Thursday, 29th November 2007
Lydney Town Hall, Gloucestershire, UK
Thursday, 13th December 2007
The Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
Article By Andy Read and Ian Butler
All Live photos by Andy Read taken at Lydney Town Hall
29 November 2007
By Andy Read
Appearances by decent progressive rock/metal bands in the UK, are a bit like my younger experience of trying to find a girlfriend. Nothing happens for years and then two come along in the same week!
Hidden away at the bottom-end of the Royal Forest of Dean, the small riverside town of Lydney may be a rather inconspicuous setting for the debut UK performance by any band. Yet, the fact that this traditional, town hall venue, miles from anywhere, was healthily full, shows the rising profile of this young quartet.
I was fortunate to witness the very first gig that Riverside played outside of their Polish homeland, when, as total unknowns, they impressed everyone at the ProgPower Europe Festival a few years ago. Since then, they have matured nicely. The release of three impressive albums, has made them one of the fastest-rising stars in the progressive genre.
First up were local band Also Eden, who were very entertaining. They dish out some well-composed and energetic, if a little predictable, NeoProg. Very much grounded in the recordings of early Marillion and IQ, they are blessed with a very confident and engaging frontman. Their short set will have won many new admirers.
Clearly thrilled at making their debut on British shores, there was a great sense of occasion for the headliners. Oozing confidence and musical dexterity in equal measure, their set delivered dark-tinged progressive rock with a metallic bent, which was breathtakingly hypnotic. Mariusz Duda is one of those annoying people who not only puts in a perfect vocal performance, but also plays the bass with amazing skill and inventiveness.
However, as when I saw Riverside play before, the star of the show is Piotr Grudzinski. A musician who can draw more emotion and meaning out of a single note on his guitar, than many six-stringers can manage in a whole song.
Playing to a largely new audience, I felt the band could have interacted with the crowd a bit better. Duda needs to pick-up a few more crowd manipulation tricks to go with his vocal and bass skills. But the two hours that Riverside was onstage fairly sped by, as the crowd’s reaction grew with each song. A truly impressive UK debut, from a truly impressive band.
PS: The following night, Riverside sold out their debut gig in front of 500 fans in London. It was the same venue and the same promoter as Fates Warning a week earlier. A return visit to the UK must be on the cards – just make sure you avoid National No Music Day!!
Rapid Eye Movement
Beyond The Eyelids
I Turned You Down
Reality Dream II
Out Of Myself
Lucid Dream IV
Also Eden setlist:
Children of the Night
Between The Lines
13 December 2007
By Ian Butler
I last saw Riverside at the Symforce Progfest 2007 in Tilburg 013, so I vaguely knew what to expect from this relatively new band. At Symforce they stood up well next to many of the 'institutional' bands like Focus and Pendragon. The Boerderij is a perfect venue for bands like Riverside who are gaining fans quickly, the sound is decent and the atmosphere charged. More importantly you can see the band and you can tell if they want to be there or not. Riverside definitely wanted to be there and play for you, until your legs and back suffer from 'concert ache'.
For those of you who don't know Riverside's music, then I would describe it as a blend of heavy riffing set against melody, underpinned by atmospheric keyboards and fronted by an charismatic Mariusz Duda. Their sound is not ' 70's -prog', but more of a 'Progressive Metal' cross over which is becoming increasingly more common these days. I can imagine fans of Porcupine Tree, Tool, Opeth and A Perfect Circle appreciating Riverside.
They opened with the first two tracks from the current Rapid Eye Movement album, Beyond the Eyelids and Rainbow Box. Riverside instantly delivered what I expected, energetic riffing combined with precision execution, loud and rocking. The pro Riverside crowd went crazy! They then turned to the second album Second Life Syndrome album to play I Turned You Down, which surely should have been be a radio hit single? ( Perhaps it was?) It starts with a glorious bass intro with a melting lead guitar line packed with emotion, building into one of those goose bumps songs, and all under 4 minutes. Mariusz Duda worked the crowd to clap and sing the chorus creating such enthusiasm on stage and involvement. Riverside also superbly perform their heavier and longer tracks, many of which include multiple riffing sections. Ultimate Trip from the new album was a good example of this, but the prime example of this must be Second Life Syndrome from the same 2nd album. All 14 minutes of it.
It's refreshing to see Mariusz Duda singing and playing the bass virtually as a lead instrument, mimicking the melody and guitar lines, it gives real weight and speed to the sound of the band. He's also a very accomplished singer and performer. The rest of the band is excellent too. The guitarist Piotr Grudzinski is never too metal-technical and combines that bluesy/metal edge, and it's the choice of notes that count. The drummer, Piotr Kozieradzki is metal-esque, solid, interesting fills, and occaisonal double bass pedal work. The keyboard player Michal Lapaj has that natural understated intelligence and combines great piano and soundscapes from his arsenal of keyboards where I spotted an analogue synth, mixed in with the Kurzweil's.
Conceiving You returns to the beautiful melodies and emotion with the all important searing guitar and the delicate piano introduction which works oh so well. They also played Loose Heart and Panic Room 02 which are two of my favourite songs. On reflection, they are a band that if someone said to me, "introduce me to the music you like", I would possibly choose Riverside. They have 'accessible' music to anyone who has an ear for good music, melody and a guitar persuasion. Over the last 10 days I have seen Porcupine Tree, Marillion and Riverside in concert, and Riverside are up there with the best. This was excellent gig at a good venue where they delivered superb music with energy and musicianship which the fans appreciate as they demanded two encores! The track listing is as below. If you get a chance to go, do it, bands like this deserve your support and I am sure that they appreciate it.
Beyond the Eyelids
Second Life Syndrome
Panic Room 02
The Curtain Falls
Riverside Official Website
Riverside MySpace Page
DPRP Review of Rapid Eye Movement (2007)
DPRP Review of Voices in My Head (2006 Reissue)
DPRP Review of Second Life Syndrome (2005)
DPRP Review of Voices In My Head (2005)
DPRP Review of Out Of Myself (2004)