Progmotion Festival 2

Profuna Ocean, A Liquid Landscape,
Knight Area & X-Panda

September 28, 2013 - De Pul, Uden (NL)

I usually regard writing reviews about concerts as a hobby, but on certain occasions it's a bit harder than it normally is. Such an occasion might be a last concert of a band member, or even worse, the last one of a band. On this Saturday evening I didn't know that this was the last Progmotion Festival organized by the name-givers of the festival. So this is a special review for our friends. After an excellent promotion a reasonable number of people showed up to see three Dutch bands perform before X-Panda, the headliners from Estonia, hit the stage doing a show that the people in the audience would probably never forget.

Profuna Ocean

Raoul Potters
First band on stage were Profuna Ocean, the winners of the Dutch Exposure competition (see review). I missed the previous gigs by this band and I never listened to their debut album Watching The Closing Sky (2009, see review), so I could be open-minded and let the music do the talking. The three songs the band performed had a perfect guitar sound. On the one hand I like the way Raoul Potters played the guitar
Fred den Hartog
blending the musical styles of Pink Floyd and Dream Theater, but on the other his vocals didn't quite touch me. It could have been that his voice wasn't in good shape that evening, but as I said before, I'm not familiar with the band's music yet. However, the songs they played were nice, long and progressive with plenty of melodies and fine solos. I guess I have to listen to their debut album one day.

A Liquid Landscape

Fons Herder
Next on the menu were A Liquid Landscape, a band I've already seen on several occasions. It seemed they've read my last review of the concert they gave as a support act for Kristoffer Gildenlöw (see review), because they were no longer tuning their guitars every two minutes or so. Watching them closely, I now understand why they need to tune their guitars that often. Especially guitarist Niels van Dam
Niels van Dam
is constantly torturing his guitar meanwhile creating the most wonderful sounds. The post rock style of this band is still very accessible and Fons Herder's vocals provide the compositions a certain atmosphere.

During the concert they started a song that was immediately stopped. I don't know whether the reason was miscommunication or the wrong start of a new song, but without hesitation A Liquid Landscape started over again solving this problem very professionally. I guess this was the band's best performance I've seen so far. Having heard some new material, I'm looking forward to the next album. Finally there are two things left to mention. I really love the way the band use the effects on the pedal board, but I would like to see more interaction between the band members and the audience. This helps to build a good relation with the spectators. It's just a suggestion...

Knight Area

Mark Bogert

Many people in the audience were anxious to see Knight Area. They had just released their new mini-album Between Two Steps to show their fans what they can expect when the new full-fledged album appears. It seemed that not only the line-up of Knight Area has changed, but also the music. They recently replaced their guitarist and their bass player by the young hot shot guitarist Mark Bogert and the well-known Peter Vink (Q65 , Finch, Star One, Ayreon). As far as the music is concerned the band's style has shifted slightly towards a more powerful side of progressive rock. I guess the new guitarist can be blamed or blessed for that.
Mark Smit
His flashy style, solos and riffs can easily compete with the virtuoso keyboard parts of Gerben Klazinga and I think the latter feels challenged by Bogert's skills.

Vocalist Mark Smit did a splendid job, although the attention was usually demanded by clown Peter Vink. Besides making Knight Area a band of friends again, he played some mean bass parts while fooling around on stage. It could be noticed that all band members had a lot of fun with a perfect interaction. I guess that's what an audience likes to see: fun on stage and flawless playing of their favourite songs. Knight Area played a number of new songs from the new EP as well as older compositions. In my opinion the band will gain new fans with this mini-album, while older fans won't have any trouble at all with the heavier versions of Ever Since You Killed Me, Summerland and Pride And Joy. During the encore Mr. Bogert showed the audience how a guitar solo can grab you emotionally during the instrumental piece Xerenity. With a heavy version of Mortal Brow, Knight Area left the stage.


Tamar Nugis
The final act of the evening was the Estonian band X-Panda. They had driven for twenty-six hours in a row to play on this edition of the Progmotion Festival. Just for that effort they deserve our respect before playing a single note! When the band appeared on stage bass player and vocalist Tamar Nugis told the audience that they were a bit tired of the long journey, but they would try to perform a good show anyway. However, I didn't notice any weariness, although the eye strain of Nugis could point in that direction. Although the band only recorded Flight Of Fancy (2011, see review) so far, they were embraced by many people in the audience who already owned the album. The ones who didn't have the CD yet bought it afterwards causing the album to be sold out, which meant that yours truly wasn't able to buy a copy!

But let's go back to the music. These young musicians performed a very high standard of instrumental progressive rock with elements of jazz, fusion and strong vocal-orientated prog rock with theatrical elements. Watching the excellent guitar playing of Risto Virkhausen was a real sight for sore eyes. He looked seriously during the heavy intense guitar riffs that blended the virtuoso playing of guitarists like Steve Vai and John Petrucci (Dream Theater). Keyboard player Kaarel Tamra was just as excellent as Virkhausen. Besides his magnificent playing, he was constantly interacting with the audience, making funny faces and gestures. It seems as if he was having the time of his life.

Kaarel Tamra
During the vocal compositions Tamar Nugis's bass was taken over by a guy who was comically introduced as 'Vladimir from New York', but after the show Nugis gave us his real name: Garrett Kuut. During these songs both musicians could concentrate on their individual playing and singing which they did very well. Just like Knigh Area, you could notice how close the band members are; the atmosphere on stage was just splendid. When the band left the stage they showed some weariness, but only to return within a minute for an encore. I think they had such a good time on stage that they wanted to play longer. And so did I. I really hope this Estonian band will return and conquer the hearts of a Dutch audience again in a more extended tour; they really deserve it.

Those who attended the evening will agree with me that they have seen some remarkable performances. I'm thankful to the organizers of Progmotion that they give bands like X-Panda the opportunity to play for a Dutch audience. Unfortunately − while writing this review − the news arrived that the Progmotion organization has disbanded due to personal issues like time, work and family. So on behalf of all associates of Background Magazine I want to thank all the people of Progmotion for what they did for the progressive music over the years. I hope the baton will be handed over to other people who give new and unknown bands the opportunity to perform live.

Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist Profuna Ocean:

Beautiful Sunrise
Waiting For The Fall

Pictures Profuna Ocean by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Profuna Ocean:

(left to right)
René Visser:
Fred den Hartog:
Raoul Potters:
vocals, guitar
Arjan Visser:

Setlist Liquid Landscape:

Storm/Secret Isle

Pictures Liquid Landscape by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Liquid Landscape:

(left to right)
Niels van Dam:
Coen Speelman:
Fons Herder:
vocals, guitar
Robert van Dam:
bass, keyboard

Setlist Knight Area:

Forever Now
Ever Since You Killed Me
This Day
Angel's Call
Pride And Joy
Wake Run
Mortal Brow

Pictures Knight Area by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Knight Area:

(left to right)
Peter Vink:
Gerben Klazinga:
keyboards, backing vocals
Pieter van Hoorn:
drums, backing vocals
Mark Smit:
lead vocals, portable keyboard
Mark Bogert:

Setlist X-Panda:

Journey Of A Dream
Big Bad Beginning
Calm Waters
Crystal Gazing
Flight Of Fancy/Cadenza

Pictures X-Panda by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up X-Panda:

(left to right)
Tamar Nugis:
vocals, bass
Risto Virkhausen:
Kaarel Tamra:
Karl-Juhan Laanesaar:
Garrett Kuut: (guest)

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