Exposé Online banner

FM — NEARfest 2006
(Esoteric Recordings EANTCD 21038, 2006/2014, CD+DVD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-12-31

NEARfest 2006 Cover artThe fans who assembled at NEARfest in 2006 to see this Canadian trio playing one of their several reunions since they called it a day in the late 80s got a blast of the best sounds from their sci-fi progressive heyday from 1977 to 1979. Apparently at the time this performance was in the planning and rehearsal stages neither of the band’s original violinists / mandolinists (Nash the Slash or Ben Mink) could commit to the reunion gig, so original members Cam Hawkins (vocals, keys, bass) and Martin Deller (drums) recruited an outstanding replacement in Claudio Vena, who, at least from this writer’s perspective was the most interesting character on the stage that night, playing viola along with a solid body 8-string mando, as well as composing the smoking opening instrumental “Planet Vega.” Master of the drum kit Deller and jack-of-all-trades Hawkins were in great form, just like it was 1977 again, Hawkins’ voice sounding even better than it did on live tapes I’ve heard from back in the day. The CD and DVD contain exactly the same material with the exception of some between-song banter that was omitted from the 79 minute CD. Most of the material from their debut Black Noise is featured here, as well as three songs from Surveillance (including an extended version of the instrumental “Sofa Back”), and one cut (“Surface to Air”) from City of Fear as the encore. Besides Vena’s opening instrumental, another new twelve-minute piece “Trial by Fire,” composed by Hawkins, was introduced late in the set just before the launch into “Black Noise.” It’s hard to imagine why this set took eight long years to release, especially given that it’s such an excellent recording, but here it is finally, and well worth the wait.

Filed under: Archives, 2014 releases, 2006 recordings

Related artist(s): FM

Latest news

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Spaced Out - Live in 2000 – Anyone familiar with this hotshot Canadian fusion quartet (and shouldn’t all Exposé readers be?) knows that they are above all a musicians’ band – one of those outfits that...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues