Plini – @ The Controller, Adelaide, 9th September 2016 Sep11

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Plini – @ The Controller, Adelaide, 9th September 2016

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Plini – @ The Controller, Adelaide, 9th September 2016

It’s an exciting triple bill in Adelaide with guitar magician Plini supported by Intervals and local prog-band Dyssidia. The venue for tonight’s show looks like the Tech Noir club from Terminator 1 with chain link fencing, red lighting and exposed ducting. We are also underground in what is a decorated concrete bunker so it has all the acoustic charm of the local multi-storey carpark.

Plini has just released an album called, ‘Handmade Cities’, and it’s a significant step up in performance and ability since we last caught the artist back in December 2015. Between then and tonight Plini has toured the globe playing a wave of positive, guitar driven music that we can call progressive largely because it’s impossible to pigeonhole. The first time I saw him perform I wrote that there was a huge warmth about the performance and the audience, who were there to see Ne Obliviscaris, but were sucked in and entertained by a stellar act that was as laid-back as it was impressive. Fast forward nine months later and we have Plini putting together his own interpretation of G3, or G2 in this case, and it’s an equally impressive night.

Proceedings kick-off with Dyssidia who are the local progsters in Adelaide. This is the fourth time I have seen them this year and as soon as a prog gig is announced in this city I’m sure that this band will be on the bill somewhere. The material they play hasn’t changed much in the year but, being in the process of recording a new EP, we got a new song which lifted the set. Another strong performance and, with Caligula’s Horse announcing another prog-invasion, I have no doubt I might be seeing this band again soon.

Next up was Intervals with Plini on rhythm guitar, if there is such a thing as rhythm guitar in this music with such change and intricacy. Intervals, or Aaron Marshall, is a Canadian guitarist who easily sweeps from hard rock, to jazz and onto fusion without missing an opportunity to squeeze in a phrase or a moment which adds to the performance. By far the most animated guitarist in this neck of the woods he is positively athletic compared to Chon, who many have compared Intervals to, but can’t hear it myself. You can tell that Plini and Intervals have shared the stage forty-three times together across Europe and Australia as the band is super-tight. The crowd loved everything in this set and Intervals smiled all the way through, clearly loving his first trip to Australia.

It’s Plini time. Casual, relaxed, friendly and confident is our man Plini. His guitar playing is exact, precise and appears to be an exercise in expending minimal effort to produce the most incredible sounds. Kicking off with Heart and then into Handmade Cities, the title track of the new album, it’s apparent that the crowd is well aware of Plini’s new instrumental work. Plini in usual style is stage centre, hardly moving, with the signature Strandberg guitar high up on his body and being played like an extension of himself. By the time we get to Electric Sunrise it’s time to put the camera down and just watch because this is a bit like watching a career build in front of you. Atlas, Moonflower and the insanely catchy Cascade gets the crowd going with its riffs and heaviness that has been brought into this new recording. There’s a little bit of head banging, next to the dancers just over from the moshers. The first three rows summarise the variety of Plini’s work. All too soon we are in the encore with Aaron Marshall joining the stage for two Plini favourites. Paper Moon has the crowd in a trance and then the jam in Selenium Forest sums up the playing that we have come to expect from Plini. Marshall pulls out every move possible on the fret board and Plini stands over him, gesticulating for more from the Canadian and he lays solo upon solo, each getting shrieks from the crowd. There is clearly a strong friendship and admiration between the pair but Plini is cruising. All gone in a flash this has been quite a night seeing Plini perform from the new album, seeing Intervals for the first time and watching Dyssidia, again.

Guitar instrumentalist, progressive music and no vocals may instill a sense of needing to leg it as fast as you can from the source of the music. But, give Plini and Intervals a go as it’s a fresh and as exciting as any guitar based music that is being produced today.

Plini Setlist

  1. Heart

  2. Handmade Cities

  3. Inhale

  4. Away

  5. Electric Sunrise

  6. Atlas

  7. Moonflower

  8. Cascade

  9. Paper Moon (with Aaron Marshall)

  10. Selenium Forest (with Aaron Marshall)

Review – Craig Grant

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