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Progressive Rock Concert Reviews

Kopecky

Live in Milwaukee, WI, September 2005

Review by Josh Turner

I saw this trio open up for The Flower Kings at this very same venue back in 2001. At the time, it was one of the best shows I had ever seen. Kopecky was spot-on accurate, which only added to the incredible entertainment to follow. They were overqualified to be an opener that night, but they played like hungry artists trying to secure a better slot.

Their hard work paid off. Now the tables were turned as they would be the headline act this time around. Not to mention, Bill Kopecky surfaced earlier on as he played bass for Far Corner in the opening set as well. Since he was a part of both productions, he was the overall star of the evening. He played with attitude and heart for almost four hours. I'd be surprised if he didn't have blisters afterwards.

I recall another patron saying that Bill used a special custom-made bass from a shop in California. He used highly technical details in his description. Once it registered that this meant nothing to me, he went on to say, it's very, very expensive. I can't confirm the cost, but I can tell you, when listening to the bass parts, it was apparent that the equipment he used was in the upper echelon of the ultra-high-end. I say this; because it has a unique tonal quality I've not heard anywhere else.

Each band seemed to be trying to stretch out their material. As a result, the concert did not end until 2 in the morning. I was surprised the concert went so long for a couple reasons. First, the ticket price was only $6. For what we got, this was a steal at half the length or double the price. Secondly, as I've mentioned, one member played in both sets.

It's been awhile since I've been to a concert that went this late. Maybe Far Corner set the precedence for a longer show, which obligated Kopecky to go longer. Whether the show should have started earlier or Far Corner should have limited their set, it was too much of a good thing to keep going for such a small and unenthusiastic crowd.

While Far Corner prolonged their set by doing improvisational pieces, Kopecky filled up the time by working in material from their next album named "Blood." They did a pretty good job of mixing it up. While they played many older songs, they chose a plethora of pieces off this future album, six of them to be exact.

They started with "Heaven's Black Amnesia" from their successful Serpentine Kaleidoscope CD. Immediately they followed with the first one off Blood, which was a song called "Infernal Desire Machine." The future album would not be a stranger for long. After one more off Serpentine Kaleidoscope named "Scorpion," we got four more pieces off the new album in a row ("Moontown," "Garden of Immolation," "The Red Path," and "Windows"). Once this sneak peak subsided, it was then that we were treated to the fan favorite, "Bartholomew's Kite." Afterwards, we got one solitary song off their self-titled debut. To represent this album they chose "Autumn Swirl." After treating us to another new one named "Eden's Flow," they finished with two pieces from Sunset Gun (the title track of that album and "Ascension").

Not only does that cover all their releases, this satisfied any curiosity one may have of the future direction that they'll be taking. Fans won't be disappointed. To be honest, the best moments of the concert consisted mostly of the upcoming material. Along with maybe "Bartholomew's Kite," these songs cornered the market and monopolized the highlight reel.

My only complaint would be the length of the concert. It was too long. When sharing equal time, it is best for both bands to agree upon a length and finish at a reasonable hour, especially when the times are not published. There was a point where I was getting ants in my pants for Kopecky to come out. By the end of the night, I felt as if I was chewed up and spit out.

It wasn't just me who was worn out and exhausted by these excessively long sets. Most people didn't stay to chat. After the final note, every living soul walked out like zombies. Even by a progressive rock standard, people were overly anti-social by the time this concert came to an end. Regardless, it would have been worse to not offer enough. So, if there is going to be something wrong, this is probably the best kind of problem they could have.

Also, the show might have been a little sharper when I saw them open for Flower Kings. Then again, this time they were playing late into the night. I wouldn't be surprised if fatigue was a factor. Still, they put on a good set and they were real troopers for taking us on this fantastic voyage. While everybody deserves a pat on the back, kudos go out to Bill Kopecky specifically for his extra efforts.

Whether Kopecky is the opener for a bigger band or they themselves are the main act, go out and see them perform live. It will be well-worth your time and if it's six dollars a pop, you'll have virtually no excuse. Its unfortunate there was not more people in attendance, because Kopecky really is one of the top-notch talents in the genre today.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 4 at https://garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2005.
 
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