Concert Review Archive

 

Cover

Lesoir, Beardfish, The Gentle Storm, Pendragon, Neal Morse Band, Camel, Luna Kiss, Haken, Sylvan,Lazuli, The Enid, Riverside, Fish, Special Providence, IO Earth, Kaipa Da Capo, Steve Rothery Band, Pain Of Salvation, Steve Hackett

Friday - Sunday, 17th - 19th July 2015
Loreley, Germany

Article By Gert Hulshof, Ian Butler and Joris Donkel
And Photos By Dave Baird

 

Gert Hulshof

17, 18 & 19 July 2015 the 10th anniversary of Night of the Progs. A three day festival this year celebrating the 10th anniversary of what has become a must go to festival for prog fans.

For the 10th anniversary WIV entertainment had done their utmost to compile a lineup of outstanding acts. A grand total of 19 acts this year divided over three days. Not all of them established names, still it appears to be a fantastic festival once again.

Each year the festival has a camp site nearby where you can set up a tent, set your caravan or mobile home. Every year also brings new surprises for campers. In my seventh year of visiting the festival I can honestly state I have never set up on the same field, not once. This anniversary year was not different. A new place, a lot of campers this year, the biggest campsite yet in 7 years.

WIV entertainment and of course its owner and organiser Winifried have outdone themselves. The largest crowd and a lot of security as well, paying Pfand for throwing out your waste after you leave. A good solution for an almost impossible cleaning task afterwards, people tend to be more clean when they have to pay.

But enough of that, the review is about the music, not the camp site.

Joris Donkel

For the 8th time in a row I went to the Night of the Prog festival, once again knowing in advance that I would be treated to some excellent performances. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the festival, organizer Winfried Völklein had managed to compile a very interesting program divided over 3 days, revisiting bands that already performed at the festival and some new names. The weather gods once again were very generous with the sun beams and almost total lack of rain, so with my sun cream packed and enough water to drink I headed to the festival site.

 

Friday, 17th July 2015

Lesoir

Gert Hulshof

First band of the festival was Lesoir , a Dutch band I myself as Dutchman had never heard of until they were announced for NOTP X. Lesoir is a six piece rockband headed by a lovely talented female singer, a female guitar player- keyboardist and four guys. The music they provided us was on the edge of alternative-rock / prog-rock. Shorter songs, heavy and straight forward. Good stuff to get a crowd warmed up for a long festival.

Lesoir

The singer admitted baldly to never having heard of NOTP if it wasn't for her brother bringing it to her attention and now here she was playing with the opening act on the 10th anniversary of the festival. Very proud to be at the festival. I must admit that I enjoyed their set so much that I have bought their CD Luctor et Emergo before going home again.

Setlist Lesoir
Battle
Feet On The Ground
(A Lady Named) Bright
Going Home
What I Long For
Press Play From Start
As Beauty Disappears
My Perfect Self
Singled Eyed
Luctor et Emergo
Big Talk
She's Lost
Slideshow Lesoir

 

Beardfish

Joris Donkel

The Swedish proggers Beardfish are well known by now for the extraordinary and creative music they make. Their music is definitely not everybody’s cup of tea or slice of Smørrebrød, that’s for sure, but still it’s quite a surprise to see them scheduled on the second slot of the first day in the midst of the day. I just assume they wanted to leave early because of other obligations. They choose to perform on the Loreley stage in the frontline set up, meaning that they were all situated at the front of the stage in 1 line. From left to right keyboards, guitar, vocals/guitar, bass and drums. Several of the band members were playing barefoot and singer/guitarist/mastermind Rikard Sjöblom was wearing a very colourful shirt with a leafs pattern.

Beardfish

At the beginning of the concert Rikard had some problems with his vocals that didn’t sound quite right, but after a while that clearly improved. Bass player Robert Hansen, still looking like a Viking with his big beard, was jumping around stage as always which has become his trademark. When introducing Coupe de Grâce Rikard said “I’m gonna play my fake accordion” thus producing the accordion intro on his keyboard. Rikard also expressed that is was “fun to be here”; something that almost all bands during the festival mentioned. The set they had picked to play was a bit more accessible than their standard set, probably adapted to the general audience here.

Beardfish

The crowd was very enthusiastic about the band, despite the heat, and made their appreciation very clear. Some of the songs played had a bit harder and rougher edge, but the majority was the kind of pure prog rock that went down well with this audience. The band presented a new, additional, keyboard player Martin Borgh, who is added to the band for the live shows. Well sweaty, the band ended their gig that unfortunately was a bit troubled with a not optimal sound that was certainly not caused by the playing of the band.

Setlist Beardfish
Into the Night
Hold On
Comfort Zone
Coup de Grâce
If We Must Be Apart (A Love Story Continued)
Ludvig & Sverker
Voluntary Slavery
Slideshow Beardfish

 

The Gentle Storm

Joris Donkel

Alright, I know it’s a very unoriginal, probably already many times used, wordplay, but it very much fits this performance so I’m gonna say it anyway: The Gentle Storm took the Loreley stage by storm. Even though the mastermind behind the project, Arjen Lucassen, is not present at The Gentle Storm concerts (probably deploying new ingenious acts) the show doesn’t come short of anything. Anneke van Giersbergen is such a charismatic performer and the band plays like an oiled machine consisting of 2 guitar players, 1 additional singer, bass, drums and keys. Apart from Anneke wearing a red shirt the whole band honoured the all-black dress code. The day before Anneke unfortunately lost her voice and she really feared for this performance; maybe she could only sing in a Joe Cocker style, she said jokingly. She apologized to the audience for that and the related difficulty for her to reach the higher notes (and she usually sings a lot of them). The fact she couldn’t give her best performance on this stage clearly bothered her, but with her charm she made it very acceptable. She also joked to have proposed to the band to play and sing the whole set in a Barry White style, but they didn’t agree to that.

The Gentle Storm

The vocal support by soprano Marcela Bovio was therefore extra welcome at this gig and slightly covered the vocal shortcomings of Anneke. On the set list there were songs by The Gentle Storm, The Gathering, Ayreon and Devin Townsend, all bands Anneke has been involved with. Keyboards and drums each had their own separate stage on the big stage, facing towards each other and decorated with banners of The Gentle Storm.

The Gentle Storm

With the little blond guitarist there surely was a massive force of female power on stage The often very powerful and bombastic orchestrations came from tape, not possible to perform these live of course without orchestra. The varied set included acoustic, symphonic, metal and even headbanging sounds. Apart from Anneke with her charisma and Marcela with her vocals the blond guitarist also made a big impression to the audience, she’s clearly a rock chick and she tossed her hair around headbanging at certain appropriate metal segments.

The Gentle Storm

Mocking her own true rock ‘n roll attitude Anneke confessed drinking herbal tea with honey. The gratitude with which Anneke showered the audience was overwhelming; she thanked them repeatedly for their support and enthusiasm. And this feeling was mutual because the audience very much appreciated the show and made that very clearly the whole concert through. But much more overwhelming was the already mentioned charisma and appearance of Anneke. This left me, and not only me, in total awe for the way she swept away the audience. Happy like a little girl she frisked on the stage moving her arms in all directions. What a delicious woman and performer this is, what a pleasure to see her sing and perform! I could watch her for hours like this; she totally mesmerized me; I’m in love! I want to worship her all day! I want her to be the mother of my children................ sorry I got a little bit carried away. Anyway, this woman has class, an enchanting charisma and she can sing like an angel; even with severe voice problems she still sings better than most others. With a true and well deserved standing ovation the audience thanked the band for their excellent performance, what a brilliant and pleasant show this was; definitely one of the highlights of the whole festival!

Setlist The Gentle Storm
Endless Sea
Heart of Amsterdam
Brightest Light
The Storm
Eléanor
New Horizons
Valley of the Queens
Comatose
Cape of Storms
The Greatest Love
Waking Dreams
Strange Machines
Slideshow The Gentle Storm

 

Pendragon

Joris Donkel

Opening with their classic Paintbox Pendragon immediately set the right atmosphere for the show to come. With 2 attractive background singers, initially wearing big motorcycle goggles like the man on the sleeve of their latest record, the manly section of the audience once again had an attractive view to watch. The amount of female beauty on stage was remarkably high this day anyway, well expressed by someone in the audience who commented “this was a good day for prog emancipation”.

Pendragon

Nick Barrett welcomes the audience in his best German and also gives a shot at welcoming the French, Dutch, Bulgarian and Transsylvanian fans. Clive happily plays with his fully revolving keys and gives them a turning swing once in a while.

Pendragon

Between two songs someone in the audience screams “Grendel” and Nick wittingly responds to that saying “nope, maybe tomorrow”. Even though it’s still quite early on the day with still most bands yet to come the crowd has quite filled the stone benches; Pendragon clearly has a very good reputation.

Pendragon

The band plays several slower songs that build up to a hefty climax, much to the enjoyment of the audience; these are clear crowd pleasers and therefore a wise choice by the band. Just as the longer tracks with really fine guitar solo’s by Nick bringing the songs to a spectacular end. The set also included an acoustic song with just the keys and female singing by the blond girl, now without goggles. Surprisingly the gig didn’t end in a bombastic way, but nevertheless the band received a modest standing ovation from the crowd who were spoiled with an excellent show.

Setlist Pendragon
Paintbox
Beautiful Soul
This Green and Pleasant Land
Nostradamus (Stargazing)
Faces of Light
It's Only Me
Breaking the Spell
Indigo
Masters of Illusion
King of the Castle
Slideshow Pendragon

 

Neal Morse Band

Joris Donkel

Neal Morse is a definite crowd pleaser because of his rich and lush music and his positive expression on stage. For some reason Neal Morse Band decided no to do a full soundcheck before their gig. Powerful and loud are certainly two apt words to describe the music the band produced when they kicked off their gig. The heavy bass-drum of Mick Portnoy could be felt several meters away from the stage and I suspect that some heart patients must have withdrawn themselves to further away areas. The first few songs where very rocky and less proggy thus making very clear that the Neal Morse Band still has a slightly different musical approach than Neal’s previous musical enterprises. During The Grand Experiment the audience and band were startled by an extreme loud distortion bang from the PA. For a moment the sound was totally gone to come back again after a few seconds. The band were professional and just played on although the shock must have distracted them as well. After the song Mike Portnoy commented on the incident: “it sounded like a nuclear explosion”. Neal Morse was even more witty and said “these guys are trying to convince me for so long to use inner ears; never have been so glad not to use them”.

Neal Morse Band

Neal also included an older Spock’s Beard song to the setlist which of course was applauded by the audience. The keyboard player treated the crowd to a lengthy keys intro to the probably longest song of their set which unfortunately included another enormous sound bang explosion with the same effect as the first. After that Neal said that he “just got a selfie-stick in the mail” and made a picture of him and the crowd. The next semi-acoustic song he dedicated to a woman called Michelle who was taken to hospital earlier that day after she suffered a stroke. A very nice gesture by Neal, once again showing his very human and social character.

Neal Morse Band

I tried to find out later how this poor NOTP visitor was doing, but the organisation did not receive any info on that; I just hope she recovered fully! The vocal harmonies on this song weren’t totally pure; I couldn’t determine who was the disturbing factor. Mike was sitting on a stool at the front of the stage and joined the harmonies with Neal and the bass player. The bass player was also supposed to do a little segment on a clarinet, but for some reason he couldn’t get it working. Mike joked about that saying “we paid $100 to get it in the country, so you’d better play it”. Later on the keyboard player did not have such technical problems and added a nice sax solo. The set contained more lyrical rock songs than bombastic epics, but also in this genre this band is top notch and no prog fan was disappointed about that I think.

Neal Morse Band

A very chaotic and hefty segment in which the band truly went full force was alternated later with some polyphonic singing without music in which the band also included the word “Loreley” into the lyrics During the song Reunion Neal made a small tour through he audience whilst playing his guitar. It was definitely not a blast-your-socks-off show by the band that still delivered a good show, despite the technical problems. Neal Morse once again proved that he always delivers.

Setlist Neal Morse Band
The Call
Leviathan
The Grand Experiment
Harm's Way / Go the Way You Go
Waterfall
Reunion
King Jesus
Slideshow Neal Morse Band

 

Camel

Gert Hulshof

Headliner for the first day of NOTP X were Camel. They sure let the audience know they were the headliner. keeping us waiting for a long time before climbing the stage. That Camel has been around for a very very long time already was obvious, the whole crowd knew their songs. Andy Latimer seemed to be enjoying himself as leader of the gang and was really going for it, as were his fellow bandmates. Still it showed they have been around a long time. The complete set was approx. 1.5 hours and a great deal of old classic Camel songs passed by.

Camel

Dutch keyboard player and leader of the band Kayak Ton Scherpenzeel was playing keyboards this show. A bit disappointing for the show was the absence of an Encore. even it were just a fake one, anything is better than nothing at all. The absence of the encore will be remembered by the audience and was not appreciated. Still Camel after almost half a century appeared to be alive and kicking, Latimer sure still knows his stuff.

Camel

Setlist Camel
Intro
Never Let Go
The White Rider
Unevensong
Song Within a Song
Spirit of the Water
Air Born
Ice
Another Night
Drafted
Lunar Sea
Mother Road
Slideshow Camel

 

Saturday, 18th July 2015

Luna Kiss

Joris Donkel

For me Luna Kiss was the only band on the bill that I was totally unfamiliar with before the festival. So with a total open mind I was wondering what these 4 young guys from the UK would have to offer. Armoured with a Kelstone, that “has got lots of strings” according to one of the band members, it could become a nice surprise. Soon it became clear that the music of the band is more alt-rock and indie orientated than proggy. Nothing wrong with that and also very enjoyable when properly played and original. The band produced nice hooks and riffs with their 2 guitars, bass and drum (and the very occasional Kelstone) and also a guitar solo once in a while.

Luna Kiss

Opening the second festival day at midday in the burning sun is certainly not an easy task, not everyone has arrived yet or is not willing to already melt in the sun for an unknown band. So Luna Kiss also had the task to wake the crowd up and get them in the mood again. They probably did their best to do so, but their music did not really reach the crowd. The have nice songs, but they didn’t enforce a lasting impression. Their music was heavily guitar based, although not too heavy and metallic, rather melodious.

Luna Kiss

The singer invited the crowd to meet them personally after the show at the merchandise stand with the words “see you face 2 face, f*ck Facebook”, an interesting remark from someone of his age, grown up in the area of social media. It was a nice gig, creative and progressive on its own, but not world shocking and definitely not a big attraction for many prog heads.

Setlist Luna Kiss
Take her away
Conjure and sin
Silicone hearts
Desperate youth and lonely bones
Gravity
Tribulations
Hart
Close
In a house in a heart beat (28 days later theme)
Stop this behaviour
Hold on
Silver lines
Slideshow Luna Kiss

 

Haken

Gert Hulshof

I will start this by stating that Haken is overrated in my book. I probably will get a lot of comments for this remark but I think they have had the luck of a well oiled markeiting machine when they first started. After all it is already the third time I think Haken is playing NOTP. Haken are still on the rise and will be touring with the Neal Morse band in 2015 because Portnoy likes them. And there is just what strikes me. Haken do have great material and guess what, they played it this festival. My favourite Haken song was played, I enjoyed Cockroach King very much.

Haken

One of the things that I disliked are the growls and grunts but I didn't hear them this time. That in itself made this performance an enjoyable one for me. Maybe I am starting to like them after all and will they grow on me, even though the music is on the heavier side. I did really like the show and the set they played at this years NOTP.

Haken

Setlist Haken
The Path Unbeaten
Atlas Stone
In Memoriam
Insomnia
Shapeshifter
Falling Back to Earth
Cockroach King
Crystallised
Slideshow Haken

 

Sylvan

Joris Donkel

Sylvan did just a short soundcheck and played a piece from one of their songs, some people thought they had already started their gig. They ended this soundcheck with the predictable joke “this is it” and left the stage to really appear a few minutes later. I’ve witnessed in the past that Sylvan has one big weak point with their live performances and that are the vocals of singer Marco Glühmann. He’s known for his rather screamy and dramatic vocals. These work very well on the studio albums where it’s all fine-tuned to perfection, but live it becomes very clear that he isn’t (always) able to reach certain notes and produce a total pure tone. Combined with his style of singing this can become very annoying, at least to my ears. Since the vocals play such an important and significant role in the overall sound of the band the additional risk all the songs sound very similar lies around the corner too. I’m always happy when there’s a longer instrumental bit or even an instrumental song, those are the moments I most enjoy the live music of Sylvan.

Sylvan

Despite my criticism on the vocals I very much enjoyed their concert though. They started with some songs from their new concept album Home. After that they presented the crowd with a nice potpourri of older songs, mostly crowd pleasers. A little group of their hard core fans had brought along a bag with little blown balloons which they threw into he crowd halfway the concert, during a ballad.

Sylvan

The quality of the vocals did not really improve during the concert and thinking about Anneke van Giersbergen with her lost voice still singing better than Marco I found the contrast rather remarkable. The band’s (new?) guitarist must have been the smallest guitarist I’ve ever seen, almost midget like, but the quality of his playing was not small at all. The keyboard player was a bit lost on stage.

Sylvan

The melodic, bit epic, music does land well with the audience and one must admit that they have created a musical style that does pleases most prog heads. Still I must say that I would have expected a bit more of the epic bombast the band is known for and good at; their greatest asset. The chosen set list did focus a bit more on the less epic songs. Sylvan decided to play only half of the song Farewell to Old Friends and commented that with saying “if you wonder how that can be with a still ten minute song, you’re at the wrong festival”. The last song of the set was really a bad choice as a closer, with even a rap-like segment sounding almost like Faith no More, so for me the gig ended with an anti-climax. Personally I’ve seen and heard better gigs by Sylvan and think this was definitely not their best performance of the 5 they did at the NOTP festival. I will now throw in one of their CD’s into my player and listen again how it all was intended vocally.

Setlist Sylvan
Not Far From the Sky
In Between
Shine
Point of No Return
Home
In Chains
The Colors Changed
Posthumous Silence
Farewell to Old Friends
Artificial Paradise
Slideshow Sylvan

 

Lazuli

Gert Hulshof

Also a returning act to the Lorely stage at NOTP X, I believe their third time, are French proggers Lazuli. Now Lazuli have created an image for themselves with their special outfits and of course the leode, a special synth guitar. It is amazing to me how this instruments sounds. Every concert of Lazuli they seem to be enjoying themselves and give their enthusiasm to the audience. The Lazuli singer read a short thank you note from the band to the audience for their performance of three years ago. The thank you note was in German and he struggled to read it but still did.

Lazuli

They had really enjoyed that show and would always remember it because the audience stayed, watched and listened that night even though there was a thunder storm. Lazuli of course played a wonderful set and had the audience going like mad. They ended the show with the ever present Vibrafone set played by all members at the same time. Of course already known but still very nice as end of your show a a small encore and token of appreciation to your audience.

Lazuli

Setlist Lazuli
Déraille
Une pente qu'on dévale
Homo Sapiens
Le miroir aux alouettes
Film d'aurore
L'Arbre
Multicolère
Prisonnière d'une Cellule Mâle
Le Mar Du Passé
Tristes Moitiés
Je te laisse ce monde
Abîme
...
Slideshow Lazuli

 

The Enid

Gert Hulshof

The Old meet the young. Robert John Godfrey is still the brain behind The Enid. The old music has been brought back to life with a young and fresh band of very qualified young musicians. Headed by Joe Payne as singer and keyboard player, arranger etc. This is the second time The Enid play NOTP. The first time they surprised the audience still present after headliner Marillion had played. Joe Payne has since become a real stage personality and has been named by many as the only singer to have the ability to sing like the late Freddie Mercury. Payne may even have a broader spectrum in his voice. The choruses, different voices and musically different set sure brought shivers to my spine.

The Enid

Old songs like One and the many, but also Mocking bird were performed, a stunning and mindblowing show by truly one of the most progressive(regressive) bands around. Even though the bass amplifier or speakers kept droning the sound, it didn't spoil the set but was surely not flawless thanks to that. The overall sound was not to good actually, not only The Enid suffered from this but a great number of the other bands as well. A little personal note from RJ Godfrey was that he really liked Lazuli, he watched them play their set and in his opinion they are a true progressive band.

The Enid

Slideshow The Enid

 

Riverside

Gert Hulshof

Polish rockers Riverside have put Poland back on the prog map a couple of light years ago and they are still going strong. With bassplayer Marius Duda still leading them, Riverside play a steady set with different songs throughout their career. Duda made remarks about him not looking like Steven anymore finally, of course meaning Steven Wilson. And the guitarplayer does not look like one of the members of ZZTop, or actually he does. Also their keyboard player was and still is the junior in the band.

Riverside

Riverside has a great name in Germany which becomes clear by watching the audience during the show, they just know every single song and sing and jump along accordingly. Riverside enjoy this and this in return makes the show noteworthy. The music however is not completely flawless and not my kinda tune, too much heavy prog in my book. Nevertheless an enjoyable show. Riverside has become quiet another act from the riverside I saw years ago. the stage presence is a lot firmer than before.

Riverside

Setlist Riverside
Lost (Why Should I Be Frightened By a Hat?)
Feel Like Falling
Hyperactive
Conceiving You
02 Panic Room
Egoist Hedonist
Acronym Love
The Depth of Self-Delusion
Reality Dream III
We Got Used to Us
Discard Your Fear
Escalator Shrine
Slideshow Riverside

 

Fish

Joris Donkel

The first of 2 legendary artists at this festival that is revisiting a classic album or albums of the past was Fish. One of the last times he would be playing the whole Misplaced Childhood album was at this festival. Of course his gig was much anticipated, mostly by the many Marillion fans present. I already saw Fish live with this show a week before and was curious to see if he would do anything special or different for the Loreley audience, this turned out not to be the case. He started his show as always with some songs from his solo albums. Robert Godfrey from The Enid commented to me that he already knows Fish since he was 20 and that he’s happy that Fish recognizes his heritage. After all those years Fish has become clearly much older, wearing glasses and with an almost bald head he kind of resembles Phil Collins. He entered the stage with a big shawl draped around his neck and shoulders, one of his trademarks.

Fish

When taking a sip from a bottle he said in his best German, which really is rather decent, “ ich bin ein Fisch, Wasser ist O.K.” (I’m a fish, water is o.k). Through the concert he repeatedly talked in German to the audience, only switching to English when he couldn’t find the right words anymore. Fish once again demonstrated that he’s a true performer, his gestures add feeling and show a total commitment to the music. _Long Cold Day is introduced with a rather moving introduction about a relationship that ended bad and that Fish is happy to know that every time this woman hears the song she knows it’s about her and Fish feelings towards her, which are mostly anger and frustration, which he clearly shows on stage. _The Perception of Johnny Punter has an even more dramatic announcement, addressing the various regions in the world where some kind of war or senseless killing is going on; this clearly is a song with a message.

Fish

Then the atmosphere loosens up when Fish announces to take us all on a trip down memory lane, when we all had more hair and were more vital. He introduces the Misplaced Childhood show as a rejuvenation and remembers that he was on this very stage for 28 years too. The guitar intro of Kayleigh clearly misses the extra spark from the original version, but soon enough everybody is fully into reliving this classic 80’s album. Observing Fish closely one can notice that he has a tendency to stroke his, almost bald, head from front to back, he does that regularly in a rather theatrical way. His little dance moves fitting to some songs are still pretty impressive for such a big man at his age, he clearly keeps himself fit. Singing Heart of Lothian he throws in no less feelings and power as 28 years ago and it seemed to me that this song still has a personal touch and an emotional charge for him.

Fish

Apart from a few (drunken?) shouters the complete audience is quiet as a mouse during the very mellow bits and guitar solo’s and one can sense that everybody is fully enjoying and sucking up this last time hearing Fish singing this legendary album. Naturally the audience sings along with most songs and is fully into the performance. When introducing the last encore The Company Fish says that he wants to see the biggest dance crowd ever and during the little segment in the middle he does a few rounds like a ballet dancer provoking the audience to do the same. He left the stage with saying that this was an evening he’ll never forget and clearly very emotional and thankful he took one’s leave with the words “liebe dich” (love you).

Setlist Fish
Pipeline
Feast of Consequences
Long Cold Day
The Perception of Johnny Punter
Pseudo Silk Kimono
Kayleigh
Lavender
Bitter Suite
Heart of Lothian
Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)
Lords of the Backstage
Blind Curve
Childhood's End?
White Feather
Market Square Heroes
The Company
Slideshow Fish

 

Sunday, 19th July 2015

Special Providence

Gert Hulshof

Another band I had not heard of before this festival is Hungarian band Special Providence. No voices this time, ok not singing anyway, the drummer talks between a couple of the songs. Chit chatting everything together but apart from that no singing. What was to be heard was an awful lot of absolutely great instrumental music in the veins of Liquid Tension Experiment or even Relocator. Bands that really think out their instrumentation and arrangements.

Special Providence

In this case the four guys from Hungary. A drummer that looks to be influenced by Mike Portnoy and marco minneman to name a few. and a bassplayer influenced by Jaco and other great basplayers. He gave us a basssolo I will never forget. The whole show by these young guys from Hungary was absolutely stunning, they have really blown me of my feet. This was an amazing opportunity to get acquainted with this music phenomenal.

Special Providence

Slideshow Special Providence

 

IO Earth

Gert Hulshof

The first time IO Earth performs at NOTP, also the first time for me to see show of IOEarth. I am not really familiar with the music of IO Earth, I have heard little to nothing of their music. I do know they have a vast growing fanbase and that in itself must really state something about the quality of either their music or performance. The fanbase must also have something to do with the angelic looking singer. A real eyecatcher for their performance this beautiful lady.

IO Earth

Musically they do not bring a lot of news in my opinion. The show looks well rehearsed and the playing quiet adequate but not something I really like. Seems to me all is played a little too much on auto pilot, I did not see much joy beaming of the stage. Although I must admit a larger portion of the audience seemed to like it very much. I did not know the music of IO Earth very well, and whilst I am writing this I try to remember. The only things I remember are the angelic frontlady and the man with the barret who played wind instruments.

IO Earth

Setlist IO Earth
Cinta Indah
Journey To Discovery
Morning
Collision
Body & Soul
Redemption
Home
The Rising
Follow
Colours
Insomnia
New World
Slideshow IO Earth

 

Kaipa Da Capo

Joris Donkel

This was the first concert on European mainland for this newly formed band based upon the old 70’s band Kaipa; they only had played in Japan outside Sweden. Since former band member Hans Lundin uses the original band name, this constellation of the band, that is also revisiting the old work, was baptised Kaipa Da Capo. With star-guitarist Roine Stolt among their ranks there was already a guarantee for quality embedded. Roine was only 16 years old when he joined the original Kaipa line-up. The band started with their first epic song, introduced by Roine. Like most songs this one was sung in Swedish, a rather slow song, like most of Kaipa’s original work, but with some nice moments enlightened by the guitar and keys. Unfortunately the keys were a bit too soft in the mix, they could have been a bit more on the foreground. The announcement of the second song by the other guitarist and singer was a bit vague and rather disturbed by a short conversation he had with Roine in Swedish. This song is also a rather mellow one with many very soft moments, so much that we can even hear some disturbing noise interference from the speakers.

Kaipa Da Capo

The whole show comes over rather un-organised, unprepared and messy. Couldn’t the band properly prepare for this gig, rehearse or so? There also were a few technical problems and in between the songs there repeatedly was some tech talk on stage. The more lengthy songs of these 70’s albums only very slowly developed into something uplifting, almost a bit like lingering ambient music and I must say that at several moments a certain mood of boredom was noticeable in the crowd. The band couldn’t help that, since they play the original 70’s music of Kaipa that often had this atmosphere and build up, but one could see eyebrows frowning here and there. The interference in the PA continued, which was a bit annoying.

Kaipa Da Capo

At times the music was very bluesy, mostly driven by the guitar playing of Roine that was excellent as ever; he clearly took a prominent place in the band. All songs were introduced in a rather uninspired and unimpressed way, as if the band was either on drugs or not really interested to be there. Roine spoke as if he had taken a fair dose of tranquillizers and even though he never is the most energetic and jumpy guy on stage, this time it all was remarkably tame. The whole performance was just not convincing and when at the end Roine introduced the band including his own brother he strangely enough found it necessary to add to that “you get the connection” referring to the fact his brother had the same surname. With this remark and also a few about the Swedish language they sung in (“you won’t understand all this”) he kind of treated the audience a bit in a huffing way. A strange thing for this usually very kind musician; he probably came over differently than intended or had some worries. More disturbing was the lack of enthusiasm with which the show was presented and the messy, unprepared and bit chaotic performance; I don’t think the band was at their best and clearly did not make a lasting impression with the audience.

Slideshow Kaipa Da Capo

 

Steve Rothery Band

Gert Hulshof

It is not very often that you will be treated with two solo performances by a former and current member of Marillion. For this 10th edition of NOTP the audience was treated with the integral performance of Misplaced childhood by former Marillion Frontman Fish. And today the Steve Rothery Band is playing solo work from his just released album Ghost of Pripriyat, plus Marillion songs. Before the show there were speculations that Fish might join Rothery, same as before at the Fish show people were certain Rothery was to join Fish. Nothing of that kind happened and may be for the best. Now we could witness that it takes Fish to really get the emotions of the old Childhood songs across to the audience and it takes Rothery to really get the dynamics of the guitarplay of these songs across. A good experience this is, this makes the songs even more special, The overall performance of the Steve Rothery band was excellent.

Steve Rothery Band

A larger part of the set was of course instrumental due to the fact that his soloalbum is. It was a joy to see that the solo perfomances really seem to give Steve Rothery the pleasure in playing, there was a smiling cheerful Rothery on stage. I've seen Marillion shows in recent past where it all seemed to be a routine job. This looked like fun. And I and the audience with me had fun during the show.

Steve Rothery Band

Setlist Steve Rothery Band
Morpheus
Kendris
Old Man Of The Sea
Summer's End
Slainte Mhath
Cinderella Search
Incubus
Childhood Medley (Lavender / Bitter Suite (III Blue Angel) / Heart of Lothian)
Sugar Mice
Slideshow Steve Rothery Band

 

Pain Of Salvation

Gert Hulshof

With a Pain Of Salvation show it is something like a Forrest Gump saying "life is like a box of chocolates you never know what youre going to get". One thing you can be sure of, the Gildenlow crew will always give a smashing performance. Loud and Rough, Heavy or acoustic, ballads or deathmetal, the audience will see a show. Just starting the one thing happened that we or at least I had expected to happen much earlier, a fuse blew and all sound was gone. This led to the effect that the Pain of Salvation drummer played a short solo, his instrument was the only instrument at the time that could be heard without amplification. Lucky for us and POS the sound came back pretty soon and the show could really take off.

Pain Of Salvation

POS played songs throughout the complete career and Gildenlow was in a flow, he was simply everywhere. It wasn't the first performance for Pain of Salvation at loreley and by the looks of it, it will not be their last at Loreley. A growing enthusiastic crowd sang and jumped along to the sounds of POS. After the short soundfall the sound was better than it had been all evening. A nice side effect, knowing that we had one more act to go.

Pain Of Salvation

Setlist Pain Of Salvation
Remedy Lane
Of Two Beginnings
Ending Theme
Fandango
A Trace of Blood
Linoleum
Dryad of the Woods
People Passing By
1979
Rope Ends
Beyond the Pale
Ashes
Slideshow Pain Of Salvation

 

Steve Hackett

Joris Donkel

How can you go wrong with a set list of Genesis songs in front of a filled open air stage on a warm summer night? You clearly can’t and even when Steve Hackett would have attempted to play the gig with his toes (which he probably can) then still the audience would have been entertained to the max. This was the ultimate crowd pleaser. Preparing his hands with talcum-powder Steve was totally ready to entertain the crowd with his band. This would be the last gig in the series of Genesis Extended shows.

Steve Hackett

Drummer Gary O’Toole came on stage in black costume with English bowler hat and bass player Nick Beggs as often in a skirt. It may be a personal thing, but I just can’t get used to the singing of Nad Sylvan that always annoys me being rather nasal, screamy and squeaky and sometimes not totally pure and on the spot with his limited voice range. I respect Steve’s choice him being the singer, but if he only would have picked Simone Rossetti (The Watch) for this job and the vocals would have been so more appropriate, intense and powerful. Anyway, I always try to give Nad the benefit of the doubt and focus more on the rest of the music and the songs themselves. Steve invites the crowd to sing along which they of course gladly do.

Steve Hackett

Shortly returning to the vocals bit I must say that I always (have seen several Hackett shows by now) am enlightened when Gary takes the mike behind his drumkit and sings Fly on a Windshield in a brilliant way. Today he was just a bit less than brilliant at the start, but still his movements and expressions fitted the song much better than the performances of Nad that come over to me as exaggerated and ungenuine theatrical and exactly the theatrical element, so well fitting in the old Genesis music, is rather missing in his voice.

Steve Hackett

To my opinion Nad puts in the wrong emphasizes and he clearly has difficulties with the higher notes. On the other side the powerful flute solo by Rob Townsend in The Return of the Giant Hogweed was absolutely fantastic! Later on he delivered an equal super sax solo in I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe). In between 2 songs someone shouted to Steve “love you!”. Steve heard that and replied with “love you too, liebe dich. You thought I forgot my German, mein Liebchen”. Roger King, modest and quietly busy in the back, just as Tony Banks often was, also contributed excellent bits to the gig and his intro of Firth of Fifth was flawless. His later solo in that song was not so vibrant though, but Steve’s solo lifted the song again up to new horizons.

Steve Hackett

Steve announced the ancient classic The Knife with the words “the last of the ballads” and then the band went full-force into this powerful song. In Supper's Ready Nad delivered some really decent vocals, especially in the middle section. Steve’s guitar solo to end the song really properly (better than on the studio album) was amazing and a joy to hear. _Watcher of the Skies was the first encore and also greeted with enthusiasm. Leading up to the final song of the set, Los Endos of course, Steve threw in a bit of an appropriate solo song of his which clearly shows what an impressive solo career he also has achieved, who else can afford to play a solo song in the final encore of a concert with the music of one of the greatest bands in the world? Naturally the band and especially Steve was rewarded with a very long standing ovation from the massive crowd; totally deserved. This show was clearly a case of “give the audience what they want and they will applaud you”, but it’s yet not easy to play the complex music of Genesis in a proper way and making it sound as if the original band (minus singer) was on stage performing. What a great way to experience all these Genesis classics again.

Steve Hackett

Setlist Steve Hackett
Dance on a Volcano
Squonk
Dancing With the Moonlit Knight
Fly on a Windshield
Broadway Melody of 1974
The Return of the Giant Hogweed
The Fountain of Salmacis
The Musical Box
I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
Firth of Fifth
Lilywhite Lilith
The Knife
Supper's Ready
Watcher of the Skies
Los Endos
Slideshow Steve Hackett

 

Joris Donkel

Needless to say the festival was a huge success again. The only downside points where the woman taken to hospital with a stroke and the very strict security measures that were taken starting the second day that kind of took away the free and relaxed atmosphere of the festival. Loreley is not Rock am Ring and should be treated with a different attitude and not loads of security people forbidding you to stand in aisles or on the stairs and not allowing people to take their camping chair with them as they’ve done for the past 9 years. I’ve understood that it was not the organisation, but the owner of the Loreley stage that imposed these measures, so I hope they will understand that the relaxed atmosphere and very low security risks of a prog festival should be treated accordingly with an equally relaxed security attitude. On the bright side I must compliment Win with the organisation, the food offering was much better for the first time and the location of the sales stalls too. Of course I’ll be back in 2016.

 

Ian Butler's NOTP review

"We watch in reverence, as Narcissus is turned into a flower.." This years 2015 NOTP festival was extended to 3 days instead of the usual 2 days, and the line up reflected this very special occasion. For those of you who don't know, the festival is held on the top of a cliff, in an amphitheatre over looking the Rhine river. It's a truly spectacular venue for some spectacular music. This year there was a suitable mix of lesser known bands, more recently established bands, classic bands, and members of classic bands covering 'essential' period albums. The beautiful weather also ensured that the turn out was good for the whole weekend.

Friday, 17th July 2015

Le Soir kicked off the festival in an exhausting 34 degrees of heat. A solid performance from this developing band didn't disappoint and got them some more exposure, playing tracks from the Transience album. Beardfish, a festival favourite at NOTP, followed up playing their amazing quirky combination of prog, folky, jazzy interludes and hard rock. Their musical delivery, as always, was first rate and they mix in humour and obviously enjoy playing to the crowd. Tracks from Sleeping in the Traffic, from Into The Void and more got their fans excited. It did cross my mind that perhaps they ultimately lack the grandiose large scale symphonic sound to headline a festival like this, but they are such a unique and talented band, they provide something different and they shouldn't change.

At the festival there is always time to relax between acts to go wander round the CD/Vinyl stalls, have a drink and some food. This years choice of food was much better than previous years, with Indonesian and vegetarian food stalls sandwiched in between the obligatory rancid burger stalls.

Back into the music and Anneke van Giersbergen entertained the crowd with what I thought were metal covers of other bands, with some dramatic quality operatic high vocals. Some obligatory non creative light headbanging on stage from the band made it well executed, if a little predictable set. Fortunately Pendragon came to rescue the prog fans delivering that big symphonic dreamy prog sound that just blows your mind. Nick Barretts' blistering guitar solos soaring in the afternoon sun brought some of the 'missing pieces' of prog that we hadn't yet heard in the festival. The new drummer gave the band some drive too. A well thought out acoustic song ended their set with some contrast and warmed the crowd for the Neal Morse Band. Neal brought the big 'Morse smile' on stage. Another experienced Lorely attender is Neal Morse, along with his Transatlantic drummer buddy, Mike Portnoy. He just exudes kindness, and passion, but his band are even better, showing limitless energy and technical talent. They played songs from latest album The Grand Experiment. His guitarist just ripped it up and they entertained the crowd too. 'Waterfall' was beautiful song worth a mention. A really 'technically heartfelt' show from the band.

Camel headlined on the Friday night led by the prog hero Andy Latimer. A genuinely genre defining band whose influence is still reaching today. By this time the sun has gone down, the stage lights were on, and the sound was much better and you got that real 'headling' concert feel. Not as technical and crazy as the Neil Morse Band, but a totally different music style, classic prog as we know it. Andy Latimer's guitars were exceptional, classy, understated choice of notes, many tinged in the blues. Ice remains legendary, and he uses those classy notes to reach into the soul like he can do. They played a variety of tracks and Andy still even referred to 'my old mate Pete', (Bardens I guess, who died in 2002). Andy played flutes and recorders as in the original mixes as his band rocked out, Colin Bass on bass and two keyboard players. An outstanding performance to end a perfect day. How could day 2 be any better I thought?

Camel

Saturday, 18th July 2015

I am always curious to see how many people turn up for the first act on each day, but I am so glad that I didn't miss Luna Kiss. They have a different sound, raw, scratchy guitars and used drum/bass rhythms and some torturing guitar notes to create their musical style. 'Loose but tight' might be an apt description. I overheard a mix of opinions about these guys, but I though that they were a refreshing change, and the vocalist could actually sing. Perhaps a bit more work on the lead guitars and these guys will be creping up the line up list. Definitely check out their new Gravity EP that has just come out.

Haken's diehard fans were very visible the whole weekend and flooded the amphitheatre to support them. A technically perfect performance from this talented metal/prog band gave their fans what they came to see. They aren't this popular for nothing and I guess most of you here know them already. Elements of metal and Gentle Giant-esque parts make them a favourite.

Haken

Sylvan, like Haken, are well known in the prog scene and both bands seemed to have the most fans everywhere (marked by their t-shirts). Their music combines heavy riffing and great solo guitars. They played tracks from Sceneries and Artificical Paradise was their closing and for me outstanding track of the afternoon for me. I saw the fans getting into it, but the next band up, got the whole place moving...

Lazuli have played many times at the NOTP and mix more 'world/folk/celtic' rhythms and at some points reminded me of kind of vibe you get with live versions of Peter Gabriel's Shaking the Tree, where it's just impossible not to smile and dance. It was a change to the very distorted guitars of the previous two bands. Lazuli have this ability to just get the crowd dancing and moving to enjoy the music. They bring a smile and fun to the stage, they also have an interesting array of instruments like a glockenspiel and a strange midi guitar to give them a signature sound. Some of you will have also seen will the band walking around the whole festival listening to the other bands and talking to fans.

Lazuli

I am not sure how many new fans The Enid won on this day. Their newer material, like The Bridge is challenging, crossing into a more Theatrical/Orchestral, which very much suits Joe Payne's voice. Possibly this style of music resulted in a lot of confused 'polite applause' from the non Enid fans, and even some Enid fans like me. The sound quality did not do justice to the band. Dave Storey's snare drum was lost in the mix, and the cymbals sounded worse than Ikea baking trays being hit by monkeys. The guitar parts were also quite unclear. Very frustrating. I might have been happier listening to many of the older tracks, but this isn't the point of The Enid at the moment. Summer was a classic track from The Spell album, but the rendition of Barclay James Harvest's Mocking Bird moved the crowd visibly to end the show to bring a lasting memory for many fans. Robert John Godfrey hobbled around the stage and took a bow with the rest of the band. So close.

The Enid

Another NOTP favourite Riverside brought back the loud guitars and keyboards. They delivered their typical heavy and beautiful melodies backed by tasteful keyboards and that great Hammond sound in some places. The track Panic Room was simply amazing. I think Riverside are a perfect band for this type festival and venue and their energy shines through. A new album is to be released soon and they played Discard Your Fear from it. Their extended version of The Curtain Falls used some real spacey Floydian sounds and simple epic guitar sounds to close the set. Riverside raised the tempo again, to arise the excitement for Derek Dick, sorry I mean Fish.

Riverside

Are there any other prog legends named after an animal? Answers on a postcard to DPRP. Fish's reputation precedes him as him as the ex-front man of Marillion, but he has made numerous solo albums (around 10 I think) with success. His great band played a few what seemed like 'warm up' songs, before they played 'Misplaced Childhood in it's entirety. For those who love this album, it must have been a very special occasion, especially at this venue with this atmosphere. For Fish, this is his farewell tour and the man gave absolutely everything for this performance and the crowd loved him too! Fortunately the huge thunder storm had good 'prog timing' and waited for Fish to finish before pouring down.

Sunday, 19th July 2015

The first band on the Sunday at Noon were Special Providence. I certainly wasn't ready for them, I am sure the audience wasn't either. No one in the crowd could resist the infectious technical jazz/metal/funk/offbeat rhythms and everyone had their groove on and applauded like crazy. This was expert musicianship at it's best from a band who have been going for a while, I had to buy their albums on the spot! Think of Dream Theater aspects crossed with a jazzier prog, perhaps 'Duty Free Area' and crazy parts of Frogflavour. They played tracks from Space Cafe and SoulAlert albums, and their disco track to finish. I was thinking, "How do you follow that?" A very difficult task, but very capably taken by IO Earth.

Special Providence

Guitarist Dave Cureton nailed his guitar to the progmast and solo'd epically with band. IOearth have a mix of instruments gave them a bit of colour to the music, bit more of the same newer darker metal/prog.

IO Earth

Kaipa De Capo were up next with prog brothers Roine and Michael Stolt leading the band, and the music back into older style classic prog sounds, with a focus on creativity, no heavy distorted guitars, jamming and looser feeling than IOearth. There were some nice moments, some earthy keyboards, but surprisingly little guitar solo's considering Roine's presence. On Sunday afternoon, lots more families and children arrived, I guess a lot of Marillion-ites for Steve Rothery. What a great festival for Marillion diehards, Steve Rothery and Fish in the same place. The track Incubus was magnificent and ear splittingly loud, probably the loudest band of the festival. Rothery also played Lavender from Misplaced Childhood, so this was played played twice at the festival, what a treat for the fans. I have the feeling that there is much emotion attached to Marillion's Misplaced Childhood album, at a time when prog was a dirty word and they had the guts to make it.

Steve Rothery Band

The experienced Pain Of Salvation followed and technically creative and put in a superb performance. I am sure the other guys have said more about this as I enjoyed it, but nothing made me really excited.

Pain Of Salvation

"A flower?"... Steve Hackett's - Genesis Revisited set, playing Genesis music was the Sunday headlining act to close the festival. Honestly, the Genesis music 'out progged' all the other bands and reminded me actually how technical, creative and absurd Genesis' music was/is all at the same time. The songs were performed faithfully to the original and the crowd virtually sang every lyric to every song, like starry eyed teenagers, of which I enjoyed Squonk immensely. Nad Sylvan did a pretty good job of impersonating Peter Gabriel in places, but where were his costumes? :-) It was probably another emotionally charged performance to see, classic prog history being perfectly performed to many sunburnt, tipsy and excited proggers. The band could have played terribly and it would have still been loved, but fortunately a note perfect and flawless performance and Los Endos delivered a suitable grand end to the evening and the festival.

Conclusion

What an amazing festival, great bands, superb location and facilities. It's a great opportunity to listen to new bands, re-live some magic prog moments from the past, and buy all those albums that you forgot to buy instead of Spotifying them. There weren't any bad bands, or bad performances, only as ever, personal opinions. It was quite difficult to be impartial when we prog fans are sometimes unconditionally atttached to 'our' band. Discussions between DPRP colleagues had showed conflicting opinions of the bands, where one thought 'excellent' another didn't. The Hackett/Genesis performance made me think of what makes a truly great prog band, and one of my conclusions was that they had their own sound, or something unique to deliver. It's not for nothing that Genesis, Camel, VDGG, Yes, ELP, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Gentle Giant etc all sound different and left a legacy that we are still talking about, many, many years later. Prog long and prosper! See you next year.

 


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