SBB – Live Cuts Katowice 2012

SBB – Live Cuts Katowice 2012

At the end of the 1970s, progressive rock music, or symphonic rock as it was also known at the time, found itself in a difficult period. Partly due to their own fault (arrogance, delusions of grandeur) and partly due to competition (the rise of punk), the steady supply of quality music from the United Kingdom in particular stagnated somewhat. What to do, as a true fan of the genre: you look for alternatives. I found this on the one hand in fusion/jazz-rock (Brand X, Bruford) and on the other in countries outside the UK. This way I came across French, German, Italian and also Eastern European prog. In the latter category I stumbled upon Hungarians Omega, but also SBB from Poland. I liked what I heard: original progressive rock, sometimes mixed with jazz and/or blues, played with great enthusiasm and commitment. OK, it took some time to get used to the vocals, with the odd exception, mainly in the local language. And if an attempt was made in English, it was often extremely difficult, sometimes even laughable. But the music remained standing, rock solid.

SBB (initially known as Silesian Blues Band, later as Szukaj, Burz, Buduj – Polish for ‘Search, Destroy, Build’) formed in 1971 in Siemianowice, Upper Silesia. The band consisted of multi-instrumentalist and singer Józef Skrzek, guitarist Apostolis Anthimos, drummer Jerzy Piotrowski and sound engineer Grzegorz Maniecki. It was one of the most popular groups in Poland and Europe in the 1970s, one of the forerunners of progressive rock and jazz rock and attracted many influential jazz musicians, who often performed with the band. The group exists to this day, albeit with a hiatus between 1981 and 1991.

Live Cuts Katowice 2012 mainly contains material from the tour to promote the so-called SBB Black Album, simply titled SBB, released in the spring of that year in a stylish black cover by Tomasz Konior. A surprising setlist is full of recordings that the band would never play again, with Apostolis Anthimos not only as guitarist and drummer, but also as keyboardist.

[Video features the SBB (2012) album – no audio available from the Katowice show]

Józef Skrzek and Apostolis Anthimos, supported by Irek Głyk, promoted the material during just four concerts in Poland, presenting extended excerpts from the new album. Here, SBB’s music fluctuates loosely between blues-rock rhythms (Ameryka), jazz influences from Apostolis (Lot Nad Chicago), and unique experiments with electronics (Requiem). The second part of the concert featured the group’s biggest hits, including the nearly twenty-minute Odlot, Freedom With Us and Walkin’ Around the Stormy Bay. The performance ends with the encore Za Darmo Nie Ma Nic (Nothing Comes for Free), a return to their blues roots.

The music is largely instrumental and not everything is equally accessible, let alone melodic. The drum solo and also the frequency modulation-dominated Moogs offer little added value, although nevertheless appreciated by the audience, as witnessed by the reaction. The unique nature of the performance may be to blame for this. The band does not shy away from experiments, as demonstrated in the aforementioned electronically dominated Requiem. On the other hand, there are small gems such as Camelele and Pieśń Stojącego W Bramie (The Song of the One Standing at the Gate). Quite an eclectic set, not for the untrained ear.

The double album contains a complete recording of the show at the Rialto Cinema in Katowice on 29th March 2012. The cover is by Ryszard Grach, one of the leading illustrators of the 1970s and the booklet contains photos and memorabilia, in addition to information about the tour. The album continues the Live Cuts series, which collects and organises SBB’s concerts from the band’s entire career, quite a few of which have already been released. It is the intention of the Polish GAD label to release even more titles. You’ve been warned!

CD1 – Set 1:

01. (Józef) (1:25)
02. Ameryka (5:41)
03. Zaufanie (4:18)
04. Lot Nad Chicago (Goris) (6:17)
05. Seged (5:33)
06. Aries (3:50)
07. Memento (9:58)
08. Requiem (7:44)
09. Red Joe (7:35)

Time – 52:21

CD2 – Set 2:
01. Odlot (18:58)
02. Memento Z Banalnym Tryptykiem (8:44)
03. Freedom With Us (6:40)
04. Pieśń Stojącego W Bramie (4:13)
05. Camelele (5:15)
06. Moogs (6:24)
07. Drums-Battle (14:13)
08. Walkin’ Around the Stormy Bay (7:13)
09. Za Darmo Nie Ma Nic [Encore] (7:00)

Time – 76:40

Total Time – 129:01

Apostolis Antymos – Guitars, Synthesisers
Józef Skrzek – Vocals, Keyboards, Synthesisers
Irek Glyk – Drums

Record Label: GAD Records
Country of Origin: Poland
Date of Release: 7th December 2023

– Live Cuts – Katowice 2012 (2023)
– Live Cuts – Enger 1977 (2023)
– Live Cuts – Ostrava 2002 (2023)
– Live Cuts – Sopot 1979 (2023)
– Live Cuts – Esbjerg 1979 (2023)
– Live Cuts – Köln 1978 (2022)
– Sekunda (2019)
– FOS (2019)
– Za Linią Horyzontu (2016)
– SBB (2012)
– Blue Trance (2010)
– Iron Curtain (2009)
– The Rock (2007)
– New Century (2005)
– Nastroje (2002)
– Memento Z Banalnym Tryptykiem (1982)
– Welcome (1979)
– SBB [Wołanie O Brzęk Szkła and Slovenian Girls] (1978)
– Follow My Dream (1978)
– SBB (1978)
– Halina Frąckowiak: Geira (1977)
– Jerzyk (1977)
– Ze Słowem Biegnę Do Ciebie (1977)
– Pamięć (1975)
– Newty Horizont (1975)
– SBB (1974)

SBB – Facebook | Bandcamp (GAD Records)