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Pendragon - And Now Everybody To The Stage  CD (album) cover





3.96 | 67 ratings

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5 stars I really haven't extended my neo-progressive investigations much beyond Marillion, who I really like, and IQ, who I absolutely adore. However, through the miracle of youtube, I discovered a complete recording of this DVD and played it a few times.

At first I was pleasantly surprised: the band have a very fine keyboards player (Clive Nolan) and a singer/guitarist (Nick Barrett) who plays guitar very melodically and with plenty of skill - he doesn't tap or use advanced techniques like Mike Holmes, but he plays some lovely solos. The rhythm section is solid and inventive, Pete Gee conjuring up some dynamic and interesting bass lines and newcomer Joe Crabtree showing off some really excellent chops. Nick Barrett's voice is a bit of a conundrum; he isn't the most tuneful singer and his delivery is a bit laid back, but he has lot of emotion and his style grows on you. Clive Nolan sings very well on backing/harmony vocals

Not being familiar with much of their material, since I've only really listened to a few of their albums once or twice, it took some time to get into their songs, but they clearly show influences of Genesis and Camel and that can only be good. By about the 4th play, the sheer quality of their music began to shine through, so I bought the DVD. The Wishing Well, Dance of the Seven Veils and Paintbox are all excellent, but the material gets even better towards the end. From the brilliant Breaking the Spell onwards through the encores, the band make some of the finest music I've heard, and I began to really like Barrett's delivery. They're not as arty as IQ but Nick Barrett's songs are melodic and at times almost anthemic. The Polish crowd are extremely enthusiasic and Barrett knows exactly how to interact with them.

Down sides: Barrett's stage dress is basically surfing gear, which wins no prizes for sartorial elegance, and Clive Nolan's keyboards are slightly low in the mix. And it's going to be expensive, because I now have to buy all their CDs too.

Other than that, I love this DVD. There's a lot of extra material but I don't bother with it much. The main DVD has kept IQ and Camel off my DVD player for a week and anything that can do that must be 5*.

Unhesitatingly recommended.

Hercules | 5/5 |


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