Awakening, The Reasoning & Touchstone

September 29, 2012, DRU Cultuurfabriek, Ulft (NL)

It was the first time that Touchstone and The Reasoning did a double headliner show abroad visiting countries like The Netherlands, Germany and doing gigs in their homeland, the UK. 'It's been nearly half a decade since the last time we shared a stage with The Reasoning', said Touchstone guitarist Adam Hodgson. Before the tour he stated:'Getting to play out in Europe properly as well as in the UK with some great friends would be amazing.' The Reasoning's bassist Matthew Cohen commented the following regarding this tour:

Touchstone and The Reasoning have developed so much as artists over the years. The versions you see on stage are lean, mean rocking machines with more fire and drive than ever before. We're going to bring you one hell of a gig experience! The new avengers of prog are coming to a city near you in 2012 so join the adventure!'

Well, after reading these statements I was curious to see both bands perform. After all they released amazing albums containing rather strong progressive rock. Therefore I thought it to be a bit strange that Awakening, a Dutch female fronted band, was booked to open for both bands at the final day of their three live shows in our country. Most members of this band live nearby the DRU Cultuurfabriek in Ulft and therefore they probably got the job to play at this venue.


On the band's website they label themselves as a 'tribute to symphonic rock.' After seeing their live performance I think they're right. The music they perform can indeed be seen as a tribute to many bands that provided progressive rock its identity. However, it still
Silvia BB
sounds a bit strange when a woman sings the vocal lines of a man. For that reason it felt a bit strange that they had chosen songs from male fronted bands. Sure, the vocal qualities of Silvia BB were more than adequate; that wasn't the problem at all. The way she sang The Great Gig In The Sky by Pink Floyd proved that she had the vocal abilities needed to front a rock band. However, songs as The Wall (Kansas), Subterranea (IQ) and The Great Escape (Marillion) felt a bit as if Ann Wilson (Heart) were singing them, only in a lower key. The musicians were capable of playing these covers rather decently only once in a while they sounded a bit heavier. It seemed that the band had brought along a lot of fans because Silvia BB kept waving at them while singing her vocal lines. Unfortunately these fans were rather noisy during the band's performance, which was annoying for the other people in the audience. Although the performance of Awakening was sufficient, I wouldn't have missed them if they hadn't performed; I prefer bands that play their own material even if the covers are adequately played...

The Reasoning

Keith Hawkins, Rachel Cohen and Tony Turrell (r)
In September 2010 The Reasoning had already booked a concert in The Netherlands. However, they couldn't work things out in time so they cancelled it. Now two years later with an almost complete new line-up, the band finally made it to our country. Not for one single show, but for three shows together with their friends of Touchstone. The band kicked off with the title track of their second album Dark Angel (2008) which sounded strongly and set the standard for the remainder of this one-hour concert. They can really entertain an audience by playing great pieces of prog rock most of the time. Especially the songs from their brand new album Adventures In Neverland were outstanding. Their new guitarist Keith Hawkins moved me more than once with the way he played his guitar. Keyboard player
Rachel Cohen
Tony Turrel performed pleasant synthesizer solos every now and then. He even got a solo spot during which he played a synthesizer version of Also Sprach Zarathustra. Moreover, he was the moving force behind the lead vocals. Especially on the two pieces of the debut Awakening (2007) he turned out to be a good replacement for the band's former male lead singers Dylan Thompson and Gareth Jones.

The band not always took their music that serious. This could be heard many times when lead singer Rachel Cohen welcomed the audience to their Adventures In The City Tour talking about the back catalogue and the merchandise handled by one Big Dave. Her husband Matthew showed the band's merchandise clothing and he couldn't keep his mouth shut during Aching Hunger, the last performed song. While his spouse was singing, he sang the word 'sausage' in between. During the final track drummer Henry Rogers and bassist Andre P Moorghen, also known as Moo Bass and both from Touchstone, appeared to be backing singers as well. Together they ended what turned out to be a perfect concert for The Reasoning!
Unfortunately the band had to skip two songs due to the fact that Awakening needed time to do their performance. This meant that I couldn't enjoy 14 and The Omega Point!


Adam Hodgson and Kim Seviour
Musically Touchstone might be compared to The Reasoning. Both bands have a male and a female singer in their line-up and both perform the lead and the backing vocals. Well, this doesn't mean that they sound alike. Apart from the repertoire I noticed other differences between these bands. Touchstone not only played slightly louder, but their songs tend a bit more towards mainstream rock. However, it's still enjoyable! I also noticed that Kim Seviour had learned some Dutch words to welcome their fans in The Netherlands. On stage she was a real eye-catcher jumping around from one musician to another. She even touched Adam Hodgson's effect pedals while he played the guitar.

Obviously most songs performed were taken from the band's latest studio album The City Sleeps, a fine album indeed! I loved the performance of songs like Half Moon Meadow and When Shadows Fall a lot. However, I would like to have heard more songs from Wintercoast, my favourite Touchstone album. I loved the way they performed Zinomorph, the audience participation tune Strange Days and the encore Wintercoast of this album. Unfortunately I missed songs like Voices, Joker In The Pack, Original Sin and the beautiful ballad Solace, but just as The Reasoning before them Touchstone had to skip some tracks as well. Therefore Solace and Good Boy Psycho had to be cancelled. The final encore, however, brought a big smile on my face and made me forget to regret the songs they hadn't played. Mad World, a cover of Tears For Fears was done in a party time version with all members of both bands on stage. This piece reflected that the musicians are friendly with each other and have a lot of fun. In retrospect it turned out that this wasn't the only cover they had played during the Adventures In The City Tour. They also performed songs from AC/DC and Queen.
Adam Hodgson, Andre 'Moo' Moorghen and
Rob Cottingham (back)
Party time: The Reasoning and Touchstone on stage

Well, looking back at these three performances it's easy to say that both Touchstone and The Reasoning impressed me with their strong live shows. I hope these bands won't be supported by Awakening the next time they visit our country; they weren't bad at all, but I prefer bands that mostly play their own music. Finally a big hand for those who contracted these two British bands for some Dutch shows, because they have been on my wish list for a long time!

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist Awakening:

The Dawn Of A Million Souls
Subterrenea (IQ)
The Wall (Kansas)
The Great Gig In The Sky
       (Pink Floyd)
The Great Escape (Marillion)
Iter Impius (Pain Of Salvation)

Pictures Awakening by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Awakening:

(left to right)
Ad Aubri:
electric guitar
Hans Mom:
bass guitar
Arjan Bos:
Silvia BB:
lead vocals
Antal Nusselder:

Setlist The Reasoning:

Dark Angel
The Thirteenth Hour
No Friend Of Mine
The Forest Of Hands And Teeth
Adventures In Neverland
Aching Hunger

Pictures The Reasoning by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up The Reasoning:

(left to right)
Jake Bradford-Sharp:
drums, percussion
Matthew Cohen:
bass guitar, backing vocals
Tony Turrel:
keyboards, lead and backing vocals
Rachel Cohen:
lead vocals, percussion
Keith Hawkins:
backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars

Setlist Touchstone:

When Shadows Fall
Being Hannah
These Walls
Halfmoon Meadow
Strange Days

Pictures Touchstone by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Touchstone:

(left to right)
Rob Cottingham:
lead and backing vocals, keyboards
Adam Hodgson:
guitars, backing vocals
Henry Rogers:
drums, percussion
Kim Seviour:
lead vocals
Andre P Moorghen:
bass, backing vocals

Setlist 'party time':

Mad World

Pictures Finale by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

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