(photo credit: HAJO MUELLER)
British guitarist and progressive rock pioneer Steven Wilson is returning to Israel early next year on his “To the Bone” world tour. The 51-year-old Wilson, who founded the band Porcupine Tree and has enjoyed a prolific solo career over the past two decades, will be performing at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium on February 2.
Wilson has strong ties to Israel and has performed here many times in the past, with Porcupine Tree, on his own and with Aviv Geffen in their longtime collaboration Blackfield. He’s also toured with Ninet as his backup singer, recorded with Orphaned Land and even lived in Tel Aviv for a spell in the early 2000s.
The tour highlights his fifth studio album of the same name, released last year, which Wilson has said is based on progressive pop records of his youth by the likes of Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. Ninet appeared on six of the tracks. At the 2018 Progressive Music Awards held in London last month, Wilson won both Album of the Year and UK Band/Artist of the Year accolades.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post in 2016 ahead of last show in Israel at the Shuni Amphitheater in Binyamina, the articulate Wilson said that he’s tried to challenge his fans over the years.
“When I hear most modern pop music these days, it sounds incredibly conservative, banal and very predictable... If you want to be an entertainer and please your fans, you end up giving them the same stuff all the time. If you’re an artist, you do it because of some deeper need inside you that’s more conducive to experimentation and innovation. Sometimes it disappoints your fans,” he said.
Regarding Israel, Wilson said that he’s proud to proclaim his love for the country, not because of ideological reasons, but because he likes being here.
“Whenever I talk to people about my love of Israel and the fact that I was living there for a while, they always raise their eyebrows and go, “Why Israel?” Most people have this idea that not only is there a war going on there, but that it’s full of religious people. In reality, it’s one of the least religious countries on the planet. Israel is a very open-minded place, but it’s also the Holy Land, and people always make that association.”
Wilson added that he’s never had any direct confrontations with artists who boycott Israel, but he is up for it.
“It would be interesting, whether it’s Roger Waters, Annie Lenox or Brian Eno. It would really be curious to hear their side of the argument... I think part of it must stem from their own inflated opinions of their own impact on the world. Because really, who gives a shit if Annie Lenox or Brian Eno boycotts Israel? Nobody really cares if Roger Waters boycotts Israel.”
Tickets are on sale at www.eventim.co.il/stevenwilson