Karfagen- A Message Of Peace
September 23, 2022 - Parkvilla Theater, Alphen a/d Rijn (NL)
I have had the pleasure to witness a concert by Antony Kalugin and his band twice. The first time the multi-instrumentalist from Ukraine performed the music of Sunchild, Karfagen and Hoggwash on a Dutch stage was at the legendary Progfarm festival in 2010 (see review). At the time he was a rather shy musician
I knew a third time would come sooner or later but I didn't expect it to be in the circumstances Antony is now in. I guess everybody knows that February this year the Ukraine was invaded by Russia. So Antony came into a real nightmare like many of his fellow countrymen. He left his house and studio and took his family to Poland. At first he had to stay in Ukraine himself to be available for the army, just like all adult men. However the government of his country allowed Antony to travel to the Netherlands to bring 'a message of peace' on behalf of Ukraine. So he could accept an invitation from the people of Serious Music Alphen to do a concert at the Parkvilla theater in Alphen aan den Rijn.
Usually when a band is going on a tour to promote their music they bring a long all the necessary equipment and instruments. This time it not possible for the drum kit and amplifiers. Only an electric guitar, keyboard and bass guitar were brought along. So some friends stepped in and provided the missing things. So thumbs up for them.
As for the songs performed, it was a bit of a surprise that not anything was done from the more recent released albums of Karfagen since 2014. But if you have a back catalogue like Kalugin has, you have to make choices of course. Something which isn't easy I guess. But without the compositions taken from excellent albums such Echoes From Within Dragon Island (2019, see review), Principles And Theory Of Spektra (2020, see review), Birds Of Passage (2020, see review) and Land Of Green And Gold (2022, see review), there was still enough to enjoy. As for myself, I can tell you that only musical highlights were on the setlist.
This setlist started with a solo piano piece done by Antony himself. After that the other musicians entered the stage one by one. What followed were the more song-oriented compositions taken from the Sunchild albums. Songs which were sometimes easy to sing-a-long with. Songs such as Shall We Run and Reason Why. However before those songs were done the first Hoggwash piece could be enjoyed. Titled Another Friday Night. During the first set both female singers were given time in the spotlight.
After the break, which again started with a Hoggwash piece (Out Of Darkness), the focus was on the instrumental and the more symphonic compositions which were taken mainly from Karfagen albums. Songs on which the musicians in the band could show their musical talents all the way. A good example was Amused Fair, taken from the Karfagen album Continium, on which Kalugin showed how to play an awesome synthesizer solo. Another good example was Father, taken from the Sunchild album Messages From Afar - The Division And Illusion Of Time (2018, see review). On this mellow piece Antony not only showed all of his musical talents but also guitarist Anton Barsukov made me forget former band member Max Velychko. So thumbs up for Anton. With the song Close To Heaven one of the ladies again entered the stage. This short piece was most of all a solo spot for the earlier mentioned Panasenko. Who was accompanied by Kalugin on the electric piano during this beautiful ballad. For the next piece A Day Without Rain Antony's wife also again joined on the stage to do a special song for their home country. "A day without rain is a day without pain" as her husband introduced the song. The final song of the second set was Day Of Destiny. A sing-a-long tune which was used to introduce the band members and to participate by the audience.
Thanks to the people of Serious Music Alphen for giving Antony Kalugin and his band the opportunity to bring 'a message of peace' on behalf of Ukraine to the Netherlands. It was a blast!
Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
Karfagen by Arthur Haggenburg
Click on the picture to enlarge.
Line up Karfagen:(left to right)
Another Friday Night (Hoggwash)
Shall We Run (Sunchild)
Rain Drops (Sunchild)
Reason Why (Sunchild)
Visionary Sights (Sunchild)
Grail And Time (Sunchild)
Invisible Line (Sunchild)
Out Of Darkness (Hoggwash)
Amused Fair (Karfagen)
Close To Heaven (Karfagen)
A Day Without Rain (Karfagen)
Day Of Destiny (Sunchild)
Reason Why (Sunchild)
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