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Progressive Rock Concert Reviews

It Bites

Live at Celebr8 Festival London, England, July 2012

Review by Alison Reijman

Jon Patrick, promoter of the House of Progression series of concerts at the Peel pub in Kingston, together with Geoff Banks, music manager, promoter and writer put together a weekend event featuring the best of the prog bands that had appeared previously on the rather cramped stage at the Peel. Most of them had their roots in the neo-prog movement of the 80s and are still performing 30 years later, while the others were young upcoming names on the prog scene. Fortunately, the choice of venue meant near perfect acoustics throughout and a terrific ambience among all the attendees, most of whom knew each other through regular contact on Facebook and Twitter. It was in fact one of the friendliest music festivals ever staged on these shores, made all the more exciting when Steven Wilson joined the audience on the Saturday night.

The climax of Sunday arrived with It Bites, currently enjoying a renaissance due to the release of their latest album Map of the Past, which is destined to become a classic.  Guitarist John Mitchell had flown back from the Loreley Festival where he was appearing with Arena and admitted to the audience he was feeling rather tired. However, this did not stop them putting on a show of great virtuosity that again dipped into their illustrious albeit rather brief back catalogue of four studio albums in the past 26 years. Kicking off with “Ghosts” and “Oh My God” from the Tall Ships album, they hit their stride with “All In Red,” one of their early high energy songs which still sounds fresh. 

Martin Reijman
Martin Reijman

Mitchell had problems with his amp which meant he had to stop midstream between “Send No Flowers” and “The Meadow and the Stream” from the new album, but they stepped it up a gear afterwards with “Underneath Your Pillow” which had everyone rocking.  For my part, the highlight was “The Last Escape, “the most hauntingly poignant song from Map of the Past that Mitchell dedicated to a friend who was terminally ill.

Martin Reijman
Martin Reijman

Keyboard maestro John Beck was in sparkling form weaving wonderful melodies while stand-in bass player Nathan King and stalwart drummer Bob Dalton provided a solid rhythmic backdrop for their special brand of prog rock pop. Ending their high octane set with their anthemic “Calling All The Heroes” could not have been a better song on which to end. The weekend was all about heroes, mainly Patrick and Banks who had the vision and the courage to stage the festival and the wonderfully supportive audience who gave every band a rapturous reception and deservedly so.

Martin Reijman
Martin Reijman
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 4 at
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