For me, Dutch prog rock band Flamborough Head are a constant and pleasant factor in my life as a symphomaniac. I have followed them since their debut CD Unspoken Whisper on the progressive UK label Cyclops in 1998,which is already 20 years ago! Meanwhile I have seen the band many times, also twice on the legendary Progfarm, organized by the FH members, unforgettable experiences! Unfortunately they no longer had time to run that great event, and after 14 years the members called it a day. The last edition was in 2011. But on this 2-CD Progfarm is back. Last year Dutch prog rock pride Flamborough Head released a double live CD featuring two concerts from different periods. The first CD is the registration of ProgFarm 2006, the 10th anniversary (1997-2006). The other CD contains a concert that was recorded at the Northern Prog Festival in 2015, organized by Dutch prog rock band Leap Day that features FH members Koen Roozen (drums) and Eddie Mulder (guitars).
CD 1: Although Flamborough Head had a double task during their ProgFarm festivals (organizing and playing) the band sounds very good on ProgFarm 2006. After the two short instrumental tracks Russian Roulette and For Starters (both with strong Andy Latimer hints, Nude era), Flamborough Head continues with a series of long and alternating compositions (between 8 and 12 minutes). Their strong point is to put different accents in each song, with a variety in breaks and flowing changing climates and a very tasteful colouring with flutes, guitars and keyboards. The interplay between sensitive electric guitar and majestic Mellotron violins is very compelling in Maureen and Old Shoes. In Don't Forget Us we can enjoy that wonderful Camel-like sound with moving guitar and catchy synthesizer flights. And in the very varied Silent Stranger the sparkling piano is omnipresent, in pleasant harmony with the strong female vocals, topped by powerful guitar. The final two songs are shorter. A mellow atmosphere with classical piano and then slow synthesizer runs, accompanied by beautiful female vocals in Year After Year. And wonderful flute and work on the synthesizers in the final Sleepless Night. A full house enjoyed the gig very much, those were the days, all happy with Flamborough Head during their legendary homegames at ProgFarm, also this time 2006, an excellent gig!
CD 2 featured a gig at the Northern Prog Festival 2015, the band had a few changes: Eddie Mulder moved to bass (replaced Marcel Derix) and on guitar was Gert Polkerman (his last gig, Hans Spitzen replaced him). In comparison with the ProgFarm 2006 gig, Flamborough Head sounds a bit more dynamic and powerful, due to the fact that they matured in all those years. And the new guitar player has a harder-edged sound. In the ominous and very alternating Lost In Time (fat guitar sound) and the final track Garden Of Dreams (he really rocks) you can trace that harder-edged guitar from Gert. The other long compositions showcase a very pleasant symphonic rock sound from Flamborough Head, with varied keyboard work (I enjoyed the majestic Mellotron violin samples) and a beautiful harmony between the flutes (like the tin-whistle), guitars and keyboards and again that tasteful colouring. One of my highlights is I'll Take The Blame featuring a sound that varies from catchy and bombastic to dreamy with tender piano, topped by Latimer inspired guitar work. And the long composition Andrassy Road (beautiful interplay between flute and Mellotron) is based upon the experiences of the band in the impressive Hungarian capital Budapest (after visiting a museum about the horror in WW2 and then communist dictatorship). Another strong live performance from Flamborough Head.
I highly recommend this double live CD, and I am proud of this Dutch prog rock band. Now let's look forward to their new studio album, to be expected early 2019.
**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Dave Smith)
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