NEAR Fest--Prog-Rock is NOT DEAD!
After Crying: I lasted about two songs here, for me, it was a lot of relentless pomp with no let up at all, add to this, cheesy 80's synth sounds (GACK!!). Here, I really felt like I was being smacked over the head. Such a shame, these guys are actually excellent musicians, incorporating Bartok, ELP and chamber music into their palette, but just take themselves WAY too seriously. The lack of contrast and variety in the music definitely sent me looking for some quiet!
Banco: NOW THAT'S ITALIAN! In short, they tore the roof off the joint!! Combining classical, fusion, funkiness and Italian operatics in just the right doses, this was a great way to end!! Unfortunately, I don't have the familiararity with their repetoire that some folks do, but suffice it to say, I loved what I heard. Francesco DiGiacomo is a really fun and very inviting frontman too, and what a voice!! Great playing by everybody! I was floored!! The audience was very moved indeed, and I personally was left with the conviction that indeed the recod companies have it all WRONG about us prog loving folk.