April 26, 2013 - Dru Cultuurfabriek, Ulft (NL)

The well-known British prog rock band IQ mostly try out newly written songs before releasing a new studio album. This was also the case when I saw them perform at the DRU Cultuurfabriek in Ulft. It was the only Dutch concert before the new album will be released, probably later this year. Therefore it was rather crowded in the venue, but there was still enough room to move around.

Mike Holmes and Tim Esau (r)
To my surprise the band started with a brand new piece called More 7, a strong up-tempo track containing all the familiar elements to make it recognizable as a true IQ song, like Mellotron choirs, melodic electric guitar passages and synth solos. Next was the first real treat of the set with a splendid rendition of Wurensh, an acronym for 'New Rush', and one of the musical highlights from Are You Sitting Comfortably? (1989). The next three songs were all taken from the band's latest studio album Frequency (2009): Stronger Than Friction, One Fatal Mistake and Ryker Skies of which the latter was the one that pleased me the most with its breathtaking instrumental passages. Then IQ performed again a new track of their forthcoming album which got the working title 13/12. This piece once again proved that the new album is something to look out for. Wow, what a brilliant tune! Again the Mellotron choirs filled the venue, while the parts performed by Paul Cook (drums) and Tim Esau (bass) got a typical progressive rock beat. Unfortunately IQ only played a short instrumental section of this new song.

Without an interruption the new piece was followed by It All Stops Here, a great IQ classic. Erosion was introduced and explained by singer Peter Nicholls. This song's about the many problems the world has to face, about 'a real fucked up world' as Nicholls called it. This piece was welcomed with a lot of cheering and applauding which isn't that strange since it's an awesome track. The last newly written composition got the rather weird working title El Bastardo starting with images taken from Dracula (1931) featuring Béla Lugosi projected at the back of the stage. This piece had a somewhat strange kind of Greek sound which could have been taken from the movie Zorba The Greek (1964)! After this song Mr. Nicholls told the audience that the band didn't mind people filming parts of the show with their mobile phones. However, he asked them gently but firmly not to upload the new material to the internet because it just concerned a raw version of the new song. Well, I guess his request won't have much effect because I'm quite sure that it already can be watched on YouTube, just as the false start of Leap Of Faith...

Peter Nicholls in 'The Enemy Smacks'
During the intro of this wonderful song keyboard player Neil Durant hit some wrong keys and had to start afresh. The highlight of Leap Of Faith was of course the superb guitar solo by Mike Holmes. Every time I get goosebumps all over when I hear this solo! The Seventh House was announced as the final piece, which the audience didn't like, but as soon as this great epic piece started they were all ears! After a slightly weak request to get the band back on stage Nicholls announced as a first encore a song from Tales From The Lush Attic 2013 Remix 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition, the recently re-released album on CD and vinyl. We could enjoy an amazing version of The Enemy Smacks comprising a terrific acting part by Peter Nicholls. His very strong act made people almost forget that the musicians were just as important as Nicholls who visualised this cautionary tale against drugs. The second encore was another oldie from the days that Paul Menel was the lead singer with IQ. But as usual Nicholls had no problems at all to sing No Love Lost. Unfortunately the third encore on the set list wasn't performed, but also without  the middle section of The Last Human Gateway the audience enjoyed a brilliant IQ concert.

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist IQ:

More 7
Stronger Than Friction
One Fatal Mistake
Ryker Skies
It All Stops Here
El Bastardo
Leap Of Faith
Seventh House
The Enemy Smacks
No Love Lost

Pictures IQ by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up IQ:

(left to right)
Mike Holmes:
guitars, backing vocals
Peter Nicholls:
lead and backing vocals
Neil Durant:
Paul Cook:
Tim Esau:
bass, bass pedals, backing vocals

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