Paul Menel & Sky Architect
February 12, 2011 - De Boerderij, Zoetermeer (NL)
Something old, something new!
To plunge at once into the matter: I'm not an IQ-fan or an authority first hand. I know the band exists and I know some songs, but I really began to like them with Frequency. Rather late thus. For this occasion I listened to the old IQ-albums Nomzamo (1987) and Are You Sitting Comfortably (1989) because these are the ones on which Paul Menel is singing. Both albums proved to be IQ's most commercially successful albums. I also read a lot about IQ and Paul Menel to figure out how things turned out the way it did. It was all very interesting and worth-while. After all, IQ is an icon in the prog scene and thus information is required for a reviewer. And now, after more than twenty years, Paul Menel has gone solo and performed at De Boerderij, which isn't the world's smallest venue. I was really curious to see what I was in for.
Sky ArchitectBut first there was the young Dutch band Sky Architect. I was very glad I had the chance to see them, because I missed their performance in Helmond. It was actually after that gig that other prog heads pointed them out to me. It took me a while to get into their music, but when I did, I was hooked. They have a lot of potential, but I remember other young and promising bands that were terrible on stage, so the question was: how are they live? Well, in one word: great! They're very professional with a perfect sound and a good live show. The musicians are neither pretentious nor modest. Actually, they could be more cocky, it would suit them right! I didn't have the impression at all that I was looking at a band that's just been starting. They're all great musicians - three of them studied at the music academy. And let's not forget their ages varying from 22 till 24 and the fact that Excavation Of The Mind (2010) is the only album they recorded so far...
Some people say their music is too technical; it would lack emotion. Well, I can get into trance at some moments, and for me that ís emotion. I must admit that I don't like all songs on the album from beginning to end. The coherency of the songs sometimes seems to fail with some strange transitions which I don't quite get. But then again, some albums take ages to get into my system and those are usually the ones that stick to mind forever. Anyway, the whole performance was very impressive. I've got images in my head of the young Steven Wilson, seeing guitarist Wabe Wieringa doing his thing on socks. Maybe that was the resemblance? But the feel I got with some songs, especially the title track of their debut album, also reminded me of Porcupine Tree. And in my book, there's no bigger compliment than that. I'm really looking forward to their new album coming out this year. I think these boys have a golden future.
Paul Menel & BandThen it was Paul Menel's turn. His band consisted of bass player John Jowitt (Frost*, IQ, arK), guitarist Steve Harris (arK) introducing Paul's songwriting partner Ian Diment on keyboards, Bill Devey on drums and Mat Taylor on sax and flute. Ian and Paul worked together on songs for the upcoming album Three Sides To Every Story. Over the last few months they have been putting the finishing touches to this album from which a taster single Twenty One was issued in August 2010. Initially John Mitchell would join the band, but due to other commitments he couldn't make it.
Janke Rijpkema (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Setlist Sky Architect:Deep Chasm The Grey Legend Excavations of The Mind
Pictures Sky Architect by Miranda Bril
Click on the picture to enlarge.
Line up 'Sky Architect':(left to right,
picture by Arthur Haggenburg)
drums, backing vocals
Rik van Honk:
keyboards, backing vocals
Guus van Mierlo:
lead vocals, guitar
Setlist Paul Menel:Falling Apart At The Seams
Under Your Wing
Sold On You
Little Gorgeous Fool
Nothing At All
She's Up On The Chair Again
Walk In My Shoes
No Love Lost
Pictures Paul Menel & Band by Miranda Bril
Click on the picture to enlarge.
Line up Paul Menel:(left to right)
bass guitar, vocals
lead & backing vocals
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