February 11, 2018 - 't Blok, Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel (NL)
In the past years the amazing Progfrog team gave several Italian progressive rock bands a chance to perform their music in front of a Dutch audience. Those who come on a regular basis to 't Blok in Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel have already enjoy acts such as Unreal City, Phoenix Again, LogoS and La Coscienza Di Zeno. Now we can add two more names to this list. Because the organisation managed to book Höstsonaten and La Fabbrica Dell'Assoluto. One rather well known name in the scene and one for most people totally unknown.
The well known name is off course Höstsonaten, who have already impressed me for several years with their excellent album releases. Their latest album Symphony N.1 - Cupid & Psyche (2016, see review) was highly recommended to our reviewer for fans of symphonic prog with a mind for classical music. Its rather obvious that the debut album made by La Fabbrica Dell 'Assoluto isn't in the collection of many progressive rock lovers. That's too bad because I named 1984: L'Ultimo Uomo D'Europa (2015, see review) in my review a virtually flawless disc. A must-have for the many fans of the progressive rock of the peninsula, which could even become a classic as the years go by! They almost created a true masterpiece with this album! But how would both bands perform their complex progressive rock on a live stage? That was of course the main question I asked myself!
HöstsonatenStrangely enough the first band to appear on stage was Höstsonaten. Because they are as mentioned earlier the most known of the two bands. But as the host of the afternoon mentioned only two headliners are present today. But I guess it doesn't really matter who opens the concert. But before the band started their performance keyboard
An encore which was done without leaving the stage because it was clear that the crowd wanted more after a very well performed concert. So a show of hands for the musicians on stage, who managed to do the show even if two members were absent. Thumps up for the tiny but excellent Marcella Arganese on electric guitar and the brilliant violin player Alice Nappi. But also for the marvellous flute parts done by Joanne Roan. Even more thumbs up for drummer Paolo "Paolo" Tixi, who managed to give the audience a great rhythm even without his usual partner on bass. Finally a big thank you to musical maestro and a kind of father figure to the band when they had to perform without their musical director Fabio Zuffanti. Of course I am referring to the man behind the keyboard and laptop. His name Luca Scherani. it was sometimes stressful to get it all done properly music wise. But Luca and his fellow musicians on stage did it and can look back on a rather successful performance. Even if the beginning was not as they wished for!
La Fabbrica Dell'AssolutoMaybe for some people the musical highlight of the Sunday afternoon was already history. But I guess for myself the musicians of La Fabbrica Dell'Assoluto presented an even more enjoyable performance. Their debut was for me already an almost perfect album. But how they managed to present this concept album, inspired by the dystopian
Before you see this band you have to know about Orwell's post-atomic future story in which man is only a means of production in a world ruled by the omniscient Big Brother. In the words and the music the band describes the fear, helplessness and hope of the protagonist, who wants to regain his humanity but his feelings are buried under a monotonous apathy and an illusion of freedom. Therefore the band operates on stage as a syndicate of musical workers dressed in blue factory outfits. Because in their eyes this story can only be told in an authentic way by the working class-grassroots democracy in action in a musical experiment, as it were.
Of course the entire album was done and to my surprise they nailed it perfectly. It was almost as if you were listening to the fabulous album in your living room. Only this time around the musicians in the band can be watched from a very short distance. Going completely for it and grabbed me by the throat right from the start, with their expressive and above all very alive performance. Most of all lead singer Claudio Cassio got very much into the role of the protagonist. He expressed it very much by showing his hands above his head as if they were tied up. He did this again towards the end of the album. But also his expression on his face told many times how the main character in the story felt. Sometimes angry, sometimes sad or sometimes feeling more happy. But I guess Cassio could not have put on this theatrical show without his fellow musicians on stage. Most of all the way how
Again, this second Italian band of the afternoon didn't leave the stage to do a final encore. The bands singer only had to say to the audience the letters K and C and they might already have known that they would ended their fabulous performance with a classic King Crimson composition. Most acts which do a classic piece from this band come up with the title track of their debut album In The Court Of The Crimson King released in 1969. But this time around the crowd could enjoy an excellent version of Epitaph taken from the same album. It was great to hear how amazing Claudio Cassio got into the role of the original lead vocalist. After the show he explain that he had been a fan of the late Greg Lake for several years and that this song has been on the band's setlist for a few years.
Once again I'll have to thank the people of ProgFrog for their hospitality and coming up with an amazing line up that must have impressed most of the people present, Because each band were very much worth watching, giving excellent performances. For me it would be great if both bands could take a trip to the Netherlands again. The Dutch lovers of Rock Progressivo Italiano would agree with me wanting to see them again on a Dutch stage! No doubt about that!
Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
Setlist Höstsonaten:Entering The Halls Of Winter
The Sacrifice/ Zephyr
The Crystal Light
Out Of Water
Toward The Sea
Edge Of summer
Glares Of Light
Höstsonaten by Arthur Haggenburg
Click on the picture to enlarge.
Line up Höstsonaten:(left to right)
Paolo "Paolo" Tixi:
Setlist La Fabbrica Dell'Assoluto:I Due Minuti Dell'Odio
4 Aprile 1984
La Ballata Dei Prolet
L'occhio Del Teleschermo
Lo Sguardo Nel Quadro
Processo Di Omologazione
La Stanza 101
La Canzone Del Castagno
Amava Il Grande Fratello
La Fabbrica Dell'Assoluto by Arthur Haggenburg
Click on the picture to enlarge.
Line up La Fabbrica Dell'Assoluto:(left to right)
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