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ConcertsNEARfest 2004: Yezda Urfa

Posted on Wednesday, July 21 2004 @ 23:38:46 CDT by Pete Pardo
Concert Reviews The Return of Yezda Urfa

NEARfest historically features at least one band from the 70's who has reunited just in time to perform at the festival. 2004 was no exception, as Indiana proggers Yezda Urfa graced the stage Saturday morning to officially kick off the festivities. Featuring 3 of the original 5 members, Yezda Urfa's music hit home with many of the characteristic trademarks that they were known for 25 years ago; the complex Gentle Giant-like arrangements, soaring harmonies reminiscent of Yes, and the humor of Frank Zappa. Returning from the original line-up were bassist Marc Miller, guitarist Mark Tippins, and drummer Brad Chritoff, who were joined by keyboard player Mike Barry, singer Ron Platt, and second guitarist Logan Tippins.

The crowd roared with approval with the opening number "Give 'em Some Rawhide Chewies", a intricate ditty with weaving guitar & keyboard parts, complex vocal passages, and a tight rhythm section. Perhaps the most Gentle Giant-ish sounding piece in the band's repertoire, this tune signaled that a solid performance was perhaps in store for the 1000+ strong in attendance.

For the most part, that was pretty much the case, although at times it was apparent that a lot of rust had settled in, and the band still had some kinks to iron out after all the years apart. During some songs, especially in the early part of the one hour set, the band seemed a little bit out of time in spots, and occasionally singer Platt was a little off key, but the enthusiasm was there, and the band really seemed to appreciate the crowd. Guitarist Mark Tippins wowed the audience more than a few times with his mix of blues & classical leanings, and paired with keyboardist Barry the two made quite a duo. It wasn't until half-way into their set, and especially when they started unveiling songs from their long out of print debut album Boris (which has just been re-released) that the band really started firing on all cylinders. Their brand of rocking, complex prog rock, with just a hint of jazz & classical, got this festival started on a positive note.

I think all in attendance were of the opinion that, while not a perfect set, Yezda Urfa's performance was strong enough to give them a "thumbs up", and we all hope that new music from the band lies in the future.

Pete Pardo

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