by Alex Driessen
I have been amazed for quite some time now: the fact that we, as fans of progressive music, are so damned conservative. In this case, I specifically focus on the fact that new bands, with their own authentic sound, seem to be less popular than the old
familiar veterans. Well, not a problem in itself, quality never goes out of style and nostalgia knows no bounds. It gets more challenging when even the growing number of cover- and especially tribute bands seem to be gaining in popularity at the expense of
It is an unstoppable phenomenon: tribute bands that focus on one group and, with the help of experienced musicians and original instruments, try to get as close
to the original as possible. And often with success, if you only look at the number of bands that followed in the footsteps of Pink Floyd's music. Pink Project, Pink Floyd Project, Infloyd, Absolutely Floyd, The Pink Floyd Sound, The Australian Pink Floyd
Show or Brit Floyd, one is even more professional than the other. Sometimes even with the help of the original slide show and people from the staff of the iconic British band.
party element also plays an increasingly important role, the feast of recognition I mean. After the success of Symfo Classics, with well-known artists with a prog (read: Kayak) past who play the hits and other well-known songs of the great bands from the past,
more and more bands follow suit and master the trick, drawing sold-out venues and theatres. Always nice to listen to the umpteenth version of Money, Owner or a Lonely Heart or Carpet Crawlers in a comfy chair. I certainly do not want to give
the impression that what’s on offer is not good enough, on the contrary. If the original is not available, then there is nothing wrong with 'the next best thing'. Like The Musical Box have been doing for years and, very surprisingly, Dutch band Yesshows
only recently proved.
But what is most unfortunate, and in the long term even harmful, is the fact that this seems to be at the expense of (relatively) new, original bands with
their own, unique sound. In the past year, for example, I had to watch with a heavy heart bands like Lazuli, and more recently Tiger Moth Tales with the great talent Pete Jones, hardly attract any public. At the same time Genesis tribute band Carpet Crawlers
and Marillion epigones StillMarillion attract considerable numbers of visitors. And when bands such as The Watch and artists like Ray Wilson are more or less forced to integrate the music of Genesis as a permanent part of their show, despite their excellent
self-penned repertoire, then something is definitely wrong.
Not only will it become increasingly difficult for talented starting bands to obtain gigs (it already is), theatre managers
will more often decide, with one eye on the box office, to choose the less risky option of the tribute band. Apart from some notable exceptions (Cultuurpodium Boerderij). Our favourite type of music will die a slow death if we are not careful. So come on fellow
prog fans, choose for Barock Project, Bjorn Riis or, even better, the Progdreams Festival. Ultimately, that is the future of our beloved genre.