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ConcertsRiverside, Glasgow Garage, 20th April 2023

Posted on Friday, April 21 2023 @ 23:15:30 CDT by Steven Reid
Progressive Rock

It’s been 4 long years since Riverside graced Scottish soil and a lot has changed during that time. One thing that has remained steadfast however is that this four-piece are the premier Polish progressive rock act out there and neither are they shy in proving that fact. With a new album in the shape of ID.Entity to show off, this outfit weren’t here to simply celebrate their long heritage and that was reflected in a set split evenly 50/50 with old songs and new. Sea of Tranquility’s Steven Reid had his ID checked at the door of the Glasgow Garage.

With no support in tow for this UK and Ireland trek, it could have been forgivable for the crowd to still have been slumbering as this now 22 year old act hit the stage, but as the well loved “#Addicted” got things underway, all it took for a huge roar to emanate from the audience was an authoritative nod from Riverside leader Mariusz Duda. The singing bassist is a true tour de force and flanked by his long time bandmates, keyboard player Michal Lapaj and drummer Piotr Kozieradzki, the talent within the ranks is nigh on incredible. However, it’s the journey of guitarist Maciej Meller that truly captures the imagination, even if you could argue that Duda’s bass is ever more dominant. From unsure, but impressive stand-in during the band’s hour of need when Riverside played in Edinburgh in 2017 (for what was one of the most emotional musical experiences I’ve ever shared with a band), to burgeoning full-time member when this outfit last visited Scotland in 2019, Meller now looks and feels fully at home as he adds some extra beauty and colour to a quite captivating set of songs.

Acknowledging that their latest album has a decidedly 80s - one could suggest pop - feel in a lot of places, Duda joked with the crowd that his main inspiration for ID.Entity was pulled from the decade earlier, but with the likes of “Landmine Blast” still managing to sound perfect in the surrounds of the long established “Egoist Hedonist” and “The Death Of Self-Delusion” (the latter from the Shrine Of New Generation Slaves album, which itself is celebrating its 10th anniversary), the cleverness in construction of these new songs can’t be denied.

Always an entertaining band visually, I’d be as bold to suggest that Riverside this time round felt freer and looser than before (although they remain as tight as ever musically), with a lot of smiles and laughs shared with both the audience and onstage, whether that being a challenge to find out if Duda or Lapaj could theatrically lean furthest backwards while being in full flow during some of the longer instrumental sections, or a quite hilarious moment where Duda asked the crowd to scream as loud as they possibly could… while whispering!

It all made for a two hour experience that absolutely whizzed past, culminating in the 80’s sing-along of “Friend Or Foe” which closed the main set with Lapaj dad dancing behind his keyboards. “Self Aware” from ID.Entity and “Conceiving You” - the oldest song on show the whole night - made for a captivating and well deserved encore and with that, this incredible display was over.

Riverside have always been a consummate live band and one that truly deserve to be even bigger news than they already are. Performances like this one not only reinforce that point in inarguable style but also suggest that they are having more fun doing so now than ever before. The same can be said for their faithful and well rewarded fans.

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