January 24, 2015 - Mausefalle 33 1/3, Bonn (D)

Martigan is without a doubt one of the best progressive rock bands coming from Germany. I felt really fortunate to have witnessed them four times already during a live performance. Twice in the Netherlands when they played at Progfarm (2009, see review) and Rock Ittervoort (2013, see review). Furthermore twice in Germany at the Yard Club/Kantine in Köln (Cologne) in 2010. The first time was a three hours show when they were supported by Silhouette (see review). The second time at a festival, with InVertigo and Jack Yello also on the bill (see review). Well, seeing them perform only once makes you want to see them more often, because they succeed to blow you away completely.

When our photographer asked me if I wanted to see them on my birthday I didn´t have to think twice. Is there a better birthday present? I guess not! Therefore we took the two hours long ride from my home town in the Netherlands to see them do their annual gig at the Mausefalle 33 1/3 in Bonn, the former capital of West Germany.

Mario Koch and Oliver Rebhan (r)
Although the band is still in the studio to record their next studio album, they didn't want to break with their tradition to enter the very small stage of this very cosy pub. A stage that is at a very close range for the musicians. All members live very nearby so you can certainly speak of a kind of homecoming concert. After a warm welcome of the people present and from the musicians it was finally show time!

It was obvious that during their two and a half hour long show a couple of new compositions for the new studio album would be played. However I did not expect to hear five of them. Did I care? Well, of course not! Those two new pieces played at the already mentioned Rock Ittervoort festival indicated that they are as strong as the older compositions. At the festival they opened with a song titled Princess and later on in the set they did an excellent piece The Peer. They played both songs again this time around. However Princess was renamed in Theodor's Wall. Again they opened with this new tune. Only this version is much longer with more incredible musical parts than two years ago. Furthermore I enjoyed the strong new compositions Lion, the instrumental
Björn & Alex (r) Bisch
Complicious and The Lake. The last title had some strong funky and jazz rock sounding parts, which I loved all the way. It was most of all bassist Mario Koch who impressed me with his funky parts played on his instrument. Hearing those new tracks certainly made me more curious how the new album will turn out in the end. This in the Autumn released album can certainly become another masterpiece, just like their last studio album. All the indications are present.

Besides the new material I, of course, wanted to hear the old favourites. Well, I certainly did hear some of them. Much More, Closer Contact, Red & Green and Boatman's Vision were done in an excellent way. The last title, being my all-time favourite band track, included amazing instrumental parts done by guitarist Björn Bisch, drummer Alex Bisch and keyboardist Oliver Rebhan. That I didn't know all of the older compositions written by Martigan became clear to me when I heard the more obscure composition Simplicius. A nice ballad with an excellent guitar solo. It was originally taken from their in 1997 released EP with the same title. It turned out to be as strong as any of the other songs they played for their fans.

Kai Marckwordt
During the regular set I did miss one particular song, namely The Pride, which is one of my favourites. When I asked them to do it as an encore lead singer Kai Marckwordt told me they hadn't rehearsed it. For being a birthday kid I thought I could request a song. But he told me 'maybe later on' and continued with a strong version of Images & Tales. After that to my surprise keyboard player Oliver Rebhan asked me what I wanted to hear before he and the rest of the band started to sing "Happy Birthday" for me and my twin brother. It was followed by the song I had requested. Well, I thought they had done it for me especially, but it turned out it was not the case. Later on I saw it was written down on the setlist as well. After the show Oliver told me that no show could be done without it. I guess it's almost the same for me; I wouldn't leave the venue without hearing this great piece of music done by the band. It was the perfect ending of a perfect performance from a band in great shape!

I can't thank the members of Martigan enough for giving me the best birthday party ever. I guess I'll never get such a beautiful present again from a close friend on this special day. When the new studio album will be released later this year a release concert will be held at the same city. Hopefully I can join them, because once you are addicted to the music of Martigan it's hard to live without their great performances.

Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

Setlist Martigan:

Theodor's Wall
The Mask & The Raven Part I
Closer Contact
Much More
The Lake
Boatman's Vision Part I & II
Red & Green
The Peer
Images & Tales
The Pride

Pictures Martigan by Arthur Haggenburg

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Line up Martigan:

(left to right)
Mario Koch:
Alex Bisch:
drums and backing vocals
Kai Marckwordt:
guitar, lead and backing vocals
Oliver Rebhan:
keyboards and backing vocals
Björn Bisch:

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