Friday, March 17, 2006

Every year I'm amazed at the linueup Rob LaDuca and Chad Hutchison put together for the NorthEast Art Rock Festival (NEARfest). Even though only a few bands have been announced, next year's lineup already looks one of the best.

I'm particularly happy to see that Akihisa Tsuboy's band KBB will make an appearance. Tsuboy has lent his amazing talents to a number of fine Japanese bands and KBB is one of the better ones. With a sound reminiscent of the fine 80's band Midas, KBB offers instrumental symphonic fusion featuring loads of violin excursions supported by lush keyboards - and the occasional Theremin (remember all those 1950's science fiction B-movies????). KBB can kick up the pace a bit, so comparisons to some of Jean-Luc Ponty's better works isn't out of order.

But the big news so far are French legends Ange. It took me a long time to warm up to the French symphonic scene, and Ange in particular. But an amazing performance by Mona Lisa at Progfest 2000 (captured on both CD and DVD by Musea Records) opened up the scene in a big way. On a recent road
trip I brought along the 1977 live recording Tome VI, just to get into the mood. If they can pull of anything
close to this, it will be a memorable show indeed.

Since Ange aren't headliners, how can Rob and Chad top Ange ?

Well, one headliner has been announced, Ozric Tentacles. I can't say that I'm overly excited about that - and given their downward spiral of late, they hardly seem worthy of a headliner slot. 2004 Sunday opener Hidria Spacefolk seem to be thefront runner of the space rock scene at the moment (although Giant Hogweed Orchestra and Scarlet Thread aren't to be overlooked), but maybe Ed and crew can throw together a show worthy of their past reputation.

For now we'll just have to wait for the next band announcement, which should be real soon now.

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