December 11, 2009 Bluescafť, Apeldoorn (NL)

Once again, Mangrove performed in Apeldoorn, dwelling place of at least one member of the band and many of their fans and crew. Itís becoming a tradition for me to attend these gigs in the Bluescafť. It is nice to experience progressive rock music from The Netherlands in a small cafť and at the same time seeing friends. The show, which turned out to be extra long, kicked off at 22:00 pm. At the time, there werenít so many visitors, but as the evening progressed, it got busier. Perhaps people outside heard the music and decided to pay the ten Euros to witness the show.

Mangrove started with the entire Facing The Sunset album (2005). Although this album only contains four songs, it runs approximately one hour. Iím a big fan of bands playing entire albums live on stage, so I can only applaud this move. Their latest and amazing release Beyond Reality (see review) followed next. It was a great joy to watch some Mangrove-fans in ecstasy listening to epics like Hidden Dreams. As usual, Mangrove played very well. Roland van der Horst always steals the show while walking with his guitar from the stage and mingling with the audience. Of course, he is the singer and so he gets a lot of attention, but during Mangrove-gigs, I like to watch Chris Jonker playing keyboards. You cannot only see, but also feel the passion in his playing. I admire that attitude, especially with musicians as young as he seems to be.

In between the two albums, there was room for older material as well. I recognized some of it, such as Zone III from Coming Back To Live, a live album released in 2006. In effect, this is a Ďbest ofí of Mangroveís early work. I have to admit, though, that all I really wanted to hear at this point was Beyond Reality, the first Mangrove-release in which I feel cohesion between the tracks. With earlier Mangrove-albums, some parts of the songs appealed to me, while others didnít. After nearly two hours of playing, we finally got to the epic track Daydreamerís Nightmare from Beyond Reality. From the very first tones, the music carried me away. I know this album by heart, for Iíve listened to it so often. However, I have to admit that I donít like everything about it. Rolandís voice doesnít always appeal to me, but itís a secondary aspect of the album, I feel. The typical Mangrove-sound is just something you either love or hate, but one thing is for sure: Mangroveís music is never boring! Experiencing the bandís music live on stage is completely different. It would be highly unusual for prog rock lovers to say they donít like it. The power and energy coming from the stage is incredible.

Mangrove played Voyager, the closing epic from Beyond Reality and my favourite on that album, with verve. Roland came in front of my camera, so I could watch it even better without my glasses. Three hours of playing and singing and he still gave me the impression that he could go on for hours. Strangely enough, I wasnít tired either and my feet didnít even hurt. Voyager was the absolute highlight of the evening, just as it is on the album. It was a bummer, however, that some people just wanted to have a drink and a chat. In the end, that took away some of the magic, but there will be many opportunities to come...

From the beginning to the end, this performance was a journey, one that made me very happy. I was at the release party for Beyond Reality as well, but it didnít impress me then. However, having the opportunity to get to know the album in the meantime, this live experience was a different story. Iím sorry I havenít listed this album on my best prog albums over 2009, but again, I was just trying to be a fair judge. During the gig, I was standing among Ďprog friendsí, some of whom I always see at gigs. It was also special, because in such a small cafť, in the middle of our country, you donít expect such an outburst of emotion in response to the music. To be with friends at these times is very important.

The big news is that Mangrove will finally play a full show at De Boerderij in Zoetermeer in November 2010. Come along and see them, Mangrove deserve it. Thereíll be some surprises, perhaps special guest appearances? They arrange a bus for their fans and crew from Apeldoorn. Maybe I go to Apeldoorn that day just to be on that bus! Itís great to see a band of this calibre being so normal and down-to-earth. We must be very lucky to have them.

Janke Rijpkema (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist Mangrove:

Set1:"Facing The Sunset"
I Fear The Day
There Must Be Another Way
Hidden Dreams
Facing The Sunset

Set2:"Best Of The Rest"
Wizard Of Tunes
Back Again
Zone III
Fatal Sign
City Of Darkness

Set3:"Beyond Reality"
Daydreamer's Nightmare
Time Will Tell
Love and Beyond
Reality Fades
Beyond Reality

Pictures Mangrove by Peter Vroon

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Mangrove:

(left to right)
Chris Jonker:
Pieter Drost:
bass guitar, bass pedals
Roland van der Horst:
electric & acoustic guitars, lead vocals
Joost Hagemeijer:
drums, vocals

(Promo picture taken from Mangrove's website).

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