The fifth of july was the day picked up to set up a new progressive enterprise, the Stratus Prog Festival, the second prog-rock festival held in Catalonia. This is a great success, for us here in the south of Europe it’s almost a luxury to have these two opportunities to see many different prog bands on the same stage and the same night. Therefore it’s something that we need to keep it going, it’s unfair to have just one chance a year. Thanks, once more, to the great will of some of the big progressive bands in Barcelona, Lluis Carbonell and Jordi Ricol, we got together again in a new place. Mephisto is a medium-size venue (about 250 people) attended mostly by the modern heavy metal bands, a venue which dressed up in a prog-rock suit for this time. We had four of the most representative bands in the catalan scene, Syd Barretina, The Knife, Soma Planet and CO2.
Maybe one of the worst aspects was the sound, the venue is not the best place to get a great sound, but that didn’t discourage the 150 people that were there, screaming like crazy fans in every song.
Syd Barretina, was the first one to play and gave us a stunning performance as usual. He’s got a incredible skill to create great atmospheres just with his guitar, synthesizing the sounds brilliantly. You just wonder how can he play the “Animals” with just one instrument. CO2, introduced us a mixture of heavy metal and prog-rock. They played things like “Metropolis 2”, and “In the flesh” sang by the fantastic Syd Barretina, they also played some of their songs and some Oldfield covers. This is a band that has got a long career, but they have been very unknown to all of us, that’s prog-rock. The Knife, was one of the most successful bands with their prog coming from the early eighties full of passion and great lyrics. They played most of their own material and ended up with “Fugazi”… delicious. A young group that seems to have a nice future. Soma Planet, played amazingly with a difficult-to-describe style. It’s music is plenty of great experimenting and improvising moments that scratched the music. Musicians with an extraordinary skill and fans of the most complicated progressive sound.
To sum up, it was a little but huge event. According to people’s, musician’s and organizers comments everything went ok, and that’s great for the always risky progressive festivals. Anyway, we hope to have the Stratus Prog Festival again next year on progVisions pages.