How about a night of prog rock excess!!
Well actually it didn't really materialise because the band in question is not really into that kind of dinosaur prog rock. They are more into dreamy, dark epic sonic landscapes, painted with intricate bass and guitar interplay with shimmering dark keys for atmosphere.
I can't say I am a huge Riverside fan or anything like that, but I like what I've heard from them a lot. It is melodic and quite haunting at times, whilst instrumentally challenging and really quite heavy at times which makes it all the more appealing.
First of all can I say the turn out was great. Probably not all that far from 500. The underworld was pretty steaming and I guess the fact that it was a Friday also helped in bringing out the prog rock brigade.
Anyway first up was some prog band called Haken. Obviously I have never heard of them. They came on stage and I could see three guys. Two guitarists and a drummer. Yet I could hear keyboards and bass! Where were they coming from I wonder and then suddenly I caught the bass player and keyboardist to the far left of the stage standing almost on the balcony with the crowd. It turns out there just wasn't enough room on the tiny Underworld stage. But anyway the band was tight as hell. I was surprised. I really liked them. The singer wasn't the best in the world but he was ok. Their musicianship was pretty damn cool. Great fluid technical bass lines and some nice jazzy noodling. Long songs, with lots of parts that appeal to all the prog nerds out there and even some pretty heavy sections. Good solid warm up!
Soon the stage was set up for Riverside and they got a warm welcome from the packed Underworld on their UK debut. I can't pretend that I know all their songs, but I was here just to enjoy the music and not get caught up in exactly what was played. But there were plenty of people there that knew many of the songs word for word and were singing their hearts out. The sound was good if a touch loud, but it was ok from my position. The bassist/vocalist had a nice demeanour and the crowd was loving every second of Riverside's set. They played not too far off 2 hours with 2 encores. They left to really loud and rapturous applause it has to be said. I think they were a touch surprised at the turnout and very happy to have finally played London. The fans were also very taken with their performances and cheered loudly throughout the gig. I can't give a setlist as I don't know the songs well enough. But most of the band's repertoire was played with great conviction and the band themselves played with much gusto.
Overall, a highly enjoyable evening of epic dark prog rock/metal. Not often that happens in good ol' London Town!
A short video clip below