Magnum have the honour of closing the main stage at this weekend’s HRH Prog VI. Originating from Birmingham, the band temporarily wound down in 1995 after over 20 years of rocking. Reforming in the new millennium, Bob Catley (vocals) and Tony Clarkin (guitars) have seen a host of other musicians join their ranks, but the core duo have always remained intact.
Magnum are a typical HRH band, but perhaps not the most progressive pick for headliners. Take a listen to ‘Solider Of The Line’, taken from 1982’s classic Chase The Dragon album: a powerful piece of rock storytelling and a staple of their set ever since its release.
Magnum play HRH Prog VI at 21:50, Saturday 18 Nov, 2017.
An altogether more proggy proposition on Saturday’s bill is newly crowned “Prog God” Carl Palmer, presenting his ELP Legacy. Following the untimely deaths of Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, it’s fitting that the dynamic drummer is given this opportunity to showcase a line-up that itself pays homage to his supergroup of the 70s. Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy retains the trio element of ELP, but favours guitars over keyboards, with Paul Bielatowicz and Simon Fitzpatrick handling six- and four-string duties, respectively. The trio have been joined by special guests at some gigs and are known to tackle all sides of the former band’s repertoire: here’s a version of Greg Lake’s ‘Lucky Man’, with guest vocals from Todd Rundgren.
Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy play HRH Prog VI at 20:00, Satrurday 18 Nov, 2017.
Focus are a one-off proposition. Thijs van Leer’s flute-led ensemble are as much a funk-rock act as they are a prog band, but anyone most famous for yodelling is bound to defy neat genre boundaries. Expect a tight, concentrated sound from these Dutch oddballs. They’ve just released The Focus Family Album, a break from their numerical album series that compiles solo efforts and unreleased band material. However our pick is ‘Father Bacchus’, from 2012’s Focus X, that highlights the quartet’s unique energy.
Focus play HRH Prog VI at 18:10, Saturday 18 Nov, 2017.
Magenta’s last HRH Prog appearance was tempered by Wales’ beloved rugby team having just lost an agonisingly close Six Nations. Now HRH Prog has moved to the Autumn, meaning Magenta take to the stage shortly after the easier proposition for Wales Rugby of taking on Georgia. Magenta themselves have a new weapon in their arsenal – We Are Legend, a sprawling 3 track progressive opus that keyboardist Rob Reed hopes will redefine the band in the eyes of many. Here’s ‘Legend’, a track that shows off the skills of core trio of Rob Reed, Christina Booth and Chris Fry.
Magenta play HRH Prog VI at 16:30, Saturday 18 Nov, 2017.
Touchstone were one of the great female-fronted modern prog acts. Then, at HRH Prog in 2015, vocalist Kim Seviour called time on her tenure with the band, having battled for years with ME. Touchstone have since lost founding keyboardist Rob Cottingham and recruited Aggie Figurska, a singer equipped with the lung capacity and sense of drama necessary to front this ensemble. Expect an impassioned performance that, we hope, will include classic material such as ‘Wintercoast’, although it’s a safe bet that Jeremy Irons won’t appearing live in person, in spite of his guest spoken word vocal on this apocalyptic piece.
Touchstone play HRH Prog VI at 15:20, Saturday 18 Nov, 2017.
There’s plenty to enjoy on the second stage on Saturday: Alan Reed, formerly of neo-prog leaders Pallas, returns to headline. Cairo, the new project from Touchstone’s Rob Cottingham, and Ghost Community, bass-ace Matthew Cohen’s new outfit, provide support, alongside three-piece Kepler Ten.
The Fierce and The Dead are big draws on the second stage on the Saturday, and will bring a set of abrasive, inventive post rock. Initially starting life as guitar-wizard Matt Steven’s backing band, the quartet have developed into a compelling live proposition. Also appearing are The Far Meadow, The Tirith and Multistory, alongside the opportunity to check out wares from a range of traders, from fur and leather merchants to a prog rock record shop. All in all, there’s a lot to enjoy and discover on a busy Saturday at Wales’ premier prog event.