30 June 2008

Blog News Post

Hey everyone,

Due to a recent mini-spate of trolling comments, I'm temporarily moving commenting to moderated status. What this means is that there will be a delay for comments to appear on posts, as I will be approving them before they are posted.

I'm sorry for this, but I try to make sure there's a consistent quality of discourse here, and the recent comments (now remove) on several posts do not live up to any reasonable level of mature discussion.

Thanks in advance for your understanding.

27 June 2008

Looking back at my NEARfest acquisitions

Here's a quick look, one week later, at how I am faring with the new music acquired at NEARfest 2008:

Le Orme - Live in Pennsylvania 2-CD/1-DVD set. Sound quality is excellent. Video is also very very good...of course, I had a 20 minute tease of this on the NEARfest 2005 DVD. UNFORTUNATELY, this is not their full set, as it excises the material from Collage as well as their rendition of Rondo. Still, a wonderful reminder of seeing this great Italian progressive band.

The Red Masque
- Fossileyes. Very good stuff. A bit shocking, actually...their last release had several expansive tracks. The material here is shorter, punchier, more metallic...and every bit as edgy and avant as their past efforts. This is a long awaited album indeed...

Pure Reason Revolution
- Live at NEARfest. Post production helped boost what was an energetic set marred by level issues. Harmonies sound richer, thanks to the ability to bring Chloe's voice up in the mix. Are they prog? Who cares! They were energetic, trippy, and very cool.

- Live at the Calderone on Witchwood Records. With yesterday's surprising yet not overly so announcement that John Hawken was leaving the Strawbs again, buying this live release (which does not feature him) seems almost...prophetic. Sound quality is a bit rough, as I think this was sourced from a multiple generation off air recording...but this is Strawbs at their rocking best. Well nigh essential.

- Work in Progress Live and 4th. Haven't gotten in as many listens to these, but I like what I am hearing so far. Mostly instrumental Italian prog with a bit of a jazzier bent.

Progday 2001
2-CD set. Only one listen in, and there's a lot to swallow here. Only really familiar with the Muffins and Ars Nova, so there's some work to do here.

Banco del Mutuo Soccorso
- Di Terra and Canto di Primavera. Two totally different sides to Banco. Di Terra is all instrumental and an unmitigated classic of the genre, while Canto di Primavera is shorter, song based vocal music, almost verging on pop. But both are excellent, and easily reward multiuple listens.

Kingfisher Sky
- s/t. Haven't listened to yet :-)

- Sighs of the Water. Again, no listens yet. But I liked them when they played live at NEARfest 2002.

26 June 2008

Strawbs: John Hawken leaves group

This is from a mail news flash courtesy of Dick Greener, webmaster for the Strawbs, also posted here:

John Hawken has decided that it is time to give up the rigours of life on the road with the Strawbs. It's not news that any Strawbs fan will welcome, but in view of his recent ill health, a
decision which I'm sure we can all understand and accept.

For the last few years we've had the pleasure of seeing the full power and majesty of the Hero And Heroine/Ghosts line up back on stage in all its glory. But now it's time to move on.

Strawbs will continue as the core four piece line-up, Cousins, Lambert, Cronk and Coombes, and will review future electric shows over the next few weeks.

John Hawken
"I regard the last 4 years as an unexpected bonus, filled with wonderful music and a lot of laughter.

This is not something I give up lightly, but each year I've found touring more exhausting than the year before and my recent health problem finally decided the issue. It's time to go.

I wish the remaining band members every success and happiness in their musical ventures - I hope we meet up again somewhere down the road."

NEARfest 2008 in review

NF 2008 was in some ways one of the more challenging ones for me from both a physical and emotional level. Through most of the weekend, my body seemed to be conspiring against me. Despite this, some of the most memorable musical things happened.

Koenjihyakkei was a solid Saturday opener. I had some issues with the vocal/sax interplay, both of which seemed to stay in very similar ranges, making it difficult at times to discern which was which. But they also had "the" drummer of the festival for me in Tatsuya Yoshida, and his performance was the benchmark by which I compared all others.

Sorry, Mike Portnoy.

Discipline. Not fair of me to say anything. They exceeded my expectations a thousand fold, and I wept for the first time during the festival as they played "Into the Dream." It was a transcendent set for me, one I hope will eventually see some kind of official release. I should add that the rest of the guys in the band are brilliant as well...I've known Matthew Parmenter for a few years, but Mathew Kennedy, Jon Preston Bouda and Pual Dzendel were all a joy to chat with too.

Peter Hammill was superb. It was one of the diverging performances of the weekend, as his particular brand of existential despair and doom is not for everyone. But he played 'In the Black Room,' and 'A Better Time,' and 'Still Life.' A perfect English gentleman to talk to as well. Brilliant man.

Liquid Tension Experiment was good. I know they wowed a lot of people who expected nothing from their set. I did about 90 minutes of their set, and had enough. It's just not for me anymore. But kudos for incorporating a full fledged and rearranged rendition of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" into their performance (Banco would echo this Sunday night, opening their encore with a soprano sax or clarinet solo that interpolated bits of the theme).

Morglbl on the other hand is LTE with Gallic humour. Cristopher Godin is a ham, and his stage presence was wonderful. Floral print tie and all. Great player, oozing character, and the bassist held his own! Very goofy, fun, party prog on the metal edge. Liked them a lot. I'll buy their albums I think. A perfect Sunday opener, and I think they got called out for two encores (and deservedly so), a first.

Radio Massacre International...I dig electronic music, but watching it can be tedious. It was somewhat here...and I was tired. And starting to hurt badly. Cyndee Lee Rule's violin additions helped, as did the occasional use of drums. But the set seemed disjointed.

Echolyn was also a lot of fun. they played several songs I'd never heard played before, like 'Winterthru,' 'The Great Men,' 'Entry 11-19-93' (or whatever the date in the title was). Very energetic set. No new material, but it was a blast. Again, I missed part, as before the encores I started to hurt so bad I was nauseous and crying (thankfully over the course of the rest of the evening I'd spend some time with the guys, which was brilliant as always. They are total class acts...).

Medication and food later, we had...

Banco del Mutuo Soccorso.

After their set, I walked around goofy saying "I just saw Banco." I'd walk up to someone and say "That was Banco." It was transcendent, and again, I wept. They were everything I heard on their albums and more. Far far more.

But for me, this year meant something more. This year I think I realised how important the people around me all weekend were. My friends helped me get through a very rough patch with kindness and concern and selflessness. That totally made it for me. Some of the past festivals' performances may have been individually superior, but I may remember NEARfest 2008 most fondly in the end.

25 June 2008

Progday announces MIRTHRANDIR!

ProgDay is thrilled to announce the addition of MIRTHRANDIR to this year's lineup. With a style in the tradition of classic symphonic, melodic, driving progressive rock, the band also features a unique twin lead guitar attack that allows for added complexity and density.

The band formed back in the early 70's and released For You The Old Women in 1976, generally ranked as one of the top American progressive rock albums of the time. For a while it looked like MIRTHRANDIR would join the top tier of U.S. based progressive rock acts, but unfortunately the band broke up before that happened.

Reunited in the new millennium, critically acclaimed performances at the New Jersey Proghouse, Baja Progressive Rock Festival, and The Rights Of Spring Festival have gained the band a whole new generation of fans. ProgDay is proud to welcome this classic ensemble to the Storybook stage.

ProgDay, the world's longest running progressive rock festival, takes place this year on August 30th and 31st at Storybook Farm near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Other bands announced so far are
Ain Soph (Japan), Canvas Solaris (US), CHEER-ACCIDENT (US), Holding Pattern (US), VonFrickle (US) and Abigail's Ghost (US). To hear music and get information about all the bands, please visit our website at www.progday.com.

Spock's Beard - autographed booklets available on Live pre-order

Los Angeles-based progressive rockers SPOCK'S BEARD will release a concert DVD, simply entitled "Live", this summer via InsideOut Music. The footage was shot by D'iMages on May 25, 2007 at De Boerderij in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands.

If you pre-Order either of the upcoming Spock's Beard releases, Live (2-CD) or Live DVD and get a limited autographed booklet with purchase! Go the Newbury Comics website by clicking here.

The group's setlist was as follows:

01. On A Perfect Day
02. In The Mouth Of Madness
03. Crack The Big Sky
04. The Slow Crash Landing Man
05. Surfing Down The Avalanche
06. Return To Whatever
07. Thoughts 2
08. Drum Duel
09. Skeletons At The Feast
10. Walking On The Wind
11. Hereafter
12. As Far As The Mind Can See Pt. 1 - Dreaming In The Age Of Answers
13. As Far As The Mind Can See Pt. 2 - Here's A Man
14. As Far As The Mind Can See Pt. 3 - They Know We Know
15. As Far As The Mind Can See Pt. 4 - Stream Of Unconsciousness
16. Rearranged
17. Encore: The Water/Go The Way You Go

View a trailer for the DVD here.

Unofficially official: DFA at ProgDay!


Under upcoming shows.

Aug 29 2008 9:00P Orion Sound Studios Baltimore, Maryland
Aug 31 2008 8:00P ProgDay Durham, North Carolina

Their 4th album, conveniently titled 4th has just been released, and it's a solid (mostly) instrumental Italian prog album which hearkens toward symphonic, jazz and space elements.

24 June 2008

NEARfest 2008 photos redux

I'm uploading the last of the pix now, so you can click on the following links to see the rest of the shots:


The dearth of RMI pix is as much an indictment of the lighting (which suited the music but made photography a touch difficult) as anything else. Plus, let's face it...looking at 3 dozen photos of two synthesists flipping switches, pushing buttons and dialing in sounds would get a mite boring.


23 June 2008

NEARfest 2008 photos

Day 1 if you still think of Friday night as preshow, otherwise day two of NF pix are up and available to view here:


I'll post day 2(3) tomorrow.

NEARfest 2008 post-fest wrapup part 1

Yeah, I blew all the posting last week. A lot happened. I'm on a more even keel today though, so things should pick back up. In the first part of my festival wrap-up, I'm going to post my list of swag I brought back.

It's a significantly longer than I thought it would be...

I had a short list of titles I had to buy. If I got these the rest didn't matter. I got all three of my must buys:

Le Orme - Live in Pennsylvania 2-CD/1-DVD set. Sadly not the whole show...it misses Collage and Rondo. But still nice to have about 100 minutes of the 2 hour set.

The Red Masque - Fossileyes. Got it early enough to score the promo DVD along with it.

Pure Reason Revolution - Live at NEARfest. Does what it says on the label.


This is kinda everything else :-)

Strawbs - Live at the Calderone on Witchwood Records

DFA - Work in Progress Live

DFA - 4th (both of these I got at Moonjune on the 2 for $25 deal)

Progday 2001 2-CD set (for 5 bucks I complete the collection)

Banco del Mutuo Soccorso - Di Terra (my friend Mark Guenther kindly picked this up for me)

Banco del Mutuo Soccorso - Canto di Primavera

Kingfisher Sky (the preview on the screen and PA sold this one)

Gerard - can't remember the title (my friend Kevin Cosentino was kind enough to pick this one up)

Fireballet t-shirt (free! and not in my size!)

Fireballet CD sampler (free! and IN my size!)

NEARfest 2008 T-shirt (in progfan size! dark grey with the dual twisted dragon logo)

NEARfest 2008 programme (for which a story exists for later)

16 June 2008

Yes, you guessed it...

This is the beginning of NEARfest week.

As I am preparing for 2 days of progressive rock live, I'll be spending more time away from posting news-y posts, instead offering up some stuff from NEARfests past, leading to the actual festival itself this weekend. I'll be posting links to past festival reviews, photo galleries, and so on. Most of this will likely bore the heck out of you, but maybe it'll also impart some of the excitement that comes from preparing to do my part to spur economic stimulus in Bethlehem PA.

TOMORROW: my list of NF 'must buys,' and why.
Wednesday: A look back at NF 2007.
Thursday: A look back at NF 2006.
Friday: A look back at other past NFs...Friday night is also the annual Pre-festival BBQ at our place. Loads of great loud music, and fresh hot burgers and chicken...some of the best potato salad this side of the Mississippi as well!
Saturday/Sunday: The festival. I'll be posting a link to where you can hear band by band opinions after the performances (I hope).
Monday: The wrap-up.

So sit back and relax...the next few days will be fun.

Last minute NEARfest details

This just in from Chad Hutchinson, one of the two organisers/founders of NEARfest. If you're going, read this :-)

Well, the clock is ticking and NFX is just about here. Below is some last minute information that you may find useful...

1. Photography
You may take photos. However, there are a few ground rules...
a. No flash!
b. Please do not block anyone's view
c. Minimize movement around the venue as it is distracting to others
d. No stage access

2. No audio and video recording
The venue and artists restrict any audio and video recording. It is printed on the back of the tickets as a reminder. Please adhere to these rules. Failure to do so will result in the confiscation of the recording and the recording device. The device will be returned at the end of the festival.

3. Trash
If you are tailgating, please make sure to clean up after yourselves. We can't afford hefty littering fines!

4. Entering/Exiting during a performance
If you need to enter or exit Baker Hall during a performance, please use the doors at the top of the steps on either side. The side door is off-limits as it allows too much light into the performance hall.

5. Food Vendors
There will be two food vendors outside on the Zoellner grounds as well as some indoor vending by the Wood Company. Any beer and wine purchased inside must remain indoors. There will also be walking maps on a few tables in Zoellner to help you get around Bethlehem.

6. NEARfest 10x10 IPA
The Bethlehem Brew Works is once again offering a special NEARfest beer. This year it is NEARfest 10x10 IPA, a hop-lovers dream! Take your ticket stub to the brewery for $1.00 of a pint!

7. Wristbands
When you arrive at the venue on Saturday and Sunday, make sure to go to the table in front of Baker Hall and get your wristband. This will speed entry back into the hall after the breaks/set changes.

8. CD Vendors
The layout will be similar to past years (4 rooms on the main level), but we are moving the bands to the second floor in Room 211. This will alleviate traffic in Room 121 (where the NEARfest shirts, programs, etc. are) and allow the bands to be closer to the autograph line, eliminating their need to move merchandise upstairs for the signings. Note: While all bands are invited to do the signings, we cannot guarantee that they will all participate.

9. Safe Travels!
There is a lot of travel information on the NEARfest website. Please leverage that to get yourself to Bethlehem safely this weekend.

John Ford To Headline Day 2 of Power of Prog Festival

Friday, 27th June 2008, marks the inaugural year and date for the Progressive Rock Hall of Fame Award Ceremony and Concert. This very special event is being hosted by Melodic Revolution Records and the Power of Prog Festival.

John Ford will headline Day 2 on Sat., 28th June 2008 - 9:00-10:30PM, of the three day Power of Prog Festival - June 27-28-29, 2008, at the historic Kirkland Arts Center on the Village Green in Clinton, NY, located near the beautiful Mohawk Valley in upstate New York. The Kirkland Arts Center, a former church cathedral lends itself to some fantastic acoustics, as a performance venue. John Ford's setlist will feature songs off his forthcoming album, 'Big Hit In India' and other favourites from his extensive catalogue, including 'Part of the Union,' penned during his early days with the Strawbs band which also included Rick Wakeman - keyboard extraordinaire, who later went on to join the group, YES. John Ford will be performing with some members of his backing band. There may be a Special Guest appearance by Strawbs' keyboardist, John Hawken - awaiting final confirmation on that.

On Sunday, 29th June 2008, as of the Power of Prog Festival draws to a close, from 5:30 to 6:30 PM there will be the Inaugural 2008 Progressive Rock Hall of Fame Inductee Awards Ceremony. John Ford will be amongst the presenters, bestowing a 2008 Inductee Award to the band, KANSAS, at the 2008 PRHOF Presentation Awards Ceremony, to be followed by additional performances from other artists to end the final day of the Power of Prog Festival.

Visit John Ford of The Strawbs website & MySpace:



Power of Prog Festival - Full 3 Day Schedule:

Friday 06/27/08:

04:30 - 05:30 The Watch [Progressive Classic Rock - New York]

06:00 - 07:00 SOULJOURNERS [Progressive Metal - California]

07.30 - 08.30 FLUTTR EFFECT [Experimental Progressive Rock - Massachusetts]

09:00 - 10:30 FATHOM [Progressive Folk Rock - New York]

$20 in advance $25 day of the show.

Saturday 06/28/08:

02:00 - 03:00 STORMS APPROACH [Progressive Metal - Massachusetts]

03:30 - 04:30 EGO [Instrumental Progressive Rock - Ohio]

05:30 - 06:30 ROB METZ [Instrumental Progressive Hard Rock - Ohio]

07:00 - 08.30 QUEEN AUGUST [Classic Progressive Rock - New York]

09:00 - 10:30 John Ford of the Strawbs [Classic Progressive Rock - UK]

$25 in advance $30 day of the show.

Sunday 06/29/08:

12:30 - 01.30 LAURIE LARSON [Classic Progressive Rock - Arizona]

02:00 - 03:00 TIM LOWLY ENSEMBLE [Alternative Progressive Folk - Illinois]

03:30 - 04:30 ACOUSTIC TRAUMA [Alternative Progressive Rock -New York]

05:30 - 06:30 Progressive Rock Hall of Fame - Awards Ceremony
[Honoring King Crimson, Yes, Kansas, UK, Gentle Giant Special performances by Neil Alexander and Greg Bendian of the Mahavishnu Project, also Tribe of Eden
07:00 - 08.30 Rocket Scientists with special guest Lana Lane [Progressive Rock - California]

09:00 - 10:30 CATHEDRAL [Classic Progressive Rock - New York]

$30 in advance $35 day of the show.

14 June 2008

Spock's Beard 2008 Euro tour dates

Spock's Beard kick off their latest batch of European concerts later this month with dates in Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK. The band will also appear at the first Three River's Prog Festival in August...

26.06.2008: Germany-Ulm/Ulmer Zelt
27.06.2008: Germany-Netzschkau/III. Art-Rock-Festival

28.06.2008: Germany-Bochum/Zeche Open Air

29.06.2008: Netherlands-Zoetermeer/Boerderij*

30.06.2008: Switzerland-Pratteln/Z7

02.07.2008: Great Britain-Cardiff/Point*

03.07.2008: Great Britain-London/Carling Academy Islington*

04.07.2008: Great Britain-Manchester/Academy*

05.07.2008: Great Britain-Leeds/Rios*

06.07.2008: Scotland-Glasgow/The Arches*

07.07.2008: Great Britain-Wolverhampton/The Robin 2

23.08.2008: United States-Pittsburgh/The Three Rivers Prog Festival

Dates marked with an asterisk will feature Frost*.

Cynic: new album done

Posted this week in Stick player Sean Malone's blog:

Bass and Stick parts are finished, and except for a few vocal treatments, the new CD is currently being mixed. Similar to how Focus was recorded it was a tempest of creativity, though matched this time with sense of restraint. It's impossible to know how fans will react to any new recording; some will like it, some won't. But I'm hopeful that those who decide to buy the CD will spend some time with it, and expect that the music will reveal itself in layers rather than all at once.

Sonically, harmonically, and structurally, this new CD is much more an inward journey; perhaps a reflection of the 15 years that have passed since Focus. But it's still very much a
Cynic CD, and I'll be interested to see the reaction from this current generation...one that has never known an Internet-less world; often impatient and who require relentless exposure and stimulus to maintain their attention.

13 June 2008

Upcoming Flower Kings concert dates

Saturday, 19th July 2008
Loreley outdoor Festival "Night Of The Prog"

(with Roger Hodgson, It Bites, Pain Of Salvation, Fish, Neal Morse,
Isildurs Bane, Barclay James Harvest etc.)

Sunday, 24th August 2008

"3 Rivers Festival"

The Pepsi Roadhouse,
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
(with California Guitar Trio, Spock's Beard, Rocket Scientists, etc.)

Tuesday, 26th August 2008

BB Kings - Lucilles Grille (237 W 42nd Street) New York City, NY, USA

Wednesday, 27th August 2008

Regent Theater
Arlington, MA, USA

Saturday, 30th August 2008

Martyrs (MARTYRS' 3855 N. Lincoln Avenue Chicago, IL, USA

Saturday, 6th September 2008

Another progfestival
Cascais - Portugal

Saturday, 11th October 2008

Motstoy (Prog & Metal) Festival

Zappa: One Shot Deal details...sort of...

No mention of sources, dates, studio or live, or what have you. But...here's the tracklist for the new FZ release One Shot Deal:

01. Bathtub Man 5:43
02. Space Boogers 1:24
03. Hermitage 2:00
04. Trudgin' Across The Tundra 4:01
05. Occam's Razor 9:11
06. Heidelberg *1987 4:46
07. The Illinois Enema Bandit 9:27
08. Australian Yellow Snow 12:26
09. Rollo 2:57

More as I find it...

ABIGAIL'S GHOST Comes To ProgDay 2008!

When one thinks of music from Louisiana, progressive rock is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. With a few exceptions, like ProgDay alumni WOODENHEAD, the state is best known for jazz, blues and zydeco. So it was a bit of a surprise in 2007 when the album Selling Insincerity burst out of the bayou by a young band that went by the moniker of ABIGAIL'S GHOST. The album drew rave reviews on the Internet and in both the prog and mainstream rock press.

Founded by childhood friends JOSHUA THERIOT and KENNETH WILSON, both former students at the Berklee College Of Music, the band draws influences from a wide array of both modern and classic progressive rock and art rock. Often compared to PORCUPINE TREE, shades of OPETH, RIVERSIDE and PINK FLOYD can also be found within the framework of the band’s material. The songs are emotional and atmospheric, encompassing both soft acoustic interludes and bombastic heaviness bordering on metal.

ProgDay is proud to welcome ABIGAIL'S GHOST to the Storybook Farm stage. We are sure they are going to be a major highlight of the weekend.

ProgDay, the world’s longest running progressive rock festival, takes place this year on August 30th and 31st at Storybook Farm near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Other bands announced so far are
Ain Soph (Japan), Canvas Solaris (US), CHEER-ACCIDENT (US), Holding Pattern (US), and VonFrickle (US).

To hear music and get information about all the bands, please visit their website at

Fireballet...rising from the embers

This was posted to the newly started official Fireballet MySpace page:

OK, I promised news was coming and here is the first of it, and it is BIG! This comes straight from Jim Cuomo himself. For all of you who are attending Nearfest, check out the Fireballet table that will be there in the Vendor's room. There you will be able to get your hands on a t-shirt and sampler cd featuring three songs from the bands past. The CD will also have this news on it:

Coming in 2009!

*Deluxe Edition CD of Night on Bald Mountain (1975) including special ltd. edition packaging and bonus material.
*Deluxe Edition CD of Two, Too (1976) including special ltd. edition packaging and bonus material.
*Solo Album by Fireballet guitarist Ryhche Chlanda.

And much, much more!

This is very exciting news. Spread the word about this site, www.myspace.com/fireballetofficial

Fireballet were a Progressive rock band based in New Jersey in the early to mid-seventies. Their brand of music blended the sounds of bands such as Genesis, King Crimson, and Deep Purple with the chamber pop bands such as The Left Banke from the late 60s. They disbanded in 1976, but now the albums are finally being officially released on CD after only being available as bootlegs for so long. The embers have been stirred and it appears that Fireballet are about to reemerge on the music scene.

Jim Cuomo: Percussion, Lead and Backing Vocals

Brian Hough
: Hammond Organ, Other Organs, Keyboards, and Backing Vocals

Ryche Chlanda
: Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Electronic Devices, and Vocals

Frank Petto
: Pianos, Synthesizers, Mellotron, Various Other Keyboards, and Vocals

Martyn Biglin
: Bass, 12-String Guitar, Pedals

12 June 2008

Robin Taylor - Art Cinema - New Band

Art Cinema is the name of a new Danish *supergroup*, founded in the autumn of 2007 by prog veterans Robin Taylor (Taylor's Universe) and Michael Denner (Mercyful Fate).

After working together on the much praised album, Soundwall (released as Taylor's Universe with Denner, and reviewed HERE), the two gentlemen decided to form a group, working through material by songwriter Jesper Harrits. The result will be due in the summer of 2008.

Art Cinema's music is a mix of almost every corner on the Prog palette: pop, metal, jazz, avant-garde, electronic and ambient music. First of all it's melodic, song based music - but don't forget: Taylor was there...

Art Cinema - Marvel of Beauty Records - MOBCD 019

Jytte Lindberg
and Louise Nipper: vocals

Robin Taylor
: keyboard, guitars, percussion

Michael Denner
: guitars

Jon Hemmersam
: guitars

Carsten Sindvald
: saxophones

Flemming Muus Tranberg
: bass

Bjarne Holm
: drums

Pierre Tassone
: violins

Pure Reason Revolution: Band updates (and new release reminder)

British band Pure Reason Revolution have posted a few goodies and year in review (since 2007-ish) type things of late...rather than ctl-c, ctl-v them, I'll give you the links and encourage you to explore :-)

The 2007 year in review by drummer Paul Glover. Some neat tidbits in there, including one of the most enjoyable looks at NEARfest I've read from any band more familiar with the sweatier live pub scene in the UK and Europe.

The 2007 Year in Review Accompanying Video. Well, I don't see the link on the page, so it may go up in a bit. But supposedly including footage from their first US tour...again, including NEARfest.

And as a reminder, we are 1 week away from the official release of the new Pure Reason Revolution album Live at NEARfest 2007 (you can see the cover art HERE), coming out on (wait for it) NEARfest Records. It goes without saying that I plan on picking this one up early Saturday morning at Zoellner Arts Center on day one/two (depending on how you count it this year) of NEARfest X. They may not be a pure progressive rock band, but I love their infectious mix of swirling synths, Beach Boy-influenced vocal harmonies, and driving grooves and beats. Most definitely one of the more enjoyable new bands to come out the past few years...

RMI: 3 new titles forthcoming

Available at Nearfest, and from July 1st to order, the following Radio Massacre International releases.

Rain Falls In A Different Way: A companion piece to Rain Falls In Grey, and a collection of new music recorded during the same time frame using similar instrumentation. Expansive and atmospheric as well as strongly rhythmic space rock.

Philadelphia Air Shot: A single performance for WXPN Radio in Philadelphia in 2007, using an arranged piece as a starting point, moving into sequencer improvisation before ending up in deep space over the luxury of an hour. From the DAT master.

Fast Forward 1993-2008: A budget priced compilation with a difference. This aims to represent every one of 30 albums over the course of a single disc whilst being a new unique listening experience of itself. Ideal as an introduction to the band or as a `spot the album' game for seasoned followers. Also a convenient way to load a career's worth of RMI into your MP3 player at a stroke.


11 June 2008

Speaking of the Strawbs...


Tuesday 10 June 2008 - BB Kings, Manhattan, NY

Wednesday 11 June 2008 - Sellersville Theater, Sellersville, PA

Thursday 12 June 2008 - Ramshead Tavern, Annapolis, MD

Friday 13 June 2008 - The Kent Stage, Kent, OH

Saturday 14 June 2008 - The Thirsty Ear, Columbus, OH

Sunday 15 June 2008 - The Ark, Ann Arbor, MI

Tuesday 17 June 2008 - The Abbey, Chicago, IL

Wednesday 18 June 2008 - Shank Hall, Milwaukee, WI

Friday 20 June 2008 - The Redhouse, Syracuse, NY

Saturday 21 June 2008 - Towne Crier, Pawling, NY

The band for this tour is the 'classic' Hero & Heroine/Ghosts lineup:

David Cousins (vocals, guitar & banjo)

Dave Lambert (lead guitar & vocals)

John Hawken (keyboards)

Chas Cronk (bass & vocals)

Rod Coombes (drums)

Strawbs: another new release

Not yet listed on the official Strawbs page, so take this with as many grains of salt as you wish, but it is listed on the Amazon.co.uk website, among others:


This double CD was recorded live at The Robin in Bilston on the 5th March 2006 and features: David Cousins (vocals, guitar & banjo) / Dave Lambert (lead guitar & vocals) / John Hawken (keyboards) / Chas Cronk (bass & vocals) / Rod Coombes (drums) with special guest: John Ford (vocals & guitar) The set features all the hit singles and many classic album tracks spanning the Strawbs 40 year career.

Track List - Disc 1:

01. Lay Down

02. I Only Want My Love To Grow In You

03. Shine On Silver Sun

04. Ghosts

05. Remembering You And I When We Were Young

06. Cold Steel

07. Impressions Of Southall From The Train

08. The Auction

09. Out In The Cold

10. Round And Round

11. Just Love

Track List - Disc 2:

01. Heroine's Theme

02. Deep Summer's Sleep

03. The Winter Long

04. Raqs Aswad [drum Solo]

05. Hero And Heroine

06. Round And Round [reprise]

07. Part Of The Union

08. The Man Who Called Himself Jesus [Acoustic Set] * Bonus Track *

09. Tears [Acoustic Set] * Bonus Track *

10. Pavan [Acoustic Set] * Bonus Track *

11. Kissed By The Sun [Acoustic Set] * Bonus Track *

12. Heavy Disguise [Acoustic Set] * Bonus Track *

I am guessing that John Ford is guesting on the acoustic tracks, as those all come (I believe) from his era in the band. I also find it interesting that "Autumn" has been broken into three component tracks (1-3 on CD 2), as has "The Life Auction" (tracks 7-8 on CD 1). Alas, no "Ghosts," but we have that on the NEARfest 2004 live release, as well as the recent archival 1975 release on the band's Witchwood Records.

In related news, due to a general lack of attentiveness (well, and a lack of funds, but let's not let those facts get in the way of a good story), I'll be missing seeing the Strawbs yet again, as this time they play less than 20 miles from my house at the lovely Theatre 1894 in Sellersville PA. Why their electric tours seem to always coincide with NEARfest (or at least they seem to have done so for the past 4 years), I will never know.

10 June 2008

Hawkwind: Hawkfest 2008 info

Hawkfest 2008
Devon UK -25-27 July

Hello Folks, here is the Hawkfest Line Up So Far (In no particular order with more to be announced)

Tim Blake

The Starfighters

TOSH - Technicians Of Spaceship Hawkwind -



Tribe Of Cro


Omnia Opera


Wind Of Change


Danse Of The Dead

Tits Of Death

Underground Zero



Uncle Rotter

Spirits of the Earth

Bez 23 (DJ)

Richard Chadwick (DJ Session)

Dj Flo psychedelic travel guide

Lightshows from Chaos Illumination and Floroworld

Family friendly with kid's area, lounge bar, cafes, stalls, theatre, workshops, free camping on site.

For tickets and information go to www.hawkwind.com and follow the links to the Hawkfest microsite

CANVAS SOLARIS at ProgDay 2008!

CANVAS SOLARIS have defied the constraints of their beginnings in the death/mathcore scene to evolve into one of the most cutting edge instrumental bands to hit progressive rock in many years. Initially a vocal quartet playing an unusual and experimental form of death metal, by the time they recorded their first official release they had shed their vocalist and shifted focus to intricate instrumental arrangements. TRIBUNAL RECORDS called it "...genius level stuff."

The evolution continued as CANVAS SOLARIS incorporated additional elements in their work. Their sound became eloquently expansive as more prominent keyboards, integral acoustic arrangements, and ethnic percussion widened their musical vocabulary.

Signing with SENSORY RECORDS (The Laser's Edge) in 2005, they began a series of releases that has shown just how far they have come from their origins. Contrasting intense hyper-technical passages with introverted, spacey, quiet and acoustic-based interludes, today CANVAS SOLARIS have established themselves as one of the bands pointing a new direction for the heavy progressive and progmetal scenes. As Tribunal Records has said, "We guarantee it will blow your mind!"

ProgDay, the world’s longest running progressive rock festival, takes place this year on August 30th and 31st at Storybook Farm near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Other bands announced so far are
Ain Soph (Japan), CHEER-ACCIDENT (US), Holding Pattern (US), and VonFrickle (US). To hear music and get information about all the bands, please visit our website at www.progday.com.

09 June 2008

Peter Hammill news update

From his WEBSITE:

Many moons have passed...but you may be interested, now, to go and check out www.peterhammill.com where, finally, some lyric-labyrinthine adventures await, thanks to the indefatigable labours of adrian. more on this anon, but it's only right to let you know that something's been/is afoot there....

Also, of course, I'm back sane and safe (-ish) in mind and body from the Spanish tour. Very enjoyable but tiring in spite of days off - the distances to travel are *big*. A nice collection of grand pianos for the most part and a variable collection of songs.

And now.... Well, apparently my visa for the US has been approved, so it looks as though all systems are go for the tour. I still have to do the face to face interview (8 am Monday morning at the Embassy in London, have to stay overnight in the city, have to get in the queue an hour and a half beforehand) and then my passport has to get back to the office in time for me to pick it up before flying. Small considerations!

In the slightly later on, an extra date has now been added to the VdGG Tokyo story...

VdGG Japan:

27/28/29th June, O-West, Shibuya, TOKYO, Japan
extra date:
30th June Astro-Hall, TOKYO, Japan

PH solo USA:

15th June
Jammin' Java, VIENNA, VA.
17th June
The Cutting Room, NEW YORK, NY Tickets
18th June
Colony Cafe, WOODSTOCK, NY
19th June
Sellersville Theatre, SELLERSVILLE, PA
21st June
NEARFEST festival, Bethlehem, PA, USA

Quiz time

This isn't mine, but I thought it might be a fun little diversion for some of you.

Click HERE for the Progressive Rock General Knowledge Quiz.

The questions are (to me) pretty simple, but it was a bit of fun to do anyway.

I got 24 out of 24, by the way.

Bruford/Earthworks news

Posted by Sid Smith at the Bill Bruford Website:

Well there’s no doubt that July is a jolly good month for Bill Bruford fans. Alongside Bill will be Tim Garland (saxes) Laurie Cottle (bass) and Gwilym Simcock (piano ) for three nights of instrumental fireworks at the legendary London jazz club, Ronnie Scott's.

The gigs will be running 28th – 30th July and are bound to be packed to the gills, especially when you consider that the last time Earthworks played in concert was January 2007. Our advice is to get your tickets sharpish. You snooze, you loose.

Earlier in the month (Tuesday July 8th) Bill will be performing with Tim Garland, guitarist Dave 'Fuse' Fiuczynski, and Andrei Kondakov, (piano, keyboards) in St. Petersburg.

The concert kicks off at 8.00 p.m in the spectacular surroundings of the Great Courtyard of the Winter Palace. You can find our more details by going here

08 June 2008

Another InsideOut contest!

Info from HERE:

If you’ve not yet got your copy of the new Ayreon album 01011001 vinyl edition or the Elected EP, here’s your chance to get a free copy. Just enter your essay by 30 June, 2008 and hope the judging panel likes your turn of phrase. Full blurb and instructions below. Good luck!


Ayreon’s latest masterpiece
01011001 is available in stores and online now. The album features many special guests including: Ty Tabor, Simone Simons, Tomas Bodin, Floor Jansen, Jonas Renkse, and many more. Fans of Arjen Lucassen and the Ayreon project know how truly special and innovative this album is. In fact, it is so special that it has been released in a 3-Disc vinyl edition. This edition features 3 clear vinyl LPs plus a limited edition poster of the album artwork.

If you are an Ayreon fan, and would like to win your very own copy of the limited edition vinyl, here is what you need to do.

In an email of
200 words or less, tell us why Ayreon is special to you. Send your essays to freeman [AT] spvmarketing [DOT] com.

The SPV/InsideOut staff will go through your responses and select the 5 best essays. These five grand prize winners will receive a copy of the limited edition 01011001 3-LP Vinyl Set.

Five runners up will receive a copy of the Limited Edition EP that Ayreon mastermind Arjen Lucassen recorded with the man behind
EdGuy and Avantasia, Tobias Sammet. This EP was only released in Europe, and it features a cover of the Alice Cooper classic “Elected” performed by Both Arjen and Tobias, as well as previously unreleased material from the 01011001 recording sessions.

Make sure to include all of your contact information
, so if we choose you as a winner, we can send you your LP set.

Deadline for submissions: 30 June, 2008

Strawbs/Hidria Spacefolk/Alamaailman Vasarat news

Alamaailman Vasarat Upcoming concert dates:

25-27.07.08 Mission Folk Music Festival, Mission, Canada
01.08.08 Bardentreffen, NĂ¼rnberg, Germany

14.08.08 Sziget, Budapest, Hungary

15.08.08 Eurion 2008, Smrzovka, Czech Republic

16.08.08 Zappanale, Bad Doberan, Germany

Hidria Spacefolk news:

NEW members in Hidria-family!!!

Veikko (the Wolf) Sutinen has joined the band. (keyboards and synths). He played with us the past 4 gigs, and did extremely well, so his part of Hidria now!

J. Lounatvuori has moved to Berlin and is unable to play active role in the band at the moment. Don't worry, he's still with us. We will be playing with him on our upcoming gig in Berlin.

The band's newest release is titled Live at Heart, and was recorded live at Burg Herzberg Festival, Germany 23.7.2006.

1. Futur Ixiom 7:47

2. Sindran Rastafan 11:02

3. Symetria 7:22

4. Sine 12:35

5. Radien 11:16

6. Tarapita 15:16

You can get this from the band's own webshop.

Strawbs: New Album!

Strawbs' new album will be called THE BROKEN-HEARTED BRIDE. It has been recorded by the Hero and Heroine line-up (plus some guests, inculding Ian Cutler on fiddle) in April and May 2008 for an expected September release date. Some of the newly recorded songs are featured on the Electric band tours in the UK and the US. Chris Tsangarides, who did such a wonderful production job on Secret Paths is back at the controls. Click on the pic for a look at a larger image of the latest version of the cover.

New songs include: "Through Aphrodite's Eyes", "Too Many Angels", "Christmas Cheer", "Everybody Knows". Sneak preview to follow shortly.

07 June 2008

Speaking of Spock's Beard's new DVD...

...the band and InsideOut Music are having a contest with some pretty brill prizes. Check it out:

Eden Electronics, Seymour Duncan, and Vic Firth along with SPV and InsideOut America present the Get “Live” with Spock’s Beard.

-To enter, send an email to freeman@spvmarketing.com. In the email, please include your mailing address. We will then send you a package with Spock’s Beard Post Cards and Magnets.

-The object of the contest is for fans to distribute all of these postcards and magnets that promote the release of the DVD and CD, in the most creative ways possible. Entrants are asked to submit pictures of their creative promotion to the SPV USA office. This can be emailed as a digital photograph to Freeman@SPVMarketing.com, or it can be submitted as a hard copy, to our snail mail address:

68 White St 287
Red Bank, NJ 07701

The first 25 people to enter will receive:
A set of Nick D’Virgilio Signature Drumsticks Courtesy of Vic Firth

The grand prize winner, who will receive:
WTX-260 Bass-Head, courtesy of Eden/US Electronics and an autographed copy of the Spock’s Beard “Live” DVD or CD

The second place winner will receive:
A set of Jazz Bass SJB-1 pick-ups, courtesy of Seymour Duncan and an autographed copy of the Spock’s Beard “Live” DVD or CD

Three runners up will receive:
An autographed copy of the Spock’s Beard “Live” DVD or CD

-The SPV/InsideOut staff will determine who was the most creative with their promotional techniques.
-Entrants acknowledge participation at own risk. Observe all local, state, and federal laws. SPV and its affiliated members assume no liability in conjunction with improper display of promotional materials. All entry photos become property of SPV. Contest winner chosen at sole discretion of SPV. Entries must be received by noon on July 31, 2008, and the winner will be announced on August 1, 2008.

Keith Emerson - new album info

Keep in mind much of this is based on info gleaned from sources less than official (i.e., not the official KE site), but...

Apparently the following is the tracklist for the soon to be released Keith Emerson album:

1. Ignition
2. 1st Presence
3. Last Horizon
4. Miles Away pt1
5. Miles Away pt2
6. Sonata
7. Fugue
9. Marche Train
10. Blue Inferno
11. 3rd Presence
12. Prelude To A Hop
13. A Place To Hide
14. Miles Away pt3
15. Finale
16. The Art Of Falling Down
17. Malambo (from "Estancia Suite")
18. Gametime
19. The Parting

According to 'Maninthemountain' on the ProgressiveEars web forum, tracks 1 through 15 are a connected suite of tracks. Track 17 is another KE arrangement/adaptation of a piece by Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera (previous 'covers' include 'Toccata,' adapted
adapted from the fourth movement of his first piano concerto and released on the Brain Salad Surgery album and 'Creole Dance,' an adaptation of Ginastera's Suite de Danzas Criollas).

also adds...

I'm certainly bias [sic] at this point, and only heard it once with the man himself. But, you all are really in for a treat! It was the proggiest & most ELP sounding album he's done since BSS...'

Read more about his experiences with Keith, and that first album listen, here.

Opeth, Spock's Beard and Neal Morse updates

OPETH have announced their Fall 2008 UK tour dates:

Nov 17 - ABC, Glasgow

Nov 18 - St Vicars, Dublin, Ireland

Nov 19 - Academy, Birmingham

Nov 20 - Shepards Bush Empire, London

Nov 21 - Academy, Bristol

Nov 22 - Rock City, Nottingham

Nov 23 - Academy, Manchester

NEAL MORSE has announced the release of his new DVD, Sola Scriptura & Beyond, to be released on 15 July on the InsideOut label. The concert covers the ? and Sola Scriptura albums, along with selected tracks from One, Testimony, Spock's Beard and Transatlantic. Tracklisting is as follows:

1 The Creation

2 The Good Don't Last/Open Wide The Flood Gates

3 The Door

4 The Conflict/The Conclusion
5 Question Mark Medley
6 Testimedley

7 We All Need Some Light

8 Wind At My Back

1 Behind The Scenes

2 Bridge Across Forever (acoustic)

3 Question Mark Live at Columbia Park, Berlin 2006 (Full concert)

Finally, the new Spock's Beard DVD release, SB Live, is imminent. My promo copy has arrived, so you should expect some thoughts and a review soon. Many thanks and bouquets of Martian Fire Flowers to Jon Freeman at SPV for getting this blogger/reviewer taken care of...

Porcupine Tree: filming new DVD in October

From their website and MySpace blog:

PT will play 2 shows at 013, Tilburg, the Netherlands, on 15th and 16th October. The short run of European shows (sorry no US shows this time) during October is in order to shoot a DVD based on the Fear of a Blank Planet album cycle, and the main body of the filming will take place at Tilburg, where the band will play as much different material as possible during the course of the 2 nights. So please come along and help us to make the atmosphere very special and get yourself in the film! Tickets are on sale from the 7th June from

06 June 2008

Well, this is interesting...

I try not to write about stuff before I...write about it.

Wow, that didn't come out right.

Let's try again.

I try not to write about stuff that I plan on writing about before i write about it.

No, that's no less balky. But the sentiment is there.

I fear writing about an album before I get a chance to write a real honest to goodness review of it, but there have been a few times where I've kinda had to. One of them was for Robin Taylor's Soundwall release from a few months back. I can't think of very many other circumstances where an album has impressed to the point that I feel a need to write about it before I post my actual review.

I suppose by now you can guess that just such an event has occurred. And you'd be right.

The band is called Hour of the Shipwreck. The album is called The Hour is Upon Us. And while I can think of a few bands I'd use as launch points to describe what they sound like, in the end I can say that this is really not much like anything else I have in my collection, and that is one of the best things I can say about any band.

Of course, sounding like nothing else can be a curse as much as a boon. I mentioned touch points, and for this band, I'd maybe pick the Pax Cecilia, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and/or The Ascent of Everest. There's a decided post-rock/4AD feel to these guys (and girl), but make no mistake...this is emotional progressive rock at its most original. Vocals are theatrical, music and arrangements are dramatic and filled with twists and turns. The packaging is dark and evocative. There may not be powerhouse showcases of individual instrumental virtuosity, but in exchange you are treated to seven tightly composed and performed tracks, all of which meld together to create an impressive listening experience.

Check them out here.

Or here (where you can listen to two tracks for free).

And look for my review of the album in the next week or so.

04 June 2008

Yes tour canceled

NEW YORK, NY, JUNE 4, 2008 -– Legendary rock band Yes announced today that the group will unfortunately be canceling their 2008 40th Anniversary Tour. The 26-city tour was scheduled to kick off in Quebec next month and run through the summer.

Said Jon Anderson, “In the wake of my recent respiratory attack, doctors have advised me to spend the coming months resting and recovering. Unfortunately, this means I won't be able to tour with Yes this summer as originally planned. I'd like everyone know how deeply disappointed I am by this turn of events. I was looking forward to celebrating our music with the amazing family of Yes fans once again; but as we all know, health must come before anything else. Wishing you all the very best...”

Said Chris Squire, “We were all looking forward to performing for our fans after a prolonged leave of absence from touring. I am especially regretful of the fact that I know many of our fans and friends have probably laid out non-refundable airfares and hotels, etc. in order to enjoy the Yes shows this summer. Please join me in wishing Jon a speedy return to health, which at this point in time is our main concern.”

Yes frontman and founding member Jon Anderson was admitted to the hospital last month after suffering a severe asthma attack. He has now been diagnosed with acute respiratory failure and was told by doctors this weekend that he needs to rest and not work for a period of at least six months or suffer further health complications. Upon receiving this news the band has determined that their tour plans need to be put on hold.

Ticket refunds will be available at the point of purchase.

Original Pentangle lineup on tour!

On 29 June 2008, exactly 40 years to the day that unique British folk/jazz 'supergroup' Pentangle recorded the live disc of their seminal double album, Sweet Child, at London's Royal Festival Hall, the original band: Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Jacqui McShee, Danny Thompson and Terry Cox, return to the stage of the Royal Festival Hall to celebrate their legacy. That unique show is now sold out, and the band are delighted to announce a second show in London and a full UK tour. Tickets go on sale on Monday 28 January at 9.00am from the box office numbers below, or 0870 735 5000 (24hr Ticket Hotline) or www.bookingsdirect.com.

Tour dates are:

Sun 29 June London, The Royal Festival HallSOLD OUT

Tue 1 July Cardiff, St David's Hall02920 878444

Wed 2 July Brighton, Dome01273 709709

Thu 3 July Cambridge, Corn Exchange01223 357851

Sat 5 July Birmingham, Symphony Hall0121 780 3333

Sun 6 July Oxford, New Theatre0844 847 1585

Mon 7 July London, Lyceum Theatre0844 412 1742

Wed 9 July Manchester, Palace Theatre0844 847 2328

Thu 10 July Harrogate, International Centre0845 130 8840

Sat 12 July Gateshead, The Sage0191 443 4661

Sun 13 July Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall0141 353 8000

Mon 14 July Liverpool, Philharmonic0151 709 3789

Morglbl 2008 US tour dates

The 2008 Morglbl US tour is finally set. If you like blazing fusion and incredible musicianship don't miss this rare chance to see this French trio. Guitarist Christophe Godin was voted 5th best international guitarist in 2005 in a GuitarPart magazine readers poll. (think French Guitar Player magazine) Not bad when fellow guitarists can only think of four others who might be better!

6/11 The Evening Muse, Charlotte, NC with special guest Scott Smith
6/13 Apple Annies, Florence, SC
6/14 Canyon's, Blowing Rock, NC
6/15 The Roundhouse, Florence, SC
6/16 Kartoon Guitar Clinic, Six + 1 Studios, Florence, SC
6/18 Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC with Oboe
6/22 Neafest X, Bethlehem, PA 11am
6/25 Redhouse Tavern, Baltimore MD special guests at musician's night 10pm
6/26 The Grog and Tankard, Washington DC 9pm
6/27 Mac's the Club, Essex, MD 9pm
6/28 Redhouse Tavern, Baltimore, MD 5pm

The calendar and further details are also here:


02 June 2008

The Red Masque signs to ReR USA

The Red Masque have signed with progressive label RER USA (www.rerusa.com) and will be releasing their new album, Fossil Eyes, in late June 2008 through RER USA's own label Ad Hoc Records.

RER USA was founded in 2003 by David Kerman as the exclusive North American distributor of the English label, ReR Megacorp, a twenty five year old company that defines the vanguard of experimental, progressive, interesting and genre-defying music. The Red Masque expect to have the new album available at the North East Art Rock Festival (NEARFest) from June 20-22 at the RER USA vending booth for purchase. Members of the band will be on hand to sign copies. Fossil Eyes will be available through RER USA's webstore by late June. More details forthcoming....

We will also have some show announcements and other news in the next week or so, and we have recently updated our website with a much needed overhaul. Please stop by and visit!


Thank you,
The Red Masque