Mexprog 2000, June 24th and 25th 2000
Salon 21, Mexico City, Mexico

With: Le Orme, Il Balleto Di Bronzo, Cast, Nexus, Códice,
Kromlech, Cruz De Hierro, and Nirgal Vallis

By Mario Riva Palacio

The whole thing started on friday, when a party was organized at the Progrestaurant called "La Corte Final". All the groups were there, as well as a bunch of fans and the concert organizers. That was really fun.

Some of the musicians organized a jam with their instruments, and it was amazing to see Le Orme´s drummer, playing with Il balletto di bronzo´s keyboard player, Pure adrenaline!

The festival took place in a forum called "Salon 21". It is some sort of ball room with tables where you can eat and drink. Curious, but comfortable, with a capacity of maybe 2,000 people. They had vendors with progressive stuff at convenient prices.

The concerts started with a band from Guadalajara, Mexico, called Cruz de hierro. This is a Cast's drummer side project, which I have already seen in Baja Prog 98. They´re a metal prog group, which will release soon their fist production under the Musea label. Personally, I don´t like too much the genre, though they had some good moments.

The next band was Nexus. They´re a band from Argentina with a production called Detras del umbral, which sounds pretty much like ELP, but a little bit heavier. The crowd was really excited and the band offered a really good show. Their musicians are really skilled and they played a number from their upcoming record.

Next, was the turn of Cast. They´re by far the best mexican prog rock band, and they proved it once more. It was a very special presentation for them, because it was the first time they played in Mexico City. Neoprog at it´s best. It was a great show and the fans were really pleased.

The headliners were the mythical, Il Balletto Di Bronzo. Well, only one member of the original line up remains, but this guy can surely play the keyboards. The other musicians were really good too and it was a incredible closing act for day one. They played in its entirety the world acclaimed Ys and some other songs. The gigs ended quite late, but people were very happy.

Sunday started with Códice, a Mexican band from Monterrey, which will perform on the next Progfest. This guys sound like a combination between King Crimson and ELP. They have released only a double CD called Alba y Ocaso. The first one is so, so but the second one contains a suite called Icons and it rocks!! It is really good, and they performed a lot of songs from that suite. Their drummer and their keyboard players are stunning and though the place wasn´t still full, the audience were really pleased with their show.

After this, a group that was already disbanded, gathered for the festival without much luck. They´re called Nirgal Vallis and though they´re not bad, they´re not my cup of tea. It´s a sort of Mexican folk music combined with violin, bassoon, and other instruments. They said that they´re planning to come back, and they only played for 20 minutes.

The next group was Kromlech, and they give a hell of a show. They had really good lightning and sound and they performed a selection of La soledad de las sombras and two brand new song. This band is gaining a lot of fans.

The final concert was given by the unbelievable Italian band Le Orme. They performed in their entirety, two of their major compositions, Felona e Sorona and Il fiume, and they blown the house away. Their musicians are absolute masters and they performed with a lot of energy and sentiment. It was REALLY good. The drummer was a master and nobody believed what they were looking at. They also played a selections of songs from their masterpieces Collage, Uomo di pezza and Contrapuntti.

In conclusion, I can tell you that the audience saw a hell of a festival.


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