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Haze - 30th Anniversary Shows CD (album) cover

30TH ANNIVERSARY SHOWS

Haze

 

Neo-Prog

5.00 | 4 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Prog Team
5 stars It is incredible to note that Haze were formed in 1978, and that this 30th Anniversary concert is already five years old yet they are still gigging, have just released a new studio album, and show no signs at all of slowing down. When I moved to NZ I lost touch with Chris McMahon, but recently we started swapping emails and he sent me 'The Last Battle', the reissued 'Stoat' and this one. Given that they had already released a 10th Anniversary album and a 20th Anniversary (where I was thanked in the credits, which was much appreciated), there was always going to be an issue with repeated content but they got around this by playing some rarely aired numbers, a few by World Turtle and Treebeard, and some new songs which would later appear on the new album as well as the old favourites. In addition, they also extended their sound by moving away from the set trio of Paul Chisnell (percussion, vocals), Paul McMahon (vocals, guitar, guitar synth) and Chris McMahon (keyboards, bass, vocals) by bringing in Ceri Ashton to provide flute on various songs, who has since joined as a full member of the band. There are also a couple of guests on the final song of the night, namely Rog Patterson and Greg Smith from Twice Bitten, another Eighties band who never gained the recognition their music fully deserve.

The plan was to record two nights in 2008, but there were sound issues at the first gig in Kingston so only one song has been included from that set, a version of 'Seven Stones' which they didn't play the following night in Sheffield. The rest of the songs are all from Sheffield, in the order in which they were played so if you were lucky enough to be there that night this was what you would have heard. Haze are one of the prog bands that I have never managed to catch in concert (in my defence they were gigging hard in the Eighties but didn't know about them until the Nineties when they were not as frequent), but I did manage to see World Turtle which was the McMahon brothers plus a drum machine and they blew me away that night (plus I have managed to catch Chris a few times as well).

All of the guys are incredible musicians, and they blast through a set which contains just about everything a fan would want with 'The Vice' and 'Another Country' being real standouts, while they also play 'Let Go' which is my favourite World Turtle number and here it gains an additional presence. Chris is a master of switching between bass and keyboards, often in the same song, so this rarely sounds like a trio while Paul is a polished guitarist who points out that thirty years earlier he only owned one guitar, which was the one he was playing then!

Haze are a band that have always been masters of the live environment, and here they have the space to shine in front of hardcore fans in their home base of Sheffield, and they certainly relished the experience. If you are new to this band then this is the album to start with as neo-prog doesn't get any better than this, and if you are aware of Haze what is your excuse for not having this already?

kev rowland | 5/5 |

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