2023's Easter weekend was the time for the tenth edition of the ProgDreams festival, appropriately called Progdreams X, in the good old Boerderij in Zoetermeer. On Friday, two bands opened the festival: first off was Dutch band Supersister Projekt and second was French band Lazuli. The next two days were filled with a lot more bands and here you'll read about the whole weekend, in three parts.
DPRP's Edwin Roosjen reports on the Friday.
Supersister Projekt is off course derived from the band Supersister. This band started in the sixties and released albums in the first half of the seventies. The last album they recorded in that era was Spiral Staircase and at that time the band was named Sweet Okay Supersister.
Much later, Supersister was revived and in 2019 they released Retsis Repus as Supersister Projekt. Main driving force behind the band has always been keyboard player Robert Jan Stips. After the first era with Supersister, he played with Golden Earring for a few years, and after that he joined The Nits. Current bass player in Supersister Projekt is Rinus Gerritsen, one of the two founding members of Golden Earring. Drummer Leon Klaasse was with Robert Jan Stips in the band Sweet d'Buster. Three musicians who played together in a couple of bands in the seventies now join efforts to revive Supersister.
So the Progdreams X festival started with a bunch of old musicians. Robert Jan Stips joked that the retirement home let them go for this evening. The music of Supersister Projekt is mostly instrumental and at times very jazzy, experimental stuff. The first song Judy Goes On Holiday is from their 1972 album Pudding En Gisteren. This song is all over the place and the three guys sure proved they are still on top of their game. They have many years of experience and that surely showed. As a listener you sometimes lose track of where they are going but those three guys never did, amazing.
The song Memories Are New is from Supersisters very first album Present From Nancy dating back from 1970. A very experimental song that is very representative for that era in the early seventies, experimental, psychedelic, jazz fusion. And in those days there was of course one musician in the world who really embodied that. The next song, She Was Naked, is a homage to that person, Frank Zappa. It was their first hit single which made it possible for Supersister to get a record deal and record their first album Present From Nancy. Complex song with many elements that are in the spirit of Frank Zappa.
Up next, they played two songs from the second album To The Highest Bidder: A Girl Named You and Energy (Out Of The Future). It was amazing to see how Supersister Projekt played these songs fluently. Drummer Leon Klaasse was right in front of me, and every beat was right. Rinus Gerritsen played his bass mostly with his fingers having the guitar pick in his mouth, constantly dangling from his lips or chewing on it. Robert Jan Stips is a great keyboard player obviously and the driving force of the band. Stips told that the band wanted to find out if the magic of the sixties was still there for Supersister. They dug up some old tapes on which they recorded jamming sessions back in the sixties. Most of the tunes never made it on an album, but they were now put in a medley of sixties tunes, which was just brilliant.
From those sixties tapes they tried to renew the feeling of that time and the current Supersister Projekt is creating new music with that in mind.
Supersister recorded a new album in 2019 called Retsis Repus. From that album they played I Am You Are Me / Transmitter. They closed the show with their hit single Radio, which starts as a lullaby and evolves into a psychedelic rollercoaster.
Supersister Projekt was a perfect start of the festival. High class jazzy prog experimental music from the seventies played by very capable experienced musicians.
Setlist Supersister Projekt
Judy Goes On Holiday Memories Are New She Was Naked A Girl Named You Energy (Out Of The Future) Medley of 1960s Supersister songs I Am You Are Me / Transistor Radio
Headliner for this first day at the Progdreams X festival was Lazuli. Their latest album Onze was released just over a month ago. Onze means Eleven in French, it is their eleventh album and the album holds eleven songs. Eleventh album, if you include the compilation album Dénudé, with 16 songs re-recorded during the Covid pandemic. This acoustic album was also the first release with their new guitar player Arnaud Beyney. In 2020, after fifteen years, guitar player Gédéric Byar and Lazuli decided to part ways.
This evening featured mainly songs from their new album Onze and the previous, very fine album Le fantastique envol de Dieter Böhm. During the songs they colourful images were displayed on the screen behind the band. And during the Dieter Böhm songs, the fictional character was displayed several time, placed on a dodo. The visuals at the start of the evening reminded me a lot of The Yellow Submarine and Sgt. Pepper artwork. A lot of flowers and colours.
Lazuli put on a great show. During the heavier and rockier songs, the band was very energetic. Lazuli is a good band and live they really impressed me. Dominique Leonetti is always busy at the front of the stage. It is funny when between songs he tries to speak English and sometimes even a bit of Dutch.
Lazuli have been playing all across Europe for many years now, but most of the Lazuli members still do not speak anything else but French. However, they are always trying to connect to the audience. New guitar player Arnaud Beyney speaks a bit English, which got him the nickname Professor when he corrected Dominque's announcements. Nice interactions between these two guitar players. At the other side of the stage it was calmer, where Claude Leonetti played the Léode.
Drummer Vincent Barnavol and keyboard player Romain Thorel did their stuff mostly in the background but at times were more upfront as well. Barnavol also played the Marimba, Thorel played the French horn and also did some drums, when Vincent was playing the Marimba. At the end of the show, the rest of the band walked off the stage leaving Vincent and Romain jamming away for a few minutes. You could clearly see they were enjoying themselves.
Lazuli started a bit earlier than announced, so I thought I would be home early but that was not the case. The show appeared to have ended a bit later than was announced on the poster. The band just got to play a long set. No complaints here of course, the show was entertaining throughout the whole set. At the end, the band were as energetic as at the beginning of the evening.
After the drum and keyboard solo spot, they played Les Mots Désuets from the new album, with only Dominique on guitar and the rest of the guys standing together for the backing vocals. Of course, the show ended with 9 Hands Around The Marimba. They probably do that every show, but it is still entertaining to see and nice to see a band doing something different.
And with Lazuli's set, the first day of Progdreams X came to an end. Supersister Projekt blew me away — experienced musicians who are still at the top of their game. Lazuli impressed me yet again — what an amazing band. Their new album was presented in a marvellous way, and since this show, it has been on rotation regularly at my home. A perfect start of a festival!
Sillonner des pcéans de vinyles Déraille Triste carnaval Qui d'autre que l'autre Les chansons sont des bouteilles à la mer Mers lacrymales Dieter Böhm Un visage lunaire L'homme volant Égoïne Lagune grise Le pleureur sous la pluie Un linceul de brume Chronique canine Mes semblables Parlons du temps La bétaillère Le miroir aux Alouettes Les courants ascendants Drums and keyboard solo Les mots désuets 9 Hands Around The Marimba