Concert Review Archive

 

ENorm + X-Panda

Friday, 4th November 2016
Cultuurpodium Boerderij, Zoetermeer, the Netherlands

Article and photos by Edwin Roosjen

The concert was promoted as "Marathon - The First Run live by ENorm". It took some time for me to find out that the band used to be called Marathon, made an album called The First Run and are now playing that album using their current bandname ENorm. I never heard of ENorm or Marathon but it was brought to my attention by a Facebook friend so I checked out some samples. According to some reviews I must have missed out on a really good Neo-prog album in an era (1994) during wich I was really exploring progressive rock. Time for me to check it out.

X-Panda

Another reason for me to attend this evening was the fact that X-Panda was the support act. I saw them at Progdreams 2014 and they really impressed me. At that time vocalist Tamar Nugis also played a lot of bass on the instrumental parts. The other bass-player stepped in when Tamar had to do his vocals. They now have a new bass-player Roland Jairus and Tamar only does vocals, no more bass.

X-Panda

Guitar player Risto Virkhausen had a guitar with fanned frets. First time I have seen one of those. It looked strange but he played it with the same ease as his normal guitar. X-Panda played a lot of new songs from their new album Reflections. The sound of X-Panda stayed the same. Technical progressive metal with many changes, heavy guitar and a nice layer of keyboard sounds. They still have their enthusiastic attitude but this young band sure has matured their music writing.

Compared to their first album Flight Of Fancy there are a lot more vocals on the new one. Reading back my review from Progdreams I noticed that I mostly liked the instrumental parts. The instrumental stuff tonight was during the second part of their show. On The Way is an instrumental song from the new album and the title track Reflections is a huge piece of music, several parts in this song are mainly instrumental.

X-Panda

The first part of the show I was, ahum, underwhelmed is a big word but I was not as enthusiastic as the first time I saw them. As they said themselves they are trying to cross some barriers for their music style and they were trying stuff you might not expect to hear from X-Panda. Instead of taking it more towards the experimental side X-Panda took a turn for more song-based, more accessible music. More lyrics while I was hoping for more instrumental technical stuff. They sure matured their sound, which is a good thing, but I hope they will turn more towards experimental instrumental music.

X-Panda

All things considered they still played one hell of a gig. They are maybe taking a different road than I hoped for but that is no reason for not enjoying their gig. The last song was the title track of their first album Flight Of Fancy and to me that showed that X-Panda still has that fresh sound and can certainly bring a nice performance to the stage.

Setlist X-Panda
The Game
Denial
Hit And Run
Rise Up To Fly
On The Way
Reflections
Flight Of Fancy
 

ENorm

I heard some samples from the music of ENorm and that was my only contact with their music up to this evening. The core of the band are the brothers Eric Ten Bos (vocals) and Ronald Ten Bos (guitar), in the nineties they were members of the band Marathon. Tonight Marathon's 1994 album The first Run was going to be played completely.

ENorm

ENorm

In the case of a classic album being played the band usually starts with that album and then ends with a variety of other songs. ENorm did it the other way around, they started with music from their recent era.

With three other members ENorm is a different band from Marathon. The Ten Bos brothers founded ENorm with Ferry Blut (drums) and the band is completed with Liejondo Nijhuis (bass) and Martin Platenkamp (keyboard). Instead of the neo-prog ENorm plays more accessible, compact songs. Singer Eric jokingly stated that his brother is not allowed to play those lengthy solos anymore.



I was surprised they did not start with the Marathon stuff but I enjoyed ENorm's music a lot. The first part contained some less progressive music, very nice songs. Though very good music I still more appreciate the heavier proggy songs in their reportoire. I really liked German Soldier, a heave ENorm song. Just before that song they played some short bits of Rush. They must like Rush, their latest album is called Finding My Way and the sleeve looks a lot like Rush's Test For Echo. But they did a superb version of Villa Strangiato and Tom Sawyer, sadly only a few bars.

ENorm

ENorm

Singer Eric is a good performer, he has a very good voice and I really like his singing. He likes to talk to the audience and appreciates it when someone responded with a request or a joke. The band comes from the east side of the Netherlands and so did a lot of people in the audience. The band appreciated the fact that many people took the effort to drive to Zoetermeer. Cultuurpodium Boerderij was not packed but it was nicely crowded. When I reached the parkinglot I could easily park my car so I was afraid it was going to be quiet but they must have travelled by bus from the east of the Netherlands.



At the right side of the stage there was a big leather chair and I really wondered why they took that big chair with them. Eric explained that during the course of one year three of their fathers passed away. The leather chair was the chair where his father used to sit and drink his beer and read his newspaper. His father used to attend their concerts. Eric jokingly told his father used to ask why the solo need to be so lengthy and that he liked it but he still preferred John Denver. The band gathered around the leather chair and song some John Denver in remembrance of their fathers.

ENorm

ENorm did a nice visual trick with water and a burst of light and then it was time to start running. They usually end their concerts with Beyond The Veil because it has some nice singalong parts and it is indeed a great song to put at the end of a gig. But since they played the whole album they started with that song, when the song was finished he jokingly said "thank you and good night". The album The First Run was played completely and this was wat most people wanted to hear.

ENorm

Finally Ronald Ten Bos could play some lengthy guitar solos. The sound changed to old fashion neo-prog, the kind of music that I like a lot. So did many of the people in the audience, many knew the words to each song. When I heard the album being played I kept wondering how I could have missed this album back in 1994. It is never too late, now I have it. As an encore they played Reach For The Roses, a single recorded for KWF, a Dutch Society committed to fight cancer by scientific research. Very nice song and the money earned from this single is all donated to KWF.

ENorm

What an evening of great music. Another nice evening at Cultuurpodium Boerderij in Zoetermeer for me. I heard some great music and discovered a hidden treasure. Next time ENorm plays in the east of the Netherlands we should return the favour with a large bus of fans from the west of the Netherlands.

Setlist ENorm
Impossible Love
Once Upon A Schoolyard
Ozone Layer
Don't You Want Me
The Widow
High Above The Ground
Hilayeah
Don't Leave
The Beauty Of Silence
Live To Love
German Soldier
Zoe
Beyond The Veil
Man In The Mirror
The Seventh Dimension
Medicine Man
I'll Be There
Open Field
Voices
The Patterns Of The Landscape
Red Ride
A Wall

Reach For The Roses
Casanovas

Links
Enorm Official Website

X-Panda Official Website

Cultuurpodium Boerderij

 


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