushed the band into a new direction that forged a unique marriage between accessible, catchy vocal melodies and an adventurous instrumental prowess.
She was followed shortly thereafter by one of Chicago's finest guitarists, Jim Tashjian.
With this new blend of charisma and stellar musicianship in place, their live shows over the past several years at festivals such as RoSfest, Prog Dreams II and V, and numerous appearances across the USA, UK and Europe cemented the band as a force to be reckoned with onstage as well as in the recording studio.
Hybrid Child, the bandís 2010 debut on record label Laserís Edge, immediately made a big impression worldwide with their sophomore album, 2012's critically-acclaimed Trouble With Machines further proving the band was the real deal.
The band took to the studio in 2014 to record their third album, In Vaults (which was released in June of 2015) and whilst Rob Clearfield and Patrick Mulcahy left the group and were succeeded by Andrew Lawrence and Tim Seisser, 2018 saw the band release their fourth album, the much lauded album Screens (and first with the new lineup).
Well, the Chicago prog legends District 97 have just-released their brand new live album called Screenplay (via Cherry Red Records UK) which features well over 2 hours of music across 2 CDs.
Indeed, the album comprises all of District 97ís critically-acclaimed Screens album performed live at Europe's prog rock mecca, Boerderij Cultuurpodium, in October 2019.
Additionally, the collection boasts a wide variety of additional live material spanning District 97ís back catalog and covers ranging from John Lennon to Yes.
Also included is a rousing unreleased live performance of '21st Century Schizoid Man' featuring the late King Crimson/Asia/UK legend John Wetton, as well as collaborations with other artists such as Dave Kerzner and Fernando Perdomo
And if all that wasn't enough, there are also two "secret encoreĒ performances and a very special bonus, a brand new song recorded in quarantine called 'Divided We Fall' is also included here!
1. 'Forest Fire'
3. 'Sea I Provide'
4. 'Bread & Yarn'
6. 'After Orbit Mission'
Opening on the funky 'Forest Fire' and the gently frenetic 'Sheep,' the band never look back, as they progress forward with the forthright 'Sea I Provide,' the quieter fare of 'Bread & Yarn' and the absolutely breathtaking rock of 'Trigger.'
Next up is the 90 second, slap bass instrumental 'After Orbit Mission' which is itself backed seamlessly by the swirling duo of both 'Shapeshifter' and 'Blueprint,' with the first disc coming to a close on the near 14 minute opus 'Ghost Girl.'
1. 'Divided We Fall'
2. 'Jealous Guy'
3. 'Snow Country'
5. 'The Actual Color'
6. 'A Lottery'
8. 'Presto Vivace'
9. 'Back in N.Y.C.'
10. 'Travels with Myself-And Someone Else'
11. 'Fainting in Coils'
12. 'Long Distance Runaround'
14. '21st Century Schizoid Man' (live w/John Wetton)
15. 'Out on the Tiles'
The second disc opens on their freshly-minted new track, the powerhaus 'Divided We Fall,' and then we get their 90 second, lo-fi take on John Lennon's 'Jealous Guy' and the ethereal rock of 'Snow Country,' before the band launches us into further joyous musical turmoil on the foot-tappin' 'Takeover,' the fervency of 'The Actual Color,' the simply majestic 'A Lottery,' and the one of my own personal favorites here, the achingly, Tool-esque 'Termites.'
The 90 second rapid synth instrumantal 'Presto Vivace' is up next and is followed by the early '90s rock aura of 'Back in N.Y.C.', the gossamer of 'Travels with Myself-And Someone Else,' the storytelling of 'Fainting in Coils,' and as the evening careens into the final bend, we get the free flowing, mid-'80s melodies of 'Long Distance Runaround,' the guitar rock of 'Red,' the album rounding out on the absolutely fantastic '21st Century Schizoid Man' (featuring ASIA's John Wetton), closing on the rock pop of 'Out on the Tiles' (oh, and stick around as you never know, that hinted at "secret encore" track might just be headed your way soon and have you walking on sunshine!!)
Official 2CD Purchase Link
District 97 - 'Ghost Girl' (Official Short Film)
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