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Mars Hollow: RoSfest 2011

Mars Hollow started in April 2007 with the creative efforts of Steve Mauk, on keyboards and backing vocals; Jerry Beller, on drums and backing vocals; Kerry Chicoine, on bass and backing vocals; and John Baker, on lead vocals and guitar. Their debut album, (self – titled), was released to widespread critical acclaim in 2010. They followed up a year later with "World In Front of Me", which also received similar critical acclaim. So it was left to see which of the major festivals would put this band on stage front and center.

The answer came quickly and Mars Hollow was invited to perform at the coveted "Church of Prog" position at RoSfest 2011, at the renovated Majestic Theater in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

This album is the best of that performance at RoSfest, along with "So Far Away" which was added as a previously unreleased bonus track.

The ceremonies open with "Wait for Me", off their debut album. The guitar and keyboards are an excellent way to kick off this concert. The band wastes little time capturing your attention and making you part of the experience. The piano and keyboard sounds take you right back to Yes or some of the classic prog Hall of Fame. Baker's vocals join in soon after the introductory keys to add to the piece's growing epic dimensions. They add some keys that Keith Emerson would thoroughly enjoy. This is a long, 9:36 minute, introduction which just electrifies the audience and gets the show off to a great start.

"Midnight" is also off the debut album, and this performance reminds us all how good that debut hit the spot when it was released. The dramatic keys that open this one keep the audience spellbound with anticipation as the melody slowly unwinds.

"World in Front of Me" is next up, and it unfolds with its beautiful gatefold keyboard and guitar introduction without error. Baker's Geddy Lee – like high notes help lift the melody with his almost cheering voice. The "Lamb" – like piano in the mid –section of this track is awesome.

"Eureka" with its pipe – like organ opening is another fantastic song from the debut album.

"Weapon", off "World in Front of Me", always had a real Rush feel to it. Now played live it takes on an even better improvised and freer form. The Ray Manzarek - like keys are wonderful.

"Dawn of Creation" is the perfect Yes – like epic closer. 13:34 minutes of epic keyboards, guitar, drums, bass, and vocals to close out the live portion of the disc. Excellent.

"So Far Away" is a great addition to this CD set. It points to a new direction the band may take in the future. Good lyrics and equally good keys, bass, guitar and drums. The poetic readings and effects add to the mystery and aura of the track.

This band has an excellent future ahead of them to cascade off their past and current successes. The freewheeling ability of this band to take center stage at one of America's most prominent prog forums, so quickly, is a credit to the talent assembled.

Grab this first live album to enjoy the feeling of the live experience this band provides for your entertainment. Great show guys. Wish I had been there. ;^)

Track Listing:

1. Wait For Me
2. Midnight
3. World in Front of Me
4. Eureka
5. Weapon
6. Voices
7. Dawn of Creation
8. So Far Away

Added: November 16th 2012
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link:
Hits: 2083
Language: english

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