Headspace & Haken

September 7, 2012, Lakei, Helmond (NL)

On a nice, warm Friday evening we were heading for the city of Helmond to visit a concert of two bands that both represent a new chapter in the progressive metal scene. Haken already performed at the Rock ITtervoort Festival and despite the poor conditions I found them very impressive. Headspace is the new band of singer Damian Wilson and keyboardist Adam Wakeman, forming a stunning combination of great musicians. After entering the venue I noticed there was a kind of a gathering around; it made me happy to see that so many people had decided to see these two talented bands.


The first band on stage was Haken. This time they had more space for their instruments. With a keyboard player and a guitarist who also plays the keyboards, the room to move usually gets a bit narrow. However, at Lakei the keyboards were positioned at the left and right of the podium, so the band members had plenty of room to walk around. Haken played their latest CD Visions
Ross Jennings
(see review) integrally which means that they started with a short instrumental piece proving to have some excellent musicians at work. Both guitarists played a seven string guitar and a six string bass with a brilliant sound: heavy when needed and subtle if the music required it. When singer Ross Jennings entered the stage, you could notice his enthusiasm. During the whole show he was connecting with the audience having a party of his own on stage. I tried to take a picture of him, but most of the time Jennings was already gone when my flash went off. So, I was glad my colleague had the difficult task to take pictures. In between his funny moves his voice stayed perfectly in tune, which I found pretty impressive.

During the concert the two guitarists Charlie Griffith and Richard Hensall were challenging each other with their solo parts and the heavy riffing, but they were most impressive when they played simultaneously. On the other side of the podium Diego Tejeida added some nice layers of keyboard sounds to the powerful music, while jumping up and down and having a great time. Bass player Thomas MacLean played concentrated with his eyes closed producing some fusion-like bass lines. He's a stature on stage when he's not playing, but a professional when he does. Raymond Hearne, the man in the back is not only a fine drummer, but also a great backing vocalist. The combination of technical playing, the powerful heaviness and the playfulness on stage made that Haken was great fun to watch. I think an icon band like Dream Theater could learn a lot of these youngsters like how to perform on stage and how to communicate with the audience during, but also after the show.


After a short break it was time for Headspace. With a singer like Damian Wilson I think it's not necessary to say anything about the vocals. As far as I'm concerned, he's the best singer and performer I've ever seen on stage. In fact I can finish my review here by saying that Headspace is a brilliant band with the best vocalist ever, but that wouldn't be fair. During the concert my eyes were constantly fixed on that young guitar player on the left. He tried to hide behind his acoustic guitar stand, producing sounds that were bringing me close to ecstasy. Pete Rinaldi has it all, switching in the blink of an eye from relaxed acoustic guitar play to the most furious metal
Damian Wilson
riffs. Is he a promise for the future? For me there's no doubt: he's the present and the future.

There was so much happening on stage and you could notice the pleasure, especially when Rinaldi connected to bass player Lee Pomeroy. From the latter I got shivers down my spine caused by his bass work: rhythmic and powerful, but always working in the service of the band's sound. In between the heavy pieces Headspace got those intense intros like in Soldier and Daddy Fucking Loves You. At this point, while listening to Damian Wilsons's voice only accompanied by Adam Wakeman's keyboards or Pete Rinaldi's acoustic guitar, I felt seized with emotion. Those musicians are able to move and touch you deep inside and that's something only few bands have a gift for. Speaking of Wakeman, he was just doing perfectly bringing the balance in Headspace's music, compensating the powerful guitar work with melodic keyboard solos. I also have to credit Scotchman and drummer Richard Brooke for being a steady backbone to the music. When you read the first sentences of this Headspace review and you think this is just a Damian Wilson project, I missed my point! Headspace are a true band with musicians who won't stop until perfection. What a night we had!

The nice thing about a venue like Lakei − and there are some more in The Netherlands − is that the audience usually get the chance to interact with the band members after the show. So, after shaking hands and having nice conversations with several band members, I went home with a big smile on my face. I might have seen the concert of the year...

Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist Haken:

Nocturnal Conspiracy
The Mind's Eye

Pictures Haken by Henri Strik

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Haken:

(left to right)
Charlie Griffith:
Thomas Maclean:
bass, backing vocals
Raymond Hearne:
drums, backing vocals
Richard Hensall:
guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Ross Jennings:
lead vocals
Diego Tejeida:
keyboards, backing vocals

Setlist Headspace:

Stalled Armageddon
Fall Of America
Die With A Bullet
In Hell's Name
Daddy Fucking Loves You
The Big Day

Pictures Headspace by Henri Strik

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Headspace:

Damian Wilson:
lead vocals
Pete Rinaldi:
guitars, backing vocals
Adam Wakeman:
keyboards, backing vocals
Richard Brooke:
drums, percussion
Lee Pomeroy:
bass, backing vocals

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