Progressive rock isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when many people think of the band Genesis.
They’re more likely to think of the MTV and Top 40 radio mainstays led by Phil Collins that produced such world-wide hits as “Invisible Touch,” “Tonight Tonight Tonight” or “Land of Confusion” in the 1980s and early 1990s.
But there was another art-house version of the band led by Peter Gabriel, with Collins just the drummer.
“It’s almost like a lost history of rock ‘n’ roll,” said Lloyd Gold, lead vocalist of RAEL – The Music of Genesis, a New York City and northern New Jersey-based tribute band that performs Saturday at the Geneseo Riviera, 4 Center St., Geneseo.
The concert will feature tracks from such Genesis albums as “Nursery Cryme,” “Foxtrot,” which includes the 23-minute epic “Supper’s Ready,” “Sellng England by the Pound,” “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” and “A Trick of the Trail,” the latter the first without Gabriel. The show may also include some of Gabriel’s solo hits.
“We’ll have a little surprise or two,” Gold promised. “We’ll get some more popular songs of the era, and also deeper tracks that you don’t hear live often.”
Early Genesis music, Gold said in a recent telephone interview, “takes you to a different place; transports you to another time and place.”
That would be a period from around the late 1960s, when the founding members of Genesis met at a private school in Surrey, England, and through some minor lineup changes, and the departure in 1975 of Gabriel.
“The older generation of the band is overshadowed by the version that was more popular, had more sales,” said Gold.
Early Genesis, Gold said was more adventurous both the Gabriel era noted for its musical complexity, lyrical storytelling and theatrical stage presence that often saw Gabriel wearing costumes.
“The music had a lot of odd time signatures that can change in mid-song,” said Gold, who dons the costumes for RAEL.
“The songs were designed that way. There were more complex chord progressions that didn’t often repeat. And there was a lot of interplay between keyboard and guitar,” he said. “It was a very interesting sound that they created.”
This earlier incarnation of Genesis is so favored by RAEL that the quintet takes its name from the band’s 1974 concept album, “The Lamb Lies Down of Broadway.” It was the sixth Genesis album, but the last for Gabriel, who announced during a 1975 tour for “The Lamb Lies Down…” that he would be leaving.
“Progressive rock kind of shifted in the mid-1970s when punk and New Wave moved in,” Gold said.
It would be another decade before Genesis really broke out in America, about the same time Gabriel was enjoying his biggest hits as a solo artist.
As a choice for his band’s name, Gold acknowledged it may be “a little cryptic” but also fun for the serious Genesis fan.
Rael was a character in “The Lamb Lies Down…” who, as a Puerto Rican youth in New York City, finds himself on a journey of self-discovery that includes bizarre incidents and characters.
RAEL, the band, has been together about six years. The band evolved from two guys singing in cover bands and now includes Gold, who also plays flute and has his own psychedelic ukulele band, Lloyd United; Mike Belmonte, the bassist who first learned of Genesis after being given an eight-track of “Seconds Out” in the 1980s; Paul Sheehan, drums and percussion; Michael LaBuono, keyboards; and Sal Lacascio, guitars.
“As a band, we’re very blessed to work with such great guys,” Gold said. “We work so well together and have an energy for this type of music and the musicianship it demands.”
A Quick Look
WHAT: Rael – The Music of Genesis, in concert.
WHEN: 7 p.m. Aug. 10. Doors open 6 p.m.
WHERE: Geneseo Riviera, 4 Center St., Geneseo.
TICKETS: $25 in advance, $29 at the door. VIP admission with table service $30 in advance, $34 at the door. Available from the box office and online at www.brownpapertickets.com.
INFORMATION: Online at geneseoriviera.com or call (585) 481-0036.