Author: Chris McGarel

Kerbdog, Amplifier & Hawk Eyes @ The Forum, London – November 11, 2014

It’s a wet Sunday evening in Kentish Town. I’ve got a cold, I’m soaked and I’m late for the first band. Whose bright idea was it to start a gig at 5pm anyway? Not the most auspicious of starts but handing my sodden coat into the cloakroom and grabbing a Guinness improve matters considerably. Hawk Eyes blow away the remainder of my fug. Spikier and noisier in the flesh than on record, their energy is infectious. There’s a sizeable crowd down the front considering it’s just gone 6 o’clock but more importantly everyone is locked into what is happening...

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Haken, Leprous & Maschine @ The Garage, London – October 23, 2014

It’s difficult to think of a better lineup than this trio for those who love their music heavy, technical and progressive. From the outset The Garage is respectably packed with punters of all ages. Clearly there is an appetite for muso-centric instrumental proficiency beyond the realms of jazz and traditional prog. First on the bill is Maschine. With influences as diverse as John Coltrane and Tool this five-piece’s youth and freshness-of-face betray the depth of their experience and abilities. Luke Machin’s prodigious six-string talents have seen him rise to front his own band via the ranks of The Tangent....

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Opeth & Alcest @ Roundhouse, London – 11 October, 2014

Perched precariously at the front of the stage, the four members of Alcest look dwarfed by the headliners’ gear under wraps just behind them. It’s not an auspicious sight but the sound they create is big enough to command the crowd’s attention. Opening proceedings with ‘Opale’, the lead-off track from this year’s “Shelter,” their doomy shoegaze casts a spell over the curious and the already-devoted. A hazily hypnotic set leaves some confused but on the whole tracks like ‘Autre temps’ and set closer ‘Délivrance’ are well-received. Some ignorant bleating during the interval reflects more on the narrow-mindedness of the...

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Neal Morse – Songs From November

Think of prolific prog artists and the name Steven Wilson will inevitably spring to mind. In those stakes Neal Morse cannot be far behind in terms of the volume of music he creates and the diversity of styles in which he is proficient. Between the epic excesses of supergroup Transatlantic‘s “Kaleidoscope” album and tour and the forthcoming Flying Colors collective’s return to duty comes an album of more direct rock songs. Harking back to 2001’s “It’s Not Too Late”, “Songs From November” eschews the evangelism of the man’s many Christian rock “Worship Sessions” albums and the overt prog bluster of his...

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Tim Bowness – Abandoned Dancehall Dreams

Things have been quiet in No-Man land for the last few years. 2009’s “Mixtaped” live DVD and CD felt like a retrospective swan song for the duo of Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson as the latter’s many projects and successful solo career became his focus. His partner has not been idle in that time though. Bowness’ Burning Shed business is a major dealer to the prog-addicted masses with an impressive roster of artists, new and old. On the recording front he formed Memories of Machines with Nosound’s Giancarlo Erra, is part of the instrumental outfit, Henry Fool, and has...

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