DeeExpus are a progressive-rock band who hail from the northern England city of Durham. The band started out as solo project of songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Andy Ditchfield until he ran into his old friend and singer Tony Wright one night at a local pub. After convincing him to join, the two eventually brought in a guitarist, keyboardist, bassist, and drummer to complete the project. The rather odd band name was taken from an abbreviation of an old nickname that used to belong to Ditchfield.
I first heard about this band via the excellent review of their debut CD, Half Way Home, from fellow Blogcritics writer Jeff Perkins. I immediately downloaded the MP3 version of the CD from Amazon.com and have been enjoying this superb debut ever since. Applying the "prog" label to this band stirred some debate amongst a few Blogcritics' commenters, because DeeExpus could be equally at home in the pop-rock genre. I guess when you have a 17-minute title track that incorporates various time signatures and spits in the face of the typical verse-chorus-verse song structure, you may find yourself lumped into the prog category.
When I heard that DeeExpus had recorded their performance at the first annual Progrock Festival in Poland earlier this year for an upcoming concert DVD release, it immediately jumped to the top of my must review list. It's one thing to be able to throw together a debut album as good as Half Way Home, but to be able to play this challenging music live after only a few months worth of rehearsals is another thing entirely. This was only their third live show to date.
Far From Home was recorded on February 17th, 2009 at the Wyspianski Theatre in Katowice, Poland, during the aforementioned Progrock Festival. This two day festival also featured the bands, RPWL Shadowland, SBB, Tinyfish, and Overhead - all of which have their own concert DVDs of the event coming out this year from Metal Mind Productions.
The setlist featured all seven songs from the Half Way Home CD, as well as a previously unreleased ballad that Ditchfield had written about six years ago called "Red." DeeExpus were the first of three bands to perform that night, which is probably why their set was so short at only 68 minutes. I'm sure they could have added a few incredible covers had they been allotted more time.