Thing of the Day
NEVER MIND SxSW, HERE'S PROG BY PROG WEST
It's true that this is going to be on the other side of the Atlantic (and a continent) for a great deal of our readers. But what a line-up at, Californian mini-festival Prog By Prog West! This is a great excuse to bring these bands to your attention and to arm you with a few links for you to go do a bit of surfing... here's what one of the organisers of the event have to say about it:
"That's right folks, you read it right. We've repurposed a name from an established festival because it has equity that way. Now that we have your attention:
How much NorCal prog can you consume in one weekend? Well, we've got four amazing bands to test your limits over the course of 48 hours.
A bunch of nutty musicians in the Bay Area present: Prog By Prog West, Volume I featuring: MoeTar, miRthkon, Brian Kenney Fresno, and Inner Ear Brigade!
Evening I - Friday March 11th 9pm at The Starry Plough Pub
Inner Ear Brigade
Brian Kenney Fresno
Evening II - Saturday March 12th 8pm at The Ashby Stage
An Evening With miRthkon
- a full evening-length set featuring our last performance of our multimedia extravaganza, last seen at CalProg 2010, only this time it's way cooler.All ages welcome!"
Now, let's be clear regarding this bunch of bands: this is from a part of the world where they teach Zappa in nursery school (that's a guess). No, watered down, barely prog but largely cheese neo-prog barrel-scraping. (naming no names) at this festival. These outfits may be largely unknown outside of their enthusiastic local followings, but boy are the standards high when it comes to Bay Area avant rock - the land of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Charming Hostess, etc.
Let's start with the frankly revelatory MiRthkon - "Oakland, California’s latest entry into a rich tradition of anti-tradition, is fully prepared to effectively blow your mind with their highly idiosyncratic brand of sonic blasphemy! Their music features an inimitable blend of quirky prog rock, avant-garde jazz, contemporary classical abstraction, thrash metal, and an uncanny pop accessibility that defies categorization." Nearest comparison is a less heavy Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, and they come complete with complex conceptual back story, (see the www.mirthkon.com to delve into the writing...) Listen:
Inner Ear Brigade - "Inner Ear Brigade’s music stretches boundaries and sweeps genres. Their music fits somewhere between jazz, experimental new music, art-rock, funk, and progressive rock. Utilizing the vintage sounds of a Hammond B3 organ, Fender Rhodes, and Moog synthesizer, vocals, vibes,and viola, you may notice sounds that are all at once sweet and silly, riff-crazed, but deceptively free and simple. We are inspired by the sounds of Sun Ra, Japanese prog duet ‘Ruins’, French epic proggers ‘Magma’ as well as a host of other good old down home denizens of boundary pushing music." Probably the closest to 'traditional' progressive rock of the bunch... Listen: Inner Ear Brigade website myspace.com/innerearbrigade
MoeTar - "From These Small Seeds” is the debut
release from an all-star, genre- destroying, gun-for-hire group of
individuals calling themselves MoeTar. Wielding the power of Led
Zeppelin, the complexity of Zappa, and the hook-bound pop sensibilities
of The Beatles, Moetar’s music is already cross-pollinating an audience
that might never venture into the same venue simultaneously". MoeTar's
founder members are Moorea Dickason and Tarik Ragab, hence the name
(Moe Staiano of SGM and Moe!kestra isn't involved!) -
it's melodically and rhythmically complex rock with great
strong singing from Moorea (and the only other band on the planet to remotely sound like
London pioneers Bunty Chunks!). “MoeTar tickles my art bone and my pop bone with
the same feather.”
-Dan Rathbun, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. Listen :Moetar web site
Fresno - Where to start? Very funny, very talented
Zappa-esque guitarist not quite like anything else. He plays
some monster beast of an instrument called the Warr Guitar, which seems
to be some kind of terrifying hybrid between the bass, standard guitar
and Chapman Stick with a zillion strings. Epics of
the absurd... Audience participation encouraged - Listen: Too
Plenty of free downloads at the Brian Kenney Fresno site: http://www.bonghitrecords.com/
Great line up - we won't be there, but maybe some of you will....