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Progressive Nation Tour

Dream Theater, Opeth, Bigelf, Unexpect

Wednesday 7th October 2009
Ahoy, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Article and photos By Menno von Brucken Fock

Mike Portnoy is the mastermind behind this tour and line up: 4 bands and a chance to get to know some new bands. Ahoy Rotterdam was pretty well filled up but certainly not sold out (upper ring was closed) but several thousands of people had found their way to the rainy harbor city. I apologize for any shortcomings or inaccuracies, but I felt this event had to be covered but I had no intention to do so for DPRP….

 

Unexpect

Unexpect Unexpect was founded around 1996 and to this only the two guitarists are left from the original line up. The band plays a strange mix between classical, gothic rock, death metal, folk and maybe even more influences. Some folks call it avant garde metal…but then again, what’s in a name? Partly because of the imperfect quality of the sound, the very energetic performance of this outfit got lost in chaos at times. Exquisite melodic passage are alternated by doom, death metal with a lot of grunting.

The visual aspects are well taken care of: singer Leïlindel is a good looking beautiful lady but because of her extremely long "hair" one can hardly see her pretty face, especially when the lighting is as low as it was in Ahoy that evening. From the point of view of a photographer much too dark and too much red light. Another eye catcher is bass player ChaotH, his impressive 9 stringed bass combined with his dreadlocks is surely worth watching! This band is definitely crossing borders and I really believe they will be successful in the years to come. I have never heard from them until now and I apologize for not being able to produce a decent setlist… a genuine UNEXPECT-ed surprise!

 

Bigelf

Bigelf From the US (although the guitarist and the bass player originate from eastern Europe) came the cult band Bigelf, fronted by founder Damon Fox. Apart from some technical problems with the guitar, it was a enjoyable performance with loads of psychedelic influences, mixed with old-school hard rock from acts like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath.

One of the few acts in the progressive circus with a frontman playing the keyboards ( Memotron and Hammond among others!). This performance will undoubtedly contribute to Bigelf’s reputation and will help the band to acquire an internationally respected status.





Bigelf setlist
The Evils Of Rock & Roll
Neuropsychopathic Eye
Frustration
Hydra
Madhatter
 

Opeth

Opeth Opeth from Sweden hardly needs an introduction. Mikael Akerfeldt used the phrase "like oral sex" for some parts of the music the band played that evening. It amazes me time and time again that a singer can use his voice like Akerfeldt: everything between a good pop singer down to grunts from hell, and it does not seem to take a lot of effort too.

Although the major part of the audience seemed to dig those heavy parts more, personally I enjoyed listening to the melodic and atmospheric pieces. No technical problems here and a show worthy of the rising star Opeth seems to be. If mastermind Akerfeldt decides to stick to progressive metal, I am convinced one day the Heineken Music Hall will be filled with Opeth-fans one day, Opeth being the main event…..



Opeth setlist
Windowpane
The Lotus Eater
Reverie / Harlequin Forest
April Ethereal
Deliverance
Hex Omega
 

Dream Theater

Dream Theater Last but definitely not least, the prog-metal "inventors" Dream Theater. Again a huge demonstration of the unlimited technical abilities from Myung, Portnoy, Rudess and Petrucci. Labrie, avoiding the highest screams was in good form as well. Rudess proved to be a real wizard on the keys and even emphasized that by wearing a magician’s hat for a while. I did not like the part of his awesome solo where he uses the continuum fingerboard but the cartoons accompanying parts of his solo are both funny and pretty neat! Portnoy was constantly interacting with the audience and Labrie noted that DT really loves Holland because "you never let us down". As long as we do not have "an evening with Dream Theater", there will always be discussions about the setlist. The current album Black Clouds & Silver Linings was featured with four songs. I would have loved to hear As I Am again, played elsewhere on that same tour but that is purely my own preference. Main fact is DT are still fully in control and they are well ahead in the Champions League of progressive metal.

Dream Theater setlist
A Nightmare to Remember
A Rite Of Passage
Hollow Years
Keyboard solo
Prophets Of War
Wither
The Dance Of Eternity
Take The Time

The Count Of Tuscany
Slideshow

Links

Unexpect Official Website
Unexpect Myspace

Bigelf Official Website
Bigelf Myspace

DPRP Review: Cheat The Gallows

Opeth Official Website
Opeth Myspace

DPRP Review: Watershed

Bream Theater Official Website
Dream Theater Myspace

DPRP Review: Black Clouds & Silver Linings

Ahoy

 


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