by carl wilson

Nadir's Big Chance (in Toronto)


I lost track of dates and overlooked telling you about tonight's Peter Hammill show in Toronto, at 8 pm at the Phoenix. Hammill's best known of course as the lead singer of British prog-proto-punk band Van Der Graaf Generator, in which capacity legend has it he was a prime influence on John Lydon's vocal style - more in the PiL era than in the Pistols - throw in a tincture of Berlin-period Bowie and lyric opera, and you've got a fair notion. My personal favourite Hammill period was when (like fellow prog veteran Peter Gabriel) he threw his lot in with the punk/post-punk/new-wave crowd and turned out a series of chilling monologic solo records, such as Nadir's Big Chance, A Black Box, The Future Now and Sitting Targets whose general mood is well summed up by the title, "The Institute of Mental Health, Burning."

Revisiting some of Hammill's stuff, I have a tad less appetite for all the drama than I did when I was 12, and his mellower, more measured and narrative writing of recent years, from what I've heard, gets a bit, well, English. But still, a heavyweight who continues to be as neglected as he was when Lydon was championing him, except by the more daring quarters of the prog constituency. I'm sure he'll have more to offer than the election returns do.

Via Toronto | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, October 14 at 10:35 AM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)



Curiously enough he played Ophelia as an encore at the Toronto show. It's notable that the next night in Quebec City he apparently didn't repeat any songs he did here.

Posted by dtl on October 17, 2008 3:05 PM



Damn I am jealous. Love me some Peter Hammill. Of course as a lifelong sap I am really into the love songs. "Down the river Ophelia goes...."

Posted by ann on October 14, 2008 12:30 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson