Dutch Exposure Project
Cartographer, Sean Filkins & Band

December 15, 2012 - W2, Den Bosch (NL)

In 2011 the English musician Sean Filkins recorded an excellent album called War And Peace & Other Short Stories (see review). Our reviewer judged this album with the highest rating of five stars; it appealed to our readers as well, since it reached a third place in our album top-10 of 2011. After listening to the album myself I could only conclude that Sean Filkins really deserved this attention. When I noticed that the Progmotion team had booked him for a concert in The Netherlands, I decided that I didn't want to miss that gig. It was combined with the presentation of the album of the Dutch Exposure Project realized by FREIA Music. A nice support act was booked as well, bud sadly the Dutch band Day Six had to withdraw due to an elbow bursitis of their drummer. Cartographer were invited to replace them. It's a shame that the W2-venue in Den Bosch wasn't packed with lovers of progressive rock!

Dutch Exposure Project

Peter Freia
The evening opened with the presentation of the bands that had reached the second round of The Dutch Exposure Project. This is a competition for new and talented Dutch prog rock bands. Almost all bands that are represented on the album Dutch Exposure were present. They could introduce themselves with a short video clip which was done by Armed Cloud, Trip Trigger, Thirteen, Incidence and Summer Breeze Project (not present), or with a spoken introduction like Loek/Luke Darceno van Gallico did. However, in my opinion the band that presented themselves the best was Profuna Ocean. Their professional presentation of a video of Waiting For The Fall with two girls dancing in front of the video screen was much appreciated by the audience. Early 2013 the public get the chance to vote for the best four bands in order to obtain a place in the finale which is held on Saturday, March 23, 2013. The winner gets a record deal with FREIA Music.
Armed Cloud Thirteen Incidense Profuna Ocean


Milan Roerdink
Cartographer is a noisy, minimalist rock trio from the American bay area. However, that wasn't the band that replaced Day Six, but their Dutch namesakes based in the city of Tilburg. The musicians are mostly inspired by bands as Oceansize, Muse and Karnivool. They call their music 'post progressive rock'. With no less than three guitar players, a drummer and a bass player they make instrumental music varying from intense and raging explosions, to sparkling clean and dreamy harmonies. The members of Cartographer have made it their goal to inspire listeners with their music and so caught on the audience with their energy. They warned people to bring along earplugs if you're going to watch them live on stage. Indeed, they sounded very loud sometimes...

The songs they performed mainly came from their recently released eponymous EP inspired by a psychiatrist, who developed a theory how to cope with grief. The EP consists of five songs according to the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining,
depression and acceptance. The band only played Denial, Bargaining and Depression, but Acceptance Disaster and 17:04, two non-EP tracks, were performed as well. To me the latter track was the highlight of their performance. It featured a strong electric guitar crescendo, but I have to admit that I didn't enjoy all songs Cartographer played. Especially the very heavy guitar parts had very little to do with my definition of how progressive rock should sound. Nevertheless I must give them a compliment for the way they were able to play several musical moods with three electric guitarists and no keyboards at all. Somehow their style reminded me of the German band Long Distance Calling that I saw at the Symforce III Festival (2009, see review). This band also started a song with a guitar riff and a second guitar player who joined to play a tuneful solo accompanied by a rhythm section playing a fast or a slow beat. They also kept playing these grooves just like Cartographer did. Most people in the audience loved their music and that's just what matters!

Sean Filkins & Band

Sean Filkins
Sean Filkins had crossed the Channel with a complete backing band to perform his first Dutch gig. His band mainly consisted of older musicians except the very talented guitarist Daniel Maher, the son of Richard Maher, who most of the time played the rhythm guitar. Obviously Sean Filkins and his fellow-musicians performed a large part of his first solo album War And Peace & Other Short Stories. I was very curious to learn if they could play these strong compositions live on stage as well.

They opened with Are You Sitting Comfortably?, the intro to the album including the sound of a radio station for which they played New Jerusalem and the sound of drinking a cup of tea. This was followed by The English Eccentric just as on the album. Two other pieces of this CD could be enjoyed as well: Prisoner Of Conscience, part 2: The Ordinary Man and Epitaph For A Mariner. The last one got a special guest appearance of Sean's daughter Abigail. She perfectly sang the vocal intro just as she did on the original version. After performing these beautiful tracks it became clear that they succeeded in copying the original album versions. The many sound effects used on the album were included as well. Between the songs Filkins told the audience what they were all about. He also gave a short overview of what he'd done in the past by playing two songs from Children's Games (1994), an album he made with Lorien. At first we could enjoy Hold The Key and later on the more epic sounding Losing It.

L to R: John, Richard & Sean
I think some people in the audience knew that Filkins was also the lead singer of Big Big Train; with this band he recorded two albums. For those people it was nice to hear High Tide, Last Stand from Gathering Speed (2004), a song that was never performed live on stage by his former band. Filkins played a great version of this piece during which the sound of a World War II airplane could be heard. He kept some fine cover songs for the encores. First they played a strong version of Hymn by Barclay James Harvest, which brought the audience in a Christmas mood, followed by a short part of Radar Love (Golden Earring) during which Filkins introduced his band. Last but not least we got an outstanding version of In The Court Of The Crimson King (King Crimson), a perfect ending of an enjoyable live performance. This concert shines even more if you realize that this line-up did only three gigs in the UK before they came to our country. Bravo!

I would especially like to thank all the people of Progmotion who made it possible that Sean Filkins and his band could make an excellent debut on a Dutch stage. Unfortunately few people had taken the opportunity to witness this concert, which certainly was most rewarding.

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist Cartographer:


Pictures Cartographer by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Cartographer:

(left to right)
Bart den Ouden:
Yoep de Ligt:
Marvin Roerdink:
Desmond Kuijk:
Milan Roerdink:

Setlist Sean Filkins:

Are You Sitting Comfortably?
The English Eccentric
Hold the key
Prisoner Of Conscience,
  Part 2: The Ordinary Man
Losing It
High Tide, Last Stand
Epitaph For A Mariner
Radar Love /
  In The Court Of The Crimson

Pictures Sean Filkins by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Sean Filkins:

(left to right)
John Sammes:
Richard Maher:
rhythm guitar
Sean Filkins:
lead vocals, guitar, mandolin
Daniel Maher:
lead guitar
Andrew Dash:
Rob Edwards:
bass & bass pedals

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