Minor Giant

July 6, 2014 - 't Blok, Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel (NL)

One of the most exciting new progressive rock bands coming from the Netherlands, without a doubt, is Minor Giant. During the two times I witnessed them live on stage, they really blew me away with their music and stage presentation. When they performed at the first Progmotion Festival (2012, see review), they hadn't been on stage before, but they
Jordi Repkes
certainly didn't play like rookies. One year later, during their performance at the first edition of the Northern Prog Festival (2013, see review), the band showed development as a live act even more. Almost one year later, the people at Progfrog invited them to perform the songs from their freshly released, fantastic debut album On The Road (see review). On this album you can hear strong compositions, that are very much related to the music made by acts such as Neal Morse, Spock's Beard, Transatlantic and Steven Wilson. As a regular visitor at 't Blok in Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel, I couldn't resist watching them on stage for a third time, and I didn't regret it at all!

During the two former shows I had witnessed, the band had approximately one hour to show the public what they were capable of. Not being part of a festival, and therefore the only band on stage, they had more time to spend on stage this time. They had ample time to come up with two different sets, and a final encore. This meant they had the chance to play every track from their album and, furthermore, play some new material and a couple of covers too.

This time the opening tune was not the title track of their debut; something that had been the case most of time, hen they started a concert. Strangely enough, they had the courage to play a, for me, completely new composition. They named it In The Morning Sun, and turned out to be of the same high level as the tracks on their first recorded musical
Rindert Lammers
effort. This meant lots of high quality keyboard parts played by Rindert Lammers and Jos Heijmans. Besides that, you could enjoy excellent guitar parts, done by their amazing lead singer Jordi Repkes. Throughout the entire concert, according to Mr. Heijmans, Repkes switched guitars more often than a super model changes her outfits during a runway show. Well, you could say Jordi's outfits were also up for discussion, because during the first set he wore a gold coloured glamour blouse, followed by a blue one in the second set, and finally a purple blouse during the final encore! I guess it's all part of being a rock star. But let's focus on the songs that were performed during the first set again. Wonderful live versions of the album tracks On The Road and Dream With Eyes Wide Open were welcomed by the crowd, accompanied by a lot of cheering and hand clapping. This was also the case with the Transatlantic cover We All Need Some Light, and the brand new piece Times Like These. Well, they deserved it all the way, because the band played each and every song as good as they could which, for me, was of a very high level.

The same can be said about the second set. Every piece of music sounded top notch! Once again, the band started with one of their completly new compositions Grasping For The Wind, which they plan to be featured on their second release. Jos was the person who, next to Jordi, mostly did the presentations in between the songs.

Rindert, Roy, Jordi, Jos and Rik
This wasn't difficult for him at all, because he is a radio DJ in his free time, and knows how to entertain his listeners with his voice. After the music of this beautiful new track had died, the band focused on the album, which they were promoting, again. The final four songs from On The Road were played in the same order as they were recorded on the album. One highlight followed the next. Like me, the audience just couldn't get enough of the superb progressive rock music. Therefore, it was obvious that an encore was called for after the amazing ending of The Last Road was completed by the five musicians. The song they had chosen to do, can be seen as one of the most covered progressive rock songs ever, namely Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb. It was obvious that most eyes were focused on Jordi. Could he pull off the amazing guitar solo that Dave Gilmour once wrote and recorded for this track, taken from The Wall (1979)? He succeeded to perform this incredible solo with flying colours, as have many before him.

This fine solo and perfectly covered song were a splendid end to a concert that, for me, can be regarded as one of the best I have seen in 2014 so far. Wow! It was really stunning what this new Dutch progressive rock band displayed in front of a crowd, that should have been much larger. Maybe the good weather and the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil were to blame, even though no games were played during this brilliant performance!

Henri Strik (edited by Esther Ladiges)

Setlist Minor Giant:

Set 1:
In The Morning Sun
On The Road
We All Need Some Light
Dream With Eyes Wide Open
Times Like These

Set 2:
Grasping For The Wind
Lead Me Home
Hand In Hand
We Are Strangers Here
The Last Road

Comfortably Numb

Pictures Minor Giant by Arthur Haggenburg

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Line up Minor Giant:

(left to right)
Rindert Lammers:
Roy Post:
Jordi Repkes:
electric and acoustic guitars, lead vocals and backing vocals
Jos Heijmans:
keyboards, lead and backing vocals
Rik van Dommelen:
bass, bass pedals and backing vocals

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