Kotebel & Murky Red

May 1, 2013, 't Blok, Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel (NL)

Sometimes things work out differently than you expected, so this review of the first show of the Spanish prog band Kotebel in the Netherlands slightly deviates from the regular reviews written by yours truly. Being a friend of the band doesn't help to write an honest review of the performances on stage, but nevertheless I have the intention to write a review of both gigs as honest and objective as possible. My wife and I promised Kotebel's leader and keyboardist Carlos Plaza to help them out with the merchandise, since it was the first gig ever that Kotebel performed without the assistance of Carlos's wife. Therefore we were very honoured to take her place at the merchandise stand, just for once!

Drummer Carlos Franco took an early flight from Madrid. He was just in time to join the band, but due to transportation problems guitarist Cesar Garcia and bassist Jaime Pascual arrived only late in the afternoon at Amsterdam Airport. This meant that we had additional tasks by getting them to the venue, let them do the soundcheck and let them eat something! I've never attended a soundcheck that went as quickly as Kotebel's, but after solving some electronic problems their sound was okay in about ten minutes. This quick soundcheck provided them just enough time to have something to eat, while Murky Red were doing their soundcheck. Once the doors of the venue were opened, the concert hall slowly filled with people who came to see two completely different bands music wise. I guess Progmotion and Progfrog did a good job by booking these bands; it also resulted in a mixture of music fans attending the venue. Given the number of people that showed up that strategy worked.

Murky Red

The Belgian band Murky Red plays a strong kind of melodic rock blended with influences from several other musical styles. I have to compliment the band for their enthusiastic and tight performance. They had a lot of
Tom Kockelmans (front) and Patrick Dujardin
fun both on and off stage and they made sure the audience had a great time. Guitarist Stef Flaming led the band with his strong and bluesy guitar play. As far as I'm concerned the vocals could have been more diverse, but they were good enough for the rocking party band Murky Red turned out to be. In several songs Stef's wife and keyboardist Yolanda Flaming took over the lead vocals, but I liked the rougher sound of Stef's voice better. Murky Red also had a lovely female percussionist and backing vocalist, but unfortunately her musical contribution added nothing to the music. The real party element came from bass player Tom Kockelmans and guitarist Patrick Dujardin, who played off stage between the people in the audience and even on the bar! It seemed to me that Kockelmans flourished during the show. The more beer he drank, the more he presented himself as a party animal. After the regular performance the band did a chaotic jam as an encore highlighted by Kockelmans who could be found all over the place.

During the break it was nice to notice that indeed, the audience consisted of two different groups of people: the ones who love the more complex and ingenious music came forward to the stage and bought Kotebel's CDs, while the other ones who like to party moved in the direction of the bar.


When Kotebel entered the stage they suffered a bit from equipment that wasn't willing to fully cooperate with the band. However, they opened strong and powerful with Hades, a composition originally from Fragments Of Light (2003). This complex piece set the mood for the remainder of the concert. A part of the audience that wasn't (yet) familiar with Kotebel's music, found it rather jaw-dropping stuff. The next part of the show was the forty-minute (!) Concerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble,
Adriana Plaza Engelke
a track from their latest eponymous album (2012, see review). Unfortunately the band suffered from an electrical power loss at the beginning of the first movement. However, Carlos Plaza remained level-headed and within a few minutes he had solved the problem and the band continued with this very impressive trip. During the movements I watched Adriana Plaza Engelke moving her fingers over the keys; it just looked as if she had ten fingers on each hand, and it all seemed so easy... On the right hand side of the stage guitarist Cesar Garcia played his impressive melodies and counter melodies together with the keyboards. His solos are way beyond those of Robert Fripp, the man who inspired him, combining modern techniques with emotional elements.

After performing the compositions of their latest album, the penultimate album Ouroboros (2009, see review) was next. We could enjoy perfect renditions of the title track where the combination of bass, guitar and keyboards sounded brilliant. Drummer Carlos Franco, who kept all these complex melodies together with his strong drum work, provided the song with an additional element by shouting out loud. In the middle of the stage stood bass player Jaime Pasqual, an impressive musician to look at since his skills on the bass go far beyond the average bassist. More than once he proved that a bass guitar can really add something to the atmosphere of a song. During Simugh, the audience could enjoy the diversity of techniques he's capable of playing. Having two impressive keyboard players in the line-up gives Kotebel's music something special. Plaza is capable of playing two different melodies or solos at the same time, while Adriana is a genius on the piano. However, the two keyboardists never dominate the music; they're in complete harmony with the other musical instruments. As an encore we got a stunning version of Amphisbaena, the opening track of Ouroboros wherein the dark and powerful piano sounded perfectly with the bass and guitar. Unfortunately the band had to quit, but I could have listened to Kotebel for hours.

To me watching two different bands in 't Blok, was a special experience not only for the music, but also because of the venue's hospitality. I never had snacks during a show before, but the people in the audience were offered free snacks during the evening; a great gesture! I had a perfect evening catching up with friends, having a great time together and outstanding music as a bonus. At the end the only difficulty was to get all the equipment in Carlos's car, three musicians in my car and get them safely to the hotel in Rotterdam. A perfect day came to an end thanks to the magnificent team of Progmotion. 

Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist Murky Red:

I Came A Long Way
On New Year's Day
Cold Outside
I Give You My Soul
I Pay The Devil
Last Chance Hotel
Willow Tree
Boots For Hire
Heal My Bleeding Heart
Black Beat Rising
Chaotic Jam

Pictures Murky Red by Hans Korbee

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Murky Red:

Stef Flaming:
lead vocals, guitar
Patrick Dujardin:
Yolanda Flaming:
keyboards, lead vocals
Tom Kockelmans:
Joery Masson:
Marie Vancamp:
percussion, backing vocals

Setlist Kotebel:

Adagio Maestoso
Lento Cantabile
Vivo Scherzando
Allegro Moderato
Hipogrifo II

Pictures Kotebel by Hans Korbee

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Kotebel:

(left to right)
Carlos Guillermo Plaza:
Adriana Plaza Engelke:
Jaime Pascual:
Cesar Garcia Forero:
Carlos Franco:

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