Saturday, 29 March 2014


OK, so here goes, it's taken a while and HRH Prog2 lies back a week in the past now, but what memories!

This blog is going to be in two distinct parts, this part, aptly named Part-1, is a semi serious look at the bands I saw, a few pictures,and comments.

Part-2 will follow, that'll be the off the wall The Fellowship go to Hafan-y-Mor, but, as I promised some members of some bands I'd mention nice things about them when I eventually get around to writing this blog, here goes;

Thursday night kicked off with a Prog Quiz, which sounded like fun but unfortunately the business of arriving, checking in, finding the caravan, unpacking and eating just sort of got in the way!

Musically, Thursday night kicked off with:-

Nice to see Sankara again, I'd not seen them for a couple of years and they were a great choice for the opening act, they really got Thursday night off to a flying start.

Next up were:-

Jump put on a grand show, I'd forgotten just how good this band are, they set the bar for the rest to follow and boy oh boy were we in for a surprise when the next band took the stage.

OK, now the 'Prog' had really started, these relative newcomers Synaeshesia on only their 2nd 'high profile' gig did somewhat take our breath away, well worth seeing, which you are likely to if you go to any of the really big prog festivals this summer.

The headliners for Thursday night Prog (You have to be aware that there were in fact three distinct festivals going on, Prog2, AOR and Blues), was one of my favourite bands of this genre, Credo and by heck were they on form, they did not disappoint.

Credo in full flow
Playing a number of songs from their extensive back catalogue and from the last two albums, I sang my head off to 'Staring at the sun' which is for me, one of their finest and probably best known tunes.

After Credo I wandered down to the AOR / Blues venue to catch the tail end of La Paz and to see Spin play thier brand of Greendayish type of pop punk while enjoying some late night frolics with the fellowship, oh well, it had been a good Thursday.

Friday kicked off musically with:-

The Custodian
Apparently they had not long formed, had few practises, I must say it didn't really show most of the time but did we really need to know that? Onwards and upwards, and OK, "This is Prog Jim, but not as we know it" became somewhat of a catch-phrase.

Nothing quite prepares you for what, or rather who, came next, the strangely named, Physics House Band, these youngsters are far too talented and with their instrumental crazy keyboard led match rock meets prog meets heavy rock meets jazz rock mixed up craziness at an energy level that would kill most mere mortals we were enthralled and exhausted by the end of their set!

The Physics House band

The next band had spent hours flyering the whole festival, in fact I wouldn't be surprised if they'd taken time out to flyer the whole of Wales! I bet they flyered their route there from home!
Anyway, here was another band that I knew, i.e. w.r.t. their music having seen them last year at Cambridge Rock Festival, it was those lovely lads, Luna Kiss.

Luna Kiss
Luna Kiss are one of those bands it's hard to bracket, they tend to appeal to many different fans, sometimes a bit 'proggy' sometime more indie, alt rock certainly and I can highly recommend their debut album 'Echoes of Sound' and the current EP 'Conjure and Sin', if enough people download the new single from I-Tunes it may even make the charts! They put on a consummate performance despite the occasional battle with the technical set up that almost every band seemed to face and i must say their rendition of the theme tune from 28 Days Later, with the very cheeky intro, "If you like this it's ours, if you don't it's someone else's", just like the film, scared the living c**p out of me, nice one boys!

By the time Shattered Skies came on I too was shattered and needed to take a break so I missed them, coming back in time to catch the 2nd instrumental rock band of the day:-

Chimp Spanner
Chimp Spanner were excellent despite last minute line up changes due to illness, it didn't show, they certainly rocked my afternoon up a notch.

We then came to that point that should really happen to anyone who goes along to any decent music festival, yes that moment when you are going to see a band you have never seen before and were really looking forward to seeing, for me the first of these was The Pineapple Thief and wow! I fell in love with this band and have subsequently raced out and bought several albums, figuratively speaking, I did it all on the Internet!

The Pineapple Thief
No pictures of the next band as I wandered in and out to get food, more beer and chat, it was Focus and yes they are still a great band, but I really have seen them so many times over recent years it was nice just to pick and chose and pop in and out and enjoy other parts of the festival and the people and what was going on all around.

We than came to the second of the bands that I'd always wanted to see and had never seen before, this time those legendary Swedes, Flower Kings and that was it, I was in proggy heaven, they delivered and after them I just couldn't face any more music so missed Deadly Circus Fire and went off to my bed happy.

Flower Kings
And that was Friday!

Saturday began with The September Code from Greece, a great band and it's always good to make an exciting new discovery:-

September Code
No, the next band on the bill were another I'd really been looking forward to but, due to illness, sadly Deepexus could not appear, which gave the next band, another I know well, Crimson Sky, a significantly longer than expected set to play, a space they filled with ease:-

Crimson Sky
Sandwiched in between Crimson Sky and Panic Room were another band I'd not come across before, Purson, yes, the afternoon was very much a FFB afternoon and that was OK by me.

Purson also suffered somewhat from technical problems which they overcame in a very professional manner as they delivered their lovely melodic music to our waiting ears.

On then to one of my favourites, Panic Room, I never tire of seeing this band, they are just so good at what they do and if you listen to nothing else by Panic Room, get hold of a copy of 'Skin' one of the finest albums for years.

Panic Room

This was shaping up to be an epic afternoon, an epic day, and epic festival, OK, now we wander off into Space Rock, is it prog? Who cares, I certainly don't, I'm a lifelong Hawknerd and who was up next, the mighty Hawklords:-

I am convinced that the spirit of Bob Calvert has actually entered Ron Tree, Ron becomes Bob when he's singing the Calvert era Hawkwind numbers and when he is reciting poetry, oh yes, we are a cultured lot us proggies! Hawklords delivered one of THE sets of the festival as far as i and many i talked to were concerned, but, gosh, there was more to come!

I was sad to miss Arcane Roots but the promise of home cooked jacket potatoes with chicken curry won! Never mind we were back in time for the Enid, enough said, the place was packed, no chance to get any pictures and anyway, I'll say it, I know the Enid are so beloved etc. etc. and yes they have made some fine albums, I quite like 'In the Region of the Summer Stars' and 'Invicta' but very little in between so yes I was there, I listened, I enjoyed about 20 minutes of the entire overlong set.

And now we come to the high point, the headliner, another that strangely I had not seen before and was so so looking forward to, the 'Big man from Scotland' himself, Fish:-

A couple of oldies from the Fish Marillion era, many from his extensive back catalogue and of course from the acclaimed 'A Feast of Consequences' album, gobsmacked is not the word, Fish was absolutely brilliant, if I had been anywhere else but here I would and could have gone home happy but no, I was staying to the end for the closing band, Solstice:-

I am so so glad I stayed on, fighting off the tiredness of the late hour (Early morning), most of the crowd had drifted away after Fish so that left a small but intimate audience for Solstice who also turned in one of the gigs of the festival, not bad going for a band that's 'been around a bit' but by all accounts their new album is a must so that's another to add to my ever growing list.

So, in a nut-shell, was HRH Prog2 worth going to? A resounding yes, so much so that I'm already booked up for next year!

Cheers my dears and thanks to all the bands, all the lovely people we met, The Fellowship for being such good friends, the friends we saw there, the new friends we made along the way.

As Arnie said, "I'll be back" in the new future, with 'The Fellowship goes to Hafan-y-Mor', until then,
March 2014

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