Concert Review Archive


Rock ITtervoort

Sun Caged, Haken, Arena

Friday, 13th April 2012
C.C. de Mortel, Ittervoort, The Netherlands

Article and Photos By André de Boer

Tonight organiser Domien Parren hosted the 6th edition of ROCK ITtervoort. One night, three bands. The Dutch Sun Caged, Londoners Haken and Gloucestershire’s Arena. An awesome choice of bands that should be able to attract a serious crowd. Still, when I entered the venue only ten minutes before Sun Caged started their set, I was amazed by the large number of people already present. Over 350, so almost full house from start. The venue CC de Mortel has a mid-sized stage, is located only minutes from the highway, has loads of parking space available and uses the good old ‘stamp on the hand’ entrance system. But now for the music.


Sun Caged

While Sun Caged opened up the festival, daylight was still entering the venue. A great part of the crowd went bezerk from the very first tone and this band gave their very best to please the crowd. An assignment they accomplished successfully. So the atmosphere was good to start with.

Sun Caged

Because of the drummer’s recent departure, the band managed to find the one and only Atma Anur willing to substitute and being their royal guest drummer especially for this gig. Atma only had a few days to practise the songs with founder and lead guitarist Marcel Coenen. I think it all worked out very well so one could concentrate on the very special time signatures that distinguish Sun Caged from others together with the fragile voice of singer Paul Adrian Villarreal.

Sun Caged

A short set gave us a chronological see through of the released albums. Started with Closing In from the DPRP recommend self titled first album, followed by Departing Words from their second album Artemisia and Reductio Ad Absurdum and Pareidolized from their 2011 album The Lotus Effect, alternating with a fine jam session. A (too) short and impressive display of their quality and own style of progressive metal throughout the years of their existence.

Setlist Sun Caged
Closing In
Departing Words
Reductio Ad Absurdum


Since Visions was the number one album in my personal top 10 of 2011, I was very pleased that Domien Parren had asked Haken to come to Ittervoort. And that wasn’t an easy task in the final hours prior to their appearance on stage. First they were stuck in the same traffic jam I had to endure and on top of that it seems that they had to deal with some annoying Dutch coppers too.


Nevertheless the guys started off -relaxed and on schedule- with the beautiful instrumental Premonition. The Visions album was played almost track by track, only interrupted by Drowning In The Flood from their first album Aquarius. The beauty of Haken in a live setting is that it isn’t an exact copy of the studio work that they play but neatly garnished with all sorts of tiny variations and additional artistic creativity. In which Diego Tejeida with his keyboards plays an important role. Consequently this set also included the song that to me was the best song of 2011, Nocturnal Conspiracy. Ross Jennings did have some problems with his voice here, as he had in earlier performances, but that didn’t interfere with the joy and fun the audience got out of it. Including me. And both Griffith and MacLean clearly showed they had a good time too.


I must say that all the twitches, nuances, rhythm changes and stuff of this band are awesome and one of a kind. Maybe Haken was the real headliner of the night; I know they were to me. A fantastic set that, if time permitted, should have included the wonderful Portals too, being the second best song of Visions. Go and see them on Sunday July 8 at the Night of the Prog festival, Loreley Germany.

Setlist Haken
Nocturnal Conspiracy
Drowning In The Flood


“Can anybody hear me”, after the first seven a capella lines, The Great Escape was the obvious song that kicked in Arena’s set. The opening track from their 2011 Seventh Degree Of Separation album. Arena was kind enough to replace Threshold as the official headliner of this festival some time ago. So they made their second appearance in Ittervoort as they also made this festival’s line-up back in 2008.


Shook hands with John Jowitt. Some of these guys you see and meet in several bands that they are part of. And on a wide array of stages. So they become somewhat familiar to you. And so did their show. With ease, smiles, craftmanship, some very nice soloing of course and…predictability. Quite a contrast with the stunning and breathtaking abundance of the Haken gig. This also underlines the perfectly balanced choice of acts the organisation arranged for us. All three of the bands of high quality and each in its own right. Arena predictably played the almost exact same set as the one played on the Seventh Degree Of Separation tour last year. Interrupted only by a one minute silence request from Clive commemorating the 1500 death toll of the dramatic sinking of the Titanic one hundred years ago. It took one urgent reminder from the band for the crowd to comply. That’s British tradition for you.


Anyway, Arena went on with Clive and his machinery hidden in some dark corner of the stage and both John Jowitt and John Mitchell attracting attention in the frontline. Crying For Help VII as an encore made the audience yelling along as usual thus was enhancing the atmosphere even further. A funny affair at the end of the set: Mitchell made an error of judgement with his kind gesture of giving his guitar to the audience. Expecting it back right away. But it took him quite some begging to get it safely back in his hands. A theatrical ending.

Setlist Arena
The Great Escape
Crack In The Ice
Don't Forget To Breath
City Of Lanterns
Riding The Tide
What If?
Thief Of Souls
Burning Down
Valley Of The Kings
Crying For Help IV
The Eyes Of Lara Moon
Ghost In The Firewall
The Ghost Walks
Bedlam Fayre
The Tinder Box
The Visitor

Crying For Help VII


The ROCK Ittervoort 2012 was a very enjoyable festival with good service, drinks and food. Most importantly it was well organized, many thanks for that Domien and crew! The sound was not as it should be because of the venue’s acoustics but more than acceptable. If I have one point of serious criticism than it is the general lighting. It just fell short. I do not exaggerate if I say that Clive Nolan, of all people, was performing in pitch black all the Arena set. I really don’t expect much but I hope the lighting problem can be fixed for future editions. Because future editions of this lovely festival is what we want!



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