Progepühapäev: Beardfish - Rock Café, Tallinn, Estonia, 07.10.2012
|Event:||Progepühapäev - Beardfish|
Progepühapäev: Beardfish - Rock Café, Tallinn, Estonia, 07.10.2012 by Ivor (38)
Exactly one week after Rock Café was turned into Stoner Café, it was time to brand it Prog Café instead. It is so very exceptionally rare that a quality prog band is brought to Tallinn. Unbelievably rare. I am so very proud of the organiser for pulling this feat off. Bringing Beardfish here, one of the most interesting prog bands to emerge in the recent decade, is something to remember. You could even tell tales about it. If there were a worthy number of people to have seen it, that is...
Supposedly we've got a prog scene around here. There are people who know people who have seen people who like prog. Thing is, apparently your average prog Estonian is kind of like a bat: hiding, nowhere to be seen, and spooks easily. He's like a needle in a haystack - takes a considerable effort to find. Either that, or most of them are closet proggers, ashamed to like what they like. I mean, how can we have any prog gigs around here if you don't come out to the one show a year? I'll tell you how. In a venue capable of housing about a thousand people, there are somewhere around 100, maybe 150 dedicated fans. That, and one god-damn generous organiser with a passion for quality music.
The evening was kicked off by a duo of Geoff Leigh and Colin Edwin that comprise an entity known as Ex-Wise Heads, playing instead of Slow Electric. I'm not sure what I was expecting when I saw Porcupine Tree's bass player being part of the band. I guess, something along the lines of "proper" prog would be just about right. Ex-Wise Heads is nowhere near that, though. A talented bass line, flutes and similar wind-instruments, recorded percussions and samples - a minimalist ethno avantgarde fusion. Any other description you can think of along the same lines would probably fit as well. For what it was, it was quite an interesting listening experience and an unexpected opener.
A far more conventional prog approach presented itself in Indrek Patte, a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist who's been around for quite a bit. My own experience of him comes from his Led Zeppelin cover project called Led R, which was a top-notch act. However, his solo work follows paths trod by such prog giants as Yes and Genesis. Some of the performed music leaned largely on keys and high guitars, you know, the happy kind of prog sound, but, while technically good, it wasn't really a captivating performance. In reality, I felt like really enjoying only the last two songs of the set where it got a bit heavier and more varied. "You Stay With Me" and "Celebration" were the best part of Patte's show.
As you can guess, the real treat of the evening was Beardfish. A band I so liked to see yet didn't think anyone would go out of their way to bring on my doorstep. From the first notes I could feel that it was going to be awesome. This was lining up to be practically a private gig. The first 5-6 meters from the stage boasted a total of maybe 10-15 people, 6 of whom formed the front I-know-every-twist fan row, the rest were lingering way farther back. It was that kind of private gig. In a way thanks to this it was also so much more focused. And if Beardfish couldn't play a varied, fun, playful, and a long prog set, I don't know who else could do that.
Fun and playful are indeed the keywords for the show, even though it lyrically might not exactly be the case. Despite the small audience the band was in full swing, as much as you can imagine a prog band being in full swing. Robert Hansen, the bass player, appeared to have lost his shoes and a sock but was nevertheless full of moves fingering the fat strings. Rikard Sjöblom was doing excellent job with his vocal chords, making do with one set of keys instead of his usual two, and joining David Zackrisson in on guitars for heavier stuff. And it's amazing how small of a drum-set is needed to keep all that beat.
Even though Beardfish have just released their seventh studio album in August, it was awesome of them not to focus too much on it. Don't get me wrong, the album is great. It's just that their discography features such a collection of brilliant songs; not hearing some of them would've been a shame. The cross-section of their works did wonders, even songs off the albums I've not gotten too heavily into sounded kick-ass and in the right place. However, as I'm strongly partial to Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two, I'm somewhat disappointed they didn't play the title song "Sleeping In Traffic." Then again, can't blame them for not doing an over 30 minute epic but that would have been a magical piece for encore, for sure. Not that "Until You Comply" was a short one. As it went, it all clocked in at about two hours - a full set gone in a heartbeat.
1. And The Stone Said: If I Could Speak (Mammoth)
2. Destined Solitaire (Destined Solitaire)
3. Awaken The Sleeping (Destined Solitaire)
4. The Hunter (Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two)
5. South Of The Border (Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two)
6. Harmony (Sleeping In Traffic: Part One)
7. Om En Utväg Fanns (Från En Plats Du Ej Kan Se)
8. The Platform (Mammoth)
9. Abigail's Questions (In An Infinite Universe) (Destined Solitaire)
10. He Already Lives In You (The Void)
11. Voluntary Slavery (The Void)
12. Piano Interlude
13. Until You Comply (Destined Solitaire)
This gig confirmed what I already knew - Beardfish are exceptionally great. And despite having now seen them, I still want to see them again. There's only so much fun you can have in a two hour set, and so much more is to be had. If you're into any prog, make sure you never miss their gig. In the end, I just want to apologise to the band again for the appalling gig attendance. Those poor ignorant souls just don't know what's good for them and what they missed this time.
PS. Karel, deep respect for organising this gig.
PPS. In case you were wondering what Progepühapäev means: it literally translates to Prog Sunday from Estonian. Which it of course was.
Written on 26.10.2012 by
I shoot people.
Sometimes, I also write about it.
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