Prog is cool again.
This is the impression I'm getting, sitting at a table in the mostly empty Czar Bar on a Thursday night. I'm watching two dudes in jinky sorcerer capes and hoods summon the eldritch gods of the misty mountains using a fat guitar rig, clattering stop-start drums and young-Geddy Lee screeching.
The band in my geek sights is Tarkus Attacks, a stripped, rampaging duo consisting of a tattooed beardo on guitar (Chris Bohatyritz) and a Michael Cera look-alike on drums (Nate Lewis, to whom I apologize for that comparison). Shambling, intricate and barely held together, they rock like a scimitar-wielding Ray Harryhausen skeleton warrior.
Also, as I will learn after the show, the Tarkusians (who took their name from the Emerson, Lake & Palmer album with the hybrid armadillo-tank beast on the cover) are openly Christian.
Hey, Jesus is just all right with prog.
Of course, these aren't the only proggers in town. Floating atop the area's topographic ocean of geek rock is Be/Non, whose instrumental chops and electro savvy put jet boots on Queen. The group's upcoming LP, A Mountain of Yeses, cannot come out soon enough.
And on the poppier, more Supertramp side of the spectrum, we have the Khrusty Brothers and Klangs collective, who are also Christian. They write kooky, elaborate songs about robots and create detailed fictional band histories and probably wear masks to high tea.
I can't explain this prog-liferation, but I like it. It is a grand tradition, one that runs the crystal sky from the brute riff-welding of Black Sabbath-influenced metal to the genteel horizon of starry-eyed Elton John-mainlining orchestral pop.
One is bold enough to envision a day when skinny-jean wimps dancing behind samplers and Neutral Milk Hotel plagiarizers will no longer sully the stages of rock bars around town with their bleating ironic agony.
When this Vampire Weekend of indie-rock dominance collapses, I'll be standing on its smoldering, scarf-riddled ruins, Foxtrot LP and wizard staff in hand.