On September 15, 2017, progressive instrumental virtuoso Plini brought the curtain down on his Handmade Cities North American tour in quite spectacular fashion.
What started out as a performance of his popular 2013 track Away soon turned into a hair-raising confirmation that the future of progressive guitar is immensely bright, thanks to the emerging generation of electric guitar stars currently championing the discipline.
Those who attended The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn that evening knew they were witnessing something special, with Plini calling upon a group of up-and-coming guitar heavyweights for six minutes of all-out progressive shredding.
Names on the list include Nick Johnston, David Maxim Micic, Horace Bray and Jake Howsam Lowe – all standout shredders in their own right, and young players who have in recent years perfected and pushed the boundaries of their craft to emerge as some of this generation’s most promising prog players.
With each axeman wielding their chosen six-string of choice, the assembled artists take turns to solo over an extended reprieve, before launching into a call-and-response passage that works its way down the line of guitarists with devastating sonic results.
Plini and his Strandberg set the pace, but Macic and his custom FAB model maintain the momentum, before the ever-versatile Bray takes his Tele to town with a demonstration of his box-smashing chops. Jake Howsam Lowe proves to be a worthy addition to the assembly, before Johnston goes full Guthrie Govan with a non-stop shred-a-thon that escapes the fretboard of his Schecter signature.
It soon becomes a masterclass in progressive techniques, crammed with blistering scale licks, dizzying two-hand tapping sequences, face-melting technical prowess and an overall sense that each player refuses to be out-shone by their peers – something that merely contributes to even greater guitar playing.
The video culminates into a fretboard free-for-all – one that not only demonstrates the individual brilliance of each player, but that highlights how the future of progressive guitar is in very safe hands indeed.