Progfarm 2009

November 7, 2009 - De Harmsdobbe, Bakkeveen (NL)





Question: which band played thirteen times in a row at the same progressive rock festival? Answer: Dutch band Flamborough Head. Being the organizers of their own prog rock festival, theyíre always certain to perform during the finest progressive rock event in the Netherlands. They always succeed in booking the best-unknown bands of the current prog scene. This yearís edition was no exception. As usual, five bands were on the bill and they all had a high quality level as turned out at the end of the day.

ICE

Ice hails from The Netherlands and they had the task to start the event about three oíclock in the afternoon. Like a phoenix, Ice emerged out of the ashes of Maryson. In 2006, they already released the impressive debut album The Saga. It was obvious that the largest part of their set would consist of material from The Saga, a fine concept album written by Renť Sterk who was, together with lead singer Hein van de Broek, responsible for the lyrics as well. Ice started with Strangelight, the opening tune of the album. Although Hein van de Broek has a great voice, he should work on his stage presentation a bit more. He could have added a couple of show elements to clarify the concept story. Of course, in the end only the music counts and that part was above par. A piece like The Trail sounded superb and as far as Iím concerned this is the musical direction the band should follow: neo-progressive rock the best way possible. The new performed songs Why Me? and Across The Frozen Lake strongly moved in that direction: strong instrumental parts with lyrical guitar solos and fine vocal lines. Ice didnít forget their musical past and played Hawait from the second Maryson-album On Goes The Quest. Maybe Ice was the first band in the history of Progfarm that didnít make use of the available time they got from the organization. The band finished their gig fifteen minutes earlier than planned. There was enough time left to perform the final songs No Choice and Across The Frozen Lake. However, I enjoyed their one-hour performance a lot.

Leap Day

The next band to perform was Leap Day, a new Dutch neo-prog band. Due to the short performance of Ice, they could have started their set a bit earlier, but they stuck to the original starting time opening with the new piece The Messenger. Right from the start, it was evident that the audience could expect something special. The many rehearsals and live concerts earlier this year resulted in a solid unit with a strong live sound. Leap Day was in a very good shape, however, thereís some room for improvement as far as the live sound of lead singer Jos Harteveld is concerned. He has a fine voice though, but he sounded a bit thin and soft in the final mix. Guitarist Eddie Mulder played fabulous! I floated away many times on the sound of his melodious guitar playing. The combination of having two keyboard players on stage worked out perfectly. Derk Evert Waalkens and Gert van Engelenburg gave each other enough room to show their talents by playing fine synthesizer solos and great chords on the keyboards. Maybe the biggest surprise for me was bassist Peter Stel. You could hear his excellent playing throughout the concert. During this gig, I heard more details than on Awaking The Muse, the bandís debut album (see review). This was probably due to a better soundmix this time. Leap Day also performed some new material. Songs as The Messenger, Skylgeís Lair and Road To Yourself proved that thereís a bright future ahead for this great new band. They might even become one of the leading Dutch progressive rock bands known by thousand of fans all over the world.

Flamborough Head

The third band from The Netherlands to hit the stage was Flamborough Head. Traditionally, theyíre always the third band to perform at their own festival. Being established in 1994, they undoubtedly are well-known in the prog rock scene nowadays and unlike Leap Day, they already have fans all over the world. Since drummer Koen Roozen is a member of both Leap Day and Flamborough Head, he sat again behind the drum kit. He had no problems at all playing two live sets in a row with only a short break in between, he told me later on. Koen is the owner of De Harmsdobbe and besides he is the record holder in performing on the Progfarm stage. Two years ago with King Eider, this time with Leap Day and thirteen performances with Flamborough Head. We could even witness Koenís guest appearance with the Italian band Il Castello Di Atlante.

Compared to the concert they gave earlier this year in Utrecht, (see review) Flamborough Headís set contained some new songs. The band had a great start with Schoolyard Fantasy followed by Donít Forget Us from their latest effort Looking For John Maddock (see review). The remainder of the set consisted mainly of songs from this new album. A nice surprise was the performance of a brand new piece they recorded for the new The Divine Comedy by the Finnish label Colossus. Canto IX: By The Bank Of The River was one of the challenging tracks to perform, but they finished this piece professionally without making hardly any mistakes. Another challenging track was the title track of their latest album. Just like Garden Of Dreams this a fine epic piece with many changing moods and atmospheres. The musicians were quite nervous in advance to perform this 20-minute epic, but again they did a perfect job. Probably the most difficult part was Captive Of Fate acoustically performed by Edo Spanninga (keys), Gert Polkerman (acoustic guitar) and Margriet Boomsma (vocals and flute). The band ended their well-played set with the new track The Trapper. A fine song dedicated to all the young kids, called trappers, who slaved in the coalmines of South Wales. On this song, Margriet played some acoustic guitar as well. They probably will record this piece of music for their upcoming studio album.

Il Castello Di Atlante

The Italian band Il Castello Di Atlante had brought many relatives and friends, who made a lot of noise to support them. From time to time, they scanned the names of the five musicians, who opened the concert with the pleasant instrumental piece Non Puoi Fingere. Violinist Massimo Di Lauro and guitarist Aldo Bergamani had leading roles in this piece. After almost every song, drummer Paolo Ferrarotti left his drum kit and came to the front in order to introduce the songs and his fellow musicians. He even read some Dutch words from a piece of paper to welcome the audience. Maybe their music didnít always appeal to everyone present, but the band kept the audience focused on the stage. Just a few people left during their warm performance and thatís a big compliment. As far as Iím concerned, the most enjoyable moments were the tracks taken from their latest album Capitolo 7, Tra Le Antiche Mura (see review), maybe because Iím rather familiar with that album. Especially I liked Malebolge and Leggi E Ascolta. The extra guest performance of Koen Roozen on drums was a nice intermezzo. The first performance of this Italian band on Dutch soil was a solid one.

Martigan

For the headliners from Germany - although the organizers of Progfarm say they donít have any headliners - it was also their first concert in The Netherlands. With their latest album Vision (see review), Martigan made a real masterpiece, so expectations ran very high for this concert. Could they ever perform those magnificent songs on a live stage? The answer is yes! Especially the performance of the long epic Boatmanís Vision made everybody speechless with astonishment. Guitarist BjŲrn Bisch, drummer Alex Bisch and keyboardist Oliver Rehban were just awesome and impressed many people in the audience. Wow! What more could we expect? The material from the Man Of The Moment album sounded excellent as well. Bassist Oliver Baumann performed songs as The Pride and Images & Tales for the first time ever in front of a live audience. He joined the band only a couple of months earlier, so Progfarm was his live debut. Well done!

On previous editions of Progfarm Mangala Vallis, Credo and Also Eden delivered a fantastic finale by playing an outstanding encore. Leap Day also impressed many people with their great live show, so I wondered if Martigan could be able to exceed their performance. Well, I dare to say that the Germans were even better than our Dutch friends were. Martigan must have gained many new fans with this fantastic show and hopefully, we can enjoy them in the near future again giving concerts in The Netherlands. I can only conclude my review as usual: Progfarm is still the best and intimate prog festival in The Netherlands. Maybe this year it was one of the best events everÖ

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)



Setlist ICE:

Strangelight
The Trail
Why Me?
Shining
Not Only Love
Hawait
The River
No Choice
Across The Frozen Lake


Pictures ICE by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up ICE:

(left to right)
Chris van Hoogdalem:
lead guitar, backing vocals
Hennie van Maurik:
bass guitar, backing vocals
Hein van de Broek:
lead vocals, guitar
Ardie Westdijk:
keyboards
Charl Augustijn:
drums

Setlist Leap Day:

The Messenger
When Leaves Fall
What Would You Do
Secret Gardner
Shop Windows Dummies
Road To Yourself
Skylge's Lair
Eyes With Open
Sand Grains
Little Green Men






Pictures Leap Day by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Leap Day:

(left to right)
Jos Harteveld:
lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Derk Evert Waalkens:
keyboards, backing vocals
Peter Stel:
bass guitar
Koen Roozen:
drums, percussion
Gert van Engelenburg:
keyboards, backing vocals
Eddie Mulder:
lead guitar, backing vocals

Setlist Flamborough Head:

Schoolyard Fantasy
Don't Forget About Us
Sleepless Night
Canto/By The Bank Of
    The River
Captive Of Fate
Looking For John Maddock
The Trapper






Pictures Flamborough Head by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Flamborough Head:

(left to right)
Marcel Derix:
bass guitar
Margriet Boomsma:
lead vocals, recorders, flute, acoustic guitar
Koen Roozen:
drums, percussion
Edo Spanninga:
keyboards
Gert Polkerman:
lead guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals




Setlist

Non Puoi Fingere
La Foresta
Il Saggio
Tra Le Antiche Mura
Leggi E Ascolta
Malebolge
Stava Scritto
Ancora Suonare






Pictures Il Castello Di Atlante by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up

(left to right)
Roberto Giordano:
keyboards, vocals
Paolo Ferrarotti:
drums, vocals
Massimo Di Lauro:
violin, keyboard
Dino Fiore:
bass guitar
Aldo Bergami:
guitars, vocals




Setlist Martigan:

Touch In Time
Mask & The Raven Part 1
Images & Tales
Red & Green
Boatman's Vision
The Pride
Much More
Craze This Town






Pictures Martigan by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Martigan:

(left to right)
Oliver Baumann:
bass guitar
Kai Marckwordt:
lead vocals, guitar
BjŲrn Bisch:
lead guitar
Alex Bisch:
drums, backing vocals
Oliver Rebhan:
keyboards, backing vocals












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