Continuing my tradition of writing a rambling web page about ProgDay,
complete with photos, set lists and
CD reviews to act as my "scrapbook" of the event (such as my write-ups
one for ProgDay 2011.
This year's festival was as much an endurance test as it was a great weekend of music (thus the 15 bands and one million notes in 48 hours headers above). It seemed like nearly every moment between when I left home Friday morning and when I got home Monday evening I was either driving to the next venue, watching a band or waiting for the next band to start (with only brief intervals in between for drinking with friends and a minimal amount of sleeping).
I did some research before going to the festival this time. I was already familiar with Morglbl and Woodenhead from years past, but I downloaded the sample MP3s available for most of the remaining bands from ProgDay's web site and listened to them several times in the weeks leading up to the show. What I heard got me pretty psyched - it seemed like there were going to be a lot of great bands this year.
I won't go into all the boring details of the drive from PA down to Chapel Hill - suffice it to say that a new shortcut I tried turned into a long cut when I accidentally went the wrong way on a back road in Virginia, but after about 9 hours of driving (including a lunch break at Chili's in Staunton, VA), I arrived at the hotel. Every year I forget what a long drive that is, and every year it seems longer.
After checking in I decided to skip dinner because I was still pretty full from lunch and went straight to the Friday night preshow at Local 506. Skipping dinner turned out to be a huge mistake because even though I only had a few beers at the preshow, I ended up with a massive hangover that lasted most of Saturday. Oh well, my own dumb fault I guess.
I got there just as the doors opened and got the prime "tapers" seat straight back from the stage next to a little table that I set my recording gear up on. This year I finally abandoned analog (cassette) recording entirely and just went with the digital recorder I bought last year.
|The Cameron Allen Trio|
The first band took the stage promptly at 8pm - so promptly that I
missed recording the first few seconds of their set because I wasn't
expecting them to start so soon. The
Cameron Allen Trio
to be a pleasant surprise - they didn't have anything recorded yet so
there were no sample files for them on the ProgDay site. But the
three young guys in this band played a fantastic brand of jazz power
trio fusion that was flashy and yet tasteful and melodic. I heard
at least one person compare the guitarist to Allan Holdsworth, which
is what I had been thinking as well. Great stuff, but the band only
played for around 45 minutes then yielded the stage to the next band.
I would have liked to have included the trio's set list here, but they only announced a title for the last song they played, and since nothing has been recorded yet there wasn't a CD that I could buy to compare against. So all I can say is that they played 5 instrumental fusion tracks of unknown names, and then closed with another fusion song called "Run Between the Lines by Night".
Next up was the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra. I really liked the sample files I had heard, and the samples didn't lie - these guys were great. An odd mix of country, bluegrass, jazz and rock, these guys (and gal) were all over the map. Personally, they had me at "leggy, cute violinist", but they backed it up with some great music. How many other bands could throw a Lady Gaga cover, a country cover, Whipping Post, music written for A Prairie Home Companion and a bunch of proggy originals into the same set? My only complaint was that they had the volume cranked up a little too loud for such a small room, but overall I liked them enough to buy all the CDs they had available and to check their web site when I got home. There I found out they were playing another show just minutes from my house a couple weeks after ProgDay, so I went to see 'em again. Fun band. On the lengthy drive home from ProgDay, despite all the prog rock music I had heard, the song that was stuck in my head the whole way was the ultra-country "Diggy Diggy Lo".
Their set list went like this: Wabash Cannonball, Ruby -> Paparazzi, All Out of Peaches, Diggy Diggy Lo, drum solo -> Dark Matter, Gypsy Grass Jump, Memo 9, Straight to the Top, Billy Cobham cover (?), Five Up Front, Whipping Post, The Blaze, Odd Men Out
When I saw them a couple weeks later in Harrisburg, PA, the set list was very similar but they threw in a few extra songs because they had longer to play. I remember a great "Rocky Top" cover, but I forget what else they played.
|The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra|
Closing out the preshow was the last-minute addition of
Andy Wood. I guess the band
just goes by the bandleader's name - I didn't see them referred to as
"The Andy Wood Band" or anything. They were in a similar vein to the
Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, but took it to more extremes. Their country
songs were more countrified (like a John Anderson cover that, when
announced, got the crowd inadvertently excited because they thought
the band was talking about the Yes frontman) followed up by a Cream song
and a lengthy Led Zeppelin medley. And while the GCO was a little too
loud for the room, these guys were a LOT too loud for the room, but I
don't think they cared. They were just having a good time playing what
I think they said was their second ever gig together.
I had a lot of trouble figuring out Andy Wood's set list (any help fixing it would be appreciated): Shredneck, (?), New Country, (?), Red Hot Chili Peppers cover (?), White Freightliner, Seminole Wind, White Room, Led Zeppelin medley, (?).
It was kind of odd that the warm-up show for a progressive rock festival was so countrified. Originally the band Freak Kitchen was supposed to play in Andy Wood's slot (which would have increased the diversity of the preshow a bit, to say the least), but when Quantum Fantay canceled at the last minute, FK got moved to Sunday and Andy Wood's band (who were touring with Morglbl and Freak Kitchen) got added to the preshow. Whatever the backstory, the mostly-fusion-and-country preshow worked surprisingly well.
The preshow ended just shy of midnight, and Andy Wood actually invited the few remaining people in the audience to hang out at the bar with him and his band, but I know from experience the value of getting some sleep early during ProgDay weekend, because it gets harder to find as the weekend progresses (no pun intended). So I went back to the hotel and got six or seven hours of sleep before getting up, showering, hitting the breakfast buffet, loading the car up and heading out to the legendary Storybook Farm.
At this point I should probably apologize to T.J. for not making the effort to move my stuff to his room. He was looking for someone to split a room with to save some money, and the night before I had agreed to abandon my room and move in with him, but I couldn't find him Saturday morning and I was in a hurry to get out to the farm, so the room split never happened. If you're reading this TJ - sorry about that.
|Andy Wood (with the yellow guitar) and his band|
I got out to the Farm fairly early and had plenty of time to park my
car in the patron lot and get my lawn chairs and recording gear set up
in a prime spot in front of the soundboard. I was ready to kick off
a marathon day of live progressive rock - 8 performances in around 14 hours.
The opening band of ProgDay proper this year was Fibonacci Sequence. The great stage managing team of Geoff and Jay were back this year after missing last year, and Jay introduced the band by challenging the audience to give him the first five digits of the Fibonacci sequence. Being a crowd of prog rock geeks, it took all of 10 seconds for someone to do it.
As the name implies, the band's music is fairly technical "math" rock, and entirely instrumental if I remember correctly. That was one thing that a few people complained about - there were a lot of all-instrumental bands at this year's fest. Personally, I was fine with it. These guys struck me as a little too metallic for my tastes, but little did I know what was in store later in the weekend. With only a couple exceptions, this was the year of the hard-rockin', flurry-of-notes, largely instrumental bands. All in all, I liked Fibonacci Sequence and thought they were a nice choice to kick off the main part of the festival, but I didn't quite like them enough to buy their CD. It was still early in the weekend and I didn't want to risk blowing all my money on the first day. As it turns out, I probably should have bought it, but oh well...I have enough music of this style already anyway.
Since I didn't buy the CD I had some trouble figuring out the band's set
list, but between the stage announcements and the sample files on the
ProgDay site, I came up with this: (?), (?), Primrose Path, All Saints Day,
Catlord, Work in Progress, Missing Time (dedicated to Paul Kopecky), Faunus,
Turkish Taffy, IO.
Next up was The Tea Club. Based on the sample files, I wasn't expecting to like this band, but they weren't bad. They were, for want of a better categorization, the "pop prog" band of the weekend. Sort of an alternative rock band with a good bit of prog mixed in. Not my favorite band of the weekend, but much better than I was expecting them to be. That said, I don't remember a whole lot of their set, because part-way through it I moved to the back of the field and smoked a cigar while listening to the music.
I know a lot of people enjoyed this band because they were the first one of the weekend to feature lots of vocals on all their songs. I talked with the band's drummer a bit at the Sunday night pool party, and that guy will talk your ear off if you let him.
The band announced the titles of most of the songs they played, so I got a pretty good set list for them: Astro, A Wasp in a Wig, Simon Magus, Nuclear Density Gauge, Oz Style, (?), The Night I Killed Steve Shelly, Diamondized, (?)
|The Tea Club|
The third band band on Saturday (in the dreaded "heat of early afternoon"
The Rebel Wheel from Canada.
I really enjoyed the sample files
I had heard of these guys, and they featured special guest Guy LeBlanc on
keyboards. LeBlanc has played with the band Camel and is known on the
"prog Circuit" for his band Nathan Mahl, who put on a stormin' set at the
first NEARFest. So I was really looking forward to this set.
I did enjoy the band's performance, but it wasn't quite as fantastic as I had been hoping for. I think a big part of the problem was that I was sitting out in the blazing sun with nothing more than a baseball cap and some sunscreen for protection, so I was literally dripping with sweat inside of 15 minutes into the set. I toughed it out as long as I could, but eventually had to retreat to the shade of the pavilion to watch the remainder of the set.
The band's music is really hard to categorize - it's certainly not stereotypical symphonic prog, although there are elements of that. It's not quite jazz or fusion, although you can hear some of that too. There's some straight rock (a couple songs reminded me of Deep Purple), and there's a bit of experimentation. Some of it was instrumental, some songs had lyrics (including one with a very graphic chorus that was sung again and again - between this band and Freak Kitchen, it wasn't quite the usual family-friendly atmosphere this year). They were all over the place.
When they were done I decided that I had enjoyed them enough to buy a CD or two, but when I went to their vending table all they had was Guy LeBlanc solo discs and Nathan Mahl CDs. Apparently the band leader for Rebel Wheel didn't think to bring CDs along to sell. I ended up buying Nathan Mahl's "Heretik" trilogy, and the guy running the table threw in a book he had written about the making of the trilogy for free. Nice deal.
Because of the lack of CDs, I had trouble figuring out some of the band's set list, but they announced titles for most of the second half (including the half-hour long epic that closed the set) and I got some help from a friend who is familiar with the band after he heard my recording, so here's what we managed to cobble together: Hiding in Waiting, No Free Ride, (? possibly a new song), Klak, Aquiring Glass Friends (a Gentle Giant pastiche), Threads, Tempra, The Discovery of Witchcraft.
|The Rebel Wheel|
Just after the Rebel Wheel finished playing, the ProgDay organizers sprang
a pleasant surprise on the audience. I had heard a rumor that this might
happen at the preshow the previous night, but I had completely forgotten
about it, so I wandered off to look for some food and drink. Next thing I
know, Jimmy Robinson
of the band Woodenhead is being introduced to play an
unannounced solo acoustic set.
I raced back to my seat and got the recorder fired up just in time to catch the first song. Robinson is an amazing guitarist, playing melodies and chords faster than seems humanly possible, banging on the body of the guitar to provide percussion, pushing the back of the neck to bend notes and throwing in vocals on a few songs.
Jimmy only got to play for half an hour since he wasn't officially part of the show, but he put on a great set. I guess the idea was to get people interested in the Saturday Night show at Local 506 (which was headlined by Woodenhead), but by the relatively low turnout that night I guess it didn't work. ProgDay rarely has a Saturday night show, and that's probably the reason why - after being out at the farm all day and seeing several bands, most folks don't seem to want to make the effort to go to another show that night.
Anyway, here's what Jimmy played, as far as I could figure it out: Nu Slap, Psycho Mardi Gras, Big Blue, You Make Me Crazy, Vibrating Strings, Kashmir/When the Levee Breaks, (?)
Saturday's "headliner" was the French band Morglbl. I put headliner in quotes because it's hard to consider a band that played in the middle of a long day of great bands to be the "headliner", but they were sort of the anchor of the Saturday portion out at Storybook Farm. The band's name should have an umlaut over the o, but I'm feeling too lazy to bother firing up character map.
Anyway, I had seen the band before when they played the preshow a few
years ago, so I knew what to expect. They had also played NEARFest in
the meantime, so most other people were familiar with them too. But if
you've never heard of them, they're a guitar/bass/drums trio that mix
jazz and fusion with hard rock and metal. My initial impression was
"what it would have sounded like if Eddie Van Halen had decided to
start a fusion band", and I've seen others compare guitarist Christophe
Godin to Steve Vai. The bassist is phenomenal too, and while the drummer
wasn't super flashy he certainly held his own with the other two.
The band has a huge sense of humor, with Christophe joking with the audience between songs and the bassist mugging and striking "rock star" poses. A humor highlight came late in the set when the band played a lounge jazz version of AC/DC's "Highway to Hell", which I think might have been the only song they played with vocals.
On Sunday night Christophe came out to the pool party at the hotel and had a few beers with the ProgDay attendees, and the guy is just as funny to hang out with. Very quick-witted. I just wish I could have gone to see Morglbl again the next weekend at Orion like I promised him I would, but it seemed like the universe lined itself up against me to prevent that (we had heavy rains that week that flooded my basement, washed out many roads including the main highway between my house and Baltimore and made it impossible for me to find a babysitter for that evening). Oh well.
Morglbl's set looked something like this: Gnocchies on the Block, the Monster Within Me, Brutal Remains, Tapas Nocturne, Wig of Change, Golden Ribs, the Tale of Thibault, Streets and Traps, Morglbl Circus, Oh P1 Cannot Be (?), Fidel Gastro, (?), Highway to Hell, MySpaceBook, encore 1: Haute Voltige en Haute-Volta, encore 2: (?)
Morglbl played for close to two hours, getting a couple encores from the crowd. But, as always at ProgDay, the show had to end before dark since there are no stage lights. So around a quarter to eight the band finished up and I had to quickly pack my stuff up, load the car, race back to the hotel, take a quick shower, race downtown to Local 506, find parking, grab a couple quick slices of pizza next door, burn the crap out of the roof of my mouth (suffering for art) and then hit the club. I got there just as the first Saturday night band was being introduced.
That first band was Lactose Quervo.
I'm pretty sure this band gives me honor of having been the only person to have seen
every minute of every ProgDay band this year. Since they started up just over an hour
after Morglbl finished out at the farm, there were only a handful of people in the
audience at the beginning of their set, and other than me I think they were all
friends of the band, not ProgDay attendees. By the end of the set, the place started
filling up with more familiar faces, but I think I'm the only one who saw Morglbl
through to the end and was still in time to catch the beginning of Lactose Quervo.
Anyway, the band played a sort of bluesy rock with some psychedelic influence. The singer was a boisterous woman who belted out soul-style vocals and bantered with the audience between songs. The guitarist would occasionally turn to a collection of electronics he had sitting on top of his amp to create otherworldly squawks and whirs. The drummer was the same guy who played in the next band, so that's probably the connection that got them on the bill at a prog-rock festival when they weren't really the proggiest of bands. But they put on an enjoyable, if short, set.
Unfortunately the battery in my camera was starting to die, so all my pictures of
Lactose Quervo came out really blurry. By the time Woodenhead hit the stage, the
battery was completely dead, so I didn't get any pictures of them at all.
I managed to snatch a Lactose set list off the stage at the end of the evening, and it looked like this: Cracked, U Know, Void, Insomnia, Screw, Don't Know, Anticipation.
The middle band of the Saturday night show was George Preston Herrett, which isn't one guy's name but is actually the last name of the three bandmembers - guitarist Dave George, bassist Brian Preston and drummer Darren Herrett. They played the preshow a couple years ago, and although they still haven't recorded an album (as far as I know), they've been busy working on new material because the set list this year was almost completely different from the last one.
One big change was that the band brought up a vocalist. I think they said her name was Candice Flore or something like that - it's hard to make out the name on the recording. She only sang on the song "Back Where You Belong", and apparently it was the first time the band had ever performed in front of an audience with a vocalist.
The rest of the band's set was an interesting mix of instrumental fusion, funk and spacey improv. Listening back to my recording, I really enjoy their set. But at the time I was getting pretty tired (it was a long day after a long drive, and I had a nasty hangover for a lot of the day), plus they were the seventh band I had seen that day and my focus and energy was lagging. This is one of those shows that makes me glad I try to record everything at ProgDay, because if you had asked me right after the show I probably would have said GPH weren't very good. But the recording proves otherwise.
The band's set list went like this: warm-up improv, (?), Ten Sided Object, There You Are, (? might have been Jimi's Clock), Back Where You Belong, JB on the Rocks, Sun Plower.
|Lactose Quervos t-shirt model in front of the Local 506 Wall of Band Stickers|
The last band of Saturday was
Woodenhead, and as I mentioned above I
didn't get any pictures of them because my camera battery had died. This band from
New Orleans played ProgDay a few years back and put on a smokin' set of instrumental
music that falls somewhere between fusion and symphonic prog. If anything, their
Saturday night set this year was even tighter and more energetic - it's a shame more
people didn't get to see it. Jimmy Robinson's lightning guitar lines blended nicely
with Fran Comiskey's intricate keyboard work over the tight rhythm section. Good
At some point during the evening (I think it was during GPH's set), I moved my digital recorder to the top of a wooden structure over the soundboard so it would be out of the way. During Woodenhead's set, I was glad I didn't have to keep an eye on it anymore because, tired as I was, I found myself standing up against the stage and bouncing along to the music.
About mid-way through the set the rest of the band left the stage and Jimmy played a short, solo acoustic set. Then the rest of the band came back and played until close to 1am. The handful of ProgDay attendees who made it to the end of the show (and the locals who were still there and seemed much fresher) hooted and hollered and got the band to play an encore.
Woodenhead's set list: Funk Tune, (?), Water From the Moon, (?), Last Chance on Joseph Street, Antifunk, Five Feet Deep, two solo acoustic pieces (?), Big Blue (acoustic), (?), Vertical Drop, (?), Just Too Complicated Enough, Battle Cry, Kashmir, encore (?)
As soon as Woodenhead wrapped up I headed back to the hotel because I was spent. But there were a few people hanging out by the pool so I foolishly grabbed a couple beers and went down there and hung out for an hour or so. When I finally crashed it was probably close to 3am. I got around four hours of sleep and then dragged myself into the shower and down to breakfast, loaded up the car, stopped and bought some ice for the cooler and drove out to Storybook Farm. After setting up my chairs and recording gear, I was ready for the final leg of ProgDay '11 - the four Sunday bands.
|George Preston Herrett|
Zevious provided the Sunday morning wake-up call.
I don't know why it usually seems that the avant bands get scheduled in the morning
slot, but it works surprisingly well. Zevious started out as a very straightforward
jazz trio, but somewhere between their first album and the more recent After the Air
Raid, they got a lot louder, more distorted and more experimental. Basically they
went from being a jazz band to being a Cuneiform band.
The bass was fuzzed up and in your face, the guitar was crunchy and the drums were pounding. The music was entirely instrumental, and the band basically just played one song after another, occasionally announcing a song title. To be honest, at the time I kind of zoned out about mid-way through their set, but listening back to the recording they were really good. I'm still curious whether the band's name was inspired by the 80s arcade game (although that was spelled with an "X").
They played a lot of new material without giving the names, which made figuring out a set list difficult even though I bought both their CDs. Here's what I got: Mostly Skulls, (?), Passing Through the Wall, (?), The Ditch, (?), (?), That Ticket Exploded, iNCITING, The Children and the Rats, Glass Tables, encore: (?)
Next up was Persephone's Dream,
who were the only really stereotypically
symphonic prog band of the weekend. Personally, I'd say neoprog, but I
heard a couple people argue that they're not neo, they're symphonic. I
also heard a couple people argue that they were the only "real prog" band
of the weekend, but I'd write that opinion off to limited tastes.
It took a while for them to get set up because they had a ton of percussion equipment (which you unfortunately can't see in the picture on this web page because it was all off the left edge of the photo). During Zevious' set they lined it all up to the left side of the stage to speed up the load-in process, but it still took a while.
Once they got going, they played their entire new concept album "Pan", complete with stage show and various costume changes for the singers, which took up the majority of their set. They sounded pretty good, but since this isn't my favorite style of music I took the opportunity to go to the back of the field and enjoy a cigar, beer and book while listening to them.
Their set list was really easy to figure out, since they only played three songs. Well, more accurately they played all 19 songs from "Pan" and then two other songs, but I'm counting "Pan" as one piece. So here's the set list: Pan: An Urban Pastoral, Temple in Time part 1: Mist, Temple in Time part 4: Camlann.
The band played a slightly short set - around an hour and 15 minutes. The crowd called for an encore, but after the bandleader spent a few minutes introducing all the band members, they said they were done.
Based on the sample files from the ProgDay web site, the band I was most looking
forward to this year was the German group
Maybe I got my expectations up too high because, while I did enjoy their set, it
wasn't as great as I had been hoping for. I think part of the problem is that
the bandleader stopped after every song to make lengthy announcements in accented,
semi-broken English. Even though he was often funny, it really killed the
momentum of the set.
Having Pazerballett follow up Persephone's Dream was an interesting contrast - I'd have a hard time thinking of two more different sounding bands. Panzerballett plays an experimental mix of rock, jazz, funk and metal. Heavy, complex and intense but with a huge sense of humor. Entirely instrumental, if I remember correctly.
The band is known for their cover songs, but they're not so much covers as complete re-arrangements. Their version of the Simpsons theme started out faithful to the TV show, but soon veered into straight jazz and metal riffs. Their version of the jazz standard Take Five re-worked the tempos into an almost completely different song. They played a cover of "(I've Had) the Time of My Life" as kind of a joke (they said they added it to the set list to try to attract more female fans), but it was still a crappy song that was a chore to sit through.
This write-up is making it sound like I didn't enjoy their set at all, but it really was pretty good. I was expecting more covers and more comedy, but listening back to their performance and taking it on its own terms, it was actually pretty good.
Due to the verbose stage announcements, I was able to work out the band's full set list: The Simpsons, Mustafari Likes di Carnival, Fake Five, Zehrfunk, Some Skunk Funk, (I've Had) The Time of My Life, Hitting Grandma's Freshly Baked Carrot Cake with a White Hot Flail, Zappa medley part 1, Vulgar Display of Sauerkraut, Thunderstruck, Friede Freude Fussball.
The final band of a very long weekend of music was
Freak Kitchen from Sweden. They
were originally supposed to be one of the first bands of the weekend, scheduled
to play the preshow. But when the original Sunday headliner
Quantum Fantay had to cancel due to hurricane-related flight problems, ProgDay
made last-minute arrangements to have Freak Kitchen replaced by Andy Wood (the
two bands were touring together) at the preshow so they could be moved out to
the Storybook stage on Sunday.
Personally I thought having Freak Kitchen play out at the farm made this year's ProgDay just a little too "heavy". They're more of a metal band with slightly proggy tendencies than a prog rock band, and on top of Fibonacci Sequence, Morglbl, Zevious and Panzerballett, this was just one too many guitar-dominated, super-heavy bands for me. Quantum Fantay would have made for a more diverse line-up, but there wasn't much that the festival organizers could do once that band was forced to cancel.
That said, Freak Kitchen did put on a good, entertaining set. They were almost a summation of the whole weekend - they had a logo banner like Fibonacci Sequence, they were a trio like Cameron Allen's band, Morglbl, George Preston Herrett and Zevious, they had a big sense of humor like Panzerballett and as mentioned above they rocked even harder than the many other heavy bands of the weekend.
The bassist looked like he just came out of a biker bar, with tatoos all over his arms, a long braided beard, and wearing a flack jacket, helmet and goggles. The guitarist was one funny guy, telling stories between songs and playing games with the audience like occasionally yelling "goodie goodie!" for no reason to see if the crowd would yell it back at him. A highlight of the set came when the guitarist spotted a women in the audience blowing soap bubbles and invited her up to the stage to give them a bubble "stage show", then worked the whole event into the lyrics of the next song.
Freak Kitchen's set list looked like this: God Save the Spleen, Porno Daddy, Blind, Silence, Speak When Spoken To, Chest Pain Waltz, The Only Way, Tear Gas Jazz, Murder Groupie, My New Haircut, Taste My Fist, Hateful Little People, Razor Flowers, Propaganda Pie, Nobody's Laughing, The Rights to You, Gun God.
And then, just like that, another ProgDay was over. 15 bands in just under 48
hours - a new record for me, I think. As exhausting as the weekend was, I
figured I'd stop in at the Armadillo Grill for my annual ProgDay weekend meal
there and then try to sleep for a couple hours before the big Sunday night pool
party. But when I got back to the hotel room and tried to go to sleep, it
was nothing doing. I laid there for about half an hour and finally got up and
looked out the window - there were already a couple people down at the pool, so
I just gave in and went down there.
Many beers were consumed, and I got to hang out and talk to a lot of the ProgDay organizers and volunteers, plus members of Morglbl, Panzerballet, the Tea Club and other bands. As the night wore on the crowd thinned out and only the hard core partiers were left. At one point people started jumping in the pool, and one particularly wild ProgDay regular stripped down and went skinny dipping. I'm not going to say who it was, but pictures do exist. I wasn't quite that wild, so I went up to my room and put on swim trunks before I jumped in.
Things eventually started winding down, and around 3am I decided that I'd had enough (pretty much all anyone had talked about for the last hour was the skinny dipping incident), plus I figured I should try to get at least a few hours sleep this time before the long drive home. So I bid that last few partiers good night and hit the sack.
It turned out that I only got about four hours of sleep, and after a quick shower, breakfast and packing the car I was on the road well before 9am. Despite the brief amount of sleep, I actually felt pretty good driving home. I decided to skip the "shortcuts" and took my old path of back roads through North Carolina and southern Virgina until I got to the Blue Ridge Parkway, then took that through most of Virginia. It was a very scenic drive until I got over the mountains - it was all rain, fog and mist on the other side. Made for kind of a miserable drive once I got on into the bumper-to-bumper traffic going 80mph up route 81 through West Virgina, Maryland and into PA. By the time I got home around 5pm, all I wanted to do was get some sleep.
I bought a lot of CDs this year, entirely from bands that played the festival this year or in recent years past. Friday night I bought the three CDs that the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra were selling - I really like their first album "Looking For a Little Strange", and their CD of cover songs "Songs We Didn't Write Vol 2" is pretty good too. Oddly, I'm not as wild about their more recent album "All Out of Peaches", but it's OK. Andy Wood was also selling a CD at the preshow and I probably would have bought a copy, but there was no one working the vending table after their set and I didn't have time to wait around.
Saturday morning I browsed the Of Sound Mind vendor table and bought the new CDs from Beardfish ("Mammoth" - it's OK but so far it's not grabbing me) and the Muffins ("Palindrome" - nice, relaxing jazzy prog). I was hoping for something new from French TV or Cheer-Accident, but didn't see anything.
As mentioned above, the Rebel Wheel hadn't brought any of their CDs with them. to sell. So I ended up buying keyboardist Guy LeBlanc's other band Nathan Mahl's trilogy of "Heretik" albums. The music ranges from good to great, but the overwrought "one man against a repressive government" concept lyrics don't really work for me. What is it with Canadians and the whole "evil big brother" thing?
I already knew I liked Morglbl from their previous preshow appearance, so even before their set I stocked up on their "Toons Tunes" CD (which reissues two early, out of print albums) and their new one "Jazz For the Deaf". If you like the style of music that Morglbl plays, their albums are all good. I think I actually like the early, reissued albums more than the new one.
After Zevious' set on Sunday I grabbed both of their CDs. During the drive home I put their self-titled first CD in the car's CD player and thought I had grabbed the wrong disc - it's pretty much straight, melodic jazz. Nothing like what they had sounded like on stage the previous day. But then I listened to the second album, After the Air Raid, and there was the aggressive, distorted, angular, avant music I was expecting. Good stuff.
My final CD purchases of the weekend were at the Panzerballett table. They had mentioned on stage that they had three CDs, so I bought all three CDs that were on sale at their table. It wasn't until I got home that I discovered I'd bought the first, self-titled Panzerballett CD (which is pretty good), their new one "Hart Genossen Von Abba Bis Zappa" (which is even better), and a solo jazz CD recorded by their saxophone player. I was a little disappointed when I saw that third one wasn't actually a Panzerballett CD, but like the first Zevious album it's actually a pretty enjoyable straight jazz CD.
So there you go - another enjoyable ProgDay weekend. It's all starting to blur together in my mind, and I find it hard to believe I did all that in just four days (including the drive down and back). But at least I have a bunch of CDs and live recordings that I'll probably be enjoying for the next few months.
I've already heard rumors of at least one band that got a tentative invite to next year's show, so it's looking like there will be a ProgDay 2012. Can't wait. Hopefully I'll see you there.