Summer's End Festival 2010
8th, 9th, 10th October 2010
Lydney Town Hall, Lydney, UK
Article By John O'Boyle, Jez Rowden, Tom De Val & Brian Watson
Friday, 8th October 2010
THE RESONANCE ASSOCIATION
Summers End Festival 2010 arrived with style and pizzazz. The billing was in many people’s eyes the strongest yet, with some very impressive acts on the bill. It would be fair to say that opening such an event would be a daunting proposition for most, but one which The Resonance Association stepped up and met head on, delivering the goods.
Some of the audience where slightly perplexed with what they were hearing, sonic soundscapes that consisted of industrial, post noise, electronic progressive instrumental music, being delivered confidently by Daniel Vincent and Dominic Hemy. Armed with guitars, the guys displayed their vision of musical soundscapes, pulsating, hypnotic, rhythmic music featuring some euphoric rhythm and lead work, which filled the room, with power, being supplemented by the eerie tones of the Theremin, reassuring the audience that they meant business. With tracks like Above Beyond and Forever, Heliopause Prelude and the closing atmospheric and powerful instrumental Dangerous Fantasist, the band couldn’t fail to impress. Although it only seemed a short set, in my eyes, the band represented their back catalogue well, playing tracks from all their albums, winning over a few new fans in the process. (John O’Boyle)
Above Beyond & Forever
I Have Seen The Future, And I Am Not In It
The “world’s smallest progressive rock band“ had more than their fair share of technical gremlins tonight, but the fact that they manage to pull off the concert with not inconsiderable aplomb is down to their not inconsiderable talent. With The Big Red Spark they have released an album of true quality that deserves to be heard by the widest audience possible. A number of those said tracks from the said meisterwork were played tonight.
I managed to speak to Simon Godfrey after the gig, and he hasn’t ruled out a full reproduction of the entire album, with samples et al., but for the moment we have to make do with just a selection of songs from the current record, without the studio bells and whistles, as well as much beloved live favourites, Nine Months on Fire and the epic All Hands Lost.
Rob Ramsay’s spoken pieces (and wardrobe changes) continue to impress, and we hear and see him tonight on Three Wishes, Pagodas (which can be found on the One Night on Fire live DVD), and the middle section of All Hands Lost.
An ever-dependable rhythm section, comprising Paul Worwood on bass and Leon Camfield on drums (as well as the erstwhile Mr Godfrey on guitar) adds great depth and provided a suitably solid backdrop for the wonderfully fluid and powerful guitar playing of Jim Sanders. (Brian Watson)
Three Wishes (spoken section)
I’m Not Crashing
The Big Red Spark
Pagodas (spoken section)
Wide Awake at Midnight
Nine Months on Fire
All Hands Lost
DEFENCE OF THE REALM
Keep Calm and Mellotron
And so, the band mounted the stage, making their way through the audience in darkness, shining torches and wearing WW2 attire. The stage was bedecked in wartime memorabilia, and teacups (which rock, according to Jem later, made fall over).
Technically brilliant, but also pant-wettingly funny, the gig was a triumph on a number of levels.
John Mitchell was able to converse with prog legend Phil Collins at numerous points throughout the show. Which is different to the normal, “this is a track from our latest album,” audience interaction which one finds at most gigs.
A raft of Frost*, Kino, Transatlantic and Marillion tunes were paraded before us. Highlights for me included the (probably never to be heard again) Kino material and the two Marillion songs, Afraid of Sunlight and The Space, mainly because I think Pete Trewavas is a phenomenal bass player. Loser’s Day Parade was a suitably anthemic climax although I do appreciate the irony of lots of middle-aged, middle-class people singing “Dead Nobodies in Company Cars” at the top of their voices. (Brian Watson)
The Dividing Line - Frost*
Leave a Light On - Kino
Camouflaged In Blue - Transatlantic
Holding On - Kino
Afraid of Sunlight - Marillion
Letting Go - Kino
Black Light Machine - Frost*
The Space - Marillion
Losers Day Parade – Kino
Saturday, 9th October 2010
Being first band of the day at a festival is never an easy task, but Haken complete the job with aplomb, their energetic and powerful performance winning them many plaudits. Whilst most bands with just a debut to their name might struggle to fill an hour slot, Haken actually have to leave out a couple of tracks from the highly accomplished Aquarius in order to keep to their allotted timescales. Whilst their music has its share of mellower moments, the metallic edge often on display throughout their set, along with the occasional death growl and unexpected forays into areas such as lounge jazz and even circus music keep the audience on their toes. Having played the ProgPower Europe festival the previous weekend, the band sound tight and well organised - the instrumentalists are all highly technically gifted and it shows, whilst Ross Jennings is an engaging front man who also boasts a sense of humour – the knowing guffaw from the audience when he stated before Drowning In The Flood that ‘this is a song to let your hair down…(pause) if you have any’ was pretty amusing. Sound-wise this wasn’t perfect, with the keyboards in particular being rather low in the mix at certain key points, but this wasn’t a big enough hiccup to detract from a thoroughly professional performance. Although Unitopia were many people’s band of the day (probably mine too, by a whisker – not least because they boasted a superb sound), for my money Haken ran them a very close second, and I expect they’ll be moving up the rota at future festivals soon enough. (Tom De Val)
The Point of No Return
Drowning in the Flood
Black County neo stalwarts arK, are back with a rollickingly good album, Wild Untamed Imaginings and they produced a splendidly theatrical set showcasing the record. The sound was spot on and vocalist (and flautist) Anthony Short changed costume more times than Madonna. One minute bedecked in a blood-soaked lab coat, the next in ‘terrorist’ garb, his piece de resistance was stood, back to the audience, as a soldier complete with gaping head wound. They don’t, obviously, do things in half measures, these lads.
The centrepiece of the arK sound is Steve Harris’ guitar synth and he certainly let rip with said instrument, particularly on New Scientist and Gaia.
We got the full on three man guitar orchestra pose, too, which always reminds me of BOC but which John Jowitt, after the show, revealed was the band’s homage to Quo.
Set closer Nowhere’s arK contained the eminently appropriate line ‘winter’s upon us, the summer is dead’, a perfect end to a perfect show. Miss this band live at your peril. (Brian Watson)
Powder for the Gun
Unitopia have made a big impression with their last two albums and many in attendance were there for them, the rarity of an appearance by an Australian band also whetting the appetite. Singer and leader Mark Trueac has crossed from the business side of music to being a performer and cuts a slightly incongruous figure on stage. However, his passion and the emotion he injects into his delivery makes him a top-class singer. The music, co-written with keyboardist Sean Timms, carries an environmental message and uses a variety of styles including World Music and Jazz to deliver it. From the off the septet played a blinder and were clearly blown away by warmth of the reception they received. Guitarist Matt Williams was fluid and inventive with solid support from new rhythm section David Hopgood and Craig Kelly with Tim Irrgang’s percussion and sax from tour guest Ian Ritchie adding to the breadth of their palette. Their delivery of key tracks from More than a Dream, The Garden and Artificial endeared them to many and it was obvious how well they were received by the number of Unitopia shirts on display over the rest of the weekend. (Jez Rowden)
Nothing Lasts Forever
Not Human Anymore
Gone in the Blink of an Eye
The Great Reward
More Than A Dream
Here I am
The prospect of finally seeing Jonas Reingold’s side project was a key draw of the weekend for me, doubled by the evening being shared with fellow Flower King Roine Stolt’s new project, Agent’s of Mercy. Things did not start well with a long soundcheck delay but good humour remained as Roine joked about wanting to see everyone’s special ‘Soundcheck Tickets’. The band, Reingold and Stolt with the wonderful Lalle Larsson (keyboards), Goran Edman (vocals) and newcomer Walle Wahlgren (drums) with Nad Sylvan in a supporting voice and keys role, were clearly relaxed but there was something missing. Excitement was lacking despite the quality of the material and playing, particularly during Eternally Part II, the emotional closer from Who’s the Boss in the Factory? dedicated by Jonas, to his deceased parents. The track just didn’t offer the clout that it does on record. Upon wondering why they failed to fire I started musing on the whole “Power of Two” thing. Does one band supporting itself with two different repertoires actually work? Although a more economically viable touring solution it seems to detract from the whole effect. Due to the impending release of the new Agent’s album Karmakanic were in the support slot tonight but with both sets featuring the same musicians the traditional view of the support trying to make a good impression in front of an ambivalent crowd is nullified; the only line-up change being the switch of lead and backing vocalists. As the band tonight was fresh from the recording the new Agent’s of Mercy album (with Edman added) the focus of some may have shifted to that release and not the Karmakanic material that they didn’t play on. An enjoyable, but slightly disappointing set, from a world class group of musicians. (Jez Rowden)
Send A Message From The Heart
Bite The Grit
Where Earth Meets The Sky
AGENTS OF MERCY
All change. Karmakanic became Agents of Mercy, same line up, just a slight shuffle of singers. Goran Edman stepped out of the limelight, assuming the role of backing vocalist, allowing Nad Sylvan stepped to the front, displaying his unusual prowess and theatrical approach. As ever the guitar genius, that is Roine Stolt, performed and delivered what he does best, beautiful, complex and melodic guitar passages with dexterity, creating songs that had depth and strong soundstages, whilst Jonas Reingold et al followed with total conviction.
The show kicked off with the opening track off their new album, Dramarama, The Duke of Sadness, sounding somewhat like a mix of The Flower Kings and Genesis, seeing the band working together in perfect harmony; the audience intently watched every move made, hanging on every word that the band were selling. This was really a set awash with so many highlights. The powerful and enigmatic Peace United followed, with nothing less than total perfection. There seems to be no end of talent exuding from these musicians, they are both prolific and classy. Even when the band performed the folky, acoustic led Cinnamon Tree, Nad Sylvan just created pure magical imagery, with poetic precision.
It could have been a brave and daring move to play a set of consisting of mainly new songs. This didn’t phase the band or the audience in the slightest, in fact it added to the whole ambience of the set. Even The Fading Ghosts of Twilight with its haunting approach and the stunning encore piece that was A Different Sun, from their first album, confirmed that what had been created this evening was something special.
Was there was a better way to close a day of music, being performed by very talented musicians / bands? I couldn’t think of one. These two sets will go down in the folk lore that is Summer’s End, having people talking for a long time to come. (John O’Boyle)
The Duke Of Sadness
The Fading Ghosts Of Twilight
We Have Been Freed
Last Few Grains Of Hope
A Different Sun
Sunday, 10th October 2010
Sunday’s opening multi national act Multifuse set the tone for the day a head, plying their heartfelt symphonic rock that had jazz, folk and classical influences interspersed throughout. They were an unknown identity to me; Cherie Emmitt and co took to the stage looking slightly nervous, but once the band got into their stride, they presented some rather excellent and flawless music. From the loud opening Hypnotise that became mysterious as it travelled it distance, through to the rather frantic Answer You and the epic twenty minute plus Yours Again, which covered a whole gamut of musical emotions, seeing the band at ease, really enjoying themselves and engaging the audience who stood in disbelief, listening with intent, offering rapturous applause. The final closing tracks confirmed that the band have a bright future, the building and enchanting Dawn Chorus, the rather pleading sounding Neverland featuring a nice keyboard solo and Imaginary Ways with its unremitting drive which just stopped dead. Multifuse are certainly a band who know how to entertain, what they want to create and aren’t afraid to succeed, being a band you need to keep an eye on. (John O’Boyle)
Day to Day
DEAD HEROES CLUB
The walled city of Derry has presented the world with a band called Dead Heroes Club, who for me was the surprise of the weekend. This was a band that I really found intriguing, no substitute that word for loved. Messer’s Liam Campbell, Mickey Gallagher, Wilson Graham, Gerry McGerigal and Chris Norby are a rare breed in my eyes, a band of five musicians who had no pretentions, who just wanted to play, reminding me of the old Neo Prog bands in their heyday, creating emotional song structures with great story telling lyrics. Not only that Liam Campbell’s performance was second to none, feeling, living and breathing every word he presented to the audience, which to be honest, you really can’t ask for much more from a front man.
The band really mixed the festival up, taking a rockier approach, with some hints of their Celtic heritage thrown in for good measure. The band where both vibrant and exciting to watch, even when they played a piece in work called Hunger. McGerigal’s dexterous guitar work was complemented by the backline of Graham and Gallagher, working in unison as Chris Norbys keyboard work created depth to the whole affair.
Time out ran Dead Heroes Club, which sadly meant that what had been witnesses had come to an end. This was a band that certainly had the crowd buzzing with that WOW factor. If you get the opportunity to see these guys, don’t miss out, honestly they are that good. I will certainly be looking out for these guys’ recordings and playing live; I suggest you do the same. What was witnessed throughout their set was something rather special. Only for the fact that Roine Stolt and co hand been in the building, Dead Heroes Club would have been my band of the festival, without a shadow of a doubt. (John O’Boyle)
Hunger (new song)
Time of Shadow
This was always going to be a highlight of the weekend for me and I wasn’t disappointed. Ten (yes, 10) piece Phideaux played a note-perfect selection of songs from last but one album doomsday afternoon, in the form of the twenty minute long act one compilation doomsuite, as well as thank you for the evil and microdeath softstar from act two.
Nothing, though, from latest album number seven, which has far fewer starkly realised moments of light and shade and hence which wouldn’t, I think, have come across as well in the live arena.
We did get two new songs, Angry Planet and Helix, which will appear on upcoming album number eight, as well as Chupacabras from the album of the same name and the superb personal favourite Tempest of Mutiny which has recently been released as a download and which should make an appearance on CD on interim album 7 ½.
The sound was the best of the festival, an amazing achievement when you consider the number of performers. Prog trivia aficionados were well served by the appearance of bassist Matthew Kennedy, of the band discipline. (Brian Watson)
Doomsuite – selections from doomsday afternoon
Thank You for the Evil
Tempest of Mutiny
The stage was set for the evening session but the ubiquitous delays continued as the sound was perfected; easily forgiven as the audible results spoke for themselves. Sylvan overcame the problems professionally and with a good dose of humour which endeared them to many. Singer Marco Glühmann was battling a dodgy throat but coped admirably and once they got going they’re expansive sound filled the hall and had much to commend it with good song writing and solid performances. Sebastian Harnack deserves special mention for some excellent bass work, his cheeky chappie persona also adding to the stage show. Guitarist Jan Petersen could possibly have been a little sharper for me but overall this was a very enjoyable performance that included a selection from their Posthumous Silence concept work which went down well plus a wide range of tracks from their expansive catalogue. Towards the end of the set Glühmann’s voice was starting to give up the ghost but no matter, a well deserved storm of applause greeted the end of their set, even if they did overun a little naughtily with a two track encore. (Jez Rowden)
One Step Beyond
Pane of Truth
Answer to Life
A Kind of Eden
When the Leaves Fall Down
The Colours Changed
A band like The Watch is a simply brilliant way to end a festival weekend. The sound is proudly Old School fashioned from the same ingredients as their heroes, Genesis, but the mix of splendid originals with superbly rendered early Genesis crowd pleasers made for an uplifting nostalgia that is based purely on the quality of the music. Old and new fit together seamlessly and the crowd sang along making for an atmosphere which helped the Italians to grow in confidence. Singer Simone Rosetti is the focal point; shut your eyes and it could be a young Gabriel. The rest of the band was simply superb with a stunning recreation of sound. The guitar and bass of Giorgio Gabriel and Guglielmo Mariotti coupled with fine drumming from Marco Fabrri and the wonderful keys of Valerio De Vittorio thrilled those who managed to stay until the end of a long weekend and a night which ended much later than anticipated, the encores of Supper’s Ready and The Knife sending everyone home with a smile. The band were clearly surprised by the depth of feeling for what they do and gave the audience humble and heartfelt thanks for listening. Our pleasure! (Jez Rowden)
Shiny Bald Heads
Can Utility and the Coastliners
In The Cage
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