Opening up the night were Parkway, a four piece from London featuring the hugely talented Liza Bec.
Her voice was truly unique, and when you added her abilities on the saxophone, keyboard and recorder to the mix throughout the set, you had a potent combination. The band were obviously quite new to the live scene, but there’s a huge amount of potential there for a spectacular live show. Liza on her own would be a show worth seeing, but with an experienced band behind her and some unusual and hugely intriguing songs, they’re worth keeping an eye for.
For Canadian band Diatessaron’s first ever UK show, playing London on a Tuesday night is rather a baptism of fire. The Hope and Anchor was on the quiet side, but that did nothing to dampen the band’s enthusiasm. Determined to make an impact on the UK prog scene, from the moment they started playing, you could tell they meant business. The vocals immediately stood out as being something special – Simon TJ’s voice sounds as though it’s had the benefit of years of classical training. Each word stands out, the tone is crisp and precise, and he effortlessly jumps between octaves for notes, making full use of his decidedly large vocal range. Much as Prog hates making the obvious comparison of a Canadian prog band to Rush, the influences there are immediately noticeable, but there’s so much more there too with influences obviously coming from many directions. Their songs range from slowed down, emotive numbers that ooze feeling and passion to much faster, much heavier numbers that grab you, drag you in and don’t let you go for the length of the song, constantly throwing something new at you. While it’s easy to focus on Simon’s vocals as the high point of the band, credit has to be given to the rest of the band too. With tempo and key changes abundant throughout, the tightness of their playing was a joy to watch as they kept launching into melody upon melody in perfect time. They’re all incredibly accomplished musicians, but as a unit they’re so much more than that.
A particular high point was the new trilogy of songs, Sunshine. Starting off with all five members singing in close harmony, the trilogy carried us through three hugely different songs, yet each with the same melody running through to wonderful effect. Sunshine showcased their abilities as songwriters as well as musicians, and I’m a huge fan of any song, or combination of songs, that throws up something new that hadn’t been noticed the first few times of listening. While it’s easy to be suspicious of new bands trying to come through on the prog scene, Diatessaron seem to have brought everything wonderful about classic prog into the modern age, added their own slant on it, and made their own sound already identifiably unique. This is their first trip over here as a band, but I’m sure that we haven’t seen the last of them.
For more information go to: http://www.diatessaronband.com/