novAct + Bumblefoot
October 30th, 2005
De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
Progmetal + Punkrock
Dutch progmetal band novAct has recently gained more popularity since they became regular support act for After Forever. Today was their second chance to shine in De Boerderij in Zoetermeer as support act for Bumblefoot. New York guitar phenomenon Ron Thal teamed up with members from The Nerve and Dutch drummer Dennis Leeflang to embark on a European tour, in support of Bumblefoot's new album Normal. Leeflang, who used to perform and record with Sun Caged, played together with novAct a couple of years ago. I didn't know what to expect from Bumblefoot at all. It turned out to be quite different from novAct, who were definately the "prog" part of this concert.
The venue wasn't exactly tightly packed when novAct entered the stage, I counted not more than 50 people. Although this is a great crowd for novAct, I expected more people to attend Bumblefoot's show, since they were playing this venue, which can hold at least 700 people. However this was not a problem for novAct when they started off with the promising intro of Sharply Condemned, the first track of their well produced debut album Tales From The Soul. A great first track both on record and on stage. It helps to set the mood musically, but most of all it shows the band's instant energy. Frontman Eddy Borremans was singing rather well, but unfortunately his voice got lost in the mix during some crucial parts of the song. Nice guitar parts by Wouter Wamelink.
The dark sounding The Rider was followed by the popular track Eternal Life with its tempo changes and (again) good guitar solo. Hope And Fear is another song that relies heavily on the vocal track, but the PA mix was too unbalanced for Eddy's voice to really shine. Catchy riffs in this song.
The harmonized guitar parts were a highlight for me during So Help Me God. The set was closed by two faster songs called Bad Religion and Promises. The latter had a nice atmospheric guitar interlude and a great drum track, which were performed very nicely during this live set.
The performance by the band was aided by a proper stage sound, however the PA sound should have been better. The overall sound was really loud (too loud according to some people) which drowned the vocals and keyboards at some point. Moreover, drummer Martijn Peters' snare drum had a weird sound which didn't blend in with the rest of the music. Nevertheless, a well balanced but short set list (inevitable for a support act) and an energetic performance!
The stage was quickly cleared for Bumblefoot's performance. The mood was immediately set when the band entered the stage. All four members were dressed in straitjacket and Hannibal Lecter-type masks (Hello, Clarice...) and brought onto the stage by nurses. Hilarious! The band acted as if they had never played an instrument before , then bursted into a tight punk rock cover of Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You. Very funny.
The next few songs showed that the band can play as a very tight foursome, even if this show was only at the beginning of the tour. Most songs were hilarious punk rock songs in some way or another, with Mr. Bumblefoot not being afraid to use a fair amount of self-mockery. Highlight during one of the songs (can't remember which one) was the use of a fretless guitar which produced a very nice slide guitar sound.
During the encore, novAct's drummer Martijn Peters joined the stage again to play with his friend Dennis Leeflang on drums. There's no doubt that this band can play very well and very tight. Too bad that the concert was basically a looooong string of punkrock songs with a lot of guitar frenzy, not my cup of tea really. Besides, the sound was so loud that it drowned out a lot of the vocals and some of the guitar solos.
As I said, novAct performed a set that will attract many people who are into progmetal music. Bumblefoot can perform a solid and funny show, but within a completely different atmosphere.
Hope and Fear
So Help Me God
Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You
Rockstar For A Day
The Color Of Justice
Life Inside Your Ass
What I Knew
Fly In The Batter
Don Pardo Pimpwagon
Ronald's Coming Back Now
Stockholm Syndrome (Muse)