Concert Review Archive

 
Night Of The Progs 2013

Sanguine Hum, Sound of Contact, The Pineapple Thief, Crippled Black Phoenix, Magma, Steven Wilson, Anima Mundi, Maybeshewill, Anglagard, Amplifier, Caravan, The Devin Townsend Project, Opeth

Friday - Saturday, 13th - 14th July 2013
Loreley, Germany

Article By Gert Hulshof
And Photos By Dave Baird

Now running for eight consecutive years, Loreley Freilicht Buhne is hosting 2013's NOTP festival; the year of young meeting old, the new meet the established, the weird and eccentric. The daft, the beautiful, east meeting west, a culture clash extraordinaire.

What makes me write this, well read on and find out? As each year the festival has a campsite where you can stay the night in your tent, or you can park in the Parking lot and sleep in your car, like your reporter did. OK I have a van and can have a bed in the back, and for what I heard around me I was lucky, the nights at the campsite were cold. I arrived a day early, but not as early as I wanted. Why you may ask well Muse was programmed to perform and it was a good chance to see them too. That was not happening though, German traffic spoiled that.

 

Saturday, 13th July 2013

Sanguine Hum

It is Saturday morning July 13th, I awake on a sun spilled slope near the Freilicht buhne where everything will happen from 14:00 hours onward two long days absolutely packed full of interesting progressive rock music. Kicking off on the first day a band of which I had not heard a lot before this festival, Sanguine Hum. Raving reviews and more foretold us to expect some great music. Unfortunately Sanguine hum could not impress me at all. In fact I found that all was not as good as I expected from all the raving reviews especially their debut album had received. The four guys from Oxford were disappointing; surely it is always hard to be the opener on any festival. It may have been the already scorching sun and heat of the day or the gates opening too late for people to enter the festival area on time. A long queue was waiting when Sanguine hum had already started their show. The overall sound and playing were not all that bad but they are surely not my cup of tea, and by the sight of most of the audience not theirs either. The band exists long enough to lay down a better performance I believe, but then again might be one of the less experienced bands of the festival this year.

Setlist Sanguine Hum
Cognoscenti
The Trial
From the Ground Up
In Code
System for Solution
Day of Release
Phosphor
The Weight of the World, Parts 1, 2 & 3
Coast of Nebraska
 

Sound of Contact

At this point I really hope the second act will be more entertaining. In less than a year this band has set the complete progrock world upside down. Enthusiasts from all over the globe have written in favor of the band in question. Sound of Contact, with none other than Genesis’ own Phil Collins son, Simon. The band has claimed their fame very fast indeed, with an album and of course some performances all very well received. I must say the start was very promising with Simon Collins banging the drums, seeing this did bring back some reminiscent memories of daddy Phil in Genesis, at the time he had as much hair as his son has, although you can see a the retreat of hair on the skull of Simon as well.

Sound of Contact

No doubt Simon knows how to bang them drums, an act as a front man to the band, yet again I am truly sorry to say that the band did not really make that much of an impression on me. Yeah we have seen a decent performance of a bunch of good musicians but the music they make isn’t all that prog as I expected it to be after reading all the raving reviews. Entertaining at least, but spectacular absolutely no. To me they were completely unknown before this show, their act needs to grow in my opinion, may be this show came a little too soon for them. Only time will tell and prove me wrong I guess or not.

Setlist Sound of Contact
Cosmic Distance Ladder
Pale Blue Dot
Not Coming Down
Omega Point
Möbius Slip
Slideshow Sound of Contact

 

The Pineapple Thief

The heat begins to really take its toll, water lots of it I poor down my throat, and an occasional beer of course. Not Bratwurst and pommes yet that I’ll save for later on. In the meantime I meet with musicfriends and DPRP buddies. Small talk and beer while we wait for The Pineapple thief to come on stage for their show. Pineapple Thief are on and immediately it shows that they are more established well known among the crowd. Almost instantly from the first notes of Give it back but certainly with Last man standing the crowd comes to life. Bruce Soord is an excellent frontman and this pays off.

The Pineapple Thief

AS third band Pineapple Thief work with the audience and really warm them up for things to come later on. A set list with new and older material. A frontman going absolutely loose in an absolute sun swallowed Freilicht buhne at the end of the afternoon playing at a time when all are hungry in front of the stage. Pineapple Thief throwing in a wonderful show, The drumkit slowly seems to grow along with the fame of Pineapple Thief. The show was a real joy and IMO way to short, may be in a coming edition Pineapple Thief as headliner, with a full blown show? After the Pineapple Thief show we are nearly four hours down the road of the first day of NOTP 2013, Here and there the sun is taking its toll on the festivalvisitors, seeking the shade and water to cool down, in the meantime waiting for act nr four. By now we have a lot more people attending than in the early midday hours. Some already there for the final show of the day. Slowly but also surely time is slipping away as is the tight schedule all the soundchecks taking too much of the time in between acts is eating up the actual timing for the festival.

Setlist The Pineapple Thief
Give lt Back
Last Man Standing
Shoot First
Show a Little Love
All the Wars
My Debt to You
Snowdrops
Wake Up the Dead
3000 Days
Build a World
Reaching Out
Nothing at Best
Slideshow The Pineapple Thief

 

Crippled Black Phoenix

Originally scheduled to climb the stage at 18:00 Crippled Black Phoenix take hold of the stage closer to 19:00 hours. The schedule is now completely wasted, Before NOTP I have never ever heard one shred of music of Crippled Black Phoenix neither did I know they had a beautiful lady keyboardplayer/singer. The band itself got introduced to me as a sort of Doom metal, with that in my mind I was somewhat reluctant to see the show, But as your reporter was obliged to see them.

Crippled Black Phoenix

And at the start of their show I was surprised by the sound they had, Nothing like the doomy metal sound I had been expecting, I felt it was a sound on the edges of goth, doo, and progmetal at least with lots of keyboard soundscapes and great guitarplay. I wouldn’t know if all went as planned but I really enjoyed their show more than expected, throwing in Of a lifetime made famous by Journey really did it for me, Or was it the blond girl at the left of the stage behind the keyboards. You choose I liked the performance very much.

Setlist Crippled Black Phoenix
Jonestown Martin
Troublemaker
Fantastic Justice
The Heart of Every Country
Laying Traps
Born in a Hurricane
Release the Clowns
The Brain / Poznan
Of a Lifetime (Journey cover)
We Forgotten Who We Are
444
Rise Up and Fight
Partisan/Bella Ciao
Burnt Reynolds
Slideshow Crippled Black Phoenix

 

Magma

So far the first day of NOTP VIII brought us the new kids on the block Sanguine Hum , neo progging their way to fame. The Sound of Contact with good entertaining songs but a tad too early to hit NOTP IMO. The Pineapple Thief is a professional Indieprog band sweeping the audience of their feet and the Goth/doom/Progmetal of Crippled Black Phoenix, how more mixed can a festival get. You haven’t seen all because next up Zeuhl. I hear you say huh Zeuhl, does this fit in, my thoughts exactly. I was wondering if this would hold up against all the heavy stuff we already had. The answer is as surprising as the show .OH YES it fits and Magma the Zeuhl artists I am speaking of is of course a band extraordinaire as no other they know how to perform Zeuhl and bring it across to their audience.

Magma

At the beginning of their set you could see that this was a strange clash for both band and audience, the reactions not that profound the playing not as fine as they could. All of it would change for the better during the show Zeuhl is different has its own language Kobaie. I heard some of the music and am the first to admit I did not dig it at all. So started their show at Lorelei but as it kept going I kept growing into the music. I now “think” I understand it and musically I like it, I LIKE THE ODDITIES AND strange twists and turns. They only needed three songs to convince me to actually go about and listen to their music now the festival has passed. I can only admire the way they perform, magic is in the air, or is it?

Setlist Magma
Slag Tanz
Félicité Thösz
Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh
Slideshow Magma

 

Steven Wilson

Next and way overtime Steven Wilson hits the stage. The whole stagesetting audiowise already had been set up special for this performance. Wilson was said to do the show in 4.1 surround sound. And as could be expected delivered a show near to perfecting the sound on a Cd. Ultimately clear sound wise and stunning how close you can get to a “normal” recording when the sound is set right.

Steven Wilson

Sure the other performances had undergone a slightly different soundcheck with all the problems surrounding such. Steven Wilson and crew already set up the stage early Saturday morning leaving nothing to a coincidence. The show itself was stunning as well with songs from his solo outings throughout most of The raven that refused to sing were performed.

Steven Wilson

And a smashing encore “Radio active Toy” to leave the audience well after midnight, it was close to 01:00 when the show was over. It has been a long way for Steven Wilson to come where he is at now but he shows why and how, With the help of his bandmates a smashing performance to end day one.

Setlist Steven Wilson
Luminol
Drive Home
Postcard
The Holy Drinker
Deform to Form a Star
The Watchmaker
Index
Insurgentes
Harmony Korine
Raider II
The Raven That Refused to Sing

Radioactive Toy
Slideshow Steven Wilson

 

Sunday, 14th July 2013

Anima Mundi

After a cold night day two of NOTP 2013 starts with a band from the otherside of the Globe. From a country where one does not expect prog music to exist, Cuba, The land of Fidel Castro and communism still is present. I am of course speaking of Anima Mundi. They just released their fourth album “the Lamplighter” with a release party in “de Boerderij” and now a performance in Germany at NOTP. The release party marked the first European performance of their new singer, and as my colleague Andre wrote “I must admit I was a bit disappointed by Emmanuel’s voice live as I definitely was not on reviewing the album. It could probably be the nerves of course -it’s not easy for Emmanuel, starting with this important gig in a foreign country” he also spoke about checking again. At Lorelei. If Emanuel has been struck with nerves or whatever at the Boerderij he certainly has had none or not much trouble with his nerves at Lorelei, As a true leader he stood before the band, leading the way through a magnificent show. An absolute professional outfit Anima Mundi, what a way to kick off the second day of the festival with a band like this.

Anima Mundi

A lot of fans must have followed them from The Netherlands where Anima Mundi is already a big name. After this stunning performance with songs throughout all of their albums they have probably established a name in the rest of Europe as well. Worth mentioning as well was the use of bagpipes in one of the songs, well played by a beautiful Cuban lady, the percussion duet and of course the well played keyboards and smashing guitarplay. An excellent way to start the day, bring on the music.

Setlist Anima Mundi
Time to Understand
Flying to the Sun
La Montaña del Vigia
The Dream Child Behind The Mask
The Return - Part II
Endless Star
Cosmic Man
Slideshow Anima Mundi

 

Maybeshewill

Next band on the bill Maybeshewill from England, the first ever performance of a post rock outfit on NOTP. Second I have not seen an all instrumental performance on NOTP, so that is a first for these “post rockers”, Until the performance here at Lorelei I had not heard one song of these guys. And performing after Anima Mundi they really needed to lay down some show. And they did I tell you. Giving the audience a first to two new songs and a performance with again songs throughout their career. Like already stated I did not know any of the music, in the meantime I do and I really love this music. Leaving all the room for interpretation and imagination.

Setlist Maybe she will
Opening
Take This to Heart
Co-Conspirators
The Paris Hilton Sex Tape
Critical Distance
(New Song 1)
In Another Life, When We Are Both Cats
Accolades
(New Song 2)
Seraphim & Cherubim
(New Song 3)
Red Paper Lanterns
To the Skies from a Hillside
Not for Want of Trying
Slideshow Maybe she will

 

Anglagard

Next up are a band from Sweden, Anglagard, highly sought after and wanted to perform at Loreley at last. The swedes have a name to uphold, not that easily accessible music, very complex but also very very good. How would that sound in a live setting, The band does not perform that much. The really complex music needs to be listened to and enjoyed in a tranquil environment so you can really access the song. This is of course not that easy at a festival. Not knowing Anglagard that well I tried to and really enjoyed the songs.

Anglagard

Lots of instrumental passages interacting with passages sung in their own native tongue. A worth note was the use of rubber balloons which had been full blown and slowly unleashed the air making a squeeky sound. A nice additional touch. Anglagard proved to be a bunch of excellent musicians.

Setlist Anglagard
Höstsejd
Längtans Klocka
Jordrök
Sorgmantel
Kung Bor
Slideshow Anglagard

 

Amplifier

All appears to go in the same direction as timing is concerned like Saturday, of course the organisation does not want this to happen again, therefore the next act on the bill Amplifier are asked to reduce their performance with a shorter set.

Amplifier

Amplifier already started a little late caused by technical issues and now had a show that was significantly shorter as if that was not enough the band were hardly visible in the thick “mist” on the stage, Never you mind that the performance of Amplifier was as to be expected top notch coming from a rising act that is no surprise but still you have to perform and make your show everytime you go on stage. All black dressed amplifier have shown why they are a rising star in the land of progressive music.

Amplifier

Despite of the technical issues the performance was solid, I could have used a better sight at the band. Why this smoke was on stage remains a mystery at least to me. There is absolutely no need for that. The music isn’t that mysterious now is it.

Amplifier

Setlist Amplifier
Spaceman
The Wheel
The Wave
Interglacial Spell
Extra Vehicular
Interstellar
Airborne
 

Caravan

Up next with hardly a soundcheck a band that has been around as long as mankind remembers, founders or co-founders of Canterbury style progressive rock, Caravan. Together with Magma Caravan are the oldies among the bands performing this years NOTP. Magma on the almost impossible to grasp complex side of progressive rock, Caravan I position on the other edge of progressive rock. Easily accessible sometimes even singalong types of songs, soothing relaxing music with outstanding lyrics throughout the songs. Long musical passages and typical sound.

Caravan

These old school rockers have shown the newer and younger bands it is genuinely possible to put down a smashing performance with good sound and hardly any soundcheck. Most of the audience were little kids or not even around when Caravan started their career.

Setlist Caravan
Memory Lain, Hugh / Headloss
In the Land of Grey and Pink
Smoking Gun (Right for Me)
The Unauthorized Breakfast Item
Golf Girl
Nightmare
Fingers in the Till
Nine Feet Underground
Slideshow Caravan

 

The Devin Townsend project

Following Caravan we are again on a completely different angle of the genre heavy progressive rock, The Devin Townsend project. Frontman and entertainer extraordinaire Devin Townsend starts by telling the audience that a lot of people will absolutely not like what they are about to do, but they will do it anyway. And of course he is proud to be Canadian, not American. Which is something like I am Dutch and proud not to be German, or proud to be Scottish and not English.

The Devin Townsend project

It has not purpose whatsoever but Devin shouts this often. The Devin Townsend show is marked by a lot of incidents” there is a puppet of cardboard of one of the bandmembers on stage, Devin thinks this is nice and thanks the audience doing so, Three guys are asked on stage because of the marks they put on their body.

The Devin Townsend project

Devin asks the girls in the audience to flash boobies in response one girl does and Devin is excited by it asking more but not getting. Running around never stopping a very energetic show the audience really seem to enjoy despite what Devin Says. At the end Devin states he may be a loud mouth but deep within he is proud to be at Lorelei because …

Setlist The Devin Townsend project
Truth
By Your Command
Deadhead
War
Planet of the Apes
Supercrush!
Kingdom
Juular
More!
Grace
Bad Devil
Slideshow The Devin Townsend project

 

Opeth

It is time for the final act, Opeth. Steven Wilson told the audience that there would be a performance his friends band, Opeth but his band was slightly better. Mikael Akerfeld starts by telling the audience he thinks they are better band than his friends and probably a lot of people will not like what they do.

Opeth

Because they used to be black metal. Giving the audience an insight in how the Opeth or Mikael Akerfeld career started with him not knowing how to sing but he sure could scream, and so a career had started. With a massive lightshow and a grand performance and a lot of Black metal screaming Akerfeld and company treated the audiences with a good performance.

Opeth

At some point Akerfeld went into the pit to join the crowd, and fell, Notable was the acoustic blackmetal performance of I thought it was Demon of the fall, but it may well have been Lines in the sand. After a short retreat Blackwater Park was the encore a better end to the festival could not have been raised.

Setlist Opeth
The Devil's Orchard
Ghost of Perdition
White Cluster
Hope Leaves
Atonement
Deliverance
Heir Apparent
Häxprocess
Demon of the Fall (acoustic)
The Lines in My Hand

Blackwater Park
Slideshow Opeth

 

All in all this years NOTP was a long varried, sunny festival lots of good music. Laughter joy and whatsnot a long journey to and back from the festival. Well worth the visit, warm my spot for next year when edition 14 will be run. I am looking forward to it and hope all of you will also be there. Until Next Year Auf Wiedersehen at Freilicht Bühne am Loreley in Sankt Goarshausen. We’ll meet again.

 


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