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"Rockin the Black Box"

Jack; The Giants New Ground Live, August 17, 2008 Lexington Arts Center

Black Box Theatre in the Downtown Arts Center at 141 East Main was the location of the premier performance by Jack, the progressive rock brainchild of guitar guru and artist Matt Page. The band performed their first CD The Giants New Ground, (released on June 20, ‘08) in its entirety. The concept album is loosely based on The Jack Tales, as collected and published by Richard Chase. Matt distills the central themes from these timeless Appalachian stories and works them into lyrics that direct and compliment the music rather than simply turning the stories into songs. The style and sound of Jack is strongly influenced by the sounds of early Genesis and Pink Floyd.
The show opened with the silhouettes of the band crossing the back lit screen at the rear of the stage. Once in position, they immediately launched into the opening track of the album, Home, and proceeded to recreate the entire album without pause.
The show was a subtle combination of theatre and concert; NPR meets WKQQ.
The technical aspects were amazing! The sound was loud (earplugs were sold pre show for $1) but clear, lacking the usual overdriven rumble of most bar sound systems. The lights were subtle and complimentary. Set designer Ashley Watson created a minimalistic theatrical masterpiece. Clouds, a giant beanstalk, Jack’s mountain shack, a dozen cat silhouettes scattered on the front of the multilevel stage all full scale set pieces done in the simple line drawing style of the illustrations from the book. It was especially impressive in a town where most rock shows are lucky to have a beer banner. Cinematographer Robert O’Conner provided a high contrast monochrome back projected visual backdrop. The band’s stage presence was subdued, as fit the setting and the music.
Matt Page is the lead singer, guitarist. While Matt is know for his guitar virtuosity, his compositional skills were on display tonight. The 3 solos in which he did raise up his attribute were impressive and tasteful. Despite the albums complexity, the performance was clean and tight. Keyboardist Alex Head and Justin Chatelain of The Oxford Farm Report were notably subdued in their stage presence (no flying keyboards or stadium poses) while providing a firm foundation. Secondary guitar parts were skillfully executed by Trevor Willmott a former student of Matt’s. Joey Waters provided not only drive and syncopated kick on drums but also provided most of the vocal harmony. The cohesiveness of the ensemble was exceptional, all the members striving to support each other and the music. Even Matt, though clearly in charge was totally focused on the message.
The theatre was filled to capacity and the performance a resounding success, further live performances are currently being planned. DVD’s of the event will soon be available. The Giants New Ground is available at The Doo Wop Shop and CD Central. Individual tracks can be downloaded at their Myspace http://www.myspace.com/jacktales

- Music Entertainment


The Giants' Newground - 2008



Jack is a 70’s style progressive rock band from Lexington, Kentucky, influenced by artists such as Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Early Genesis, and Led Zeppelin. They recently released their debut album, based around the mountain tales of a boy named Jack

Matt Page and Joey Waters have played, written, and toured together for the last 12 years. Their last project, Lyrics Vice, culminated in a California tour, ending with a headlining gig at Hollywood’s Whiskey A Go Go, and a review in the national magazine, Music Connection. Things were just picking up when the band decided it was time to move in a radically different direction. For the last 2 years, Waters and Page have been establishing a new group, with a new focus on storytelling as a means of engaging socially relevant issues and ideas. The band is committed to exploring music’s power as a narrative device, and its cultural relevance in modernizing the stories of our past.

Jack’s debut release, The Giants’ Newground, is a modernized narrative loosely based around the Appalachian Jack Tales. The 72-minute, 17-song album, was recently performed in its entirety to a sold out theatre in Lexington, Kentucky, with full set and light design by artist Ashley Watson, and video projections by New York artist Robert O’Connor. The theatrical version of the show will tour to other regions, while an abridged version of the set will be played in concert venues throughout the Eastern US.