The Astoria, London

Sunday 21 November 2004

Whatever the band's reservations about playing this festival must surely have dissolved as they left the stage with calls for more ringing in their ears. But unlike many Man gatherings nowadays in front of the faithfull, this was a rare occasion when they had to win over an audience, and one that grew noticeably in size as the set developed.

For this was Man at The Progeny 2 Festival, a three day event (Progeny meaning old and new) featuring the likes of Amon Duul II, Fish, Jan Akkerman, Carl Palmer, Magenta, etc etc and two tribute bands Ummagummaa playing early Pink Floyd and ReGenesis. And it was in front of a robust gathering of the latter's faithful that Man had to so their stuff.

And their stuff consisted of lots of Micky Jones, with both George Jones on second guitar and Gareth Thorrington on keys acting as foils for many of Micky's angular but compelling solo's.

And it all strangely came togehter, what with the Prog festival and Man back to their meandering best. Micky almost reverted to the type of years ago, swaying gently back and forward into his solo's with eyes shut, while the strangely muted Martin Ace, barely moved in his impressive lounge suit.

This was Man circa 1974 but with ressurected songs from a few decades later ( well, give or take a few years). "Heaven & Hell" for example, which plods along in places on the "Call Down The Moon" album was an inspiration here, while "Hanging On" was classic Micky, with strangled vocals and Zappa style guitar, full of heavy tone and strange riffs.

And so inevitably into a glorious reading of "Bananas", which was even marginally better than the elongated opener, "C'Mon". The crowd rose as one, the atmosphere of the festival took off like a lighted fuse, and Man rolled back the years gloriously.

Pete Feenstra

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