Juneau's progressive force

Posted: Thursday, February 09, 2006

Last August, Andy Engstrom and Ward F. Ward started thinking about paying homage to some of the bands that inspired them to play music. They were thinking of groups such as Rush, Kansas and Dream Theater, so-called "progressive" performance-oriented music that was technically challenging and not necessarily played to death on mainstream radio.

They rounded up a handful of like-minded musicians - keyboard player George Wallace, bass player Dave Crabtree and lead singer Angela Crepeau - and started rehearsing in September.

The name they chose for the show: "Tom Sawyer," in honor of the song from the 1981 Rush album "Moving Pictures."

"We wanted to play music that was more conducive to the original music that we write, and we also wanted to have music that people would recognize," Engstrom said. "We put a lot of thought into it, and added and subtracted things, and came to what we felt was a happy medium of music that would have a broad appeal without sacrificing the original intent of the music."

"This is the kind of music that I like to play," Ward said. "This is the stuff we tend to write. The real trick is rearranging it. Some of the songs have multitrack guitar or two or more guitar players, and you have to arrange it so you're maintaining the original intent of how it was recorded."

concert & playlist

what: "tom sawyer," with opening act missed by a longshot

when: 9 p.m. friday, feb. 10

where: alaska native brotherhood hall

admission: $20 at the door, or $15 in advance at docwater's pub, capital records, rozwick-giles music and online at http://www.volitar.com. alcohol will be served, so those under 21 must be accompanied by a legal guardian.

covers

:

• rush, "tom sawyer," and "spirit of the radio"

• dream theater, "pull me under" and "another day"

• ozzie osbourne, "perry mason" and "diary of a madman"

• kansas, "carry on my wayward son"

• extreme, "rest in peace" and "it's a monster"

• saga, "on the loose"

• led zeppelin, "kashmir"

originals from these cds

:

• george wallace, "passion play"

• dave crabtree, "this is me"

• andy engstrom, "volitar: alien world."

"Tom Sawyer" will include 11 covers and a collection of original material off Wallace's 2005 album "Passion Play," Engstrom's science-fiction mining concept "Volitar: Alien World" and Crabtree's new record, "This is Me."

The show starts at 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall on West Willoughby Avenue. Doors open at 8.

Missed by a Longshot, the punk band of 12- and 13-year-olds, will open.

In the spirit of the over-the-top compositions, the show will include an elaborate multimedia stage show. Patrick Race at Lucid Reverie is putting together some movie clips and images to go with the show and will screen them on 12-by-12-foot video screens on both sides of the amplifier stacks. Two hand-held camera operators will be recording additional live video of the crowd.

Mark Alton will run the sound on a giant public-address system he bought two years ago. The subwoofers alone span 36 feet. Todd Vierra of Gold Street Studios will capture a multitrack recording off the board. Eventually, the tape will be mixed with the live video and the on-screen images to create eight or nine videos of Crabtree's, Wallace's and Engstrom's original material. The videos will be sold later this year to support those projects.

"We really wanted to put on a show that people would remember," Ward said. "There have been a lot of big-name acts that have come through, but none of them have ever used the multimedia."

Engstrom, Crabtree and Ward have played music together for years in various permutations. Crepeau was recently the lead singer for No Drama. Wallace, a Juneau resident since 2003, has been writing his own songs since the 1970s and had a contract with CBS in the early 1980s.

"Ward and I wanted to hand-pick musicians that weren't only composers in the same style that we liked, but were also master musicians," Engstrom said. "And yes, the material is extremely difficult and very challenging, but we wanted something that was going to be rewarding for the audience to hear and see and also rewarding for ourselves to put together. There's really no time for anybody to relax in any of these songs."





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