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Stick Men: Live in Columbus, Ohio, February 22, 2024

Stick Men released their first studio album, Soup, in 2010. At the time, the band featured Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto, both of whom probably need no introduction for regular readers of SoT, and Michael Bernier. With their 2011 release, Absalom, Bernier was replaced by Markus Reuter on touch guitar. Since then, they have released three more studio albums with the same lineup, the most recent being 2016’s Prog Noir. All have featured high-quality mainly instrumental prog, heavy at times, jazzy at others, and just downright eclectic in general.

They have released 56 “Official Bootlegs,” dating back to 2011. Most of the recordings are from shows at smallish theaters and clubs and were recorded when Levin and Mastelotto were on hiatus from King Crimson. The sourcing tapes are variable. Some are pure audience recordings of fairly low quality, which the band readily admits. And some are matrix recordings, which feature a combination of sources, including soundboard material. The latter are generally very good. That is the case with the February 24, 2024 show from Columbus, Ohio.

This release features 14 tracks, opening with the Crimson classic, “Larks’ Tongue in Aspic, Pt. II,” followed by Stick Men originals, including one that is labeled a “work in progress,” titled “Voodoo.” The total run time exceeds 90 minutes and the playing, as expected, is great throughout. There is a certain sameness in sound among the tunes, as is the case with some of their studio releases. But I never got bored throughout the show. To me, Stick Men are best heard live. I would recommend this release as well as many others in the series, all of which are available only in digital format and at a very reasonable price. To give potential listeners a taste of the sound quality of the various shows prior to purchase, a few tracks from each performance are available for free.

If you like Stick Men and instrumental prog in general, check out this Columbus show and the other bootlegs that this very interesting band has made available. They are a treasure trove.


Track Listing
1. Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Pt. II (6:40)
2. Ringtone (6:36)
3. Hide the Trees (7:41)
4. Tentacles (5:36)
5. Horatio (5:14)
6. Voodoo (5:21)
7. Cusp (5:48)
8. Breathless (6:58)
9. Mantra (7:22)
10. Danger in the Workplace (5:59)
11. Swimming in Tea (13:51)
12. Prog Noir (9:52)
13. Level 5 (8:42)
14. The Sheltering Sky (6:31)

Added: March 30th 2024
Reviewer: Aaron Steelman
Score:
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 336
Language: english

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