September 2010 – Downey, CA — Prog-rock band, Spock’s Beard will be appearing for one night only in Downey, CA, this Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 8 p.m. As the one and only U.S. show of the band’s “X” Tour, promoting their most recent CD release, simply entitled “X”, the show is being presented by CalProg at the Downey Civic Theater.
Not since 2007, has Spock’s Beard performed live in the United States. With live appearances at a premium, every Spock’s Beard fan will want to be at this concert. Members Nick D’Virgilio, Alan Morse, Ryo Okumoto, Dave Meros, and Jimmy Keegan, will be reminding fans what they have been missing for the last four years. Still minus original lead vocalist Neal Morse, SB has leaned into more standard rock environments with a streamlined sound and slightly more aggressive approach. But there is still plenty of complex musical passages for prog-rock fans throughout their show.
Back in 2006 when Morse left the band and D’Virgilio took over the lead vocals, some wondered if D’Virgilio could pull it off on stage. But everyone’s fears were quickly relieved when he did take the stage to promote “Octane”, the new release at that time.
Musical fireworks have always been one of SB’s main draws and there is no reason to expect anything less on Sept. 12. According to keyboardist Ryo Okumoto, there is nothing stale about the new show. There will be a lot new for fans this time out. Besides the new material on the new CD, Okumoto says, “A lot. New Spock’s Beard, New me, Everything!”
In the past there has been a mountain of instrumental virtuosity displayed in live performances of this band. When drummer Nick D’Virgilio took over as front man on vocals, those who observed him in concert wondered why he had been hiding behind the drums at all. Not only was he hiding an incredible rock and roll voice, but hiding one of the most relaxed and confident stage presences. Watching D’Virgilio, it seems he is exactly where he is meant to be. He easily holds the audience attention keeping the performance fun and energetic.
D’Virgilio, who plays drums on the band’s recordings, stays out front for most of the concert, with Jimmy Keegan, an equally impressive drummer, filling in on drums for the live performance. But when he is not singing or playing guitar, he promises to deliver what fans remember, – monster drumming and incredible drum solos. The two drummers, traditionally, will meet each other head-on sometime during the evening for one of the most outrageous drum battles ever, like two Titans of percussion. . According to D’Virgilio,”There will for sure be another drum duet kind of thing. That is a highlight for me in any SB show.”
Spock’s Beard’s co-founder, Alan Morse, will be on board with his trademark crunchy guitar-work. There is nothing ordinary about any performance by this guitarist. Fans can expect him to be out front on all tunes switching back and forth from the magical electric sounds of a custom Stratocaster to the warm Spanish and classic guitar tones of an acoustic guitar. His finger-picking style, playing both on electric and acoustic guitar, makes for a unique experience, especially for the prog-rock genre.
Just as significant are the contributions by both keyboardist Ryo Okumoto and bassist Dave Meros, who shine in their own right.
Okumoto is expected to deliver, energetically attacking the keys with signature riffs and keyboard combinations taking the band to an “other-worldly” dimension.
As always, Meros is the glue in the rhythm section that holds the rest of the band together, keeping everyone honest. By far one of the best bassists on the planet, he keeps up his part and then goes some.
All-in-all, the band is the tightest and most accomplished group of musicians on the planet. The band’s hard-rocking new focus has been compared to “a freshly emerged butterfly”, with songs ranging from heavy odd-metered head-banging to melodic outings of stunning beauty and sensitivity. One thing for sure is there seems to be a lot of fun being had when SB hits the stage. When asked if they were indeed enjoying themselves, Morse responded the last time the band was in Los Angeles, “Yeah, we look like we’re having fun. You’d never know we’re actually seething cauldrons of barely repressed rage, but there you are! What’s not to like? Being in our hometown is cool, too.”
Tickets are still available for the concert online from www.calprog.com. For more information and directions to the Downey Civic Theater, visit the web site.