Always Almost, Discipline: Live at the Mask and Wig Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.; May 9, 1998.

   The first of hopefully many "PhillyProg" events occurred May 9 at the Mask and Wig Theater in downtown Philadelphia. The gorgeous 100-year-old theatre, affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, usually serves as clubhouse for an elite university theater troupe. The theatre, with an all-wood interior full of memorabilia, provided an intimate setting and a perfect backdrop for the evening's performances.
   The double-bill featured Discipline showcasing their brilliant new CD Unfolded Like a Staircase, and Always Almost, comprising former Echolyn members Brett Kull, Ray Weston, and Paul Ramsey, joined by Joe Stout on keyboards.
   Discipline took the stage first, opening with "Circuitry." The band was in fine form, playing very tight, with haunting lead vocals from Matthew Parmenter. Discipline then dove into its 22-minute epic "Into the Dream," off their new album. This was the first of many crowd-pleasers, with Parmenter apologizing to audience members who were hearing the mega-track for the first time. But he need not have worried as the crowd roared with approval. The set continued with selections from Discipline's first album Push and Profit, as well as "Canto IV" from Unfolded Like a Staircase. The two-hour set concluded with an encore featuring "Homegrown."
   After a brief set change, Always Almost opened with "Tread On" from their new album, God Pounds His Nails. The band was in great spirits as they ripped through songs from both their CDs (including Always Almost, their first release under the name Still).
   The hilarious stage antics of vocalist/bassist Ramsey, and guitarist/vocalist Kull had their home-town crowd cheering. The set was highlighted by a brilliant rendition of Gentle Giant's "Aspirations," also on the new album. They followed with an impromptu version of the Monkees' "Daydream Believer." Stage antics and craziness aside, their set included beautifully structured songs and vocal harmonies performed with high energy and skilled musicianship. - Dan Walker 

(From Progression Magazine, Spring/Summer 1998, p87.)