Here at Proglodytes, we are THRILLED to be live blogging the first-ever ProgStock Festival! We will provide daily updates of the events as they happen, so that all you Proglodytes at home can feel like you’re here with us.
After about an hour of playing “Spot the Prog Fan” (hint: it’s not that hard…the giveaway is always the black shirt with weird lettering), Jared and I made our way over to the Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC). The first act of the night was an absolutely lovely collaboration between Peter Jones, Rachel Flowers, and Francis Dunnery. For those of you who are unfamiliar with these three; Peter Jones is the mastermind behind the Tiger Moth Tales, and Rachel is an incredibly gifted prog prodigy, who is formidable at both the piano and the flute. Both Rachel and Peter are visually impaired, and both of them are phenomenal musicians. Francis Dunnery was the very well known lead singer of the band It Bites! in the late 80s, and has had a successful solo career.
Their set was enchanting. Peter, Rachel, and Francis seemed to really enjoy playing on stage, and the banter between songs was really endearing. Peter played several of his own songs, ( including the very fun “The Merry Vicar” from his album Cocoon, requested by Dunnery himself). Peter has tremendous talent and a really powerful presence, and if you haven’t heard Tiger Moth Tales, do yourself a favor and check out his music. The group also treated us to a rousing rendition of Musical Box by Genesis, sung by Peter Jones. Rachel Flowers blew our minds with several amazing tunes that she wrote ourselves, as well as an absolutely stunning piano rendition of “Tarkus” by ELP. Rachel was brilliant, and as Thomas Palmieri said at the end, “I didn’t see a lot of dry eyes by the end of that song”.
Francis Dunnery played several of his own songs, and also acted as a host-type figure, announcing when Peter or Rachel would take over. It was a perfect opener for the festival.
Glass Hammer treated us to a play through of their latest album, Valkyrie. At first, the vocals were a bit drowned in the mix, but the sound corrected as the night went on. The band played exceptionally well, and were incredibly tight and on point. Their guitarist, Alan Shikoh, was a standout player for me. He had really terrific tone and really complimented their sound. One of the musical highlights for me was the album closer “Rapturo”, which included some gorgeous and evocative keyboard work from Fred Schendel. After they finished Valkyrie, they played a few more popular Glass Hammer cuts, and closed with a lively encore, “Hyperbole” from their album Three Cheers for the Broken Hearted.
I (Thomas) stuck around for the Late Night concert featuring EchoTest. I was less familiar with EchoTest, and was really only aware of Julie Slick, who I knew was an insanely good bassist from her work with the Adrian Belew Power Trio. Well, I absolutely freaking LOVED EchoTest. They were super experimental and quirky, but also really funky and even danceable. They had awesome harmonies and presence, and their music was complex and challenging but fun as well. I was familiar with the artists I had heard up until this point, but EchoTest was a new discovery that I will definitely be digging into in the near future.
It’s 9:00 AM on Saturday morning, and Jared and I are mentally preparing ourselves for an intense day of music. Prog on!
More assorted pictures: