I had heard very good things about Australian band Unitopia. This double live DVD set confirms all the good references. The sound and delivery of the band on stage is outstanding, allowing the viewer to enjoy the vocals and instrumentation up close.
The sound of Unitopia is deeply grounded in progressive rock. Vocalist Mark Trueack, who is also one of the main composers, has the charisma of a great progressive rock singer, with a poetic voice that is influenced (and sounds like) Peter Gabriel. The band features skilled instrumentalists who create mesmerizing atmospheres, epic progressions and superb solos. Another feature of the band is that they include some pop hooks and memorable lyrics that engage the audience.
Although rooted in progressive rock, Unitopia adds other elements to the mix, including world music, classical music, and jazz. Although the publicity materials mention heavy rock, the heavy rock is thankfully minimal. The band is able to create powerful drama without having to resort to tired progressive metal gimmicks.
One Night In Europe contains material from various Unitopia albums. It’s essentially a best of and the Dutch audience was familiar with some of the material, singing along happily with the band.
On the lyrics side, Unitopia is a breath of fresh air. Although I like the darker side of music, too many of the current progressive rock bands seem to practice a brooding form of prog. Unitopia has an uplifting feel, even though they convey messages of environmental awareness, the near future and describe political and social turmoil and the frenzied speed of life and human relationships.
Unitopia’s lineup includes Mark Trueack on lead vocals, Sean Timms (the other composer) on keyboards and backing vocals, Matt Williams on guitars and backing vocals, David Hopgood on drums, Tim Irrgang on percussion and vibraphone, Craig Kelly on bass, and guest Ian Ritchie on saxophone, flute, and tin whistle.
Disc 1 contains two hours of fine music: Suffocation (1:54), Artificial World (5:29), Nothing Lasts Forever (5:15), Not Human Anymore (5:09), Tesla (15:34), Gone In The Blink Of An Eye, The Great Reward, Angeliqua (9:37), More Than A Dream (7:36), Justify (13:40), The Garden (24:58), One Day (3:11), Inside The Power (5:02). Although all the material is superb, highlights are Tesla, The Garden and One Day.
Disc 2 is a bonus DVD with behind the scenes footage, a short documentary and more live performances in Europe and on TV.
Unitopia is based in Adelaide, in South Australia. The band released its debut album More Than a Dream in 2007 on the Canadian Label Unicorn Digital. In 2008, Unitopia signed a three album deal with InsideOut Music, Germany, one of the leading progressive rock record companies in the world. Unitopia is the only Australian band to have signed with this label to this day.
In November 18th, 2008, InsideOut Music released Unitopia’s 2nd CD, The Garden. The 15 track double CD decisively established Unitopia as one of the leading progressive rock acts in the world.
In May 4th, 2010, Unitopia released their third album, Artificial worldwide through InsideOut Music. It is based on the topics of artificial intelligence.
The band had a very successful European tour in October 2010. The tour brought them to the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. During the tour, they filmed one of their performances in The Netherlands, which became the One Night In Europe DVD.
Unitopia supports various socially conscious non-profits. The band has allowed the use of their song “Still Here” for the Songs for Haiti double CD and “There’s a Place” for the compilation Stomp out Cancer. Unitopia also donated part of the proceeds from ticket sales of their concert in Adelaide to the Childhood Cancer Foundation. In addition, the band is involved with the project Bee Aware Now, providing a promotional song and video for the cause.
One of Unitopia’s songs, “321”, is a moving tribute to the bravery, suffering and eventual rescue of the Beaconsfield miners. The track gained nationwide exposure in Australia including a segment on 60 minutes. In May of 2007, with support and funding from the West Tamar Council, the band launched the single “321” at the one year anniversary memorial in Beaconsfield, Tasmania to an audience of nearly 3,000 people.
It is a delight to find such an excellent progressive rock group with charismatic vocals, excellent musicianship, meaningful lyrics, and worthy causes. Highly recommended.
or the CD version One Night In Europe