When you mention the band name Riverside to a Prog Rock fan, nine times out of ten you get a very similar response…..and that is one of praise and adoration. 

This handful of UK shows for the Polish Prog Giants was the first visit to these shores in four years (although we can draw a line under most of 2020 & 2021 for obvious reasons) and it’s fair to say the shows were the talk of the many Prog forums. 

The opening three tracks of the night ‘Addicted’ ‘02 Panic Room’ & ‘Landmine Blast’ showed Riverside at their absolute best and really set the tone for the rest of the show…..and what a show we were to get over the next two hours, this is what Friday nights are all about. 

Frontman Mariusz Duda was in good spirits and engaged with the packed room from the very start….in fact the whole band played the entire set with smiles on their faces and so they should, considering they were out in support of one of 2023’s best albums in ‘ID Entity’ that has been incredibly well received by both fans and media alike. 

The set list was current album ‘ID Entity’ heavy but was interlaced with a selection of older tunes tunes too, like ‘The Depth Of Self Deception’ & ‘Egoist Hedonist’……This show seemed more like a celebration than just another concert on the current tour….the shackles of the last few years were off and Riverside were going to enjoy the freedom of life on the road once again. 

Duda, who is not just the frontman of this great band but also a fantastic bass player, was happy to orchestrate the crowd into a few sing alongs which the audience were more than happy to join in with…..the energy in the room was just magnificent, it’s easily the best atmosphere I’ve encountered in many visits to the second room at the Birmingham Institute. 

The encore was a double header of both new and old, in ‘Self Aware’ & ‘Conceiving You’, and was the perfect way to close what had been an incredible performance from an incredible band. Duda told us that the band would be touring the UK again in 2024 and next time I expect them to be playing the big room at the Institute, or better still the wonderful rock venue we have here in Wolverhampton……either way it will be great to have them back again so soon. 

Photo: Neil Bradford

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