Electric Garden: Progressive Rock Festival 2011 isn’t everything it seems. Out of 12 acts that performed, 3 were my favorites. Spanning 3 days, the festival gave a showcase of the UK’s top prog musicians.
Starting off the night was Matt Stevens with 3 of his own songs. With only an acoustic guitar, I only wished there was more instruments added to it, which made his set dull for me.
Next up was a band from UK called Also Eden. Also Eden is a fantastic prog band. The lead singer reminds me a lot of Peter Gabriel, but the band is really contemporary. The guys nailed through the only 2 songs they performed “Think of the Children” and “A Widows Eyes.” Often compared to IQ, Genesis, Marillion.
Credo from the UK was next. With the lead singer sounding a little like Phil Collins, the band sounded like early Genesis. This video unfortunately only documented one song from them “Round & Round.”
Starting off the second set was a band called Dropshard. With a music style similar to Genesis, Porcupine Tree and Riverside, these 3 gentlemen proved to establish themselves as a new up-and-coming progressive rock band. The band played 3 of their songs “A Cold Morning,” “Again” and “Changing Colors.” I highly recommend this band.
The next band was Nerve Toy Trio. Formed in late February 2010, Nerve Toy Trio is guitarist Tony Harn, bassist David Jones and druHenry Rogers. Tony Harn is a guitarist/multi-instrumentalist/composer from the Northwest of England. To date he has released 5 solo albums, collaborated with Tim Bowness of No-Man and recorded as part of the duo Resindust. February 2010 saw the formation of Nerve Toy Trio with bassist David Jones and drummer Henry Rogers. They will be playing live and recording throughout the coming months. Henry Rogers is also the drummer for well-known prog outfit Touchstone, Sort Code, Final Conflict and DeeExpus.
To end the second day was the fantastic band The Watch from Italy. Almost replicating early Gabriel-era Genesis to a tee, the lead singer sounded just like Peter Gabriel. Performing a couple songs “Medley Sirence” and “One Day,” these guys should’ve been featured more since they were the best band on this DVD so far! Apparently from what I read up on this festival, The Watch actually performed Genesis’ classic album Selling England by the Pound in its entirety that night. Now THAT would have been a sight to see!
Starting off the third and final day was a UK band called Earthling Society. The band was formed in January 2004. The band was inspired by CAN/FUNKADELIC/ASH RA TEMPEL/13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS/AMON DUUL2 AND SYD BARRETT, E-SOCIETY. Lyrically inspired by WILLIAM BLAKE, PHILIP K. DICK, GUSTAV MEYRINK and ARTHUR MACHEN, E-S recorded their 7-track debut ‘ALBION’ for their sole satisfaction but the album started to garner further interest. Championed by arch-druid JULIAN COPE in their early days, E-S have now released 4 albums to critical acclaim in the underground press. They only performed one song on the DVD which was very well done called “Child of the Harvest.” They could’ve been featured more as well.
Next up was a YES tribute band from the UK called SeYes which were not that bad. The instrumentalists were great. The singer wasn’t. He went flat throughout the song, and didn’t sound like Jon Anderson. The guys singing with YES now can sing better than this guy. Thank goodness they only sang one song “Close to the Edge.”
The band after was called Godsticks, and I have to say they were terrible. They all sounded like they couldn’t keep up with each other. Again, thank goodness they only performed one song “Put Seven in Bold.” There were only 3 more bands left.
IT was the next band. With me being a huge fan of Porcupine Tree, I personally loved this band. This is another great band that is in the up-and-coming prog scene. It just sucks that they only performed two songs, “Killing Me” and “Stay Tuned.” I would pay to see this band in concert.
Second to last was the band Abel Ganz from the UK. This is another great band I wish I would’ve heard more from performing only one song “Rain Again.” With influences being drawn from Genesis and Yes, you can hear the originality in this group’s music.
Lastly were one of the great bands in prog The Tangent. Formed by Andy Tillison, Guy Manning and Sam Baine of PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES as well as half of THE FLOWER KINGS including Jonas Reingold, Zoltan Csorsz and guitar virtuoso and former KAIPA member Roine Stolt. Again, only performing one song, the lengthy “Where Are They Now?” you wish you could hear more, but alas, it isn’t so.
Overall, for prog lovers, this is a great DVD featuring a vast variety of different prog bands from the UK. Like I said throughout the review, I do wish some bands here had more stage time on the DVD, but that’s how they wanted to film it. My favorite bands on here I would recommend overall are The Tangent, IT, The Watch, Dropshard, Credo and Also Eden.
Reviewed by Kevin Pollack