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The Musician, Leicester, 30 May 2010

Pendragon, photo by Andrew Lock

The intimate setting of the live music pub The Musician in Leicester made a great venue for a very up-close look at one of the most in form bands in Prog rock Pendragon, the band of course still riding high on the wave of the success of last years Pure album.

The Musician is a fabulous little live music pub, walls decorated with music posters and memorabilia, a stage at one end, viewing room for over 200 people and - always a plus for me - a good variety of real ales.

The set included all of the Pure release, not in one chunk but mixed throughout the set amongst an impressive selection of Pendragon classics.

First two tracks of the evening and also the opening pair from Pure, the catchy Indigo and the rocking Eraserhead, followed by one of the tracks of the night (also my favourite Pendragon number) the exquisite, beautiful masterpiece that is Paintbox from possibly the band's finest album The Masquerade Overture, a track that is a showpiece for all four members of the band.

Pendragon, photo by Andrew Lock

Next, another classic, this time one of the two played in the set from The Not of this World album and also time to slow things down with the atmospheric emotional If I Were the Wind, which included outstanding keyboards by Clive Nolan, before a cry of "ready to rock" introduced firstly the three part epic from Pure Comatose followed by The Freak Show from the same album.

At this point of the review I would like to say having seen the band three times in the last year what a complete outstanding unit of a band they are, NIck Barrett's guitar work as good as it gets with vocals to match, Clive Nolan adding such body to the band's sound with his keyboard layers, add to this Pete Gee's outstanding bass work and the powerful stick work of the real character that is drummer (and new boy!) Scott Higham, and you have a band really at the top of their game.

You can see the spirit and good humour that abounds within the group, always playing with smiles on their faces and having a great time which means the audience does too, they even had fun with the couple of technical hitches that occurred during the set.

Back to the music and back to the epics with Not of this World and the bouncing Nostradamus (Stargazing) a fan favourite from The Window of Life album and from the same album the stunning Breaking the Spell which includes some of Nick's finest guitar work then finishing the main set by revisiting Pure with the powerful moving It's Only Me.

Pendragon, photo by Andrew Lock

Encore time and time for the big one (for me they have plenty of big ones!) also time to keep hold of your beer glasses for the mass jump along to Masters of Illusion an out and out classic piece of music and a perfect encore - this is one thing the band excels at, complex and progressive pieces of music but still catchy and full of hooks.

A shock for the final track of the evening as Nick puts his guitar away and just handles the vocals (including singing most of the track amongst the crowd) on 2am from Kowtow, a great way to end a great gig and I am sure they will have a fantastic and well deserved reception at High Voltage.

Review and photos by Andrew Lock

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