A Prog Potpourri- REDUX
Jerry Lucky Commentary September 2015
Copyright Jerry Lucky © 2015 All Rights Reserved
I wanted to pick up where I left off with last month’s commentary (hence the title adjustment) and talk about a couple things. As I said sometimes I don’t have a full 1200 words to say about one thing in particular but rather a few hundred words about a few things. So bear with me…
First off I had the opportunity a few weeks back to take in a Brit Floyd concert. For those who don’t recognize the name, Brit Floyd is a British based Pink Floyd tribute band. My thoughtful daughter caught wind of this concert and thought it would make a great birthday gift for dad, so she bought a couple tickets for her and I to check it out. She was right on every count. The concert was quite spectacular and while my wife would always refer to these guys as a “pretend” Pink Floyd, there was no pretending once the concert started. These were first class musicians and entertainers. The band was larger than expected consisting of five musicians and three back-up singers and their renditions of music from Floyd’s catalog was spot-on. Check out their YouTube videos to see what I mean.
Brit Floyd’s musical selection took the form of traveling through time and picking selections from different albums. Some of the selections were expected and familiar some less so. What took the whole evening up to another level was the band’s attention to the lights – they were spectacular in and of themselves filling the ornate theatre with dramatic visions that mirrored Pink Floyd’s original vision including the use of a round screen with videos. Some of the more recent musical selections from The Endless River were even accompanied by videos of the members of Pink Floyd creating many poignant moments.
Looking around at the audience, not quite a sell-out crowd, but close, there were the expected grey-haired Pink Floyd fans of long ago here to relive moments of their youth, but I saw more women in the crowd than I expected. Even more surprising and pleasing was seeing women there on their own enjoying the music. I say that because Pink Floyd’s music has never been known as appealing much to “girls.” It was always the “guys” music. Well that didn’t seem to be the case that night, and I saw that as a good thing. There were lots of dad’s there with their sons and many like myself there with their daughters too. Then you had many young guys, clearly born years after the release of Dark Side of the Moon there together with their Wall t-shirts enjoying music that was perhaps inspired by their parents or big brother’s record collection. It was an amazing mix of people and really demonstrated how the music of Pink Floyd touches a wide spectrum of individuals and not just the usual suspects.
Overall as I say it was a totally enjoyable evening and I caught myself smiling more than once as Brit Floyd went through that historic musical catalog. I told my daughter it was one of the best birthday presents I’d ever received.
Now on to another point. One of the things I wrote about last month was the growing movement (at least it seems like a movement to me) of lumping almost anything into the Progressive Rock Genre and how I felt that it simply water’s down the whole concept of the genre. In fact I still can’t think of why anyone would even want to do that? It’s like inclusiveness gone wrong. What is the ultimate purpose of including everything like that? Best I can think, is that people simply want THEIR favorites included.
None-the-less the conversation sparked a first-time email from a long-time reader who I’m pleased to say agreed with my ranting and went so far as to put the “blame” for this movement at the foot of the Prog-Metal genre. He even said he’s stopped buying Prog Magazine for this very reason! He felt this inclusive thing started around the same time as the Prog-Metal movement and given the proclivity of many young male listeners to listen to both Prog-Metal and Prog-Rock it was an easy leap to start pulling in all kinds of other sub-genres into the musical stew.
I must admit that I find myself sharing this view. I remember the first time I heard the Prog-Metal term used and I was a bit incredulous at the inter-mingling of these two seemingly distinct musical styles. I intentionally started listening to more than a few Prog-Metal bands but soon struggled with what my ears heard as achingly similar band styles. I’ve always maintained that playing in the Prog-Metal sandbox it’s very hard to establish a personal and unique sound. I think this is so because unlike Progressive Rock or Symphonic Prog which are both open to a much wider musical pallet, the Prog-Metal genre is actually quite restricted in its musical approach. The heavy-ness of the sound is the predominant musical element and while there’s always room for dynamic range (loud and soft) it’s the heavy side that typically wins out.
While I hesitate to conclusively pin the “blame” on Prog-Metal for opening the floodgates of musical inclusiveness, there’s no question in my mind the sub-genre contributed or at least helped foster the movement. All you need do is see how many Prog-Metal websites there are these days! Maybe it’s because many reviewers are younger and raised on bands like Rush or perhaps it’s because they’re younger and raised on a diet of political-correctness that they feel everything needs to be included? Perhaps it started with Prog-Metal and then spread to include each reviewer’s favorites Prog or not. It’s possible…At least that’s what I think.