ProgFest Australia - live review
Venue: The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Australia's travelling prog festival arrives in Melbourne
Australian progressive rock and metal is slowly starting to attain the recognition it so richly deserves, and despite the searing heat of this Melbourne midsummer afternoon, The Corner Hotel is already packed full of sweaty punters at 3pm.
For those unfamiliar with this venue and this format, this is one great, cavernous room (for a pub, anyway) with a large main stage and a slightly smaller secondary stage. It makes for very quick and easy changeovers and a generally seamless organisation of the day’s progressive festivities.
The sheer musical diversity of this festival is on vivid display from the get-go. Fierce Mild plough strange but strangely compelling musical terrain, juxtaposing electronics and a cello with guitar, bass and drums, and channelling these would-be disparate elements into a sound and visual presentation that’s both moody and psychedelic at once. By stark contrast, young Melburnians Enlight offer a slightly more traditional alternative/progressive rock sound, although they shake things up with sweet melodic female vocals and a focus on ambience over musical muscle. However, said ambience is still punctuated with excursions into crunching heaviness, and it all makes for a rather dynamic, almost schizophrenic mix.