Beardfish, Ritual, The Tangent
Thursday, 22nd May 2008
Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
Article and Live Photos By Edwin Roosjen
Due to a bus strike the roads were busy with traffic and so a lot of people, including myself, arrived late. Beardfish were already halfway through their first song Roulette and they were jumping around flooding the stage with energy. Bass player Robert Hansen was sliding across the stage on his woolly socks, one can only guess about the amount of static electricity flowing through his fingers into his strings. Their frontman is Rikard Sjöblom, who is the singer, keyboard player, lead guitarist and also delivers the majority of the writing, played with all his heart, sometimes literally spitting out the lyrics.
With a band like Beardfish you never know beforehand what they are going to play, maybe they don't even know themselves. It's a band with a revolving setlist and we were told that today they were in a "Sane Day" kind of mood. Nobody really minded and some people still have The Sane Day as their favourite Beardfish album. From their latest album Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two they played only one song, Into The Night. With two bands still to come they played a short set, but in that short time they made their mark. Beardfish sounded very tight and more powerful than on their studio recordings, they are a real live band. Without a doubt I can say that
in time this band will be headlining in a setting similar to this.
The Gooberville Ballroom Dancer
Into The Night
Ask Somebody Who Knows
Also from Sweden, what a lot of good bands come from Sweden by the way, was
the second band Ritual. Their latest album The Hemulic Voluntary Band was a revelation for me. This band re-invented themselves on this album and I was thrilled to see them live. Ritual appeared very colourful and Patrik Lundström looked great in his outfit including his trademark hair band. He also brought all of his enthusiasm getting the crowd involved and to sing along. I was a bit afraid that the full sound, with its many layers, could not be performed live - but I was wrong. The Hemulic Voluntary Band is a song with many layers and being familiar with this song you can tell when the band misses a couple of arms - nonetheless the song came out very good live. In The Wild is I think an easier song to play live. Not so many acoustic layers and it sure was rocking. Besides new material they chose to play material from the very first Ritual album and a song like Wingspread was a guaranteed success. The acoustic set, which is also present on their live album, was impressive and surprised many people not familiar with Ritual's older works. Drummer Johan Nordgren stepped away from his drum kit and picked up the 'Nyckelharpa', a traditional Swedish instrument. It's amazing to see how a band is able to implement an instrument like that in progressive music and it surely showed the originality and the uniqueness of this band.
There was only one thing that went through my mind, will they play A Dangerous Journey? This epic song features so many changes and different instruments that I was doubtful whether it was going to be played so after a funny story about the song Patrick introduced it and a shiver went down my back. The Nyckelharpa played a big role in the first part of the song and after ten minutes keyboard player Jon Gamble played the first non acoustic bridge allowing other musicians to change to electrical instruments. Johan Nordgren climbed behind his drums and bass player Frederik Lindqvist put down his Irish bouzouki. All parts of the song were woven together perfectly and the difficult time changes were played flawlessly. The Vulcano part is very difficult to play but Ritual played it impressively. After the somewhat jazzy Onion Soup, the heaviest bit Monster was played. Just like on the album it was furious and also very short. A Dangerous Journey was a twenty five minute trance and for me the absolute highlight of the evening but after an epic song like that, the audience needed a bit more compact energetic song to step out of that amazing experience. The set was therefore closed with Typhoons Decide and it could not have ended better.
Ritual delivered a perfect set and their performance was brilliant. Patrik Lundström proved to be a good frontman and entertained the crowd, that increased during the evening, but was still far from a packed venue. A perfect match of songs from the first and last album with a definite highlight for A Dangerous Journey. Hearing that song live was a dream fulfilled.
The Hemulic Voluntary Band
In The Wild
A Dangerous Journey
The last band on this busy evening was not least, Andy Tillison's project The Tangent who had recently released their fourth album Not As Good As The Book and they were going to prove that they can play live as good as
they recorded. The first time I saw The Tangent was also in Zoetermeer and it was only the second performance ever for them. At that time still accompanied by Roine Stolt, Zoltan Czorsz and Sam Baine, Andy had already showed the potential of The Tangent.
The Tangent nowadays is more a band than in it's earlier days, with even more chemistry. Still present from the early days is Flower Kings' bass player Jonas Reingold and drummer Jaime Salazar, who is also known for his work for the Flower Kings and also on the Allen/Lande albums and Karmakanic. On this tour the guitar player was Krister Jonsson who was present on A Place In The Queue but who is not playing on The Tangent's latest album. It would have also been great to have Guy Manning and Theo Travis on stage but that's just me dreaming.
Krister Jonsson appeared a bit out of this world wearing his pointy party hat and at times waving a heart shaped fairy wand. His guitar playing seemed also out of this world, he surely made me forget all about Roine Stolt. The Tangent surprisingly started with Forsaken Cathedrals, a song only present on their live album Pyramids And Stars. Because it was a three band evening the setlist was shortened and the usual epic songs could not be played back to front. To still give a taste however of some epic songs, they chose to play a medley with parts from several different ones. Most impressive was the solo performance of A Sale Of Two Souls, Tillison really played with all his heart and soul. As an encore he played an unknown song about Burma which he wrote many years ago - sadly the lyrics were still very up to date. Four Egos One War was shortened and a long evening ended.
The Tangent played more like a band than the first time I saw them, a real unit. Andy played passionately and he is very skilful on his keyboards. At the end he gave credits to the guys from Beardfish and Ritual and thanked everybody for attending. Now it's my chance to thank Beardfish, Ritual and The Tangent for an evening of brilliant music.
Setlist The Tangent
A Crisis In Mid-Life
Lost In London [25 Years Later]
The Music That Died Alone
A Sale Of Two Souls (Andy Solo)
Long song medley (Darkest Dreams - Full Gamut - In Earnest)
Four Egos One War