Over 200 guests received a full-blown introduction into the growing popularity of progressive rock over the weekend.
ProgKNOXis, a prog-rock concert event, was hosted by the Bowery on Aug. 24 and included performances by four local rock groups and an additional act from Alabama.
The event was presented by Night Owl Music and Carleo Entertainment.
"ProgKNOXis" is a wordplay combining the genre of progressive rock and the host city. Prog-rock is a genre consisting of multiple riffs, technical rhythms and patterns usually wound tightly within prolonged jam sessions.
Local bands Maps Need Reading and Tabula Rasa took the stage for the first time in a year. Accompanying these bands were Cerulia and Mobility Chief. Seymour Blues arrived from Birmingham, Ala. as well.
While each band has formed their own significant following, the culmination of each group's respective fanbase revealed a significant overlap, Chris Burgess, guitarist and vocalist of Maps Need Reading, said.
"It's more about the community that the music lives within, and the community really came together," Burgess, senior in music, said.
Burgess elaborated on the reasons behind the show's success, referring to the lack of competitiveness within the group of like-minded musicians and a genuine desire to progress with the other bands.
Fellow guitarist David Webb expanded on where exactly this growing group of talent came from, and – while neither Webb nor Burgess was quite ready to label this the "prog scene" – they could not deny the rise in virtuosos playing in the area.
Webb identified distinctions in every band, ranging from Maps' own brand of technical Indie rock to Cerulia's metal-oriented progressive sound. In between, one can find elements of ambient post-rock in Mobility Chief and a massive spectrum of experimentation via Tabula Rasa.
"It's not so much 'prog-rock' as it is the ideology behind breaking genre barriers," Webb said. "It's using the whole broad spectrum of sound with different time signatures and harmonic structures. Its making music you wouldn't normally hear."
When asked to identify the source or genesis of the trend, Burgess quickly referred to Tabula Rasa (who is dubbed "progressive music kings" on the event's Facebook page) as a "big brother band," but claimed all of the bands arrived from different backgrounds.According to Tabula Rasa's Facebook biography, a goal they keep in mind when creating their music is "musical disintegration."
"Music of all styles holds equal importance and does not deserve to be excluded from one another," reads the biography. "Varied parts are created and blended in hopes that the resulting sum transcends genre, becoming an entity in and of itself."
After the event, Tabula Rasa posted on Facebook about the success of the night.
"We are truly honored to have been a part of ProgKNOXis last night," the post from the band's Facebook stated. "After a year off, seeing the great things happening within Knoxville's music community and being welcomed back with open arms made last night a memorable one."