Saturday, 14th April 2012
De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
Airbag was the band that attracted my attention to this festival.
Mainly because of their excellent 2011 album All Rights Removed.
Quantum Fantay was unknown to me, which always makes me curious as the organisation obviously has a reason to invite them.
RPWL Iíve seen twice before.
The presence of the obscure and even somewhat mysterious British The Enid made me decide there was more than enough reason to come and take a look at
More than enough varied ingredients of musical food for an interesting day.
Although mostly curious about seeing The Enid for the first time in my life, I must say that
Quantum Fantay turned out to be the revelation of the day for me.
How is it possible that this band has been around for ten years now without ever come across them?
For one thing, I must have missed the DPRP review of their 2007 highly recommended album UgisiunsiÖ
Certainly a swell finding because this Belgian band treated the many people present with a lively set of fine instrumental progressive space fusion.
And above all did this in a striking relaxed way.
Symphonic rhythms together with strong bass guitar and percussion that kept the crowd involved and excited all the way.
A fine band with a wit performance; pure delight.
I strongly advise you to give some attention to Quantum Fantayís brand new album Bridges Of The Old Fishingmine
if you are interested in top notch progressive space fusion.
Setlist Quatum Fantay
Chase Autumn Clocks (medley)
Kukuriku Part 1 and 2
With Airbag we made the switch to some high level neo prog.
Probably one of the best in this genre available today.
Their last yearís album All Rights Removed reached number 13 in DPRPís best album of the year poll.
This is quite an achievement for a second full-length album.
Their live performance was very, very close to the actual studio material.
Very beautiful and well played.
I enjoyed this band as much as I was amazed about the almost total absence of emotion of its members playing it.
Remarkable. Unbelievable how a guitar player can play all of this so cold, or maybe I should say unmoved.
After some songs from their latest album, Airbag introduced the brand new song Redemption.
And closed the set with three songs from their first album Identity.
From which the real closer Colours was asked for by someone in the audience several times.
I got what I wanted musically.
I think I can safely speak for all people present to state that it was a joy to listen to this Norwegian band.
I already explained that their stage presence did not enhance the experience, but okay, if you want to see actors you have to go to the theatre.
Or to RPWL, you can read that below.
All Rights Removed
Never Coming Home
Homesick I Ė III
Safe like you
Steal my Soul
ďAnd now for something completely different.Ē
A very apt Monty Python quote to this band that is in no way comparable with any of the other bands here today.
And to very few bands worldwide for that matter.
Some very remarkable things are to be mentioned about
The Enid and their show.
I was amused beforehand by the huge number of instruments and junk these guys were stuffing onto the stage.
Was this the same wide stage of de Boerderij venue that I used to know? It took some time to get all their material hooked up and working too.
The illustrious Sir Robert John Godfrey, to the left behind his Yamaha keyboard,
started this special event with a subtle mixture of classic and prog and with a certain kind of prestige.
After this bandís long and extended life something like using a setlist is futile.
So, what did we see and hear? A great one of a kind show, a unique and unparalleled adventure of sound and sight.
Special is the keyword here. Kettledrums being operated by the bass player, ages from young to old, a regular drumkit next to a huge drum,
several idiofonic instruments, the lot. What was going on stage was just indescribable.
A vast part of the show echoed the vast period of time that The Enid managed to survive.
Instrumental that is.
But towards the end of the set Joe Paine was introduced as the bandís singer.
A singer they never had because of a tragedy with the Ďto be singerí who died before the band started recording back in 1974.
Both this ladís voice as his appearance on stage are very British and theatrical.
With a clear voice. Iím not sure whether a singer adds something to the band really.
Maybe it is against their nature; Iím sure there was and will be much to do about adding a singer to the band at the Enidi fanclub.
Then all of a sudden there seemed to be some panic and indecisiveness on stage.
It seemed that The Enid were running out of time and with a few glances to one another Sir Godfrey mentioned
that they had planned three more songs to play for half an hour or more.
But time was up and instead they choose to play Dark Hydraulic to end up with.
Curious? You can go and see The Enid for free in Almelo on the 17th of June.
What a huge contradiction to the previous performance.
The all English Enid with their wide array of instruments,
cables and stuff scattered all over the stagefloor with scarcely any room to move around against the German
RPWL with a spacious stage,
extremely neat and tidy with almost not a single cable on the floor. Ordnung muss sein.
This contradiction also reflected in the way these bands showcased themselves.
And I really donít know what I like best, I think I donít care because they both fascinated me and left their imprint.
In their very own way!
The festivalís programming clearly indicated that RPWL were considered to be the main act.
So letís focus on RPWL. This band treated us with a lengthy set including a double encore.
Thus giving one the chance to learn about todayís specificís of RPWL, both musically as in the way they act on stage.
To begin with the bandís stage performance, this can be limited to Yogi Lang only.
The show was focused on him and his constant dress up party, the other band members merely being present like wall paper.
Thus removing all emotion from the stage. Except for the conclusion, Yogi got a new costume from his personal assistant each and every song.
A nice theatrical gadget but maybe somewhat excessive, at least I got I tired of it and noticed that it reduced my attention for the music.
And RPWLís music doesnít need this masquerade at all. It is just splendid on its own.
The setlist consisted of the new album Beyond Man And Time, complete from track to track.
In the live settings it sounds a bit rougher than on the album, which is a good thing.
As a whole it certainly is more powerful and dynamic than I remember from last yearís Loreley festival and the gig at de Lantaarn, Hellendoorn, way back in 2002.
As a remark: near the end of the set Yogi talked about playing or not playing the This Is Not A Prog Song song.
I agreed on him not to play this song because it differs way too much from the serious work which they just concentrated on.
When the double encores with songs out of their back catalogue were presented, the theatre was over and the band, including the sound, seemed to start living a little.
All together a fine show with great music to enjoy.
We Are What We Are
Beyond Man and Time
Unchain the Earth
The Ugliest Man in the World
The Road of Creation
Somewhere in Between
The Wise in the Desert
Trying To Kiss The Sun
Hole In The Sky
Breathe In, Breathe Out
As usual both the quality of sound and the quality of lighting at de Boerderij venue was superb.
And the Progdreams festivalís organiser made a good choice in combining those four totally different bands
out of the wide spectrum that we tend to call progressive rock.
From old to new and from space to classic.
It was a joy being present to witness all of these in one glorious parade.