Everyone remembers the great bands that prospered in the 70’s in Lyon : PULSAR, SPHEROE, VORTEX, TERPANDRE but also ANGIPATCH, Jean - Michel JARRE...

Since, nothing worth of interest. Of course, the city with the two rivers and the two hills continues to cultivate its specificity concerning prog : long the homeland of two progressive rock magazines (Acid Dragon and the late Varia), and of one of the oldest prog radio shows in France Prog à Part (now 20 years old).

As for the progressive rock bands, this is the desert. It is true that concerts are rare and that they attract a public a bit sparse (200 persons for Pendragon or Arena). This is indeed not a favourable climate for the birth of new prog combos. The two compilations published by Acid Dragon (" From the Lyon's Vault" and "2001, A Prog Odyssey") revealed yet superb horizons (I think especially of the talented Crésudi and Mark Dolciami). The new millenium confirmed these hopes. As proofs the following outfits.


Pulsar are back! After two splendid mini concerts in Lyon, they just released a new soft, romantic and melancholy opus called "Memory Ashes". Highly recommended!


Contact : Pulsar



Abundantly saluted by the professional press in France (CrossRoads, Rock Hard) and the progressive one (Big Bang, Harmonie, Prog Résiste) but also the press abroad (Exposé, Colossus, Paperlate, Background, Progressive Newsletter, iO Pages, Mellotron…), " The Inner Dragon", the concept album of the Lyon band Silver Lining, gathers a deserved success: its symphonic progressive rock, led by Annie Morel's lyrical violin, is in all points majestic.

Contact : Silver Lining

Led by Roland Lelong, this outfit exists since 5 years, even if Roland is a veteran that played as guest of Ange 20 years ago. Exode plays a progressive theatrical music close to Ange and Mona Lisa, with the voice and the flute of the charming Angélique (did you say Ange ?). Their album was released in 2005 by Musea.

Contact : Exode

Enneade (nothing to do with the zeulh compilation by Musea) is a super group featuring three guitarists especially the excellent Georges-Marc Lavarenne with Fripp’s look and play. A complex, thrilling music, close to King Crimson, showing some heavy elements (they played as after of Dream Theater). Their album is now available.

Contact : Enneade

 Cortiane is a young band created in 1999. They play a more theatrical than purely progressive rock (the show is enlightened by superb costumes) mixing various influences (there is even a DJ!). They published two mini CDs privately.

Contact : Cortiane

François Thollot is a pupil of the zeuhl school. He plays therefore a prog music close to Magma. He has published two albums at Soleil Zeuhl : "Ceux d’en face" and "Contact" (2002). On this last record, there are musicians from (guess who?) the famous Magma influenced combo One Shot : bass player Philippe Bussonnet (also within Magma) and drummer Daniel Jeand'heur. François works on a new opus.

Contact : Soleil zeuhl

Sarcasme is a young promising outfit in the way of Ange. Debut album released by Musea.

Contact : Sarcasme


Some others to be noticed even if they are not from Lyon (but nobody’s perfect! - according to a Lyon saying) :

EX-VAGUS,  the band from Grenoble led by the talented Dominique (he was born in Lyon!), close to Ange (they played six times with them) and who played as guest of BJH

4/3 de TRIO, a group from the area of Grenoble too and their two opuses in the way of King Crimson

 NEMO,  a neoprogressive combo from the Puy-en-Velay, close to Pendragon

 ABSURD now MESSALINE, with our friend Eric Martelat (he draws the covers of Acid), a subtle blend of prog close to Ange and heavy rock in the Iron Maiden vein

THORK, a "dark folk progressive" band from Annecy and their album " Urdoxa". New album out!

 NIL, the other outfit from Annecy and their superb albums mixing prog, jazz, world, experimental

SYRINX, the third combo from Annecy (that makes a lot, it would be necessary to create them a page!) of progressive, jazz-fusion, whose particularity is to have no electric guitar...


(to be continued)


Gilbert Gandil (Pulsar) & Thierry Sportouche



© Roland ROQUE - October 2007