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Monday, 8 July 2013

MORPHEUS RISING, TOUCHSTONE AND PANIC ROOM AT THE GARAGE

Saturday 6th July, the hottest day of year so far, London, Highbury & Islington, the Garage and a three band line up that promised to be one of the gigs of the year and it didn't disappoint and with the added bonus of The House of Progression's Jon Patrick spinning the sounds before and between the bands, what could be better.

After a splendid afternoon in The Famous Cock (That's the pub next door to the tube station and just over the road from the Garage) in the company of a few stalwart fellow prog fans and regular Celebr8 / CRF goers six o'clock came round all too quickly!

I like the Garage as a venue, apart from the slightly raised area up by the bar it's a flat floor venue but with a stage high enough for a good view from just about anywhere in the room, not that it really mattered on this night, a very good crowd but sadly not packing the place to the limits which should have been the case for a gig of this magnitude but it did mean there was plenty of space and easy access to the front of the stage for anyone who wanted to 'get down the front'.

And there, in his little cubby hole, playing some awesome sounds was the amazing Mr. Prog himself, Jon Patrick.

Jon hard at work

First up were those lads from 'Up North', Morpheus Rising, I first came across these guys at Cambridge Rock Festival a couple of years back and was very impressed then, now, they're even better!

Morpheus Rising - The Lords of the North
M.R. were on cracking form, they treated us to a hefty chunk of the current album with a teaser of the new material from the the forthcoming album, the Maidenesque vocals of Simon Wright and twin lead guitars of Pete Harwood and Damien Sweeting and absolute delight to this old rockers ears, excellent job on the sticks too by Henry Rogers (Touchstone) M.R. Having recently parted company with their previous drummer 'Gibbo'.

The Mighty Morpheus Rising
Although they only had the shortest of sets on the night they more than filled their space and won a lot of new fans, well done lads, a great performance.

Next up were the eagerly awaited Touchstone, fresh from the studio recording their new album, but tonight was to be a night of classics and old favourites, mainly drawn from The City Sleeps and Winter Coast but that's more than OK by me and more than OK by the crowd by all accounts!

Touchstone on stage
Moo called Henry a 'Drum tart' referring to his previous duty with Morpheus Rising, a very different style of drumming than required for Touchstones' amazing intricate and at times anthemic melodic rock, they were on fire and although most of the crow were baying for a new song from the forthcoming album it seems we have to wait, they'll be touring it in the autumn no doubt so we won't have to wait that long.

The lovely Kim Seviour of Touchstone
Kim also revealed the secret of her car breakdown when she first set off for London but that's for those who were there! I was also extremely pleased that she made the above photograph her profile picture on Facebook.
Talking of photographs and Facebook, there were some very amusing 'strings' about the backs of peoples heads and a lack of hair at a lot of prog gigs today, regular gig goers can play spot the bald spot if you like.
Seriously though, great to be there with Roger Marsh and Graham Harris, Paul Hanlon & Co.

And then, Panic Room, still as part of the 'Skin' tour, which I was privileged enough to have seen the start of the tour at The Borderline, wow! Were they on form or what, a splendid set, Skin is a truly great album but live it's even better and the whole band were so up for it and this is here we come to the second of the musicians to play twice that night, the multi talented Pete Harwood on guitar duty for Panic Room.

Pete Harwood this time on Panic duty

Anyone who knows Panic Room will know just how good Anne Marie Helder is, we saw her playing her solo support set for Steve Hackett at Hammersmith just before Celebr8.2, she was amazing.

Panic Room

Anne Marie in full flow

Skin aside, one highlight was an acoustic jazzy version of ELP's Bitches Crystal, absolute class, as was the whole evening.
Sadly 10:30 came around all too soon, but we did have an early start (Some of us earlier than others!) and at least it gave those of us who had travelled some distance to get to London a good chance to get back home again,

So to round off, huge thanks to Jon Patrick once more for making such amazing nights possible, to Morpheus Rising, Touchstone and Panic Room for such a great gig and to my friends and fellow proggers for being such good company.

No poetic ramblings this time, this was a me, me, me event as the other members of the Fellowship were  somewhat otherwise engaged with holidays and raft races and award ceremonies etc. Oh well, soon be CRF!

Cheers all, until the next time.

Grant Meaby - July 2013

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