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Progressive Rock Concert Reviews


Live at Celebr8 Festival London, England, July 2012

Review by Alison Reijman

With both High Voltage and Glastonbury shelved this year due to the London Olympics, there appeared a real gap in the market for a quality summer music festival in the capital ahead of the Games. This opportunity was seized upon by 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, to 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. The main line-up that Patrick and Banks had assembled was probably the best prog line-up seen on any a stage in many a year with IQ and It Bites headlining the two nights, with Pallas, The Tangent, Sean Filkins, Magenta, Touchstone, Tinyfish and the Dec Burke Band completing the mouth-watering bill. This was without doubt the perfect showcase for the best of British rock with Pallas representing Scotland and Magenta Wales.

Pallas played on Saturday and are one of my current personal favourites in the UK prog scene, because of the way, through their stunning album XXV last year, they have re-invigorated themselves and set out their stall as one of the most exciting bands both live and on record. This was the fourth time I had seen them in the past two years and this was Pallas at their most electrifying best.

Martin Reijman
Martin Reijman

With a setlist spanning their 30 year career, they exploded with energy, their huge guitar-driven wall of sound crackling with moodiness and menace. New frontman Paul Mackie, affectionately known as “Iggy Prog,” gives them a real edginess with his penetrating gaze, stage theatrics and powerful voice. Most of the set comprised XXV but bassist Graeme Murray and keyboard player Ronnie Brown stepped up to the plate for “Midas Touch” with its haunting middle section of Murray’s voice and bass with Brown’s deft dreamy touches. Niall Mathewson coaxed both melody and behind-kicking licks from his guitar and drummer Colin Fraser kept the whole machine ticking along precisely. What is more, they delivered it all with great humour and heart.

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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