The Rites Of Spring Festival (RoSFest) is now widely regarded as the jewel in the American progressive crown. Fans and artists from across the globe converge upon Gettysburg for the three-day event.
Friday begins with Virginia band Kinetic Element, who, after a hesitant start, usher open the festival with vigour and gusto.
First night headliners Magic Pie have developed mightily over the past decade, with a lexicon of musical moods; one moment delicate and balletic, the next, snarling with almost Deep Purple Made In Japan-era ferocity. It’s a truly royal performance.
On Saturday, No More Pain produce a thrilling set, filled with power, dynamic and impressively mature songwriting for musicians so young. Circuline are equally enthusiastic with a melodious blend of neo prog and brooding ballads.
Dave Kerzner has become a familiar face on the scene, today blending solo material and Sound Of Contact tunes. His set features one of the standout guitar performances of the weekend in the form of the flamboyant and musically gifted Fernando Perdomo.
Los Angeles’ Spock’s Beard close out the evening. Their show is brimming with infectious energy, featuring tunes spanning their 24-year career. It includes a guest vocal performance from ex-drummer Nick D’Vigilio. Once again, the crowd happily soak up everything on offer and the band leave the stage to a roar of approval.
The Fringe, featuring Lo-Fi Resistance frontman/guitarist Randy McStine, Flower Kings bassist Jonas Reingold and Nick D’Virgilio (this time behind the drums), open Sunday, the final day. The transatlantic power trio are extraordinary, and have the crowd in the palm of their hands from the first note. It’s an assured and masterful live debut.
The Strawbs perform 1974’s Hero And Heroine album in its entirety. For many, this is the most anticipated performance of the festival. Dave Cousins and band make sure that none of their fans go away disappointed. It’s a gloriously nostalgic performance by a band who know how to please a crowd.
Boston’s Bent Knee possess a gentle beauty and dissonant menace, lead vocalist Courtney Swain displaying a voice of sublime power and beauty. RoSFest’s penultimate act are Comedy Of Errors. Theirs is an epic blend of arresting tunes, powerful twin guitars and singer Joe Cairney’s soaring voice, which makes for a blockbuster show from the very much in-form, Glaswegian six-piece.
Zebra close out the festival with a high-octane performance. The Louisiana trio showcase classic material culled from their hard-rocking 40-year career. They motor their way through timeless tracks such as Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, to original classics such as He’s Makin’ You The Fool and the superb Who’s Behind The Door.
A larger-than-life end to an attention-grabbing weekend; let’s do it all again in 2017, please.