Monday, June 22, 2009

NEARfest report

I got two tickets to the Northeast Art Rock Fest's Friday night show as a graduation present from my parents. Unfortunately, I had no transportation despite putting an ad on craigslist, so I was forced to use (groan) my dad as transportation. He spent most of the performance out of the theater.
The Friday night show featured Van der Graaf Generator and Steve Hillage. My dad insisted that we leave after VDGG played, but I was basically just there for them so I didn't really mind a whole lot. This was VDGG's second performance in the US ever (the first was in 1976)
Time has really not been kind to Peter Hammill. He was just fine on the songs from Trisector (of which there were several), but he was reduced to just yelling on some other songs. Also, both his guitar and piano weren't mixed nearly loud enough, and during "Sleepwalkers," where he didn't play an instrument for most of the song, his stage presence was reminiscent of a stiff-jointed marionette. Oh well, not everyone can be Ronnie James Dio.
Guy Evans and Hugh Banton were just fine, though, and the lack of a reed player didn't hurt the songs nearly as much as I had feared. I'm just glad I got to see them at all.
I got to spend some time in the merch rooms afterwards, and I picked up the 2-disc version of Marillion's Clutching at Straws with the tracks recorded for the abandoned fifth album with Fish. I also wanted to pick up a copy of Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale, but shockingly, I couldn't find a copy.
The crowd was basically what one would expect; mostly middle-aged, male, and rather large on average. I got a real convention vibe out of it. I may go back next year, depending on the line-up.

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