Progmotion Festival:
Minor Giant, Galahad & Kingfisher Sky

September 1, 2012 De Pul, Uden (NL)

Progmotion is a foundation established in 2012 in order to give Dutch progressive rock music a new impulse. The foundation sees several opportunities to increase the interest for the genre to a wider audience. Organizing and promoting live concerts are one of the main goals. They organized their first Progmotion Festival at venue De Pul in Uden. By doing so they also took into consideration the already existing concert initiatives and the geographical spread. Therefore I guess De Pul was a right choice because lovers of prog rock wouldn't have to travel that long to reach this venue.

After several months of preparations the organizers came up with a rather strong line-up. However, only a week before the festival would take place, they had to face their first serious problem. Headliners Wolverine were forced to cancel their show, because lead singer Stefan Zell had contracted pneumonia which made it impossible for him to sing. He was diagnosed on Tuesday and the doctor thought he might be lucky enough to sing by Saturday. Zell had taken his medication which led to some improvements, but not enough to breathe properly. Only one day before the festival they let the organizers know that they couldn't come. In the meantime several bands were asked to replace Wolverine if the band would fail to come. Dutch band Kingfisher Sky was one of the first acts that were willing to perform instead. They made it in time to save the festival...

Minor Giant

Rindert Lammers
The band that opened the first Progmotion Festival was a dark horse for most visitors. So far they didn't record any albums; more than that, they never performed on a stage before! However, for many people this band was a real eye-opener. The opening tune On The Road was really unbelievable. The synthesizer solos by composer Rindert Lammers were high-levelled just like the brilliant guitar solos by Jordi Repkes. The latter isn't only a fine guitar player, but also a good singer. His voice tends towards typical American singers like Nick D'Virgilio or Neal Morse. I think Morse can be considered to be the major inspiration for Minor Giant since most of the songs contain about the same musical style. And just like Morse the lyrics hold a Christian message.
Jordi Repkes and Harry den Hartog
Lammers and Repkes were solidly accompanied by the excellent drummer Roy Post and second keyboard player Jos Heijmans, who provided some strong chords. Last but not least there was at least one musician who had a lot of experience in playing before an audience: bass player Harry den Hartog (ex-PBII). To perform music in the vein of Neal Morse you need great musicians. That was certainly the case with this band that gave a wonderful debut concert in front of a rather crowded venue. Minor Giant started recording their debut album that will be released in 2013. This is something to look out for. I hope they'll give some more performances in the meantime, because the first gig increased my hunger for more!


Stuart "Stu" Nicholson
It was a long time since Galahad played in The Netherlands. As far as I can remember their last gig was in 2007. Therefore expectations ran high for this concert, especially because Galahad's latest two releases Empires Never Last (2007) and Battle Scars (2012, see review) contain excellent material. That was probably the main reason that the set list was dominated by songs from these albums. Another reason why the band almost performed the entire Battle Scars album was to honour their bass player Neil Pepper, who passed away exactly one year earlier. He was replaced by multi-instrumentalist Mark Spencer (Twelfth Night) who occasionally played some additional guitar parts alongside guitarist Roy Keyworth.

Roy Keyworth and Mark Spencer
At certain moments Galahad's music contained some trance influences, which was more or less expected. Well, trance or not the audience loved songs like Bitter And Twisted and Seize The Day anyway. That's why it surprised me a bit that they didn't perform Bug Eye. In a way this track already showed that prog rock can also be mixed with trance and house music. After their well-performed show the band told me that they intended to play an extended version of Bug Eye, but only if Wolverine would have played a shorter live set because of their singer's health problems.
Unfortunately, this Swedish band didn't become the headliners of the first Progmotion Festival and instead of Bug Eye the audience could enjoy a fine version of Termination as an encore.

Kingfisher Sky

Judith Rijnveld
Sure, most people didn't expect this Dutch band to be the festival's headliners. Therefore it wasn't surprising, I guess, that many people had already left the venue when Kingfisher Sky started to play. Those who had left before the band started to play primarily came for Wolverine; they weren't interested in a band that could be best labelled as a gothic metal band. For the band it was a surprise though to perform at De Pul on such a short notice. This became clear for female singer Judith Rijnveld wasn't focussed on the set list, since it was put together a couple of hours earlier. Sometimes she really had no idea which song was next. She also had some mischance with her mobile microphone. It didn't work properly and had to be replaced by an old-fashioned one that was connected with the mixing desk through a wire. However, it didn't prevent her from singing her vocal lines rather well and clean, although during several songs her voice sounded a bit similarly. On the other hand she evidently was the eye-catcher on stage, not only by her presentation but also by the way she was dressed. I think the other lady on stage didn't get the same attention although she certainly deserved it. Maaike Peterse's very long blond hair and the way she played the cello were rather impressive. But also band leader and drummer Ivar de Graaf (ex- Within Temptation) impressed me more than once with his drumming. His kind of

Maaike Peterse
playing is something you won't associate with gothic metal bands. His technical skills were well-mixed with a rather strong groove.

The songs Kingfisher Sky performed were a good mixture of tracks from the two albums they recorded so far: Hallway Of Dreams (2007) and Skin Of The Earth (2010, see review). However, live on stage the songs sounded heavier than the original versions. Maybe this isn't that strange if you know that they have two guitar players on stage. Both Edo van der Kolk and Chris Henny are fine guitarists who can play decent solos and metal riffs. One of the highlights was an excellent guitar duel on which they got a big hand from the audience. I think not all visitors were familiar with the band's repertoire and therefore had mixed feelings about the band's performance. But it's to the band's credits that they took the risk to do this show knowing that most people had come to see Wolverine. From that viewpoint they succeeded well in bringing the festival to a happy conclusion. They delivered a good set, but maybe in front of the wrong audience...

A final word goes to the organizers of Progmotion. They were extremely pleased with the course of the first festival that attracted more than 220 visitors. Hopefully the same visitors will come to the next Progmotion Festival as well, because people who presently have the guts to organize a progressive rock festival simply deserve a large audience!

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen, pictures by Arthur Haggenburg)

Setlist Minor Giant:

On The Road
The Restart (working title)
Lead Me Home
Hand In Hand
We Are Strangers Here
On The Road (reprise)

Pictures Minor Giant by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Minor Giant:

(left to right)
Jos Heijmans:
Rindert Lammers:
Roy Post:
Harry den Hartog:
bass, backing vocals
Jordi Repkes:
guitars, lead vocals

Setlist Galahad:

Battle Scars
Bitter And Twisted
This Life
Empires Never Last
Suspended Animation
Beyond The Barbed Wire
Seize The Day

Pictures Galahad by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Galahad:

(left to right)
Dean Baker:
keyboards, backing vocals
Roy Keyworth:
Spencer Luckman:
Stuart Nicholson:
lead vocals
Mark Spencer:
bass, guitars, backing vocals

Setlist Kingfisher Sky:

Like A Shadow
We Love Our Heroes
Balance Of Power
Through My Eyes
Hallway Of Dreams
The Edge Of Insanity
Mushroom Wall
Liquid Clocks
My Better Part
Rise From The Flames
Seven Feet
The Craving

Pictures Kingfisher Sky by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Kingfisher Sky:

(left to right)
Edo van der Kolk:
electric and acoustic guitars
David Gutiérrez Rojas:
Ivar de Graaf:
Maaike Peterse:
Judith Rijnveld:
lead vocals
Chris Henny:
electric guitars
Eric Hoogendoorn:

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