Martigan & Silhouette

April 10, 2010 - Yard Club/Kantine, Köln (D)

How often do we have to make choices in life? Maybe much too often. This is sometimes also the case with visiting concerts. On April 10th I had the choice to see three bands in action on different locations. First I could see Saga doing their album Heads Or Tales in it’s entirety just around the corner. Secondly the 10th anniversary tour of RPWL with a real prog medley on the menu could have been another gig which I had to see. But my heart did tell me to see a band that is less well know in the prog business. This band already impressed me a lot during their  performance at last years Progfarm festival (see concert review). Also their latest album Vision was for me a real masterpiece and my favourite album of 2009. So a trip to Köln in their home country Germany was for me an obvious choice to see Martigan. This show at the Yard Club had been cancelled due to chaotic weather conditions earlier this year. Those snow storms made it for me possible to see them after all because I had other plans on the original date. After a nice drive on the German highways we got welcomed by our fellow country men from the Netherlands that were going to be the support band for the evening. Silhouette were the replacement band on the last edition of the already mentioned Progfarm festival and got friends with Martigan. It was for the band the first live performance abroad. They had one whole hour to show the German audience that they are capable to entertain a crowd. I had seen the band last year at a mini festival in Utrecht (see review) and was not blown away by that performance. But this time I could tell that they had grown music wise. This was also noticed by the people at the Yard Club. From time to time they got positive remarks from them. The bands left handed guitarist Brian de Graeve did most of the talking in between the songs. He started in the German language but chanced into English after a while. You could tell that he had some problems to hear himself on the monitors. Also his guitar sound was a bit thin but he did manage after all to sound properly. I have to mention that drummer Jos Uffing got a musical revenge from his bad Utrecht gig. His vocals were more professional done this time. While standing behind his instrument he managed to get his more aggressive and expressive voice more under control. Bravo this is how I like to see him doing his job in the band. The biggest complement goes however again to keyboard player Erik Laan. His talented playing gives the music of Silhouette probably their fine progressive rock sound. Highlights during their performance were for me songs such as Second Time Down and Unreal Meeting taken from their 2009 release Moods. It was obvious that the largest part of the set were songs taken from that album. However they also played a track from their first release (A Maze), which had the title Long Distance, and a brand new piece which they named Anybody. It’s easy to say that the band can look back at a satisfied first gig outside Holland.

Silhouette started as a band in 2004. Martigan started as a band in 1994. Those 10 years certainly made a difference as I  could see during the performances of both bands. Right from the start it became very clear that Martigan is a band that played as a real professional live unit. They can compete with bands such as Marillion, Pendragon or IQ without any doubt. Everything about them is just perfect. They even dared to stay on the stage for three whole hours. Six string bass player Oliver Baumann told me this before the show and I really thought he was making a joke. Which band does this nowadays? All musicians were dressed in black and white cloths when they started with a track that was titled When Two Years Collide. It was taken from their sold out album Ciel Ouvert. Their first official release after the demo Stolzenbach which was given as a free gift while entering the venue to every visitor. This piece was followed by a track taken from their second official album Man Of The Moment. Another album that has been sold out lately. Mask & Raven I showed again that the band was willing to do something extra for their fans from Germany and the Netherlands. Lead singer Kai Marckwordt  proved on the third song The 7th Floor that he is not just a gifted singer that sounds a bit like Phil Collins or Peter Gabriel, but that he also can play on a saxophone. After this title he explained that they had a wonderful time last year at the Progfarm festival and invited everybody to visit this wonderful event. During Closer Contact it became clear that not only lead guitarist Björn Bisch can play a fine melodic solo on his instrument. The already mentioned Kai must be an all round musician because he had no problems to play the guitar solo on the mentioned track and doing a twin guitar part together with Björn. Björn’s brother Alex Bisch showed his talents behind his drum kid through out the whole set. That he is a fan of Neal Peart (Rush) and Simon Phillips (Toto) is very obvious when your hear his excellent playing. A solo spot was given to him during the track Red & Green. A solo spot was also given to the bands wonderful keyboard player Oliver Rebhan. Dressed in a long black coat and leather pants he stole the show during A Great Concern. I do not know if the 25 minutes long piece Boatman’s Vision was the highlight of the whole set. But  I do know that it was the last song of an awesome regular set. The band return on the stage with Roll The Globe. It started with Alex on drums and sounded like the intro of Toto’s Africa. After they did Much More they again left the stage. I  noticed that one song was left on the setlist: The Pride. The DJ had already started his music when Björn returned to stage and picked up his guitar. He told me to my surprise that the last encore was next. The last minutes of music performed by Martigan were just the cream on a delicious German pie that was presented by our German friends. Too bad that this fantastic band has so little fans around the world. What Genesis was in the seventies with A Trick Of The Tail (1976) and Wind & Wuthering (1977) are Martigan nowadays with strong albums such as Man Of The Moment (2002) and Vision (2009). I guess that says enough about this great progressive rock band.

Henri Strik

Setlist Martigan:

When Two Worlds Collide
Mask & Raven I
The 7th Floor
The Contract
Craze This Town
Mask & Raven II
A Great Concern
Closer Contact
Images & Tales
Red & Green
Boatman's Vision

Roll The Globe
Much More
The Pride

Pictures Martigan by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Martigan:

(left to right)
Oliver Baumann:
Alex Bisch:
Drums and backing vocals
Oliver Rebhan:
Keyboards and backing vocals
Kai Marckwordt:
Guitars, saxophone, lead and backing vocals
Björn Bisch:

Setlist Silhouette:

Concert Hangover
Far Away
Long Distance
Second Time Down
Unreal Meeting
The Answers

Pictures Silhouette by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Silhouette:

(left to right)
Jos Uffing:
Drums, lead and backing vocals
Gerrit-Jan Bloemink:
Erik Laan:
Keyboards, lead and backing vocals
Brian de Graeve:
Guitars, lead and background vocals

All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013