Progtoberfest IV delivers a long weekend of heady, techy, and whimsical music | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Progtoberfest IV delivers a long weekend of heady, techy, and whimsical music 

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click to enlarge Paul Wertico

Paul Wertico

Bryan Thompson

Even if you don’t have tickets to see Phil Collins—the King of Prog-Pop himself—at United Center on Monday night, you can still get your fix of all things heady, techy, and whimsical this week in Chicago. Progtoberfest IV is a massive three-day celebration of prog rock old and new that spans both stages at Reggie’s. In 2018, progressive rock is a superniche genre, and this fest brings some of its most impressive names to the forefront, including Pat Metheny drummer Paul Wertico, former Spock’s Beard members Neal Morse and Nick D’Virgilio (performing separately with their own ensembles), and sci-fi-influenced Canadian band FM. Progtoberfest also features a bunch of tribute acts: Canadian singer Marc Martel pays homage to Queen, local prog band District 97 plays the jazz fusion music of King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford’s collaborative work with guitarist Allan Holdsworth, and there’s also a Genesis cover band, Abacab—named after one of Mr. Collins’s finest albums. The biggest draw of the festival is the 50th anniversary performance of English psych-prog legends Soft Machine. The band’s larger-than-life founders, Robert Wyatt, Mike Ratledge, Kevin Ayers, and Daevid Allen, are nowhere to be seen, but this lineup does feature a good handful of its mid-70s members—drummer John Marshall, bassist Roy Babbington, and guitarist John Etheridge—who will play a mix of tunes from throughout their catalog.   v


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