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Purson: Providence May 19 2016

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    Posted: May 20 2016 at 16:21
Yesterday I drove down to Providence with a friend to see Purson, the middle band out of 3 playing.  The 2 other bands, not prog acts, were clearly not in the same league as Rosalie Cunningham and her highly talented group.
But let me get those other acts out of the way:
From Beyond, the opening band, sounds a little too much like early Black Sabbath. One of their songs in particular sound a little too much like "Iron Man", with a few notes changed here and there. Their main drawback was a sound engineer that was pushing the volume up a little too much for the small venue, particularly an over-amped kick drum that was close to painful.  Fortunately, their set was short.
The headliner, The Sword, was better.  Their sound is a southern rock flavored metal, with a lot of Allman Brothers-like dual guitar licks, and syncopated riffs.  Individual songs were good, but I found that there was too little variation in tone from song to song (an issue I've had at Dream Theater concerts), making their set somewhat tedious as well.
Purson was the class of the lineup. 
They did not get a sound check before the show, and it was obvious, and it took a few songs before the levels were right.  But it didn't matter.  From the start of "Desire's Magic Theater", they had the crowd enthralled.  Cunningham herself has a commanding stage presence that I can only compare to Ian Anderson.  She looks like she is having the time of her life sharing her music with us, and that transferred to the audience.
Her band was amazing as well, easily performing Cunningham's compositions, which dip into a deep well of late 60's and early 70's psychedelic and prog references, updating them to modern sensibilities.  I particularly enjoyed George Hudson trading guitar solos with Cunningham, particularly on "Electric Landlady", Sam Robinson's retro synth sounds, Justin Smith's fuzz bass, and Raph Mura's non-stop drum energy.  Hey, I guess I just loved all of their performances.
The set contained mostly tracks from the new album, and I can't say they played all of my favorites, as I adore every song on the album.  I am especially glad they played "The Sky Parade" as that performance was absolutely enthralling. 
Unfortunately, since they were not the headliner, their set, while a good length, was not as long as I would have liked, but then, I could watch them play forever, if it was possible.
After their set, I was able to spend a few minutes with Robinson, and then Cunningham.  Both seemed like very nice, down to earth people.  I hope I wasn't too overboard with my praise, but I haven't been this moved by a band in a very long time.  Both said that they were aware of this site, so if you happen to read this, drop me a note.
Trust me. I know what I'm doing.
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