SBB are quite possibly the most commercially successful progressive rock band from Poland. They have been releasing albums since the early 1970s and if I'm not mistaken, the band members have been prominent in Polish rock music since the 60s. For those not familiar, the music of SBB (Search, Break, Build) is generally symphonic in nature, but with a fusion kick thrown in for good measure. So think Yes, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Le Orme and Return to Forever and you might have some idea of their sound. Much of the band's 70s output featured extremely lengthy tracks, typically taking up one side of an LP. Albums such as Ze Slowem Biegne do Ciebie, Follow My Dream, Pamiec and Nowy Horyzont really are classics of the genre as far as I'm concerned.
But on to the CD at hand. SBB: Live in Spodek 2006 is exactly just that: a "warts and all" complete 45 minute concert in front of a very enthusiastic audience. The reason the performance is so short is that the band were opening for none other than Deep Purple.
The set list mixes old classics such as "Memento Z Banalnym Trptykiem" and "Walkin' Around the Stormy Bay" with material from their latest album, New Century. While their newest material may not be the strongest SBB have ever come up with, in a live context the songs work quite well. Original members Jozef Skrzek and Apostolis Anthimos are joined by relative newcomers Slawomir Piwowar on guitar and Irek Glyk on drums and the new guys are certainly up for the task of recreating these jamming complex pieces of music. Songs like "Rainbow Man" and "Memento z Banalnym Trptykiem" are stripped bare of the synthesizer strings and symphonic lushness offered by the studio recordings so some listeners might be surprised by the dryness of the arrangements served up here. But "Walkin' Around the Stormy Bay" is still plenty proggy even if it's half the length of the original studio cut.
All told, SBB: Live in Spodek 2006 may not be the best place for the SBB newbie to begin, but I imagine longtime fans will find much to enjoy here.
- Memento z Banalnym Tryptykiem
- New Century
- Rainbow Man
- Calkiem Spokojne Zmeczenie
- Improv: Drums Battle
- Walkin' Around the Stormy Bay