Be Prog! My Friend – Preview – Day One
Last year Manchester Rocks was honoured to cover the Be Prog! My Friend festival in Barcelona with Steven Wilson, Opeth and The Pineapple Thief the headline acts and will this year be returning again to soak up some stunning prog music in the sunshine, Prog en el sol as it were.
The festival started in 2014 and takes place in the open air at Poble Espanyol, an architectural museum by day and one of the most important landmarks in the capital of Catalonia.
The range of prog it caters to is quite remarkable from old school prog to neo prog to prog metal and is one long voyage of progressive music; a totally immersive experience.
This year the Friday is headlined by Marillion. The Spanish love their prog and they love Marillion. Their set is likely to heavily feature their new album F.E.A.R, which is particularly poignant considering Brexit and other worldwide situations. The album is one of the best they have produced in a while, and they are usually all very good so it is likely to be a thrilling set.
With their dark Norwegian sounds Ulver are an experimental musical collective who first gathered together back in 1993 when they started playing folk influenced black metal. Since then the band has progressed greatly and often blends styles from electronica to chamber and symphonic music. Exquisite, ghostly and sublime is the best way to describe them and with a start after midnight it is likely to be chilled way to end the first day.
Mike Portnoy should need no introduction having been the drummer for Dream Theater through their first 20 or so years and now has become something of a journeyman with all sorts or projects in progress. This will be amongst the first few shows for his Shattered Fortress band and will be delivering Dream Theater's “Twelve Step Suite” from beginning to end, a series that took eight years to write and a further eight years before the realisation of putting it together to perform live. This is going to be an exceptional event and we are very excited at the prospect of seeing and hearing it live.
Animals As Leaders are one of our favourite bands here at ManchesterRocks, their last two performances in our fair city have been unbelievable so their set at Be Prog! is certainly going to be a highlight and highly anticipated. AAL’s math-rock is as complex as it is rhythmic and watching Tosin Abasi play is a jaw dropping event in itself, the music simply progtastic.
Hailing from Brisbane, Australia, Caligula’s Horse play some impressive progressive alt-rock. The band are opening proceedings on the Friday evening and we are looking forward to hearing some choice selections from their excellent last album, Bloom, amongst their set; they are sure to blossom onstage.
Be Prog! My Friend runs on Friday 30th June and Saturday 1st July 2017 in the wonderful open-air Pablo Espanyol. The festival site opens up late afternoon so there is plenty of time to explore the city during the day before the festival starts.
There are plenty of cheap flights to Barcelona, especially from Manchester Airport, so you have no excuse! There is plenty of inexpensive accomodation and local hotels arelisted on the Be Prog! website.
And don't forget to bring suncream, water, ear protectors and some money because there is some great merchandise to buy. Last year we really enjoyed the Opeth Beer too!
Why not go for a few days longer? There are some great rock bars in Barcelona - last year we had a great visit to the Bollocks Bar
Tickets are available from the Be Prog website!