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7 Feb 2017

Lizard "In Concert" 1981 Swiss Prog Rock

Lizard  "In Concert" 1981 Swiss Prog Rock
This two-disc import on Black Rills Records collects live performances by the Swiss progressive band recorded for primarily Swiss audiences between 1980 and the band’s final show on November 28, 1981 after a four-year run playing complex music influenced by progressive giants the likes of Gentle Giant, Genesis, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Yes. The music is necessarily pretentious and sophisticated, but in contrast to their influences, Lizard rarely sounds arrogant or contemptuous of their listening public. The music harbors nothing other than musical enthusiasm that only occasionally borders on indulgence. It certainly harbors no illusions of grandeur, perhaps because, by the applause between songs, it sounds as if they are playing to only a few dozen folks. Genesis is the primary beginning point for many of the band’s songs, and some never shake that influence, but the presence of sax and flute mostly give Lizard a unique sound in the progressive-rock field, with much more capability of stretching out stylistically. In Concert is a stellar document of the band’s adventuresomeness. Lizard certainly wasn’t allowing convention to bind up their creative whimsy. Anything they felt like trying, this live recording exhibits the band trying, and more often than not, they pull through with not just skill and precision but flair as well. While still retaining a progressive rock foundation, Lizard delved into the fat bass and electric piano sound of ‘70s funk music, psychedelic noodling (“Zebre”), even British folk music (“Trop Tard”), and the preamble to “Don’t Know” takes its ensemble round singing straight out of Renaissance times before eventually striking a fabulous jazz groove midway through the song. The album can also bog down in occasional stylistic and indulgent missteps, though, but those missteps are not numerous enough to bury the music. The sheer length of the songs can sometimes grow tiresome, and at two discs there are a lot of lengthy songs – only two songs, the pop length “Trop Tard” and twice as long “Ending,” don’t reach the 11-minute mark, and four are over 16 minutes, including a 27-minute “Jam” – but in general Lizard has no problem holding attention spans because they exhibit such strong ensemble and improvising skills. Whether the usual progressive themes are covered is indiscernible, but English words like “magic” do occasionally pop up, and Dominique Schmid’s lead vocals sound like a more histrionic prototype for Mick Hucknall’s soulful blue-eyed croon. Sound-quality wise there is a cavernous quality to the recording that puts a bit of distance between the music and the listener at first, but gradually the music seems to grow warmer. By 1981 progressive rock of the sort Lizard played was already viewed and branded as reactionary, but In Concert proves that it still had something worthwhile to say and interesting ways of saying it…… Stanton Swihart ……… 

Peter Büttiker 
bass, effects, vocals 
Tommy Brunsting 
drums, vocals 
Matthias Grob 
guitars, vocals 
Dominique Schmidt 
lead vocals, saxophone, percussion 
Kurt Widmer 
keyboards, flute, vocals 

There on the floor (11:50) 
Don’t know (11:03) 
Plus qu’un instant (16:20) 
Trop tard (2:54) 
Last day (10:51) 
Afterwards (16:35) 
Ending (6:04) 
Bubble brain (17:44) 
Zèbre (11:25) 
Jam (26:55) 
Going on (13:07) 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..