Tour de Force



Dream TheaterWhen Mike Portnoy announced that there would be a 2009 edition of last year’s bonerrific Progressive Nation Tour — which featured Opeth, Between the Buried and Me and Three in support of Dream Theater (read our show review) — one would naturally assume the lineup would be pretty fuckin’ killer just like its predecessor, no? While our heads swirled with the possibilities of what might be in the cards (Protest the Hero? Muse? Porcupine Tree? Gojira??), today our expectations hit the floor with a mighty thud. Zappa Plays Zappa. Pain of Salvation. Beardfish. Um… who?

This year’s lineup is decidedly less metal and more retro prog-rock than last year’s. Admittedly, I’m barely familiar with any of these bands. Zappa Plays Zappa is the Dweezil-led project devoted to playing the music of his legendary father Frank. Pain of Salvation and Beardfish are both prog bands from Sweden. Pain of Salvation are probably the most interesting of the bunch; on first listen they sound like a slightly more metallic Porcupine Tree. Beardfish are straight-up Yes / King Crimson inspired ’70s PROG with a capital P. Not that any of these bands are bad…. it’s just… meh. Especially compared to last year’s lineup.

I’ll just go ahead and say it: this lineup blows. There’s no reason I should pay $50 or whatever it’s going to cost to see Dream Theater and a bunch of band’s I’ve never heard of. What the hell is Mike Portnoy thinking? None of these bands have much of a following in the States (to my knowledge), and none of them are even as heavy as Dream Theater, who themselves aren’t exactly the eiptome of /m. Whereas last year’s show had kids lined up outside to make sure they’d catch all 4 bands, this year’s is likely to attract a bunch of old farts who drink beer at the bar in the back until DT goes on. Then again, maybe Portnoy knows what he’s doing; the older crowd won’t think twice about the higher ticket price and will gladly fork over cash for an overpriced t-shirt.

Oh well… Prog Nation was fun while it lasted. Guess I’ll just go see Dream Theater when they come back around on their own. Or if Mike Portnoy finally agrees to do the “Jew on Jew” interview we’ve been pitching him on for months. Or if I’m offered a free ticket; that’d be rad, too.


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