Monday, June 21, 2010

NEARfest report

I just returned from NEARfest earlier today, and it was EYE BUGGING GOOD!

As with last year, I only attended the first night because that's when all the stuff I wanted to see was playing. The opener was Riverside, a progressive metal band from Poland. They were pretty good- I had never heard any of their stuff before, but I liked the fact that they relied more on creating atmosphere than Dream Theater wankery.
But the real reason that I came was to see Steve Hackett, formerly of Genesis. I'd heard some of his solo work, and I absolutely loved the albums "Voyage of the Acolyte" and "Spectral Mornings." When I returned to my seat after the intermission, I was dismayed to see that the seat on my right, which had been empty during Riverside's performance, was taken up by the biggest man I had seen at NEARfest (which is no mean feat, mind you- the crowd there is basically the same as your typical comic book or sci-fi convention, but a few decades older). Fortunately, the show was good enough that I almost completely forgot about him.
There was some stuff from Genesis (which was sung by the drummer, who did a pretty good job despite not sounding like Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins), an acoustic interlude, some stuff from the older solo albums (including Spectral Mornings, my personal favorite song of his) and some newer stuff, which I didn't recognize. He's still really, really talented, and though some of his vocals were done through filters, I can forgive that since he's never been much of a singer. Also, for some reason, his bassist was in drag (I'm not sure what the point of that was).
All in all, it was a really good show. Unfortunately, I didn't buy as much from the vendors there as I had hoped because the prices were highway robbery. For example, one vendor was selling the Scorpions debut "Lonesome Crow" for $22, when I can, as of this writing, get a new copy on Amazon.com for $4.82 plus shipping. Still, I can only hope that next year's NEARfest will have something I'm equally eager to see.

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