Progpower, November 14th 1999
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands

By Charlie Farrell


Sunday - Whoopi!!! Its's finally time for ProgPower. We left our hotel just after 11 and headed for the venue - expecting to pass the venue for the Breakfast meet on the way. As we arrived, there was no one there who we immediately recognised - so we walked over to the 013 venue - just in time to see Barend and Marcel from Lemur Voice arriving and rushing off to do their soundcheck. We headed back to the cafe/pub and as we approached the front door 4 of the members of Superior came down the street.

Entered the bar again and ordered some drinks and gradually faces became known to us - Paul Cashman was I think the first I recognised, more by a process of deduction than by remembering what he looked like, but that was the start. Then Geert from the Perpetual Motion board came over and said "Hi" before introducing other PMers like Thorsteinn, Giedricus and Marlies. Dave Millar and his wife then arrived, Dennis LeFlang (StiX on IRC) made himself known to us and the guys from Superior were kept busy signing CD booklets and being photographed. Very kind of them I must say, since I think that they'd had a heavy night, the night before.

As Mayadome finished an interview upstairs a few other names from IRC and the Perpetual Motion board made themselves known to us - Teddy and Erik (M-Erik from IRC) and Claus Jensen from their management company. Time for a Perpetual Motion/Ytsejam group photo and then off to the venue - which was still closed.

Eventually the box office opened, but with a single guest/reservation list between 2 staff, it was a bit chaotic - to be honest it would have been much easier to just buy the ticket than have them try to find your name on the list first - anyway, I got a ticket (but no pass) and headed into the venue. Headed straight for the merchandising and invested in a few CDs and a few ProgPower 99 T-shirts, which I quickly took back to the hotel (about 100m from the venue) before returning in time for the first band.

Wolverine (Sweden)

I really didn't know what to expect at all - but they turned out to play some nice stuff. It was melodic and metallic enough with a few death vocals thrown in and made a bright start to the day. Though I only saw the second half of the show, due to crowding of the small hall, I was sufficiently impressed to decide to buy their debut mini-CD - on sale for a bargain 15Hfl.

Lemur Voice (The Netherlands)

Next up, in the main hall, were one of the main reasons for my presence at this festival - Lemur Voice. As the first band on, they's had the benefit of a soundcheck and it really counted. The sound and volume were perfect and they amazingly managed to reproduce the brilliance of their disks in a live environment to a sizeable crowd.

Culling most of their material from their latest disk 'Divided' they ripped through the cream of their material and totally blew me away. This, for me, was real Progressive Metal, plenty of chunk, but amazing musicianship at the same time, with the attention being taken at one moment by Marcel on the guitar, then Barend on the Stick/bass or Frank on the keys, not forgetting the very solid, yet always intersting beat laid down by Nathan on the drums. Singer Gregoor was in his element, singing beautifully and hitting all of the notes while dancing around the stage and adding the odd bit of synth effect here and there. It was music which I can genuinely moved me in a way only a select few bands have done and to my mine they were every bit as musical and as technically proficient as the great DT themselves. I will be getting over to see them again for sure.

Musically excellent. I love 'Divided' and the bulk of the material was culled from that disk. I happen to love Gregoor's singing and all the musicians were of the highest quality. I was really blown away with the performance and this set rivals the recent Dream Theater shows I've seen as my live gig of the year. They were everything I'd hoped they'd be live and seemed right at home on the large stage. The volume was OK too, but maybe that wasn't so surprising as they were one of the few bands to do a soundcheck - maybe they were just lucky to be able to be the first band on the large stage. Anyway, for me THE performance of the day.

Symmetry (The Netherlands)

After such a show it was time to take stock and meet up with other acquaintances as the venue slowly began to fill, but I got so involved with chatting to people that I totally missed the next band - Symmetry (NL). Shame.

Superior (Germany)

That was only the second time I'd seen them, but it didn't impress me as much as their short set at 'Le Zenith' in Paris in January this year (as support to Strato and Angra). I can't quite put my finger on what I didn't like about the show, but something wasn't quite there.

I think that partly I was shocked at how heavy they sounded and the fact that they played so much material from 'Behind'. The material was well presented, Michael was in great voice, and everyone played well. Neverthess, they did play 'Free-Minded' (not my favourite tune) and covered 'Sad but True' when most of the audience would have probably preferred another of their own tunes.

Forever Times (The Netherlands)

Once again, due to the sheer volume in the small hall, I only caught 3 or 4 songs. I watched a few from the balcony from where the volume was still too high, though the view was much better. The instrumental I heard sounded really great but the conditions were not ideal and it was hard to judge the music. In my opinion the vocalist did not seem to fit the music and I wasn't really that keen on her voice. I think that this was another band to re-visit at a later date.


Evergrey (Sweden)

Again, way, way too loud. I stayed for 3 or 4 songs, most of which had a taped, spoken introduction and which were dark, gothic and very, very heavy. The heavy use of echo on Tom S Englund's voice made it difficult to hear what he was saying and the overall mix gave the band a 'sludgy' sort of sound, which gave them an awesomly heavy sound without makeing it easy to pick out the individual instruments. Individually the songs were good but they had a 'samey' quality, which helped me to make the decision to leave after about 20 mins. I was a little disappointed after the rave reviews that they received from Powermad, but the lack of a soundcheck must have handicapped them, because I've since listened to the soundclips on their website and am starting to review my opinion of them.

Mayadome (Sweden)

I limited myself to about 15-20 mins. Not out of disrespect for the band, but because my ears were beginning to hurt and I wanted to listen to all of the bands. In parts there were certain parts of their sound, which, to me, sounded like Everygrey and Pain of Salvation. I'd heard a few tracks of their material on Ytseradio and Seismic and wasn't particularly impressed. Same thing live - OK, but no songs that really grabbed me and made me want to investigate their material further. However, I think that they are probably more my type of band than Evergrey.

Pain of Salvation (Sweden)

Seemed to be THE band that everyone wanted to see. I've tried really hard to like their stuff, but 'One Hour by the Concrete Lake' just doesn't move me. I can see that they are talented and that Daniel has real stage presence, but they are not my cup of tea. I stayed for 20 mins, during which they played mainly material from "Entropia' plus 'New Year's Eve' (One song which I knew and which I really don't like), before I left the hall. The others that I spoke too seemed disappointed that the recent release of the previously Japan-only 1st CD 'Entropia' had held too much sway over the choice of material played, but otherwise seemed very impressed with the band. Bassist Kristoffer Gildenlöw dislodged his radio transmitter when jumping about on stage, disabling the sound of his instrument and causing some amusement to his fellow band members. Probably the big success of the day.

Poverty's no Crime (Germany)

They sounded OK. They were melodic and pleasant enough to listen to, but I was really tired by this point in the day and it was becoming difficult to keep an open mind about the music. The music didn't really move me one way or the other. I must revisit them, when I'm feeling less tired.
Once again the volume was extreemly loud for the conditions and seemed to drive others away as it had for me. As I left (with 2 or 3 songs remaining) the ground floor section of the hall was very sparsely populated.

Threshold (UK)

I really, really like this band, but I was greatly disappointed by the performance. I'd seen them once, earlier in the year, when the singer was playing only his second live performance with the band - and there I was able to forgive him for not knowing the lyrics of some of the songs (from the albums he didn't play on), but I really thought that there was no excuse for his performance on Sunday. I think that the word 'UNPROFESSIONAL' has to be used. It was shabby, and unfitting of the so-called headliners. Maybe people left early to get the trains or whatever, but the sheer amount of fooling around on stage did the band no favours, turned off a good percentage of the crowd and disappointed good fans like myself. Trying to get everyone up on the stage at the end of the show just added to the anarchy. Some people seemed to enjoy themselves, but some, like myself, were just struck dumb at the sheer stupidity of the whole thing. Threshold lost a lot of brownie points with me over that show and the people I was with seemed disgusted at the show too - though none of us was willing to say so directly to Richard West at the hotel afterwards. A poor end to the days proceedings.

If the show lacked something, it was somebody prepared to grab the microphone and to say an official Thanks to Rene and the other organisers at the end of the show. Those guys worked ever so hard to make the event happen and I, for one, would have welcomed the opportunity to give them a round of applause at the end. As it was, the event sort of fizzled out.

Conclusions

It was hard to estimate how many were there (in fact there were around 700), but the crowd for PoS seemed to be the largest of the day.

The Small Hall: Well, all the people I was with went in there, but hardly anyone was able to last the entire set due to the mind-numbing volume in such a confined area. It was difficult to judge the stage presence of the bands in this hall, since the stage was so cramped and the band members really couldn't move around very much at all. This stage would be OK for 2 or 3-piece outfits but for the average 5-piece band it was too small.

The Large Hall: Great stage, good sound and an excellent platform for the bands that played in that hall. Aside from lemur Voice, they had no chance of a soundcheck and on the whole, the sound was a little too loud. Nevertheless, the bands I really wanted to see - Lemur voice and Superior - did very well and no-one seemed over-awed by the conditions.

All in All, I'm really glad I was there. The bands were cool, everyone I know was able to get everything they wanted signed. Lots of T-shirts and CDs were sold, beer drunk and strange meat-loaf sandwiches consumed. The music was of a good consistent high quality, but maybe there wasn't quite enough variety to make it easy for all of the bands to be fully appreciated. LV seemed to be the only band with a serious Progressive influence in their music, while most of the other bands could be described as melodic or power metal. I didn't like leaving part-way through some of the band's sets, but I had to try and pace myself over, what was, a very long day.

I saw people there from Australia, USA, UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and maybe elsewhere, so the message got out there - even if it didn't get as much publicity as it deserved.

Graham Boyle (Sydney) wins the prize for travelling the furthest. Paul Cashman (Atlanta, GA) wins the prizes for travelling the furthest just to see this one show - and a whole host of other people made a big effort to be there.

Here's to ProgPower 2000!!!



Setlists:

  Wolverine Lemur Voice Symmetry Superior Forever Times  
 
  • Last Words
  • Whispers on the wind
  • Miles Away
  • Time 'a song about unrequited love'
  • More Than Grief
  • Post Life (new song)
  • Again?
  • Resistance
  • Sollilicide
  • All of Me
  • Parvedian Trust
  • Childhood Facade
  • When the Cradle Cries
  • Divided
  • Memory Lane
  • Mission
  • Land Evermore
  • Letters
  • Slave
  • Chaos of Birth
  • Raging Planet
  • Frozen
  • The truth ain't kind
  • Escape from reality
  • Amok
  • Free-minded
  • Why?
  • Think
  • Dial 911 (with Sad but true / Metallica)
  • Until the end
  • Skyang Khang-Ri
  • Silence of the Mind
  • Frozen
  • Instrumentally Ill. Or Perhaps Distorted.
  • In the Eye of Compassion
  • Express
 
  Evergrey Mayadome Pain of Salvation Poverty's No Crime Threshold  
 
  • Blackened Dawn
  • Solitude Within
  • Nosferatu
  • She speaks to the dead
  • Shadowed
  • Damnation
  • When Darkness Falls
  • When the river calls
  • The Corey curse
  • Pride Painted Grey
  • Wait a Minute
  • Restorepair
  • Scent of Lilac
  • Praise me for I have sinned
  • Near Life Experience
  • Revival
  • Nightmist
  • New Year's Eve
  • ! (Foreword)
  • Oblivian Ocean
  • Inside Out
  • Inside
  • Stress
  • People Passing By


  • Used
  • Access Denied
  • Senses Go Blind/Future in My Hands
  • A Matter of Mind
  • The Distant Call
  • Wind and Light
  • Now and Again
  • Live in the Light
  • Freaks
  • Angels
  • Devoted
  • Latent Gene
  • Sunseeker
  • Change
  • Exposed
  • Somatography
  • Last Time
  • Sanity's End
  • Voyager II


  • Paradox
 

 

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