The Big Dog of Prog was on the prowl at of HRH Prog VI and very little got past our man in the know. Here’s HRH Mag’s Garry Willey with your Day Two wrap.
Edgar Brought The Magic
Always a tingly thrill when the festival catches you by surprise and delivers a pleasure all the better for being unexpected. So slipping into hall one to see the venerable Edgar Broughton sitting solo, acoustic and full of wonderful life stories felt rightly special. Broughton, fuelled by a sharp memory, a sip of brandy and that unique vocal, had the early afternoon crowd enthralled. Magical for sure.
Late Autumn Cheer
Heather Findlay was also casting spells as the festival purred through the gears, the long-time Mostly Autumn-er warming up with a quite lovely set in the unplugged room before kicking some collective ass on the big stage. The difference was dazzling. Cuts from her latest album Winter were sweeping and dramatic – while trips back to her Autumn days were moments of sweet nostalgia. There was serious power here, too. She wasn’t wearing gloves but if she had they would have been velvet and covering an iron fist.
Some proggers have never been shy of wearing their colours on their sleeves – often the full rainbow in one unrepentant outfit. But the veteran who added a towering pink wizard’s hat to her lively ensemble took prog-a-porter to – quite literally – new heights. HRH salutes you! And on the subject of veterans, don’t go thinking Caravan are only running on memory and a mighty back catalogue. The band left a rammed main hall ecstatic with a set not just steeped in old-school class but delivered with jaw-dropping energy. They may look like a village bowls team on their way to a pub quiz but it’s hard to believe they have ever sounded better.
For That Special Rocker In Your Life
It’s always interesting to roam the merch stalls and keep an eye out for a Christmas bargain. And HRH Mag was particularly tempted by a fetching Black Sabbath dressing gown and more than a little drawn to the matching slippers. Not sure who deserves the Viking drinking horn in their Santa sack though.
And finally…while the very mighty Heep were thundering to glory in a hotter than hell main hall, a set to curl up and die for was turning stage two into a piece of pure prog heaven. The David Cross Band – led with vast likability by the long time King Crimson violin ace – were simply magnificent. They played frenzied originals with unreal timing. They revisited Crimson classics in style. They finished with Schizoid Man. They even had Van Der Graaf legend David Jackson on sax. It just doesn’t get any better!