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Festival News: NEARfest Friday: Van der Graaf Generator and the Steve Hillage Band

Posted on Sunday, February 01 @ 01:00:00 UTC by nightowl

Well, we updated our festival page with this news, but missed actually posting the news item to go along with it. So, here it is:

NEARfest, in conjunction with Progressive Arts, are very pleased to announce an amazing double bill for Friday June 19th, the opening night of the 2009 edition of the festival: Van der Graaf Generator and the Steve Hillage Band! Both bands are a supreme rarity in the United States. In fact, Van der Graaf Generator has only ever played one concert in the United States (New York, October 1976). Steve Hillage, while known to break out his solo band from time to time, is usually busy with his ambient dance outfit, System 7, or the mighty Gong, therefore this appearance by the Steve Hillage Band is a true treat for the eyes and ears!

Van der Graaf Generator: Strangers to few and loved by many, Van der Graaf Generator's career dates back to 1967 with their first album, The Aerosol Grey Machine, surfacing in 1969. Soon after the band was signed to Charisma Records and became famous label mates with Genesis and Lindisfarne. This phase of the band defined their sound, a brooding brand of rock mixed with classical and jazz influences, and produced such classics as He To He, Who Am The Only One and Pawn Hearts and solidified what some consider the classic lineup of Peter Hammill, Guy Evans, Hugh Banton and David Jackson. After a short hiatus, the four reunited and produced three additional essential albums in Godbluff, Still Life, and World Record. After a lineup change, a name change and one more album the band split once again.

In 2004, Hammill, Evans, Banton and Jackson came together once again and resurrected Van der Graaf Generator. They released Present in April 2005, a double CD of new material, and played several European concerts to rabid audiences. In 2006, the band reduced itself to the trio of Hammill, Evans, and Banton. After some live dates in the summer of 2007, the band released Trisector in March 2008. Both new studio albums live up to the band's classic discography and prove that Van der Graaf Generator is not only back, but back with a vengeance.

Steve Hillage Band: Steve Hillage, best known in art rock circles as a masterful progressive and fusion guitar player, began his career in a blues rock band in the late '60s called Uriel. After the dissolution of Uriel, the remainder of the band forming Egg, Hillage began work on his own material and was soon signed to Deram Records. He soon formed Khan with Nick Greenwood of the Crazy World of Arthur Brown which produced the excellent, Space Shanty, in 1972. Later, after a brief stint with Kevin Ayers' Decadance, Hillage joined Gong in 1973. This classic incarnation of Gong released the beloved Radio Gnome trilogy, made up of Flying Tea Pot, Angel's Egg, and You.

In 1975, Hillage left Gong to focus on his solo work and released his first album, Fish Rising. His debut has become something of a legendary progressive rock guitar album. Its follow-ups, L and Motivation Radio and Green, are also held in very high regard by fans of rock, fusion and space rock. Hillage later experimented with both punk and ambient music, with the latter likely leading him to the form his groove-laden ambient project, System 7.

NEARfest 2009 will be treated to a double shot of Steve Hillage, not only will he play this rare solo show with the Steve Hillage Band, but he will join Daevid Allen and the rest of Gong on Saturday night! Friday night's Steve Hillage Band show is a truly once-in-a-lifetime event and is sure to be a mind-blowing experience as Steve and company plan to rip through a lot of classic Hillage solo material.

[Source: NEARFest]

Posted in Festival News