Congratulations to the Amazing ProgFrog Team!!!
What started 12.5 years ago as a joke turned out to be a serious platform for progressive rock bands from all
over the world. Acts such as Anubis
(Belgium), Unreal City
The Far Meadow
|The ProgFrog & Background Magazine team|
(United Kingdom), Anima Mundi
and Franck Carducci
(France) were welcomed! ProgFrog gave them a stage on which they could show all their
musical talents to the many progheads in the Netherlands and beyond. In 2010 a private Flamborough Head
concert for a small group of friends at 't Blok in Nieuwerkerk aan de Ijssel
, was the start of something
which nobody actually had foreseen. Since that time on a monthly basis every Sunday afternoon bands are invited
and booked who you hardly see anywhere else. A bit like the people from the legendary Progfarm Festival did a
long time ago. To celebrate this 12.5 year anniversary they invited again the band which started it all. Namely
the earlier mentioned Flamborough Head, the band who organised the already mentioned Progfarm Festival in the
past! So full circle so to speak. However before the crowd could enjoy them another Dutch act would be climbing
the stage. The Boxx Orchestra
had the task to warm up the audience.
The Boxx Orchestra
The Boxx Orchestra was founded by keyboard player and songwriter Jan Boekestein
. In the 70s and 80s he
played in the progressive rock band Argyll
and later in power rock band The Boxx
. The band themselves
describes their music as symphonic power rock, with complex almost 'classic' and then again "straight between
the eyes" rock. They say that no matter how much 'power', the songs are always rich in melody plus harmonic
and rhythmic 'surprises'.
The band's repertoire consists of songs from the period of Argyll and The Boxx, but in an 'upgraded 2023' version,
supplemented with a lot of new material taken from debut album Out Of The Boxx
. Included is their debut
single The Eye Of The Storm
. A song which was inspired by the bizarre situation due to covid, and can be
seen as a tribute to all healthcare workers. Unfortunately the band had to skip this composition because lead
singer Ria Mulder
, who started as a bass player, had laryngitis (which is a throat infection) and therefore
wasn't able to do a complete set. Four songs were skipped from the setlist. Thank God the second single from the
album, A Star Almost Fell
, was not one of them. This song was without doubt one of the musical highlights
during the bands performance. The earlier mentioned Jan Boekestein and guitarist Jos van der Zanden
the musicians on stage who provided from time to time some pleasantly sounding solo's on the compositions. This
way the progressive rock influences came to the surface several times. The bands performance was certainly well
done. Most of all the band's lead singer, who's voice sometimes reminded me of the way how Toyah Wilcox
sings, deserves a big compliment. The way how she managed to sing her parts, while having some serious health
issues, was really outstanding. So thumbs up for Ria! But also for the rest of the band for warming up the audience!
Flamborough Head are without doubt one of the better progressive rock bands in the
Netherlands. Since they released their debut Unspoken Whisper
in 1998, I have been following their career.
A career in which they released several albums and went through some line up chances. Last year the band released
their long awaited new album Jumping The Milestone
), their seventh studio album so far. An
album which featured the band's new members. Bassist Eddie Mulder
, who had been in the band before as
their guitar player, and guitarist Hans Spitzen
. Spitzen who released in 2015 his excellent solo album
).Therefore I was really looking forward hearing him on the new album and doing
some concerts with the band. Strangely enough since he has been in the band he only played twice with them. The
last time was five years ago in 2017.
As we all know it isn't easy for rather unknown progressive rock bands to get booked by venues to do concerts.
Therefore it was good that the people of ProgFrog asked the band to play at 't Blok to celebrate together their
12.5 year anniversary. The band was probably very keen to play at this party. However a problem occurred. Mulder
had to leave the band due to other activities and a replacement had to be found on short notice. Peter Stel
former Leap Day
and Nice Beaver
bassist, was willing to step in and learn all the songs for this performance.
A performance which was dominated by songs taken from the new album. All of the songs were done perfectly, including the title track which is my favourite of the album. Playing
so many new songs meant that not much of the band's back catalogue could be done. There was only time for three
older pieces of music. Maureen
and Andrassy Road
were done during the regular set. Garden
, from their second album Defining The Legacy
(2000), was the usual encore. During the bands
performance it became clear right from the start that they sounded very fresh and modern with the two new musicians
in the band. The new blood in the band gave energy to come up with a very strong performance. Most of all the
playing of Stel on bass was very impressive. He played as if he had in the band for many years. Also the crystal
clear guitar sound of Spitzen was a delight to hear. Keyboard player and founding member Edo Spanninga
was after the concert very positive about the new line up. He told me that he certainly wants to record a new
album with the musicians that are in the band nowadays. But that's in the years to come I guess. For now let's
hope the band can be seen more often on a stage doing perfect concerts as they just did!
Looking back I can only be positive about this great Sunday afternoon at 't Blok. The two fine performances made
it a great anniversary party. Which the people of ProgFrog certainly deserved after doing such a great job for
the progressive rock scene in the Netherlands. Hopefully we can also have more anniversary parties in the years to come.
Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)