CRS Progday
Parallel or 90 Degrees, Primitive Instinct, Thieves Kitchen and Manning,
Saturday 18th May 2002, Heringthorpe Leisure Centre, Rotherham, UK

By Charlie Farrell


Classic Rock Society ProgDay

An initiative of the Classic Rock Society’s (CRS) Paul Allwood to provide a full day’s worth of ‘prog’ entertainment, the event was hit by the cancelled of Quadesh, a few days before the event, resulting in a slight reorganisation of the schedule. From the band’s point’s of view, it meant that there was time to play a little longer, so for a mere £13 each punter got over 5hrs of top-quality musical entertainment.

Manning live at Rotherham, May 18th 2002

The afternoon session began with Manning fronted by Guy Manning (ex Parallel or 90 Degrees). His five-piece backing band included Jon Binns (Drums), Rick Ashton (Bass, B.Vocals) , Gareth Harwood (Electric Guitar), Neil Harris (Keyboards, B.Vocals) and Laura Fowles (Sax, Keyboards, B.Vocals and shakers) and they played material from Manning’s 2 disks and Guy’s solo album as well as some new tunes. The band were well into their set by the time I’d completed my 6 hour journey to Rotherham and were bringing Walking In Cascade to a close.

Manning live at Rotherham, May 18th 2002

Guy then introduced a string of numbers from the upcoming The Ragged Curtain disk of which Tightrope with its excellent saxophone solo, stood out. After Guy had introduced the members of his band, he switched back to electric guitar for the The Night & The Devil from Cascade and the excellent Songs of Faith. The band then performed two further cuts; the "noisy", uptempo Domicile from 1999’s The Cure and a concluding In My life which featured great singing from the entire band. The musicianship was excellent and the songs were very pleasant indeed. On for me to re-visit

Thieves Kitchen live at Rotherham, May 18th 2002

The dinner break lasted from 5:10pm until 6:45pm according to the schedule posted at the door, so most people went to one of the local pubs for a drink and a bite to eat. I went off in search of more batteries for my Digital camera, so I arrived back sometime later than planned. I thought that I may have missed some of Thieves Kitchen’s performance, but they were delayed and eventually took to the stage 20 minutes later than planned.

This was only the fourth or fifth time that the band had played live and they put on an impressive performance. The band were both tight and inventive, filling their 75 minute slot with just 4 numbers, 2 each from their albums Head and the more recent Argot. I was hearing the band for the very first time and but I found them instantly engaging, mixing a slightly jazzy Gentle Giant-like approach with the heaviness of a modern day prog-metal band. Andy Bonham on bass and Phil Mercy on guitar impressed throughout the long instrumental passages. I enjoyed all of the tunes they played, with perhaps John Doe #1 standing out as my favourite.

Primitive Instinct live at Rotherham, May 18th 2002

Primitive Instinct were another outfit I hadn’t heard and were playing live for the first occasion in some time. Though, as their singer said later on, they weren't really a prog band - "prog/pop perhaps", they provided a nice contrast to Thieves Kitchen by being more song-orientated. Opening with a wonderful instrumental number Ideology, the band immediately grabbed my attention and drew me away from the CD stall. They did make extensive use of backing tapes for samples and keyboard sounds as the group still lacks a replacement for its former keyboard player, but the threesome weren't bad musicians themselves with the bass and drum-playing amongst the tastiest of the evening. They covered most of the material from their 2nd album, Belief made up of 5 minute plus long tunes with good, well written lyrics and nice melodies. Praying For The Rain and Hope in particular, stood out.

Parallel or 90 Degrees live at Rotherham, May 18th 2002

The Event had also been chosen as the "Launch Party" for the new album from Parallel or 90 Degrees - More Exotic Ways To Die. The extra time available to them allowed them to start with an unusual number Blues for Lear. After that they played a good number of songs from the new disk very little of which, I have to say, really appealed to me. In fact it was older tunes such as Petroleum Addicts and Dead on a Carpark Floor which I found most enjoyable.

Parallel or 90 Degrees live at Rotherham, May 18th 2002

The new songs in particular were heavier than I'd expected and I didn't find Andy Tillison's vocals all that pleasing either. Half-way through, some technical problems with the bass guitar forced the band to interrupt the set for 5 or 10 minutes in order to rectify the situation. As it was already quite late, a good number of the audience chose this point to slip quietly away, leaving a much reduced number who saw the set through to its very end at just after midnight. For the final couple of numbers the band wore silly hats and wigs, but unfortunately the crowd was a little too tired to join fully into the fun and the effect fell flat.

Despite the rather disappointing end to the day, the event was a huge success musically, though it was disappointing to hear that there were less than 100 paying attendees. All four artists are certainly worthy of further investigation.

Setlist:

Manning

Thieves Kitchen

Primitive Instinct

Parallel or 90 Degrees

  • The Voyager
  • Catholic Education
  • In Swingtime
  • What Is It Worth?
  • A Strange Place
  • Walking In Cascade
  • Tightrope
  • Where Do All The Madmen Go?
  • A Place to Hide
  • The Weaver of Dreams
  • The Night & The Devil
  • Songs Of Faith
  • Domicile
  • In My Life

  • T.A.N.U.S.
  • John Doe #1
  • Call to Whoever
  • Mute

  • Hypnotic
  • Ideology
  • Praying For The Rain
  • Finding My Way
  • Hope
  • Shekhakim
  • Break on Through
  • Needed (Alter Ego)
  • Freedom
  • Chosen Few

  • Blues for Lear
  • Petroleum Addicts
  • Unbranded
  • Impaled on Railing
  • Thin Air
  • Acid
  • Unforgiving Skies
  • Heavy Metal Guillotine Approach
  • Body in Free Drift
  • Dead on a Carpark Floor
  • Drum One
  • Afterlife
  • Killer

 

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