ProgPower USA 2019 – Day Four

IMG_1967
Threshold pictured above

Friday, Sept. 7, 2019 – Day 4:

(All photos taken by me.)

 

For setlist info, see here (Thanks to whoever did this!): https://www.setlist.fm/festival/2019/progpower-usa-xx-5bd71fe4.html

Sorcerer (Sweden)

Screaming into day four is an epic doom metal band, Sorcerer, at least that seems to be their classification. This was a band that I kind of liked on album, but wasn’t really my cup of tea. But I did catch part of their set and was impressed with their sound and stage presence. Made me rethink my initial feelings toward their music. I will be revisiting them later.

IMG_1138

Jag Panzer (USA)

Another one that didn’t quite grab me on album, but had a great sound live. Not all power metal grabs me and the crotch grabbing and hip thrusting was rather humorous. The crowd seemed to have fun.

IMG_1212

Caligula’s Horse (Australia)

Now we are getting into the home stretch of the bands I have been looking forward to. Caligula’s Horse is a prog metal band that handles the heaviness and the softer moments with perfect balance. And with lyrically heavy songs, it brought a lot of emotion to the crowd.

Me personally, was kind of hoping for the song Atlas, especially the “revisited” version, but alas, it didn’t make an appearance. But that is ok. That had a stellar song selection, going by the feedback from the crowd. And reading through the Facebook group, they won over a lot of new fans.

IMG_1383

Poets of the Fall (Finland)

Talk about stealing the show. There were a lot of expectations from Poets for many reasons. They have a stellar catalog, which I haven’t heard all of yet, and have a fairly rabid following. BUT, they didn’t quite fit the theme of the festival. They are neither Power nor Prog, but come from a label that tends to deal with those styles. And not fitting those categories means that some didn’t take to them. But I feel the ones that didn’t care for them were in the minority.

It was a risk to bring in a band that doesn’t necessarily fit the format of the fest, but it was one that paid off! I like that this happened as it helps expand our horizons!

The venue was packed and everyone was cheering and dancing along to the songs. You see, this is a band that SHOULD be popular. That SHOULD be on the radio and a major label. But for whatever reason or another, they are not. I don’t get it. I know everyone wonders why the bands they like aren’t more popular but I get why most of my favorites are not. But Poets have that U2/Coldplay sound but more advanced, and dare i say, more meaningful.

They took the stage like the veterans musicians they are and had the crowd in the palm of their hands. They were clearly having a great time performing and that fed into our energy. I had ONE song I had to hear from them live and they played it! My Dark Disquiet has quickly became one of my favorite songs of all time and sounded perfect live. Their set was one that left me completely satisfied.

Thank you, Glenn, for bring them to us!

IMG_1433

Threshold (UK)

I have been a fan of Threshold since 2004, since finding their live album, Critical Energy, randomly in a Borders Bookstore. So not old, old school…. but a pretty long time. And given that I haven’t been able to start going to this festival until 2015, missing it for various reasons each time, I haven’t seen Threshold before this show. It has been a long time coming and it was worth every year of wait.

They launched into Slipstream (is that right? I didn’t note it at the time and am going by the setlist. Could have sworn this was later in the set) and didn’t let up until the last note of Small Dark Lines, playing the full hour and a half of their given time slot. And yes, the greedy Bastard in me wanted 3 hours. 😁

Glynn was in top form, making each song sound like he was naturally its perfect fit. And there were times I heard shades of Mac (RIP) in his voice on the songs that Mac had originally performed. Gave me chills. The rest of the gang were spot on as well. And I particularly enjoyed watching Johanne having fun behind the drums. Caught him once motioning along with the lyrics to someone off stage all the while keeping the band in tight sync.

Most of the set consisted of songs from Legends of the Shires, which was fine with me as that album is perfect from beginning to end.

The set was over too soon but, along with the Poets set, left me feeling the most satisfied and content that I have felt from a concert in a long time. Coupling that with, as I said before, the religious experience that was the MaYaN set, this festival fed my soul.

IMG_2194

Demons & Wizards (USA/Germany)

Not being all that familiar with this group, but more familiar with the groups it is made from, Blind Guardian and Iced Earth, I knew we were in for a treat.

We were setup at the back of the floor but something came up that I had to step out of the venue for a few moments. When we came back, we couldn’t really get back in. I stepped in to get a few shots of the stage, which was the most amazing of the stage presentations of the festival. The stage was made up to look like a graveyard, with multiple tombstones and an amazing back drop of a skeleton playing a violin. See photos below.

We waited out in the hall way and could hear every note anyway and what I heard was awesome. Also during this time, spent a while chatting with the great Lance King, who recently had a new album released. Hopefully we will get him back performing some material soon.

IMG_2249

Afterward, we made it to the floor for the after fest group photo. This keeps getting bigger each year. One of the festival photographers, Joel Barrios, usually takes this shot. Check out his work when you can at the ProgPower festival Facebook page.

And that was it! This is my fifth year going and I must say, all the years have had amazing lineups, but this one felt more fun. In part, because my wife attended with me this time, and I had more of a connection with more people this year than previous years. It’s been said before repeatedly, but it is true: this festival is like a family. A great big family reunion every year. Everyone is so nice and friendly and open that it just makes the whole thing genuinely enjoyable. The staff and festival runners are second to none and help elevate this experience above and beyond any other festival experience I have had.

If you haven’t been before, I highly recommend it. There are only 900 tickets sold for the event, which is small, but they want to keep things nice and intimate. Let me know if you do attend and if it is your first time. I will try to help get you familiar with things and introduce you to some awesome people!

This entry was posted in progressive metal and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s