Psychedelic Prog Rock Cult Heroes Nektar to Play Ludlow Garage

The group — featuring founding members Ron Howden on drums and Derek “Mo” Moore on bass — comes to Cincinnati this Friday, Feb. 28

Feb 26, 2020 at 10:27 am
click to enlarge Nektar - Photo: Jay Petsko
Photo: Jay Petsko

For anyone who grinds their teeth over the conceptual nature and Classical-length suites conceived by Prog bands in the ’70s, you may direct at least some of your dissatisfaction toward Nektar. After all, the band's 1971 debut, Journey to the Centre of the Eye, consisted of 13 tracks knitted together into a single 40-minute piece of music that told the tale of an astronaut imbued with wisdom beyond conventional human understanding by an advanced alien race. With its Psych/Prog presentation and narrative storyline, Nektar's first album is widely considered an early example of the Rock Opera form, coming fairly quickly on the heels of The Pretty Things' S.F. Sorrow and The Who's Tommy.

Nektar was founded in 1969 by a group of British musicians who had relocated to Hamburg, Germany, a Rock hotbed that had proven successful for a previous quartet of musical Brits less than a decade earlier. The band's 1972 sophomore album, A Tab in the Ocean, was more traditionally song-structured, and 1973's improvisational …Sounds Like This helped grow their cult audience. But it was their American debut, Remember the Future, also released in 1973, that vaulted them into the upper tier of the Billboard album chart (it reached No. 13).

Both Remember the Future and 1974's Down to Earth were concept pieces — Future was a continuation of the story on their debut — and both were commercially well received. After 1975's Recycled, original guitarist/vocalist Roye Albrighton left the band, and they carried on with Dave Nelson for 1977's Magic is a Child, but broke up in 1978. The following year, Albrighton resurrected Nektar for 1980's Man in the Moon, and dissolved the band once again in 1982.

In 2000, Nektar was reformed once again and released The Prodigal Son in 2001. After reuniting the band's most popular lineup for a festival appearance, Nektar began a long decade-and-a-half of personnel shifts and management problems, but released a new studio album, 2008's Book of Days, and a booked a European tour that spawned the 2009 live album Fortyfied.

After a covers album and a new studio release, Albrighton died in 2016, but his final Nektar tour was celebrated with the double album Live in Bremen. At this point, Nektar splintered into two separate bands, both dubbed Nektar — one based in Germany featuring latter-day members of the band and the other based in the U.S. featuring founding members Ron Howden on drums and Derek “Mo” Moore on bass. That latter aggregation is the one on tour and coming to Cincinnati. They recently released a new album, The Other Side, featuring new takes on old Nektar songs that were never officially recorded. You know, there just might be a concept album in Nektar's own history…

Nektar plays Friday, Feb. 28 at the Ludlow Garage. Tickets/more show info: .