Personnel: Aviv Geffen (vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards); Steven Wilson (vocals, electric guitar); Eran Mitelman (keyboards); Seffy Efrati (bass guitar); Tomer Z (drums).
Audio Mixer: Steven Wilson.
Recording information: The Bowery Ballroom, NYC (03/16/2007).
Editor: Lasse Hoile.
The fact that something was founded as a side project doesn't necessarily mean that the participants don't take it as seriously as they take their other endeavors. Blackfield, for example, started out as a side project for singer/multi-instrumentalist Steven Wilson, who had been leading Porcupine Tree for a decade when he co-founded Blackfield with Israeli singer/songwriter Aviv Geffen in the early 2000s. But Blackfield developed an enthusiastic following of their own and demonstrated that they were a rewarding group in their own right. This live two-disc set, which contains both a DVD and a 79-minute audio CD, focuses on Blackfield's May 16, 2007 appearance at the Bowery Ballroom in Downtown Manhattan. The DVD and the CD contain the same live performances, but the DVD also offers videos for the studio versions of the songs "Blackfield," "Pain" (not to be confused with the Ohio Players' early-'70s classic) and "Hello." And on both discs, one is reminded how effectively Blackfield's alternative pop/rock has been bringing together influences from different rock eras. One hears the influence of Pink Floyd and '70s-era David Bowie during the show at the Bowery Ballroom (where Wilson and Geffen embrace mostly material from Blackfield's first two studio albums), but they also draw plenty of inspiration from '80s new wave and '90s/2000s alternative (especially the Brit-pop of Radiohead and Coldplay). That is an attractive combination of '70s, `80s, and '90s influences, and it makes for many inspired moments at the Bowery Ballroom (where Blackfield also perform a memorable cover of Alanis Morissette's "Thank You"). This DVD/CD is more appropriate for hardcore fans than casual listeners, who would be better off starting out with one of Blackfield's first two studio albums. But those who are already seasoned Blackfield followers will find NYC: Live in New York City to be an engaging document of their Bowery Ballroom show.