October 10, 2014 - Bluescafé, Apeldoorn (NL)
The Dutch progressive rock band Hangover Paradise impressed me with their debut album Mirrors (2013, see review) that contained eight excellent tracks well-produced by bass player Dick Kemper, a former band member of Vandenberg. If an album sounds that good it usually is difficult to reproduce that sound during concerts. Therefore I was very curious to find out if the musicians were capable to come close to the wonderful prog rock tunes from their first musical effort. Well, there's only one way to find out and that's to visit a live gig. I only had to wait for a perfect location not too far from my home town. Finally the well-known Bluescafé in Apeldoorn turned out to be the venue where I could see them performing.
Those who are familiar with the band visited the concert for the songs they knew from their debut. Rather soon I could enjoy my personal favourite I Rest My Case done after the opener. It came pretty close to the studio version I've heard so many times from the CD! The wonderful ballad Back Home provided for a fine relaxing moment for both the musicians and the audience. The album tracks Out In The Streets and Religious Minds were the last two songs of the first set. So far we witnessed a band consisting of six great musicians. Powerhouse drummer Niels Voskuil could easily play some delicate parts well-supported by bass player Cynthio Ooms. From time to time he got the chance to put himself in the spotlights with a kind of short bass solo. The twin brothers Peter and Henk Zwerus were complementary to one another behind the keyboards. Sometimes Peter
Hangover Paradise, the opening tune of the second set was used for the name of the band. A strong version of this piece set the tone for the second set which contained three tracks from their debut: Coming Home, Take Away The Fear and Army Of Innocents. These songs got fine renditions performed with more power and energy than the ones on the studio album. For Army Of Innocents they had included the sound of violence and war, because the lyrics deal with child soldiers. The first album contained a ballad - or a 'sad song' as one of the musicians called it - and so will their second album. Well, the ballad Wrong isn't a wrong tune at all as I soon found out. The brilliant guitar solo made sure that it contains enough variation. Tears was never performed live before an audience. Wow! This certainly is a brilliant prog rock song with many changes of tempo.
Out Of Sight, the final song of the second set is about a relationship between parents and child. It was written with a personal perspective having singer Elias de Vries in a leading role. The first part of the song deals with the concern Elias' father had about his son; in the second
Although no encore was planned, the man behind the bar, who had organized this performance, insisted that the band would play some more songs. Half an hour past midnight was way too early for a band to get the equipment off stage, packing their bags and going home. Well, after the band members were provided with some more beer they were ready to play for another half an hour. I was very curious to find out what they had in store yet. Did they perhaps write more new material or would they perform more songs which they already played? Well, the latter was the case. Although I didn't recognize the first encore immediately, it turned out to be Not Worried which had a slightly different beginning since the keyboard intro was cut down to a minimum. For the second encore I Rest My Case, I would certainly have wished for that they would do it again. I'm not sure whether it was Elias' beard, the dark glasses he wore or the fact that he had removed his jacket showing his muscular arms, but out of the blue two female fans wanted to be with him in the picture. He loved the attention all the way and while singing he managed to be a good model!
Hopefully Hangover Paradise will reach a much larger audience the next time they play live on stage. I guess it's one's fate when playing in a rather unknown prog rock band. Nevertheless they deserve a larger audience, but this will probably never happen even if you're as good as many foreign bands in the same genre. Well, that's part of a prog life! Undoubtedly Hangover Paradise can easily play the complex stuff on Mirrors before a live audience! So thumbs up to the six musicians for doing an outstanding job!
Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Setlist Hangover Paradise:
I Rest My Case
Over And Out
Out In The Streets
Life Is Too Short
Army Of Innocents
Take Away The Fear
Out Of Sight
I Rest My Case
by Arthur Haggenburg
Click on the picture to enlarge.
Line up Hangover Paradise:(left to right)
Elias de Vries:
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