Sep 29 07 - NUANCE Prog/Art Rock Festival - Tranzac Club, Toronto
Reviewed by Doug Leblanc/Canadian Progressive Music Society

The second performer of the NUANCE show was Steve Cochrane. He played a simple set with
acoustic guitar, bass and drums. There were a few times when the drums were a bit too loud,
almost drowning out the soft tones of the guitar work and Steve’s voice, but they were few and
far between.

Steve Cochrane opened his set with an acoustic piece called ‘Sgt Rideout Gets His Man’, a
piece from his upcoming new album entitled ‘With Or Without’. His guitar playing was nothing
short of masterful, and he brought a certain level of delight to the music! I hope he forgives me
for the comparisons, but he definitely reminded me of an energetic Steve Howe, with perhaps a
touch of Alex Lifeson thrown in for good measure. As his music gives a good indication of Yes
and Rush influences, I see this as indicative of his inspirations.

He moved through a set of all new work from the new album, which while understandable,
was a bit disappointing for those us who are familiar with his incredible body of work. Still, the
brilliance of the writing does shine through, especially on songs like the tongue-in-cheek ‘The
Greatest Since Rembrandt’. My personal favourite, ‘Abandon Ship’, came a bit later in the set,
but was as delightful as the studio version.

However, for me, the highlight song of the set was the incredibly beautiful ‘Swans’. I could
easily see a delicate, almost surreal dance performed around the delicate arrangement. I must
admit that having a fascination with the regal-looking animals didn’t hurt my impression of this
wonderful song!

Although Steve’s setup did not include keyboards, the music did not suffer for it. He kept true
to the spirit of the marvelous compositions, and his sharp writing ability certainly shone through.
His voice was, at times, not quite equal to the task of his performance, but again, this was a minor

Overall, a strong performance by an excellent artist. Both his supporting musicians were excellent, and I hope to see this talented performer again in the future.

Doug LeBlanc
Canadian Progressive Music Society
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