The very first Progressive Music Awards, headed by Prog Magazine and Orange Amplification, were presented in London on Wednesday, so it only seems right that we report on the winners and give our half-wit commentary. For starters, I just want to say that I actually like the idea of the Progressive Music Awards, but I feel like the voting is flawed – this is Prog music, after all. If I were the Czar of Prog Awards, I’d hold the nominations and all voting on the ProgArchives forums. What better way would we have to catch the real spirit of the progressive music scene? Take notes, Prog Magazine. Without further ado… THE REACTION:
NEW BLOOD: TesseracT – Huh? Who the hell are these guys? (Frantically searching Google). Hmm, another new Progressive Metal band. Is their music good? (Searching YouTube with a furrowed brow.) They’re not bad…. but…. hasn’t Matt been reviewing a shit load of really good, new progressive music on Bite Size over these past few months? I feel like the voting committee could have dug a little deeper.
LIVE EVENT: Anathema – Never seen ’em live, so it’s tough to comment, but… I still will. I’m liking the live stuff I’m watching, bad quality notwithstanding, but I still would have gone with Steven Wilson’s show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
GRAND DESIGN: Pink Floyd Immersion reissues – Admittedly, these releases are awesome. There’s a 94.3% chance that Tyson will own the Dark Side of the Moon version within the next few months. Very cool art, lots of nice goodies for the Floyd geeks, and even the first ever release of the album on 5.1 DVD-A (it had only been previously released in surround on the SACD format).
ANTHEM: Squackett A Life Within A Day – What in the hell is an “Anthem” category doing in a Progressive Awards show in the first place? The only anthem in the history of Prog music is literally titled “Anthem”, and it was performed by Rush about 40 years ago. Not to mention the fact that Squackett is a ridiculous name. P.S. – is anybody else noticing a distinct British bias? All four of the first awards went to British bands/collaborations. My bold prediction for the remaining awards: we will see the Italians get no hardware, and Matt will riot.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Rush Clockwork Angels – I was about to say “finally, somebody other that the Brits,” but Canadians are practically British, so the streak is still alive. But seriously, this is a really solid album from a group that has been doing it the right way for four decades. Long Live Rush! If I had a vote, I probably would have gone Heritage from Opeth because I’m a homer. That’s just the way it is.
VISIONARY: Peter Hammill – Very deserving, as the Prog community at large has always respected the work of Van der Graaf Generator and the great Peter Hammill. Peter is actually looking a tad sickly, so I think I speak for everyone at Progulator when I give our best wishes and continued health to the music legend. Also, I really enjoyed that Mikael Åkerfeldt, a Generator fan, got to present the award to Hammill.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Genesis – Biggest upset of the night. There were soooo many more deserving candidates to choose from. Last I checked “lifetime achievement” has the word “lifetime” in it, and I distinctly recall the quality of Genesis music plummeting faster than the United States housing market as soon as Peter Gabriel left in 1975 and Phil Collins unleashed his rusty voice and sellout tendencies on the world.
VIRTUOSO: Carl Palmer – This is tough for me, because I really love Carl’s drum work in ELP and I do believe that he qualifies as a virtuoso. Not to mention the fact that I’m a drummer, so it’s always nice to see some credit go to the guys behind the kit. That being said, this is the first ever Progressive Music Awards, and you have the entire history of progressive music to choose from. This award should have gone to a keyboard player or a guitarist. It was kind of a strange class though; you can check it out here. From that list of nominees, I’d choose Petrucci only because he fits the description of virtuoso the best.
GUIDING LIGHT: Steven Wilson – Very deserving, no arguments. Matt Bellamy, though, doesn’t even belong on the list. Are you kidding me? I’m sorry, but I disowned Muse after an incredibly disappointing latest release and after hearing one of their recent singles no less than 13,417 times on a recent network television show promo.
PROG GOD: Rick Wakeman – Once again, no arguments. For my money, and with apologies to Jon and Steve, he is Yes. And with that pick, our first Progressive Music Awards, sponsored by a British publication and British companies and held in Great Britain, gave 9 awards to Brits and one to Canadians. C’mon guys! One of the reasons progressive music is so great is because it’s a truly worldwide movement. Let’s get some flavor in there next year!