Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Runt is back

Malcolm X Abram: The Runt is back

By Malcolm X Abram
Beacon Journal pop music writer

Published: November 9, 2011 - 07:10 PM

I don’t want to draw unwanted attention from Mother Nature or wake up Jack Frost, but haven’t the last few weeks been beautiful? Hopefully, whilst you have been scurrying through your busy days, you’ve taken a moment or two to simply look into the skies and appreciate the loveliness.

Because we all know what’s coming and by the time you read this, it might already be here.

Hopefully there will be lovely weather to appreciate as you go out this weekend to see some live music (that’s called a smooth transition in the journalist game), and you have some very interesting choices.

We’ll begin with a return visit from Northeast Ohio favorite Todd Rundgren to Akron’s Civic Theatre on Saturday.

Rundgren has dipped into the musical way-back machine once again, but this time he’s not taking on one of his solo albums. He has revived the short-lived prog-rock band Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, with original members Kevin Ellman, Moogy Klingman, John Siegler, Ralph Schuckett and longtime Runt cohorts Jesse Gress and Kasim Sulton. TRU is not to be confused with the more pop/rock-leaning, Rundgren-fronted Utopia of the ’80s.

No, TRU and its catalog, which consists of the 1974 self-titled debut and a live 1975 follow-up, Another Live, were full on ’70s prog-rock with a bit of Rundgren’s pop melodies. The self-titled debut featured an action-packed 15-minute tune, Utopia Theme (live), and the epic 30-minute album-closer/endurance test Ikon.

I hadn’t listened to either album in a good 15 years, but having recently done so, I’m really interested to see and hear TRU pull it off, particularly Rundgren’s guitar parts, which are pretty demanding.

One big difference between this show and Rundgren’s previous Akron stops is that it won’t be a debut performance, as TRU has already played several shows, including a benefit concert for keyboardist Klingman, whose recent cancer diagnosis was the spark for the reunion. This is the group’s first tour in 35 years

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