Before Spock’s Beard can make their return to Scottish soil, there’s the prospect of two of the most impressive young prog bands around to witness first.
Hungarian instrumentalists Special Providence deliver a blistering and, quite frankly, jaw-dropping set. They crank out intricate, well-crafted passages leaving the gathered masses in shell-shocked bliss.
Guitarist Márton Kertész shreds his guitar like a man possessed, while drummer Adam Markó’s thumping and spellbinding display proves he can pat his head and rub his belly at the same time… upside down.
It’s a tough set to follow, but Kyros (formerly Synaesthesia) manage to pull it off. It’s a crammed stage but singer and synth player Adam Warne commands the small space with aplomb. Beautiful, heartfelt vocals combine with tight all-round musicianship to deliver a sparkling, highlight-strewn 40 minute performance.
And so, after a monumental effort by the road crew to get everything set up in confined conditions, Spock’s Beard appear, kicking off with Tides Of Time from this year’s magnificent The Oblivion Particle.
Keyboard virtuoso Ryo Okumoto is clearly enjoying himself, with his boundless enthusiasm spilling over into the receptive audience who devour his every move with roars of approval. The rest of the band feel the vibe too, with frontman Ted Leonard stating: “I think we’ll have a good night tonight”.
The set encompasses a decent chunk of their sizeable back catalogue and, while impossible to cover every base, it’s a fine mixture. Highlights include a stirring rendition of The Good Don’t Last, the foot-stomping Minion, and Afterthoughts featuring some beautiful vocal harmonies, wailing guitars courtesy of Alan Morse and a bucketful of Dave Meros’ funky bass.
“I could do with a good beer,” chimes Leonard at one point, and before long, as if by magic, he has an ice-cold pint in hand. The thirsty Glasgow crowd urge him to knock it back in one, which the personable Leonard duly does and states: “This feels like I’m back at college.”
June is up next, with drummer Jimmy Keegan sharing vocal duties with Leonard, their efforts encouraging the crowd to stretch their collective vocal chords before the final song of the evening is announced.
Satisfyingly, the Beard have chosen the sprawling epic of The Water to close proceedings – all 24 minutes of it. They deliver this with style and panache, and exit leaving the audience reluctant to trudge back into reality and a cold, foggy October night.
A quite amazing evening that proved, if proof was indeed needed, that the Ted Leonard-era of Spock’s Beard is a group on top of their game and producing some of their finest work in years.