ProgBury – A Sunday of unadulterated pleasure

Two weekends ago I went to Bury St Edmunds with my friend Mick to savour day two of ‘ProgBury’, a festival of progressive bands at the brand new, opened that week, Apex centre. The Apex centre is fabulous, the view and the sound were great and the line-up warranted a stage of its own at Reading (in 1974). Here though, there was an air of middle aged men in a library or very quiet beer festival between acts but live festivals don’t always have to be huge crowds, mud and flags.

We missed the first band, Godsticks as my map reading meant we circled the town twice but Re-Genesis were terrific, running through all the early tracks before Gabriel left such as the Knife and the Musical Box. They had everything perfect even down to Gabriel’s voice.

Mostly Autumn

Then came Mostly Autumn, a more recent prog rock band who were highly impressive and had the biggest following of the day.

Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash

Only eight days after seeing Andy Powell’s ‘official’ Wishbone Ash’ over at Wilbarston Hall near Corby it was great now to see Martin Turners version hit the stage, and I know Mick doesn’t agree, but I prefer this version of the band, I love all the theatrics, the sense of fun and the sound of their twin guitars in harmony really took me back to the seventies.

The Hawklords 2010 featuring Nik Turner

Finally the Hawklords were a dream come true, I first saw them back in 1974 at the Sunderland Mecca on the Space Ritual Tour, then again in about 1985 at Southend Cliffs Pavilion but this gig in 2010 was everything I had hoped for:

Chaotic sounds from which the patterns slowly emerged and then the rhythms repeated as hypnotic laser punctuated visuals filled the hall, and that was just ‘Born to Go’ as the opener. Nik Turner took to the stage in a flashy grey shiny suit and waved enthusiastically with both arms at the crowd. I was back in 1974 and had never realised how prominent and important was the Nik Turner saxophone. ‘Masters of the Universe’ was just out of this world, I tried videoing but I couldn’t help bouncing with the beat and didn’t want to miss a second of this mesmerising show. Then as quick as it started it was over, we were running over an hour over and they had to stop, Nik told us “he would have gone on all night” so no Silver Machine this time.

Thanks ProgBury you sent two middle aged men home very happy and the 76 mile drive seemed well worth the experience, looking forward to next year already. Can we have Uriah Heep, Caravan and Gong but please no ELP?.

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2 Comments

  1. Couldn’t make it to Progbury, but agree about the two Wishbone Ash’s – Martin Turner has still got it as a vocalist, and that makes all the difference.

    One correction for you – The preceding “Mostly Autumn”, not “Almost Autumn”. They’ve been around for 13 years, but their entire set bar the last two songs was brand new, played for the first time.

  2. Thanks Tim
    I have corrected my error, I gave them a different name every time I referred to them on the day but I thought I had picked the right one, no the wonder I couldn’t find them on Wikipedia.
    Cheers, Ron

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