NOTP Festival VI – Part 2

On my way to the “Night of the Prog festival VI : Part 2
by Joris Donkel

NOTP Festival PosterFriday July 8th

Starting the festival off will be German band Martigan, as a result of an insiders tip from someone who was very charmed by their album ‘Vision’ I have bought that album and although I couldn’t share this person’s opinion it was no less than brilliant I must admit I was quite charmed by this album and expect that they will be able to instantly please the crowd and bring them in the good mood from the very start.

The amount of Dutch bands on this festival has been pretty limited in the past years even though there are more than enough bands around to choose from and surely who would be very interested to play on this festival as well.
This year Sky Architect is the only representative from The Netherlands and strangely enough, coming from the same country, I’m not familiar with their music. Surely shame on me, but at least it gives me the opportunity to be surprised by them and as I’ve heard many good reviews about them I might be in for a treat.

Threshold is to be honest not really my cup of tea; I do have several albums by them, but although I don’t dislike them I rarely put them on since they’re a bit too heavy in a direction I don’t particularly like. But I know they have the quality to put on a great show and maybe I’ll be surprised by their stage act? Riverside will be the only band on Friday I already have seen live before; several times actually. From the 5 times I already saw them live the most memorable one was the concert in 2008 in Paradiso Amsterdam, together with Lazuli. Both bands have later released this concert on DVD. The funny thing with Riverside is that they have a hard side and a soft side; not saying that their soft side is really soft and their hard side really hard, but still depending on their mood, the occasion, stage or their most recent album they have chosen in the past to do a more heavy rock set or a more mellow prog rock set. Their latest release, the E.P. ‘Memories of the past’ kind of looks back on their past thus celebrating their 10th anniversary. So with Riverside being in some kind of retrospective mood I think I can hope for a gig with more emphasize on the atmospheric musical side of the band and not so much them trying to be the loudest band on the festival (not a wise choice anyway when Dream Theater is mentioned on the bill as well).
With 5 bands the shorter day, Friday then already reaches the first main act of the festival: Eloy, reformed again a few years ago. They are categorized as one of the dinosaurs of German prog, famous for their lush and mellow tunes filled with loads of keyboards and very recognizable by the vocals heavily colored by a strong German accent. Without any doubt I will fully enjoy their show, it’ll be the first time I see them live and I wonder if they will also bring some optical extravaganza with them since their music lends itself very well for some lights and lasers. Since Eloy will film this entire show for a future DVD release it can be expected they will throw everything out that they have in them and will treat the audience with something special including all their classic hits. Without any doubt I’ll leave the festival ground quite satisfied knowing some of the best is still to come tomorrow.

Saturday July 9th

With Moon Safari being replaced by Vandenplas this second day won’t begin so mellow as initially was intended.
Even more now since Haken has now taken over the role of the opener on Saturday. Haken is a band probably not known by many yet, but I have no doubt that will change soon and they will gain many new fans at the Loreley festival. They have already been called ‘the new Dream Theater’ and their debut album ‘Aquarius’ was one of the best, for some even THE best, album of 2010. So sharing the bill with their big examples Dream Theater and playing the same day will be a great experience for both the bands and the audience.

Vanden Plas is now one of the 4 German bands featured on this festival and although I really would have preferred to hear Moon Safari I’m still curious to hear Vandenplas live for the first time. Their rather exceptional album ‘Christ O’ provided a really interesting piece of music and although they have moved on already again; their ability to deliver a fine piece of progressive rock was therewith already proved.

RPWL returns to Night of the Prog, playing there already 2 years ago, and without any doubt they will rock the stage again with their excellent songs and stage show with which they always seem to amuse the audience. For IQ the Night of the Prog festival is also not a first, now back after 4 years, but this year they’re mostly surrounded by metal bands which might make their performance a moment to relief the ears of the audience a bit from the guitar violence and fully enjoy the classic symphonic prog they deliver; unless they decide to focus on the more heavier side of their music too!?

To make sure all people interested will and can attend their show headliners Dream Theater won’t play last, but start their show on 20.00 hours. This will be the only Dream Theater show in Germany this year and their first one here with their new drummer Mike Mangini. Will the absence of Mike Portnoy be very noticeable or won’t it change the general sound at all and will the new Mike be just as a show animal as his predecessor? Looking at the amazing YouTube videos where he showcases his drumming talents I think we can expect and even weirder drumming extravaganza! The big stage and the open air amphitheater will be the perfect place for this magnificent band and without any doubt they will manage to push their sound over the rocks of the Loreley into the valley of the Rhine down to the village of St. Goarshausen. When probably a considerable amount of people will follow the trails of the sounds down to the valley again and leave the festival it will only be the die-hards that will be rewarded by a show of Anathema. With their last few albums Anathema have stepped up to the higher league of prog. Having started as a gothic doom metal band it was only after they mellowed it down they reached a bigger audience and the appreciation of the prog lovers. By now they have mastered prog and propelled it into excellence; their performance will surely be a delight (again).

So, that’s all I’m looking forward to, in the end the 2 full days of prog will fly by as usual, but will leave behind some great impressions, new discoveries and fond memories of more than 2 handful of great bands. If you haven’t already bought your ticket or planned to go tot his festival I can strongly advise you to do so; you won’t be disappointed! 

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