Column from September 27th, 1999 edition

Have been listening to Californian band Venice’s new album "Spin Art" quite a lot – great songs and great musicianship and way better than their rather soft "Born and Raised" album. A fine example of what AOR can be in the modern environment while still being acceptable to a wide audience. On top of that they’re about to play some rare European shows (all in the Netherlands). The biggest date will be on Saturday, October 9, at the Crossing the Border Festival in The Hague, but they’ll also do some headlining shows as well: The Oosterpoort in Groningen on Friday, October 8, and Doornroosje in Nijmegen on Sunday October 10. Don’t think they’re ever planned in Europe before. More details on the shows can be found at the following web sites: www.crossingborder.nl/, www.cultuur.groningen.nl/oosterpoort/, and www.doornroosje.nl/.

Another interesting live occasion coming up is "Baja Prog 2000" which takes place during the first week of March next year. It will run from Wednesday March 1 through to Saturday March 4 in the city of Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, across the border with California. From my point of view, the most interesting band confirmed to be playing is Scottish band Pallas, but others confirmed are: After Crying from Hungary; Jadis from the UK, Halloween from France; Nexus from Argentina; The Nightwatch from Italy; Drama from France; The Flower Kings from Sweden; and Mexican band Cast will also make a brief appearance. Further bands are also still to be added to the bill. For general information about the festival, go to: http://www.bajaprog.com.

Boston area female guitarist Jaye Foucher is currently in the studio working on tracks for her second instrumental prog-rock CD entitled "Contagious Licks". The CD contains 11 songs and is expected to be released by January 2000 - more information and sound bytes are available at www.jayefoucher.com.

Canadian intelligent hard rockers Emerald Rain have just launched their official web site. Surf into www.members.home.com/emeraldrain to check it out….