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Progressive Rock Concert Reviews

District 97

Live in Milwaukee, WI, May 2011

Review by Josh Turner

There are a number of interesting developments within this band. Named after their school district, this sextet consists of a group of high school acquaintances with world-class talent. Their leader is none other than Leslie Hunt of “American Idol” fame. What makes them unique is the fact that their front-person—who once shined in the commercial limelight—hero worships progressive rock instead of pop. Not an encore, but a highlight within the display case of their set list, was a song from Genesis.

Returning to the chalkboard, they started slow with several of their own concoctions then got going when they hit that classic. Later on, they struck a heavier chord and nipped audience’s stereocilia with a song called, “Termites.” No bones about it, this cut was unequivocally influenced by Dream Theater.

It became apparent this band had range that took their sound in all directions. Quite frequently, they touched upon RIO. Providing spiffiness and complexion on par with Frogg Café, Fromuz and Far Corner, her supporting cast proved to be legit. With decisive execution, these birds of a feather flocked together. While hard to believe that so much talent can come from one precinct, Hunt is accompanied by a gaggle of gifted chums. Nevertheless, she stole the show with her singing, her dancing, and a chic yet extraneous wardrobe change.

Unlike others in the genre, she’s not just a singer or an instrumentalist…she’s a performer. While apologetic about it, her one amateurish moment had to do with a heavily-referenced cheat sheet. Trifling comments aside, she’s the one and only hope to establish a peaceful treaty between our arty niche and the accessible babble that’s intended for the rest of the world. She’s a winner in my book but then again, this writer is biased.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 4 at
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