Nektar Celebrates 50th Anniversary With Milwaukee Show
by Gregory Harutunian
February 2020

The band, as they appeared in the studio last year.

The band, as they appeared in the studio last year.

Like a few other English bands, Nektar first found success in another country…in this case, Germany (which is why the name is spelled with a “K”.) The difference was their bent toward psychedelic music with classic early 1970s albums like “Remember The Future,” “Recycled,” and a stateside breakthrough, “Down to Earth.”  Despite their eventual splintering, and a 2003 reunion tour, the magic in the music seemed missing. 

Original members Derek “Mo” Moore (bass), Ron Howden (drums), and Mick Brockett (special effects, lights and lyrics) marked the band’s 50th anniversary by producing a concept suite of songs, titled “The Other Side.” The music picks up right where the previous ones left off, and features past members Ryche Chlanda (guitars, lead vocals), Randy Dembo (bass pedals, acoustic guitar), and Kendall Scott (keyboard).

A tour was begun in late 2019 to continue the celebration, and it rolls into Milwaukee’s Shank Hall ( Mar. 2. The stop is special because of the connection to the town’s German population, which first embraced the band, with the word, “gemutlichkeit,” thrown in there someplace. The legendary Brockett light production will be in full-on mode.

“This is our 50th year, we put the band together for the new project, and now, a tour…and the music is great,” said Moore, calling from his New Jersey home. “It’s every bit a follow-up to ‘Recycled,’ and folks are loving it. TOS (“The Other Side”) has been out a few months now, the whole experience of recording it was fun.”

The band took to social media last Aug., with a Kickstarter campaign to record an anniversary project, while the music itself came from 1978 writing sessions in Moore’s basement which was put on hold. Various touring projects passed sporting different band configurations, and then, and the 2016 death of original guitarist and vocalist, Roye Albrighton, curtailed any further activity.

Two years later, “New Nektar” was organized and still tours under that name, although Moore, Howden, and Brockett have left and re-formed under the “Nektar” umbrella. TOS features the familiar elements of progressive rock, classical influences, a blazing live presentation. 

“We’re enjoying the pack-out for the tour,” said Moore. “That break…we had other things to do for business. I was available because of selling my contractor business for construction and plumbing, and retired in Apr. 2019. That itch for music, and the anniversary, kind of propelled things…the band really sounds great, and we’re playing about 60 per cent of the back catalogue, at a given show, Milwaukee included.”

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CD: The Other Side Record Label: Esoteric Records
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