LIVE: The Security Project @ the Van Dyck, 11/11/17

November 14th, 2017, 4:00 pm by Greg
Trey Gunn and Happy Rhodes

Trey Gunn and Happy Rhodes

Review by Mark Alexander Hudson
Photographs by Rudy Lu, Stan Johnson

The Security Project is an interesting concept. Consisting of drummer Jerry Marotta, Warr guitarist Trey Gunn, guitarist Michael Cozzi, keyboardist David Jameson and vocalist Happy Rhodes, they are a Peter Gabriel tribute band with a difference.

For starters, their first of two shows at Schenectady’s Van Dyck on Saturday night consisted of Gabriel songs from just his third and fourth solo albums only (1980’s Peter Gabriel and 1982’s Security – hence the name of the band). Also, Marotta was the drummer on most of the tracks on those original albums back in the day.

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Those two albums were the ones immediately preceding Gabriel’s commercial breakthrough juggernaut So – you remember “Sledgehammer” and that video, right? They are eclectic, disturbing and brilliant, full of edgy hard rock, mournful mantras, thunderous drums, experiments with world music and electronics and Gabriel’s yearning cathartic vocals.

Unfortunately, for me at least, the actual execution of the Security Project on Saturday failed to convey the drama and intensity inherent in the music. The problem was two-fold. The band, perhaps influenced by the dinner jazz club ambience of the venue, seemed unwilling to cut loose. Their playing, while perfectly adequate, seemed restrained and a little too polite.

Also the vocals of Happy Rhodes did not transmit the emotion and energy of the material. For example, songs like “No Self Control” and “I Don’t Remember” have a psychotic ferocity on the original recordings. Rhodes’ wan vocal delivery rendered them more as bouncy pop songs. She frequently utilized the lower register of her impressive range, but occasionally strayed off pitch. She seemed a lot more comfortable channeling Kate Bush in that singer’s fragile “Mother Stands for Comfort.”

The show opened promisingly with ominous versions of a pair of tracks from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, the concept album that proved to be Gabriel’s swansong with the band Genesis. It would have been interesting to hear the Project tackle more of this idiosyncratic rock opera, but the rest of the set stuck to the solo material with the exception of the lone Kate Bush track.

The set was well received by the crowd, who obviously did not share my misgivings. As it was, the evening inspired me to revisit the source material for the first time in years and remind myself of Gabriel’s singular talent.

THE SECURITY PROJECT SET LIST
Fly on a Windshield
Broadway Melody of 1974
I Have the Touch
Family Snapshot
No Self Control
The Family and the Fishing Net
Mother Stands for Comfort
Games Without Frontiers
Lead a Normal Life
San Jacinto
I Don’t Remember
Lay Your Hands on Me
The Rhythm of the Heat

Trey Gunn, Jerry Marotta and Happy Rhodes

Trey Gunn, Jerry Marotta and Happy Rhodes

Jerry Marotta

Jerry Marotta

Happy Rhodes

Happy Rhodes

Happy Rhodes

Happy Rhodes

David Jameson

David Jameson

Trey Gunn

Trey Gunn

Michael Cozzi

Michael Cozzi

4 thoughts on “LIVE: The Security Project @ the Van Dyck, 11/11/17”

  1. Bill says:

    At the 2nd show they played 2 tracks from slags 1st solo album and 2 different tracks from The Lamb

  2. Earl Johnson says:

    I was at the Van Dyke Saturday night for the second show and I thought the concert was absolutely flawless. The sounds coming from the stage were intense and exciting. I truly loved every minute.

  3. Stan Johnson says:

    I wasn’t there to see a Peter Gabriel cover band and I’m really glad they didn’t do that. They did play two more Genesis songs in the second set, including The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. More importantly, they played one song that wasn’t by Gabriel: Happy’s “Collective Heart”. I was thrilled because that’s what I went to see: the return of one of the best musicians to come out of nippertown, no matter what she was singing. In the more expansive, (and much better) second set, Trey and Jerry pointed out that previous incarnations of The Security Project featured a male lead vocalist who intentionally sounded like Gabriel. But this time they wanted a change. I’m glad Happy was their choice. I’m hoping she’ll return someday with a whole night of her own music.

  4. Robin says:

    Happy Rhodes’ performances with the Security Project were and are Awesome. As for the use of her amazing voice; you might compare Happy singing Peter Gabriel as watching a Formula 1 car doing a 30MPH lap….! She is probably the most talented and underrated vocalist in the US!!!
    Anyone who purchased The Security Project’S live album at the gig,(AND YOU SHOULD) will note she uses a higher range during that performance. Also Note: Happy is currently unwell and still performing…!

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