Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Cyclops Prog - The Peel, Kingston Upon Thames 24 August 2013

The Peel is a famous club often referred to in Prog magazine and receiving many of British best prog rock bands over the years. So on the day thast I read in the same Prog magazine that upto 100,000 people voted for their annual poll I was looking forward to a great atmosphere and a full house given the line-up of Simon Godfrey (Shineback is still great after many spins), Mr. So & So, Primitive Instinct and Haze. Much to my surprise there were only a few people queing up when the late opening Peel was still under soundcheck due to traffic problems for Haze. 100,000 voters against less than 50 paying visitors is not really a brilliant statistic, but guess what the atmosphere was great and relaxed anyway. Further the bar ran out of Bitter on draught, but great PolishTyskie filled up that gap nicely.

So off we went with Haze, a band existing 30 years but fully unknown to me. Fast it turtned out that we were watching two shows for the price of one. As a trio the band rocked hard, showed great guitar work and came across convincing. As a fourpiece the band was adding a female flutist, background vocalist who looked so uncomfortable on stage that you tended to be relieved when she left for the back of the room or the bar. What the girl missed on stage presence was more than made up by the two veterans with special notion for the happy grin of the bass player. Further need to mention the drummer given the fact he turned out to be only 15 years old and holding on firmly. The music reminded by flute of Tull, by folky tones of Mostly Autumn and when a trio even touched progmetal territories. Overall a nice show, but no rush to the merchandise.

After a break we got the introduction of Matt Stevens. He is the master of looping. The only time I have been at The Peel before was during Mattfest (called after another Matt) when I witnessed a pretty similar show. Very impressive indeed and while being a great performer the show tends to become a bit too long. So basically everybody should have seen this at least once live, but half an hour should do to see his book of tricks. Meanwhile he plays guest solos on many CD's I have and his playing is well placed in the upper league.

Next came Primitive Instinct. I got some music from them already when deciding to go to this show and very much liked them. A band who with last year's release of one Man's Refuge commemorated 25 years existence, during which they commented doing basically hardly anything. Until recent under the radar to me I found a new favorite. What a great show they put on. Great performance of a mix of their three albums. They might have done hardly anything, but should get themselves on a tour with Pendragon or Marillion to get the exposure they deserve. Anyone who likes his British Neoprog should like this band and their classy material. Highlights all throughout, but Finding my Way gave the show an emotional touch most bands don't reach. Hope they start touring and maybe one day find de Boerderij on their way. Got the T-shirt, shall wear it with pride.

Mr So & So were on next and this time a female vocalist who knew how to work a male orientated prog audience sharing vocals with  Silent Bob on bass. The whole band was very at ease on stage and the songs from their good last album Truth, Lies & Half lies were pretty impressive live. The older material that was new to me also came over fine, so this was another success. Sometimes I wonder how many great prog bands are walking around in the UK, since the list of great discoveries never ends.

While the list of great bands might never end, the show did suddenly. Still not used to closing times in England I expected the best yet to come, when I found out that Simon Godfrey was not playing tonight. Due to totally understandable reasons the internet told me later I was surprised by this sudden end. Maybe I was outside or had not yet arrived when this was announced, but Shineback life with some Tinyfish inbetween has to wait for another time. Amongst the things I know for sure after this evening is the fact that I shall be back in The Peel again. Tonight I saw 4 bands who shall not come over to Holland that soon and basically liked what I saw all day, with Primitive Instinct guaranteeing a place in my live top 10 of the year with a stellar performance. While I'm still finding my way, Primitive Instinct showed me the direction forward.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013


Holidays in Brazil also means prog rock and metal, but unfortunately the specialized CD shops in Rio (yes in Tijuca several are still there) did not have Maestrick on stock, so my holidays mainly concentrated on the Tricolor in Erikprogtricolor. For thos not knowing (shame on you) the tricolor in Rio is Fluminense, most sympathetic club in Brazil and while we are at it worldwide. Last year they were champions, but this year almost halfway things are disappointing somewhat with a 14th place so far and some support was welcome.

While in Buzios my support came from watching the matches on the street TV at the Botafogo bar. During weekdays the evening television games start at 21:50 hrs. since first the soap should end at main sponsor television channel Globo. Football is extremely popular, but that does not mean that football interest is defended by sponsors or federation. Another sad example is the friendly matches of the national team, which are played on same weekends or weekdays as the competition. This means for Fluminense that on some 12-15 matches out of 38 internationals Fred and Jean shall not be present. This has always been the case, but shows the complete lack of interest by the CBF in a fair competition.  Anyway last Sunday in Buzios was Fla-Flu day, so an afternoon match. While we were still very animated over lunch as shown above , the game was very disappointing and our minority of 4 against 40 supporters at the Botafogo bar was repeated om the field and resulted in a loss of 2-3.

In order to show the other side of Futebol I also dropped by the two pitches near our home when the noise of whistles and shout woke us up early that Sunday. Buzios Esporte Club played modestly in Barca colors, but after some 10 minutes I found that probably 25 years ago I would have made the first team as well, since level was not exciting (although I thought maybe I was watching the veteran team, which means I have to recognize my level was lower. I also visited Branco-Azul Buzios (White-Blue Buzios) but that accomodation was being renovated.

Talking about the level of Football the Brazilian competition is similar to the Dutch one. Not very good football, but due to the lack of predictability a very nice competition. Since many major players leave for Europe the competion is carried on teh shoulders of veterans, with most striking name Clarence Seedorf, who is the biggest star at Botafogo over the past 25 years and manages to get teh team on the top halfway. At Fluminense we have Deco (doping and injuries might justify retirement) Felipe (ex AS Roma) and Fred as the big star. Topscorer at last Conferderations Cup he unfortunately saves his efficient football this year for the national team, although he always gets his goals and scares opponents. Last week I told the family that we needed to return to Rio on Wednesday, since at least one match in the renovated Maracana I needed to see live. And so it happeed that at 21:50 hrs I saw the start of Fluminense-Corinthians. Among experts the Sao Paulo team is main candidate for this year's title with Pato (ex Milan) as most famous name. Flu was without Fred and Jean and had a very young team. As a result the match ended in a goalless draw and very few highlights (we should have had a penalty though). Still I loved every minute of it. I learned several new songs, stood up  90 minutes and the atmosphere was surprisingly positive after last Sunday's deception against Flamengo.  Still there is a comment several Brazilians made to me. The stadium is nice or even more than just that, but the old concrete rings were unbeatable. The sound from the surprisingly large supporters crowd from Corinthians did not travel to our side, which probably was the same to them. Also the shaking concrete, dirty toilets lack of chairs and importantly illegally sold beers, gave more of an atmosphere. This does not mean that I won't be back as much as possible, since Flu live is an experience not to be beaten on any football pitch.

Vamos pra cima Fluzao, Quero gritar campeao!!