What comes first? The chicken or the film score?

Which inspires which? Does the music push the story line onto a different path or does the plot dictate the creativity within the music?

Last evening at MTelus in Montreal, it was difficult to figure that out. John Carpenter, the director of such legendary films as Halloween and They Live, graced the stage conducting the scores of the films he was also involved with writing musically. The chicken on stage with the eggs behind him full-screen.

Here is the thing. Aside from it being very cool that both the director and soundtrack creator was live playing music while his films played behind him, determining if one minus the other would be cool is the dilemma.

Sitting in the audience, eyes closed, what you have is an immensely talented band playing high octane tunes. Extending the visual darkness throughout – would enough great music  warrant the feedback Carpenter received with the visuals?

Halloween, Escape from LA, They Live and all the other themes from his movies are part of a puzzle. The music to fans conjures up the visuals and the memories of when they saw the movies to begin with. Remember where you were when Halloween hit you? The shock and the fear wrapping it’s bloody hand around your pulse? That music is associated with those feelings and without it – would the tune be in the Billboard Top 100?

Laurie’s Theme may have been in the Top 100 without a film. That song along with the others such as Christine Attacks ( from the film Christine) and Escape From New York Main Title – stand very eerily on their own. The new Sacred Bones album, Anthology (Movie Themes 1974-1988), is a collection of newly recorded versions of his most iconic movie music.Live on stage; powerful, intense and pulverizing to say the least. Hair-on-the-back-of-the-neck kinda tunes. The soundtrack for a soon to released home movie titled; Don’t Leave your Girlfriend Alone at MTelus.

Full credit goes to the players in Carpenter’s orchestra.

John is on synthesizer, his son Cody is on the main synth, Scott Seiver on drums, John Spiker bass, John Konesky guitars , Dave Davies’ ( The Kinks) son Daniel (Carpenter’s Godson) also joins the fray. Electronica never sounded so good.

Carpenter himself is focusing all his talent toward making music these days and if his stage presence is any indication, the 69 year old master is having a blast. Dressed in black and leading the band like a Bela Lugosi figure, Carpenter is in full demonic form. True to his films, the black humor may be involved with the ever present gum in the mouth – just to jeep things grounded.

“Have a safe drive home but be careful – Christine is out there !”

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