ProgPower USA IV -- Thursday Pre-Show


First, let's have a bit of background on my involvement in ProgPower USA. I'd known Glenn Harveston, ProgPower USA's promoter and guiding visionary, for years through online contacts, and I attended the first ProgPower USA up in Chicago and had an excellent time. Glenn was looking to expand the festival and had contacted venues in Philadelphia and Chicago with no success. I put him in touch with my roommate Tim Hurd, who knows everyone in Atlanta when it comes to music and local venues, and hey presto, they worked out a deal for Earthlink Live...and thus was the "real" ProgPower USA, in a kewl venue, born.

ProgPower USA II, back in 2001, was a huge success and the venue won praise from nearly everyone -- nicely arranged, decent sound, good seating, room in the lobby for CD merchants, etc. Glenn's reputation for hosting a really high-quality metal festival grew. Even though the venue didn't sell out, the stage was set for the following two years.

ProgPower USA III in 2002 further solidified Glenn as a master of staging a high-quality festival, and I took my first ride as a festival associate sponsor, co-sponsoring the Devin Townsend Band along with my friend Jim Raggi. The event sold out within days and was a great success all around.

So, now it was time for ProgPower USA IV. I wanted to continue my support of Glenn's efforts, and so I offered to sponsor a band for 2003 as well. Several options were on the table, and eventually I got word back that one of the bands I'd targeted, the astonishing Nightwish from Finland, were available and would be performing. Sweet!

ProgPower approached and one of my fellow SeismicRadio deejays, Tony from California (DJ-WarmWetOs), arrived Wednesday night to crash at my apartment before we went down on Thursday to check into our hotel. (Others would be joining us later.) My original plan was to get a parlor suite, like the really kewl room I had for the first Atlanta Progpower, but when we discovered that they only had one bed plus a pullout couch, we thought "What the heck" and upgraded to a room the lady called an "apartment."

She wasn't lying. Our palatial room had two bedrooms and two full baths on either side of this central parlor, with a full kitchen, 27" TV, DVD player and VCR, plus additional TVs in either side bedroom. AND, we were the very first occupants to use the room, since the hotel had been newly renovated! Sweeet!

So now it was time for what has become a ProgPower tradition: the pre-show party and show at the Riviera Club, a long walk (or short car ride) from the hotels and Earthlink Live. Once again this year, the marquee was.... interesting. "Porn-star costume ball!" That's Tony and Aki (from Finland), pointing at the marquee with glee.

The first band up was Kategory V, who sounded pretty good. Here are several pics: Katagory 5 #1, Katagory 5 #2, Katagory 5 #3, Katagory 5 #4, Katagory 5 #5, Katagory 5 #6, and Katagory 5 #7.

The next band, Stride, were a band I'd never heard of before (and who had a slightly silly-looking logo). In true ProgPower tradition, they proved to be the surprise of the evening, with an excellent, tight show! Covering part of Rush's "2112" was a good idea, too. I got several pics: Stride #1, Stride #2, Stride #3, Stride #4, Stride #5, Stride #6, Stride #7, Stride #8, Stride #9, Stride #10, Stride #11, Stride #12, Stride #13 and Stride #14. All in all, a well-received set and to my horror, they were all sold out CDs when I went to go pick one up. (I hope they send me one like they promised. :)

The final band of the evening was Prymary, who already had a decent buzz going, and they didn't disappoint either, playing a nicely-received Dream Theater cover along with their own material. Here are the pics: Prymary #1, Prymary #2, Prymary #3, Prymary #4, Prymary #5, Prymary #6 and Prymary #7.

Although I was mixing around and meeting various people in the club between the bands (including Nightwish), I didn't get any photos. No biggie, though; it was still a fun evening. Aki, from Finland, and Justin (DJ-Mosquito from Seismic) would be crashing in our apartment/hotel room for the evening, and we all trooped over to City Cafe for a late dinner and the usual leftovers afterwards. (Thank goodness our room had a full-sized fridge!) Afterward, I went home and unloaded the pics from my camera and came back down to crash at around 5:30am. Tomorrow would bring the start of the Main Event. :)

ProgPower USA IV -- Friday | ProgPower USA IV -- Saturday | Prior-year ProgPower fests |
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