YES AT THE MELBOURNE’S PALAIS: PROG MADE ME WHAT I AM
In the early ‘80s I was an archetypical post-punk. I played in a quirky three piece band (Serious Young Insects), I had a foppish fringe and wore black jeans and retro golfing shirts. I played at places like the Seaview Ballrom in St Kilda. I spurned anything rockist, bluesy, hippy — 1977 was ground zero. David Byrne was a hero. Jon Anderson, the singer from Prog progenitors, Yes, was a dinosaur.
But scratch under any post-punk art-rocker and you’ll probably find someone who was into Prog. Recently an old school friend, Sam Sejavka, contacted me about an impending concert by Yes at the Palais. They would perform two of their classic albums: Fragile and Close To The Edge. Samalso plied his trade in the post-punk milieu and was far more of a punk enfantterrible than moi.
’Why go?’ I asked.
‘It’s irresistible’ he replied.
I’ve run from my prog past for too long. I got Yessongs for my 13th birthday and learnt to play guitar, not from the licks and swagger of Jimmy Page, but from the sinewy noodling of Yes’s Steve Howe. It ruined my chances of being a rock-god lead guitarist. But it lead to art-rock and thinking about the guitar and music from an elaborated, skewed angle. With Sam’s prompting I figured it’s time to explore how this strange, complicated music got into our bones when we were adolescents — before fashion, irony, ego, aesthetics, careers, sex, and common sense modulated our sensibilities.
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