Progworld '99
Wappa Gappa, Parallel or 90 Degrees,
Darius, Jadis meets Mink
28 February 1999, Tivoli Utrecht, Holland
By Derk van Mourik, Ed Sander, Jan Jaap de Haan and Dirk Jan van Dijk


Editorial Note: This review is not complete yet. Any information the missing setlists or additional information on any band is very welcome. If you have anything to add, please mail me.

 

Wappa Gappa
by Ed Sander

Having been quite impressed by their new album A Myth, I was looking forward to seeing this Japanese band live on stage. They had the unthankful role of opening a festival which did not draw many visitors in the first place. The band started playing while the first people slowly poured into the venue.
It was good to see that the band was playing as tight on stage as they do on the CD and that they were really enjoying themselves. There was even space for additional improvisations like some nice bass solos.
After the catchy The Underground (Chikatetsu) female vocalist Tamami Yamamoto read out some Dutch greetings to the audience from a piece of paper. She didn't do bad either, I've heard people have more difficulty with the Dutch language. The audience seemed to enjoy the band very much while they worked their way through some other highlights from their last album like the long A Myth (Shinwa), the energetic The Lion Hearted King (Shishi-Oh), the quiet Floating Ice (Ryuhyo), as well as a track from their first album. Tamami explained most of the origins of the songs.

This band is certainly recommended both on CD as well as live. It's a real shame that not many people got to see the gig; the band deserves better. Personally I prefer their energetic and melodic prog any day to the more keyboard dominated other Japanese bands like Ars Nova and Gerard.

 

Maryson
by Derk van Mourik 

Next on were Maryson, a dutch band centered around writer/musician W.J. Maryson. They are a classical five-piece, that is Hein van den Broek (also known from the one-off Pink Floyd tribute band Pink Project) on vocals and guitars, Chris van Hoogdalem on guitars and backing vocals, W.J. Maryson on keyboards, Henny van Mourik (no relation) on bass and Rob Boshuijzen on drums.

I had never seen them live before and so was a bit surprised to see that there was an extra guy playing keyboards alongside Maryson. I don't know if this is a recent addition or if they always do it this way, but it seemed a bit overdone to me.
Maryson played a selection of songs from their two studio albums Sperling and On Goes The Quest. These albums are based on a series of fantasy books called Master Magician which is being written by W.J. Maryson, who is alsoresponsible for most of the music on the albums.

The music has a definite Camelesque feel to it. Musically, Chris van Hoogdalem is definitely the most important member in the band as the music is often centered around the guitar with the keyboards playing a more supporting role. Van Hoogdalem carries this heavy responsibility with vervor. His guitar playing is, not surprisingly, very similar to that of Camel's Andrew Latimer but in places it is also reminiscent of Dave Gilmour. He also did most of the introductions, together with Hein van den Broek, who, besides singing lead voice, also played acoustic guitars and a smattering of electric guitars.

All in all, I enjoyed their performance and as far as I am concerned they were only (marginally) topped by Darius later on.

 

Parallel or 90 Degrees
by Dirk Jan van Dijk 

Last sunday I went to PROGWORLD 99, a concert in Utrecht (Holland) with among others Parallel or 90 Degrees. The other bands were not interesting, but Po90 was great! I knew Po90 because of all positive reviews on PT-Trans and wanted to see them live and I had to buy the new album at their show (which I bought before the start of the show, together with their first album which I tried to order before).

This was their first show in Holland although leadsinger/ writer/keyboard-player Andy Tillison-Diskdrive (I think his nickname is from one of his former bands) mentioned he was here for a performance 20 years ago (didn't know he was that old!).

Before the start of their set I noticed Andy's keyboards (organ & synth) in the middle of the stage were not parallel to the audience, but turned 90 degrees towards us... (what's in a name?). I'd never seen that before and thought it was strange to see the leadsinger's left side instead of his face all the time. But after the show had started I understood their choice: great to see this man play his keys! I don't want to start a best-keyboard-player-discussion, but this man knows how to play! Great (hammond/piano) solo's and played in a way that shows keyboardplayers are not always static as mr Barbieri. (No offence Richard, standing still you play very well!)

I was hoping they would play at least a few songs from their second album (Afterlifecycle which I bought last year after all I read on the list) because that's the only stuff I knew. I was lucky: it was the major part of their show, with among others the afterlifecycle itself. They wanted to run a tape with soundeffects between the three parts (like on the album) but they forgot to take the tape with them. I didn't mind... The music sounded different to what I knew from their second album (the only one I had so far) anyhow: not so many soft/acoustic parts. On the album those parts are beautiful, but live I prefer some heavier music. Like what the Tree does on stage!

They only played a few songs from their new album but those tracks were beautiful. Although I never heard them before, they sounded as good as one of you on the list told us a few weeks ago (who choose The Timecapsule as album of the year?). While I'm writing this I'm listening to the cd for the first time. Lovely songs and a great Time Capsule Suite (8 parts, 22 minutes or so). (I hope it's due to my not so great discman, but I'm having some trouble playing the first four tracks.)

The trouble with festivals is... such short set-lists! They only performed for about an hour or so. Too bad there were other bands too. After the show I spoke to Gareth Harwood, the new guitar-player from Po90 (did I mention there were great guitar-parts in the music?) He told me they hoped to sell a few cd's so they could get home again. Their hotel was paid for, but they had to pay the trip to Holland theirselves! So Andy wasn't joking when he mentioned this on stage...

Oh, I'm told I missed the Stupid Dream-promo after the Po90-set (while people were preparing the stage for the next show) because I went for a bite. Well, I can wait three more weeks. And I hope Stupid Dream is even better than The Time Capsule. Don't want to start the "what's-prog-and-what's-not" discussion all over again but IMHO Po90 and PT are two of the few bands that can call their music progressive in stead of regressive (going further in stead of looking backwards).

Keep up the good work "Sam, Andy & Po90", I loved your show!

 

Darius
by Ed Sander 

Darius was another band I discovered during 1998 after seeing their splendid performance at the Planet Pul festival and being given a copy of their second album Voices From The Crowd. I knew that the band was looking for a new vocalist and drummer, but I was very surprised to hear that today's gig would be fronted by Brigitte Berg, the backing vocalist of the latest album. Rene 'News Page' Janssen advised me to get a spot at the front of the stage (not that this was a big problem, concerning the small audience) since it promised to be a real treat. He was definitely right ....

Brigitte did not only prove to be a very attractive lady, see also proved to be a very capable replacement of the former male singer. Although a bit shy and not perfectly able to reach the same hights of her predecessor, she did a fine job. The band played four songs of the first half of Voices ... after which everybody but Brigitte and the keyboard player left the stage, to leave the two playing 'her personal favourite' which turned out to be Tori Amos' Winter. Marvellous !

After this nice intermezzo Brigitte left the stage and the band performed an instrumental medley of pieces of the first and second album. Brigitte came back to do the final two songs of the Egyptian 3-piece, The Seven Signs and One of Them, after that.

I think I can speak for most of the audience - at least those people I talked to - when I say that the band can stop looking for the new singer. After all .... she's been there all along !
I'm very curious to learn if she's still fronting the band at the CD presentation of the Darius live album on March 26th in the 013 venue of Tilburg.

 

Jadis meets Mink
by Jan Jaap de Haan 

To put it short: Jadis wasn't very fortunate this night and they were only partially to blame for it. The festival they headlined was organised on a Sunday, so many people left early because of the 'always-difficult-monday-morning'. Besides this, Jadis was the last band in a row of five and many were too tired (or too drunk) to pay full attention.

The band had a hard job, since Darius had played a great set with a beautiful show. And finally, the band made the mistake to present five new songs by their current project, called Mink, to the audience. Five new songs is a lot, especially since Mink isn't prog at all. As result of this all, many people left before the end of the set.

Nevertheless Jadis gave their best and for those with an open mind they played a very interesting set. Especially because they played a lot of old songs from More Than Meets The Eye (More Than Applepie, as singer Gary Chandler called it). This was no coincidence, since John Jowitt was back on the bass-spot for this special occasion. His return was received with enthousiasm. 'The real Jadis', someone even shouted.

Jadis played a great set with some of their best tracks, like Batstein, No Sacrifice, World on Your Side and In Isolation. Gary Chandler's guitar is very prominent in the songs, as well as his loud and clear voice. Martin Orford was also featured on flute, in More Than Meets The Eye, which is simple impossible to play without him. Orfords keyboards are essential for the sound of this band, as well as his remarkably good backing-vocals. Steve Christey is a very solid and skilled drummer. He is able to show his abilities without this typical 'show-off' things. John Jowitt, to conclude, was more prominent than Steve Hunt normally is. Not only his bass playing was essential to the performance, but also his well-known enthousiasm.

Singer Julia Worsley, who took care of the vocals for the five Mink-tracks, did their best to convince the audience. In my view, she didn't really succeed, but sound quality was mainly to blame for that. I like the tracks (and Worsley's voice) on the Mink-promo, but they didn't really come across here. This kind of alternative music needs very 'dry' production, completely unlike the bombastic production progressive rock needs. There was too much echo on the music here, hence the compositions blurred a bit.

To conclude: Jadis gave their best songs with their best line-up and even gave the audience something extra, the preview of the Mink-project. The boys played fine and John and Gary really had a great time with eachother and with the audience. Regrettably, this didn't help to make it the event they probably hoped this gig would be. As I said, Jadis is not fully to blame for it, they did their jobs well, but cirumstances, including a critical, narrow minded audience, weren't helpful.

 

Setlists:

Parallel or 90 Degrees (Incomplete and wrong order):
The Third Person
Run In Rings
Dead on a Carpark Floor
Afterlifecycle
Unforgiving Skies
The Sea
Blues for Lear 

Darius:
First Contact
Voices
Searching
Alone
Winter (Tori Amos)
Magical Instrumental:
The Pharaoh's Spell
Snowflakes
The Last Way
Where Is Mr God?
The Seven Signs
One Of Them.

Jadis:
No Sacrifice
Batstein
Sleepwalk
Alive Inside
This Changing Face
World On Your Side
Beginning And The End
Wonderful World

Mink:
Fine
Sink Or Swim
On A Roll
Crying Out For Him
Touch Paper

Jadis encore:
More Than Meets The Eye
In Isolation

 

 

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