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Progressive Rock Concert Reviews

Never awakE

Live in Portland, Oregon, November 2012

Review by Larry Toering

Opening for MSG this year were two local prog bands that completely hold their own, and Never awakE is one of them. Firstly, having never heard of them I wasn't exactly interested, but I was told by a secret agent of sorts to take due note of what I was about to see, and give them a chance to see just what they're all about. This was some of the best advice I could imagine, as these guys play like absolute monsters, and have the material to back it. I really had no idea what I was in store for and certainly walked away all the more blown away at what I saw and heard that night.  This is a band of youngsters who are setting out to find the proverbial holy grail of progressive rock.

They play a somewhat disjointed variety of styles on stage compared to the much easier to nail assortment found on their debut EP, also reviewed here at MSJ. I say it's harder to nail because they simply don't come out and just play their songs, they play them differently, with a much more playful approach than heard on the record. In fact, they come off on record more like Tool meets Dream Theater,  with an epic/industrial feel and a polished approach to them. In concert they tend to move away from the pigeonholes found on the studio versions, and add a delightful freshness to them, but that might just be a factor of the musical distance traveled since they recorded that set. I can't be certain until I see them again, which I plan on doing.

Larry Toering
Larry Toering
Not only do they have a unique singer/front man, which is always important, but they're all fantastic youthful players, with a particularly killer drummer and guitarist. These guys play with the hunger of the early Van Halen brothers. I simply could not take my eyes and ears off either of them throughout the performance, as they were both of the jaw dropping persuasion at their craft. Man alive, are these guys good, and to top their outstanding performance off, they treated us to an amazing progressive rock version of the classic rock tune “Back Door Man,” which has to be heard to be believed. Not only did they blow me away, but the entire crowd was moved by that great ending.

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Larry Toering
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at
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