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Nektar: Space Rock Invasion - Live from the Key Club

Nektar were not part of my initial adventures into progressive rock. Why, I have no idea, but the band was nowhere to be found in my musical upbringing. Years later I began to explore their music and quickly realized Nektar were right in my wheelhouse.

After a run of classic albums in the ‘70s the band disbanded in 1982 but reformed decades later and released Prodigal Son in 2001. The last few years has seen the occasional release, their last being The Other Side in 2020. I have not yet heard it but from all reports it is an excellent album. I would be remiss not to mention the passing of original member Roye Albrighton in 2016.

The subject of this review is the from band’s live disc Space Rock Invasion, performed at the Key Club, Hollywood, California on September 3, 2011. The disc spans two CDs as well as a DVD to visually document the performance. Digging into their classic material Nektar pulls out the title track from their 1972 release A Tab In The Ocean, an eighteen minute version that is simply outstanding. Fantastic musicianship, including spacey guitar and keyboards, got to love the Hammond, and multiple twists and turns. This is just a great version including the lead vocals of Albrighton who sounds really good to these ears. The psychedelic space rock keeps on coming with “Desolation Valley/Waves”, another track from A Tab In The Ocean. The melodic rocker “Doctor Kool”, which reminds me of Blue Oyster Cult, has excellent lead and backing vocals and nice guitar work from Albrighton. The keys are atmospheric and totally trippy. The heavy organ and fuzzy riffs in “King Of The Deep”, along with scorching lead guitar, and the funky guitar riffs and quiet moments of solitude in “Where Are You Now?” are more highlights. More great ‘70s tracks include the hard rocking and bluesy “A Day In The Life Of A Preacher” and the classic “Recycled”, a tune written decades ago yet is a perfect indictment of the current state of the world. Absolutely riveting stuff.

The DVD encapsulates the entire performance and its nice to see how much fun the band had playing that night. The stage set-up is basic, including the lights, as this is all about the performance. A very much invigorated effort, especially from Albrighton.

There is no doubting Nektar's high standing in the history of progressive rock and this live performance cements just that. Highly recommended.

The Players:
Roye Albrighton (vocals, guitar)
Ron Howden (drums)
Lux Vibratus (bass)
Klaus Henatsch (keyboards)

Track Listing:
Disc 1
1. A Tab In The Ocean
2. Desolation Valley/Waves
3. Doctor Kool
4. King Of The Deep
5. Where Are You Now?

Disc 2
1. A Day In The Life Of A Preacher
2. Recycled
3. Fidgety Queen

Disc 3 (DVD)
Same track listing as above.

Added: September 12th 2021
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 229
Language: english

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