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District 97: Gifted players and great material

District 97 - Screens

The Chicago based band District 97 released their fourth album Screes in the beginning of October. The drummer Jonathan Schang states about the album, «It took a lot of work and noses to the grindstone». Here’s some footage of the band recording Ghost Girl,

District 97 is undoubtedly the most musically adventurous rock band in the world to feature an American Idol Top 10 Female Finalist. The release of 2012’s critically-acclaimed Trouble With Machines ushered in an exciting era for the band. In 2013, the band toured both Europe and the US with legendary bassist and vocalist John Wetton (King Crimson/UK/Asia), which was documented on 2014’s live release, One More Red Night: Live In Chicago.

2013 also saw the band nominated for a Breakthrough Artist Award by Prog Magazine. Rather than rest on their laurels, District 97 took to the studio in 2014 to record the new material they’d been honing at home and on the road. The resulting album, In Vaults (released June 2015), continues and accelerates the upward trajectory of great songwriting and incredible musicianship that’s been evident since the band’s 2010 debut, Hybrid Child. One listen perfectly illustrates why John Wetton said, «I’ve said it before, and I maintain that D97 is one of the best young progressive band around right now. Gifted players, great material, and a brilliant, charismatic singer in Leslie Hunt». The track Takeover live,

Leslie Hunt – Lead and backing vocals
Andrew Lawrence – Keyboards and additional guitar
Jim Tashjian – Guitar and backing vocals
Tim Seisser – Bass
Jonathan Schang – Drums and percussion

District 97 was formed in the fall of 2006 by drummer Jonathan Schang, keyboardist Rob Clearfield, bassist Patrick Mulcahy and guitarist Sam Krahn (replaced in 2008 by current guitarist Jim Tashjian). The foursome from Chicago honed a no-holds barred style of Liquid Tension Experiment-inspired Instrumental Rock before deciding the right vocalist was needed to complement their sound, enter 2007 American Idol Top 10 Female Finalist, Leslie Hunt. With a look, sound and stage presence comparable to a young Ann Wilson from Heart, Leslie Hunt’s dynamic performances pushed the band into a new direction that forged a unique marriage between accessible, catchy vocal melodies and an adventurous instrumental prowess.

She was followed shortly thereafter by one of Chicago’s finest young guitarists, Jim Tashjian. With this new blend of charisma and stellar musicianship in place, their live shows over the past several years at festivals such as RoSfest and Prog Dreams II, and numerous appearances across the USA, UK and Europe cemented the band as a force to be reckoned with onstage, as well as in the recording studio.

In August 2015, Rob Clearfield and Patrick Mulcahy left the group and were eventually succeeded by Andrew Lawrence and Tim Seisser, respectively. The new lineup will debuted in highly successful tours across Europe and the US in 2016.

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Om Ulf Backstrøm (3775 Artikler)
Mitt hovedfokus er musikk som er basert på progressiv tenking. Jeg er på ingen måte ensporet innen musikksmak, i likhet med intensjonen bak prog. Sjangerbegrepet er egentlig temmelig uinteressant annet enn til å gi en pekepinn om hva slags musikk det er snakk om i en anmeldelse. Jeg søker god musikk for å utfordre meg som lytter. God musikk til å trigge mine musikalske smaksløker, og til å sette i gang mine refleksjoner. Da er sjansen stor for at jeg utvikler meg og lærer, noe som bør være drivstoff for et hvert menneske. Fordi det å lære og utvikle seg er noe som tilfører livet en nødvendig porsjon "krydder". Slikt krydderet finner man blant annet i musikk. Ikke overraskende mener jeg at progressiv musikk har den fineste "smaken". På den annen side kan musikk med eller uten progressive elementer være godt nok til hverdags. Til fest derimot holder bare rendyrket prog! Må jo også få med at jeg rimelig kritisk, og jeg mener at det lages mye prog som er i beste fall uinteressant, og faktisk mye som er pinlig dårlig. Heldigvis oppveies dette av ekstremt dyktige aktører som for eksempel: Flower Kings, Mostly Autumn og White Willow, for å nevne noen tilfeldig valgte.
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