NeW dis­cov­er­ies

Prog - - Ed's Letter -

I am a value guy. When as­sess­ing mags at re­newal time, it’s sim­ple: do they pro­vide value for the an­nual sub­scrip­tion cost? Prog de­liv­ered in a few short para­graphs; any­thing else is gravy. Not only did

Prog dis­cover (for me any­way) South­ern Em­pire, but they wrote a re­view that prompted me to check it out.

It’s been a long time since I was ut­terly hooked by an al­bum on the first play, much less de­lighted with every sin­gle track. Civil­i­sa­tion by South­ern Em­pire is that rare sur­prise. By the end of the third track, my jaw dropped open.

I know noth­ing of the Aussie prog scene, have never heard of these mu­si­cians’ for­mer bands, and have never been Down Un­der. No mat­ter. With three months to go in the year, Civil­i­sa­tion is in my top slot for 2018 Prog Al­bum of the Year. It’s ‘bloody bril­liant’ as you Brits might say. I feel re­ally good about the state of mod­ern prog if we have bands this creative com­ing along to take us on a mu­si­cal jour­ney. Please check out this al­bum and sup­port this band if you love it – we prog­gers need to en­cour­age young bands like this to con­tinue to cre­ate and record such wor­thy ad­di­tions to our mu­si­cal li­braries.

Switch­ing gears, the con­cert noise level de­bate isn’t just on dry land. This year’s Cruise To The Edge had three head­lin­ers (Yes/Hack­ett/Mar­il­lion) which re­quired a re­served seat and a blue or red badge for en­try. Yet dur­ing Hack­ett’s gig there were peo­ple stand­ing be­hind our re­served seats, wear­ing the wrong badge, and talk­ing through­out the per­for­mance. At one point, six mem­bers of one of the other bands came in, stood against the wall, and pro­ceeded to dis­re­spect Hack­ett and con­cert­go­ers by talk­ing/laugh­ing through­out the early Gen­e­sis num­bers. I lost all in­ter­est in that band, based not upon their mu­sic, but their un­timely con­ver­sa­tion! There’s a time for talk­ing, a time for lis­ten­ing, and when it comes to con­certs, never the twain shall meet!

Speak­ing of Cruise To The Edge, I hope they in­vite South­ern Em­pire to cruise with them in 2020. Spend­ing my life in the USA and Cen­tral Amer­ica, I will never have any other chance to see this band live. Catch­ing both sets by Life­signs, Thank You Sci­en­tist and South­ern Em­pire would be great value for the dol­lar – the rest of the cruise would be pure gravy!

Bill McAbee


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