HRH Mag’s Big Dog of Prog was all over HRH Prog VI but is his bark worse than his bite? Here’s Garry Willey’s Day Three wrap…
Big Dog Gets The Bird
There are many things you might expect to disturb your lie-in at a big and brilliant prog festival….but the ‘tap tap tap’ of an indignant seagull on your door probably isn’t one of them. Said bird was well ticked off to find HRH’s curtains still drawn and its apple/bran flake breakfast undelivered by 10am. Solution? Start drilling away and don’t stop until some daft sod answers the call. Mind, he was sticking to a damn decent rhythm…
Hats Off To Late Call-Ups
Unlikely wake-up sorted and an extra shot Americano firing the sinuses like jet fuel, it was a real treat to see stage one stand-ins Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate seize their moment in such style. The Londoners’ leader Malcolm Galloway and bassman Mark Gatland stepped in at scarily short notice when Touchstone broke a limb but nerves soon passed. They hit a cracking groove and seemed genuinely amazed so many had stayed to hear them. Definitely a band to follow.
And on the subject of taking your chances, instrumental rockers The Fierce And The Dead really tore it up on stage two. It has to be a challenge going vocal free – rock’s equivalent of sobriety or burning all your band t shirts – but the guys blazed away on a set that smashed a bulldozer through the wall between prog and metal. They were also damn good craic! When the band are having this much fun it would be rude not to join in.
Tark A Bow, Carl
A lovely festival moment to report from, of all places, Burger King. A dedicated ELP fan spotted a certain Mr Carl Palmer among the fast foodies and found he was happy to sign a copy of the band’s epic album Tarkus. A top man…and a side order for the ages.
Prog Royalty Reign Over Camp HRH
And so the main events, to the names that are rightly hallowed and give HRH PROG it’s irresistable x factor…Dutch maestros Focus were just extraordinary, technically immense and received with something close to devotion. Classics like Sylvia and House Of The King have aged as well as a Jerez sherry, new bass ace Udo Pannekeet has added some bubbling jazz undercurrents and in Thijs Van Leer the band have one of rock’s true giants at the helm. The man can even get the faithful in a skat singalong! And finally, with Magnum and their anthems ready to close a rapturous stage one in style, we make a fitting return to the aforementioned Mr Palmer. If the deity’s gleaming gold kit and tractor-wheel sized gongs hinted at excess, his performance was a both-barrels and brilliant tribute to Messrs Emmerson, Lake and the colossal music they left behind. Watching Palmer spend 90 punishing minutes not so much playing as assaulting the drums was exhausting but spellbinding….and the tales he told between the conveyor belt of classics as funny as they were poignant. Another absolute ‘wow’ moment to salt away and savour.
The Big Dog Of Prog meets HRH Prog VI Headliners Magnum
*Exclusive Images Courtesy Of HRH Mag Festivals Photographer Simon Dunkerley