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.

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