iO Pages Festival 2012
Anima Mundi, Knight Area, K2,
DeeExpus & Sylvan

October 6, 2012
Cultuurpodium Boerderij, Zoetermeer (NL)

For many years, iO Pages has not only been the most important Dutch magazine for progressive rock, but also for the organization of festivals. In recent years they made it a two or even a three-day event. However, this year's edition was restricted to one day. There's nothing wrong with that, but why did they invite five bands? From my own experience I know that five bands are at least one or two too many. Organizers sometimes forget that people aren't machines that you can switch on and off. After three or four bands people get tired and as a result they're less focussed on the headliners. These bands are mostly confronted with the fact that many people have already gone home before they have played a single note. This year's headliners were lucky enough to have an audience waiting for them to appear, for they belonged to their favourites. Anyway, I may not be too negative because we're still blessed to see many prog rock acts in our small, but important country for this kind of music.

Anima Mundi

Virginia Peraza
It was still early in the afternoon when the Cuban band Anima Mundi entered the stage. I had seen this band perform three weeks earlier doing a terrific concert at Lakei in Helmond (see review). The show Anima Mundi presented was again extraordinary. They almost played the same set list as in Helmond, but this time the sound and the lightshow were even better. It seemed that the musicians felt comfortable at this venue. Keyboardist Virginia Peraza smiled all the time to the audience and her fellow-musicians. Once again her fine playing on the keys was a delight to listen to, for example the fantastic church organ sound in Flying To The Sun.
Of course all musicians played their parts very well. Anima
Manuel Govin
Mundi had also invited a guest on stage, which was a surprise for most people, but not for those who had seen their gig in Helmond. During that concert drummer Remco Engels (Mangrove) assisted drummer Manuel Govin on percussion during the new piece The Return / Tales From Endless Star. The band's superb concert was received with a lot of cheering and applauding between the performed songs. The band rewarded the public's enthusiasm with two encores: Sanctuary, followed by the instrumental El Umbral (The Threshold) from their debut Septentrión (2002). These encores could be done for there was some time left. Well, after two excellent gigs within three weeks you might say that The Netherlands has become Anima Mundi's second homeland!

Knight Area

After witnessing such an amazing performance it's difficult for any band to perform next. Dutch band Knight Area had the difficult task to let the audience forget the previous show. With the new guitar player
Compliments of Gijs (r) to Mark (l).
Gerben (back) agrees.
Mark Bogert, they succeeded in presenting a great show as well, something we couldn't be sure of beforehand. After guitarist Mark Vermeule did his final show with the band as a support for Karmakanic (see review), it was uncertain how Knight Area would sound. However, his substitute Mark Bogert is an excellent guitarist. I already noticed that two years ago during a concert of prog metal band Penny's Twisted Flavour at the P=Progrock Festival (see review). So it wasn't strange that the guitar parts were slightly harder-edged than before, but it suited the band well. His guitar solo during the encore Mortal Brow was excellent. For a moment, when I closed my eyes, I had the idea that Steve Vai played this solo. Mr. Bogert had mainly practised the material from the band's latest album Nine Paths, because most of the performed pieces were taken from that album, although older tracks like Dreamweaver and Antagony could be enjoyed as well. During the gig Bogert got much appreciation from the other band members. Bassist Gijs Koopman
Ryo (r) hands over the award to Gerben (l)
In the middle: Menno von Brucken Fock (iO Pages)
often walked to the other side of the stage to let him know that he did a great job. Also keyboardist Gerben Klazinga frequently showed his appreciation by giving the thumbs up or by giving him a big smile from behind his keys. The audience loved the performance of Knight Area as well. They're not only loved by the fans, but also by the critics. After finishing their regular set with Angel's Call they were asked back on stage by the host of the festival for they had won the iO Pages Prog Award for their album Nine Paths. Ryo Okumoto (Spock's Beard, K2) was asked for the 'official ceremony' to present the reward to the band which he did in a funny way since he couldn't properly pronounce the name Gerben Klazinga, who founded the band back in 2004. Knight Area not only performed a great show, but they also fully deserved the award!


Ken Jaquess
Next band on stage hailed from the USA and were founded by multi-instrumentalist Ken Jaquess. The two albums he recorded with K2 got the highest rating of five stars on this website. I was very curious to learn how they would present the music from Book Of The Dead (2005) and Black Garden (2010) live on stage. As soon as the band started with Cloak Of Antiquity it turned out that they didn't exactly copy the original album versions. The reason is obvious, for the type of music they make isn't easy to copy. Moreover, they had two musicians on stage who didn't play on the studio albums and who were very important for the total sound. First Brent George, the new singer. He doesn't sing like Peter Gabriel like his predecessors. His vocals slightly resemble the way Nick D'Virgilio (ex-Spock's Beard) sings his lyrics. Second new member is guitarist Steve Poloni, whose guitar style often resembles Allan Holdsworth's. Sometimes it sounded as if he was playing on a synthesizer, just like Ryo Okumoto, who earlier had presented the award to Knight Area. His keyboard playing was excellent, as always. He even performed
Brent George
Free Fall, a song of his own. On announcing the song someone shouted 'Camel!', but this piece has nothing to do with the eponymous track of Camel. The nicest surprise was kept a secret until the final encore that got a nice start as well. Before the band would play a superb version of the Spock's Beard classic Walking On The Wind, the audience started to sing a birthday song for drummer Doug Sanborn. He became fifty on the day of their first Dutch gig. He'll probably never forget this special birthday. However, it wasn't only a special day for him, but for me as well. I had seen a band in great shape that gave a fantastic live performance. In addition this concert was filmed and might be released next year on DVD.


Many people came to see DeeExpus because they wanted to see Mark Kelly play the keyboards. What they didn't know was that he had to fulfil obligations with Marillion. Band leader Andy Ditchfield
Mike Varty, Michael McCrystal and Andy Ditchfield
apologized to those who were disappointed to see Mike Varty instead. He told them that Mike is better looking than Mr. Kelly, so problem solved. Personally I was convinced that Varty would do a great job replacing Kelly. I've seen him many times before on stage with other bands like Credo and Landmarq, so I know what to expect of this excellent keyboardist. Kelly wasn't the only absent musician who played on King Of Number 33, the second album of DeeExpus. Only two musicians who played on that album were present: singer-guitarist Andy Ditchfield and drummer Henry Rogers. A week earlier the latter visited our country to do three concerts with Touchstone (see review). Ditchfield took over the lead vocals from Tony Wright,
Henry Rogers
who left in the meantime. He was also the host for the band and between the songs he told the audience interesting stories about the way some songs have been materialized or about the meaning of the lyrics. Occasionally he also played an electric guitar solo. The other solos were brilliantly performed by Michael McCrystal, who from time to time also played the acoustically. He proved to be capable on both instruments. DeeExpus started their show with the longest piece of the second album, the almost 30-minute epic title track. So far it's the best piece of music they've written and they succeeded in playing an outstanding rendition of it. All the songs from their latest album King Of Number 33 could be enjoyed even Memo, a track that's originally sung by Nik Kershaw. Although the band appeared with a new line-up they gave a strong performance which is surely meant to be a compliment. However, some people in the audience felt that they played too loud and too heavy, but that didn't change my judgment. I enjoyed their concert and afterwards I realized that I hadn't missed Mark Kelly at all!


Jan Petersen and Marco Glühmann (r)
Of course the organizers of the festival knew that by booking a band like Sylvan they would attract many people. And they were right. Although the clock had passed the eleventh hour the venue was still crowded when the Germans started to play almost one hour later than scheduled. Obviously the band's performance was focussed on their latest album. Nearly all tracks from Sceneries were done. Marco Glühmann had some problems to remember which chapters were connected to the album tracks of this double concept album. Or was he just pretending? Anyway, those chapters were excellently performed as expected, because Sylvan always try to perform their music close to the original album versions. However, guitar player Jan Petersen had a weak moment towards the end of Farewell To Old Friends. He seemed to be mistaken by some of his guitar parts. Those who had difficulties to stay awake during this final concert probably got a wake-up call when they heard that Sylvan would perform a large part of Posthumous Silence. This concept album is still a favourite among their fans. This time they could enjoy strong versions of
Matthias Harder
Eternity Ends, Bequest Of Tears, In Chains, Bitter Symphony and Pane Of Truth. Also the encore was a track from that album namely The Colors Changed. Before playing this song Mr. Glühmann held his cell phone to the microphone. An earlier recorded translated German part could be heard in the Dutch language which was welcomed with laughter. With the same smart phone he later on filmed a few minutes on stage during the encore. This enjoyable moment could be seen on YouTube some days later. For most people this late night show by Sylvan was enjoyable too. Many prog heads find Sylvan's music not that complex, but who cares as long as many people enjoy it. Especially when the live versions are as good as the ones on the original album!

Looking back at this year's edition of the iO Pages Festival, I can only say that the organizers assembled a line-up with a lot of variation. All bands gave strong performances, although the rented drum kit could have been adjusted a bit better for some of the bands. Then again all was organized well with enough to drink, eat and chat for the visitors.

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist Anima Mundi:

Time To Understand
Flying To The Sun
The Return
Tales From Endless Star
Cosmic Man
El Umbral (The Threshold)

Pictures Anima Mundi by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Anima Mundi:

(left to right)
Roberto Díaz:
guitars, backing vocals
Manuel Govin:
Carlos Sosa:
percussion, keyboard, lead and backing vocals
Virginia Peraza:
keyboards, backing vocals
Yaroski Corredera:
bass guitar

Setlist Knight Area:

Ever Since You Killed Me
Please Come Home
Pride And Joy
The River
Angel's Call
Mortal Brow

Pictures Knight Area by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Knight Area:

(left to right)
Mark Bogert:
electric guitar
Gijs Koopman:
bass, bass pedals
Mark Smit:
lead vocals, portable keyboard
Pieter van Hoorn:
drums, backing vocals
Gerben Klazinga:
keyboards, backing vocals

Setlist K2:

Cloak Of Antiquity
Storm At Sunset
Black Garden
Passage To The Deep
Free Fall
Infinite Voyage

Walking On The Wind

Pictures K2 by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up K2:

(left to right)
Brent George:
lead vocals, electric guitar
Doug Sanborn:
drums, vocals
Ryo Okumoto:
Steve Poloni:
electric guitar
Ken Jaquess:
bass, backing vocals

Setlist DeeExpus:

The King Of Number 33
Pointless Child
One Eight
Marty And The Magic Moose
Maybe September
Me And My Downfall

Pictures DeeExpus by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up DeeExpus:

(left to right)
Mike Varty:
keyboards, backing vocals
Michael McCrystal:
backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitar
Andy Ditchfield:
electric guitars, lead vocals
Henry Rogers:
Dave Anderson:

Setlist Sylvan:

The Waters I Traveled
Share The World with Me
That's Why It Hurts
Eternity Ends
Bequest Of Tears
In Chains
Bitter Symphony
Pane Of Truth
The Fountain Of Glow
One Step Beyond
Farewell To Old Friends
The Colors Changed

Pictures Sylvan by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Sylvan:

(left to right)
Jan Petersen:
Volker Söhl:
Marco Glühmann:
lead vocals
Matthias Harder:
Sebastian Harnack:
bass guitar, bass pedals

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