Duycker / Mr. Bowler Prog Invasion - Poppodium Duycker, Hoofddorp, Netherlands, 6 April 2019 - Part 1

Organisation

After a few smaller-scale festivals focusing on progressive and prog metal bands, Poppodium Duycker in Hoofddorp, just south of Amsterdam and close to Schiphol, was now boosting a festival with no less than seven bands from several prog rock sub-genres. The large hall (they have a small one, too) is comparable to the Melkweg Upstairs (Amsterdam): they can both hold a few hundred people, has good acoustics (built for music instead of an older remodeled building), good sound, great crew, friendly people.

Mr. Bowler Music Agency is a small Dutch company focusing on promotion of relatively new bands. The goal is the same as why DPRP.net was founded: help spreading the word for lesser-known bands.

Together, they have organised a festival in a time where it seemed to get harder and harder for bands to get gigs, in a time it looks like prog bands only appear in De Boerderij but are not allowed to play anywhere else in a rather large vicinity around Zoetermeer. I think it's a brave step to start a festival near Amsterdam and give more bands the opportunity to play a gig. I hope many editions will follow.

Milky Way Gas Station

Opening a festival always has its drawbacks. First, not everyone has arrived yet, especially with seven bands playing and you're on at 14:30h. Second, the sound is not in a good mix yet, both inside the venue and on stage. Being the seasoned and experienced musicians this new band comprises, they played unaffected by this and delivered a great set.

I went to Duycker especially to see these guys, but there were a lot of people who didn't know them yet. From several people I talked to afterwards, I know they managed to surprise people in a positive way, and those people were fans (and musicians too) in different sub-genres of prog, even prog metal. It's great to see they can reach a broad range of musical tastes.

Milky Way Gas StationPhoto by Arthur Haggenburg, used by kind permission

Their album opener 37 Part I is an excellent set opener as well - roaring Hammond with powerful prog riffs leading you into the melodic feast that is Milky Way Gas Station. An un-prog-like voice (Rob Ijpelaan) in which you hear the experience and heartfelt honesty of the lyrics. Dual guitar lines and some solos by Niels Hoppe who can play a prog metal solo just as easy as a blues solo.

Creative drumming by drummer Harald Veenker. Boudewijn Geels recently joined but has a lot of previous experience playing in bands, and looked like he belonged there since the beginning. JP Bast was a guest on the album and at their first gig and album presentation, but I was very pleased when I heard he joined the band. My hearing agrees completely with his playing. And together, these guys just make a great combination of very melodic prog music played from the heart, just how I like it.

Milky Way Gas StationPhoto by Arthur Haggenburg, used by kind permission

Playing a selection of songs off their first album (their second is in the making), I think they made a nice mix of powerful songs, a bit quieter like the beautiful 37 Part II, and the longer Moon Phases, portraying all ingredients this band has to offer in a relatively short set. Hope to be able to catch them again soon!

37 Part I Neutral Why? 37 Part II Moon Phases

The Dame

This band from The Hague are also working on their second album. I saw their debut album being submitted for a review on DPRP and remember them for the artwork, special packaging and promotion. So I was looking forward to seeing The Dame here.

The DamePhoto by Arthur Haggenburg, used by kind permission

"Prog made sexy" is what they call it themselves. Men in suits and a lady at the front carrying a Gibson guitar. Not your every day prog band, I'd say. But for people like me it's all about the music of course. Although this band is a bit further from my musical taste, I did enjoy the set and was surprised by especially the guitar player.

The singer is chatty, making a connection with the audience, and she has a good voice. More rock voice than typical prog, to be honest, that's a good thing.

There were some people in the audience that were obviously there for The Dame. A good thing.

With Unfazed they gave the audience a taster of their new album.

The DamePhoto by Arthur Haggenburg, used by kind permission

Setlist The Dame

General Disarray Water Tumbles Down The Last Dance Unfazed Thy Father's Bidding Losing Sight of What You Want

Written by Jerry van Kooten

Links

Milky Way Gas Station:

The Dame:

Mr. Bowler Music Agency:

Poppodium Duycker:

The photos in this article were taken by Arthur Haggenburg. More of his work on the website of our friends at Background Magazine.