Concert Review Archive

 

Cover

Lion Shepherd, Subsignal, Mostly Autumn, Anekdoten, Lucifer's Friend, Spock's Beard & Neal Morse, Seven Steps To The Green Door, Frequency Drift, Gens De La Lune, RPWL, Focus, Peter Pankas Jane, Hawkwind, Knifeworld, Anima Mundi, Lifesigns, Magic Pie, Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy, The Musical Box

Friday - Sunday, 15th - 17th July 2016
Loreley, Germany

Article By Marcel Hartenberg, Gert Hulshof
Ian Butler
Joris Donkel
And Photos By David Baird

 

Friday, 15th July 2015

Lion Shepherd

Joris Donkel

Opening a three-day festival is certainly not an easy thing; it's still early in the afternoon, several people haven't arrived yet or are still busy with setting up their tent. Still, the rather unknown bands that are given this spot on the bill, are usually very glad to have been selected and be there at all! I think this was also the case for the Polish band Lion Shepherd, filling the stage with 2 drummers, 2 guitarists, 1 bassist and 1 vocalist/guitarist.

Lion Shepherd

And one really can't say the stone seats and the grass meadow above that were still quite empty, the crowd quickly grew. The slightly progressive, light metal/hard rock they played was surely solid enough to get the audience into the festival mood. Past in the Mirror was a nice ballad and in general one can say their music is melodic, on occasions hard. I noticed a slight musical resemblance with The Scorpions. Like I expected the band mentioned they were happy to be here.

Lion Shepherd

The song Smell of War was dedicated to the victims of the assault in Nice, France on which the band gave a short political statement. The song had a nice marimba intro and if I'm not mistaken I also heard a bouzouki. The Peter Gabriel song Red Rain was done in a metal version and also included an acoustic guitar. The band stated that they were afraid to play at NOTP, because we're not so prog, more world. But as in most cases the audience heartly welcomed the band and appreciated their efforts. Some good massive guitar violence ended the song Strange Breed and I'm Open was a melodic, strong rock ballad. It seemed to me that some additional keys came from tape and were not performed live, but for the rest this band made a nice debut for a prog audience.

Setlist Lion Shepherd
Fly On
Brave New World
Lights Out
Past in Mirror
Infidel Act of Love
Wander
Smell of War
Red Rain
Strongest Breed
I'm Open
Slideshow Lion Shepherd

 

Subsignal

Joris Donkel

The first German band to take the stage followed the Polish opener and with a prog traditional 5 men cast (keys, guitar, vocals, bass, drums) played a less hard set compared to their predecessors. Subsignal informed the audience it was 7 years ago that they played their first live show ever on this stage. The Sea from their first album was played then as well. On the stage the frantic drummer is the eyecatcher.

Subsignal

My Sanctuary is a melodic rock song with a progressive touch, but in general the songs aren't very catchy, which is a positive thing in the prog corner. And The Rain Will All Wash It Away comes from the new album and is a rather danceable song as the band announce it themselves. Indeed a rather poppy tune with some heavy guitars; the second part of the song is more progressive. A New Reliance is a more up-tempo song, in which the vocals hardly manage to overrule the guitars and where some keys are added. The songs don't really grab the audience; the music is interesting, a bit different on occasions, but nothing memorable and therefore the band has some difficulties to excite the audience.

Subsignal

Sometimes the music is a bit chaotic, like unfinished songs; one could wonder of the band came well prepared to this gig. Tempest is a song from the last album; their most heavy album ever. As the encore they played a song from Sieges Even The Lonely Views of Condors which featured very good double vocals with the bass player, even though the vocals by the bass player were clearly louder. The band delivered a good show, but for me the songs were rather average und not much uplifting and the sound was too much overdriven in the mix, which clearly did not benefit the experience.

Setlist Subsignal
Paradiso
Ashes of Summer
The Sea
My Sanctuary
And The Rain Will All Wash It Away
A New Reliance
Feeding Utopia
Tempest
Beautiful And Monstrous
Paradigm
The Lonely Views of Condors
Slideshow Subsignal

 

Mostly Autumn

Marcel Hartenberg

Even though the skies were all blue, the Loreley Freilichtbühne felt like it got taken by storm the moment Mostly Autumn opened their show with Out of the Inn, an instrumental track going back to the band's debut dating from 1998. It's a track where Mostly Autumn have the instrumental focus divided between Angela Goldthorpe's flute and Bryan Josh's guitar. With that song opening the set, I thought the band was going to spread a lot of energy throughout bringing us a lot of good folk 'n prog 'n roll.

Mostly Autumn

The second song by the band however was a song which was released but months ago by Bryan Josh solo. Solo? Well, it must be said that some of the people that helped him stem from the same Mostly Autumn background and with Olivia providing the very forceful vocals, the track's origin sort of belonged to the family. Yet this song was kind of different to the Mostly Autumn catalogue. All in all, Bryan's fondness of Ritchie Blackmore seemed to seep through. The song would have not have appeared out of place at a Rainbow concert. A great track for Rainbow lovers in the audience, yet, not as proggy as you'd expect Mostly Autumn to be.

Mostly Autumn

Apart from said track the band played a mixture of tracks that, for the greater part, were taken from Dressed in Voices and, apart from that, were older tracks. The audience all in all was rather enthusiastic. It became clear though that the enthusiasm grew with the age and duration of the tracks. The band got more applause on playing the longer tracks like Evergreen.

Mostly Autumn

That particular track has a solo spot for Bryan and he really made it worthwhile, even causing a string to break, which led Olivia to say: "I think we may have a broken string. Time to do a song without the guitar.", followed by a beautifully sung Silhouettes of Stolen Ghosts. And her performance in that song also had the audience in awe. All in all, Mostly Autumn proved to be a great band for the opening day of the festival. For sure, the older tracks may have had more impact than the recent tracks, yet as for festival songs, the setlist was a balanced choice between the older and the newer tracks, with Heroes Never Die being the last song, having the set bookended by tracks from the debut album.

Setlist Mostly Autumn
Out of the Inn
In for the Bite (Josh & Co. Limited cover)
Drops of the Sun
Deep in Borrowdale
The House on the Hill
Evergreen
Silhouettes of Stolen Ghosts
Mother Nature
Dressed in Voices
Heroes Never Die
Slideshow Mostly Autumn

 

Anekdoten

Marcel Hartenberg

It was not long before Anekdoten took the stage after Mostly Autumn sang about heroes to the Lorely audience. They also delved into their past to start their show. Monolith from their 2003 album Gravity set the controls for a sunny late afternoon show which had the band combining heavy bass and guitar driven parts with more ambient passages and even vibraphone elements. Even though the song is more than ten years old, it forms a nice balance with the tracks from last year's Until All the Ghosts are Gone album. And after the first track we went even further back in time to the second album's title track, From Within. The show had both Jan Erik Liljeström and Niklas Barker singing; nice to get the variation we get on album during the concert as well.

Anekdoten

Anekdoten had a very nice build up of the setlist with older tracks being the main course of the show and three songs from the actual release brought to the stage. The songs that sometimes border on drone music call for the listeners to fully immerse in the moment and drift away on the movements and flows the songs go through. Such is the appeal of Anekdoten's music. It seemed that the audience found it more difficult to fully embrace Anekdoten's songs. For sure, those who know and love Anekdoten were enthusiastic for the full length of the show, yet those not familiar with the band's music gave me the feeling they were still deliberating whether the band would get a positive or a negative score. Anekdoten didn't seem to be affected that much by that. Then again, the way the band play might even have been underwhelming. Both vocalists have a way of sounding a bit dreamy which to some even may have appeared as to have sounded bored.

Anekdoten

If you're familiar with the band's sound, you know that this is the way of singing and you get that it is part of the sound. Just as much as the band's evident bass and Mellotron sound are part of the sound. I guess it all is a matter of taste. To me, the way the band played and the way both Niklas and Jan Erik sung was just great. The surprise of bringing along The Church's Marty Wilson-Piper on guitar and the great song selection made for a superb show to these ears. And, as the final song ended, there was a standing ovation from the Lorely crowd.

Setlist Anekdoten
Monolith
From Within
Get Out Alive
The Great Unknown
Writing on the Wall
Shooting Star
The Old Man and the Sea
Ricochet
Nucleus
Sad Rain
Slideshow Anekdoten

 

Lucifer's Friend

Gert Hulshof

Lucifer's Friend makes a come back after 26 years with no new music they now have a new album out. Will be a nice experience to see a band ever so popular in the 70's perform live here on the Lorelei stage at NOTP XI. The set will be a mixture of old and new no doubt. In my recollection Lucifer's friend is more of a "glamrock" type of band than they are progressive, no offense intended if I am wrong here I really do not know their music that well. Seems odd to program a band that is more straight standard rock on a festival like NOTP, but alas lets enjoy the show and see what comes of this.

Lucifer's Friend

On stage I see a band of great musicians, very capable musicians. Playing a set of songs with emotion. The audience seems a bit divided in front of the stage for sure are a lot of old time Lucifer's Friend fans.

Lucifer's Friend

Further away in the audience people tend to just gather and talk to each other. Lucifer's Friend on stage play a solid set, good music well played, only in my humble opinion not suited for NOTP, no offense intended. In the end you can call Lucifer's friend Crossover if you like.

Setlist Lucifer's Friend
Pray
Fire and Rain
In the Time of Job
Keep Going
Hey Driver
Dirty Old Town
Riding High
Moonshine Rider
Did You Ever
Fugitive
Burning Ships
Ride the sky
Rock n roll singer
Slideshow Lucifer's Friend

 

Spock's Beard & Neal Morse

Marcel Hartenberg

The moment many of the NOTP-go'ers came for, was nigh. This was to be one of the greater shows ever witnessed along the banks of the river Rhine. A historical reunion of the mighty Spock's Beard with their former bandmates Neal Morse and Nick D'Virgilio. The modern day equivalent or so to say of Genesis reuniting with both Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett and, yes, indeed, Anthony Philips. Expectations were set to meet the expected as the whole of the Snow double album was to be played. How to go about the album with members of all line-ups of the mighty Beard around? And what would it be like, having one of the most dynamic live bands back on stage together again? Would the magic once again be there? Would it be merely playing the whole sequence of an album, tracks never played live, a run through motions for the mere point of going through the motions? Or, would emotions be audible and visible?

Spock's Beard & Neal Morse

These thoughts all stopped by, in waiting for the Beard to take the stage. Yes, a sense of anticipation hung in the air. And as the opening song of the album was sung by Neal, the Beard were greeted with a whole lot of warmth and enthusiasm. It seemed that both audience and band were in for a special moment. The whole of Snow indeed to be performed live. Only the second time ever, the first time being at the Morsefest just weeks ago. And now, here at the historic site of the Loreley. The band featured both Nick D'Virgilio and Jimmy Keegan on drums and vocals, Dave Meros at the back at the bass and backing vocals, Alan Morse on guitars, effects and backing vocals, Neal Morse on keyboards and vocals, Ryo Okumoto on keyboards and backing vocals and Ted Leonard on guitar and vocals.

Spock's Beard & Neal Morse

The album Snow had a great reception back when it was released in 2002. Spock's Bear as led by Nick D'Virgilio played a medley from the album in the years after the release, yet the album as a whole was never performed by Spock's Beard while Neal was still around. He left only just after the album's release. So yes, indeed, the performance was already said to be of historic importance. What made it historic was not as much that setting, but the way the band found each other in the performance. Vocals were shared by Nick, Neal and Ted and it all ever sounded so natural. There was great spontaneity and energy on the stage present in all the singers' performances yet it was also there for all to see and hear in the way all instrumentalists played and enjoyed themselves.

Spock's Beard & Neal Morse

I heard Alan Morse play the guitar solo's with a lot of feel and, at least to these ears, I couldn't say he pulled off too many jokes or unnecessary effects with his guitar. So there was joy and there was dedication. That latter part almost always being part of Neal's performance, I felt it also shone through all of Nick's singing and drumming and the way Ted took on his part of the vocals, it was also there. It was indeed quite something to witness. Great to have that energy back on stage. As they were singing, you could literally see all the singers all over the stage: it really seemed that this very performance also brought out a lot of energy for the band that, in turn, had to be spread. The audience was very open and appreciative to that.

Spock's Beard & Neal Morse

The band made a nice effort in what might have been yet another drum duet. In both starting out on separate kits and playing 'against' each other, Jimmy and Nick switched to one drum kit and after that even went as far as to use the podium to show their immense rhythmic skills. Jawdropping. Snow's second album might not have been as familiar sounding as the first one, but apart from just the tiniest of breaks, the band went on to perform that part of the album too. Great to see that the band put as much energy into this part of the album as into the first part. That called for revisiting both the studio albums.

Spock's Beard & Neal Morse

Of course, back then, just as now, Neal Morse knew how to write songs, epics and finales. And the album's rounded off, just like the concert, with a great finale. They had pulled it off, a great and emotional effort and the thanks Nick expressed on behalf of the band to a very enthusiastic crowd was from the heart and heartfelt by the audience. It was quite the show. It was already way past midnight when the band came out for an encore and performed the song that only cemented their unity, the recent Falling for Forever that features all members past and present. Even though it got a bit cold, late and folks were feeling sleepy, this was one historic concert.

Setlist Spock's Beard & Neal Morse
Made Alive / Overture
Stranger in a Strange Land
Long Time Suffering
Welcome to NYC
Love Beyond Words
The 39th Street Blues (I'm Sick)
Devil's Got My Throat
Open Wide the Flood Gates
Open the Gates, Part 2
Solitary Soul
Wind at My Back
Second Overture
4th of July
I'm the Guy
Reflection
Carie
Looking for Answers
Freak Boy
All Is Vanity
I'm Dying
Freak Boy, Part 2
Devil's Got My Throat Revisited
Snow's Night Out
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mister Ryo Okumoto on the Keyboards
I Will Go
Made Alive Again / Wind at My Back

Falling for Forever
Slideshow Spock's Beard & Neal Morse

 

Saturday, 16th July 2015

Seven Steps To The Green Door

Joris Donkel

Seven Steps To The Green Door from Germany has been quite hyped recently, as the next big thing coming from Germany and an album described regularly as a conceptual masterpiece. Maybe this hype was just a result of an excellent PR campaign by Oliver Wenzler from the Progressive Promotion label? It made me curious anyway to hear and see this band live for the first time. 6 men strong, including two vocalists, one of each gender, this band took the stage just after midday on the second day of this festival. Despite the two vocalists, the music of the band includes long instrumental parts, an aspect well appreciated by most progheads. Having 2 vocalists creates the opportunity to offer some interesting and more complex vocal harmonies that would lift up the whole music even further.

Seven Steps To The Green Door

But unfortunately in most cases the 2 vocalists just sing together or alternate The female vocalist puts on a lot of effort to enthusiasm the audience, not without result. Wir sind eine mitmach Band she explains the audience, which is an open invitation to clap along with the song, which is gladly accepted by the audience. The offered music includes some alternative, creative bits and the keys play a major role in the music. With a nice sax solo the music turns into a rather jazzy instrumental. The band offered a rather good start of the day, not too hard or loud, with music that gets your attention, inventive, challenging and not boring at all.

Seven Steps To The Green Door

A really good balance between the keys and guitar solo's in the long instrumental parts. They delivered a good performance, good interaction with the audience and a good sound, well balanced. 7 Steps to the Green Door made a good impression, even though their last song was not so catchy, but it had an excellent guitar outro. I still won't call them an exceptional band, but worthwhile to see and hear they surely are.

Setlist Seven Steps To The Green Door
Prologue
Empty Room
Porn
Paid For Glance
My Lovely Mr. Singin' Club
Last Lullaby
The Dividing Water
The Last Subber
Still Searching
Slideshow Seven Steps To The Green Door

 

Frequency Drift

Gert Hulshof

Performing their second show on NOTP, German Frequency Drift, the start of the show is not very good, technical issues, the sound on and off stage is not good. They have to try three times to get the good well at least better sound for their performance. The cinematic music of Frequency drift is much underrated for my taste Andreas Hack and his band play wonderful music. Progressive with an electric Harp on stage and the use of Theremin by their lovely singer Nadya Jaye.

Frequency Drift

Almost after each song or between songs their bassplayer told us as audience a little story of how a song was come about and what the song was. Playing song from the last albums, as from the start the sound was not always very good, but was well made up by the interaction of the band on stage with all their humour, The audience also seemed to enjoy the show that was played full enthusiasm despite the not too good sound.

Frequency Drift

Slideshow Frequency Drift

 

Gens De La Lune

Joris Donkel

Gens De La Lune is probably the only band on this year's NOTP I knew nothing about before. And in 1 hour they proved how my ignorance had kept me away from some excellent music! The French band is lead from the keyboards by Francis Decamps, also known for his splendid work for Ange And he showed the NOTP audience he's a great performer too. His face painted, kabuki makeup style, also known to be worn by Peter Gabriel in this Genesis years, and with frantic movements, almost spastic, he brought some genuine entertainment to the stage. But in the end it still was mostly the music that totally caught the audience. Right from the start they blew away the crowd. I was sitting high above the stage in the grass and next to me sat a middle-aged woman who seemed not to be much interested in the performances on the stage.

Gens De La Lune

But when Gens de la Lune began to play it only needed 12 notes before the woman jumped up saying this is my music, I can tell from the first notes and so she disappeared in the direction of the stage. The a friend of mine arrives late at the festival in the middle of the first song and asks who is this band, they sound great? I myself was just as much greatly impressed by the powerful, bombastic, energetic music with lush keys and expressive vocals. The rather new band (formed in 2009 and just released their 3rd album) really instantly grabbed the audience vastly in their musical grip only to let them go after the last note was played.

Gens De La Lune

The impression the band made on the audience was truly great, even though sung in French, not understandable for most. But the passionate, powerful and eclectic songs hit in completely with most of the audience. Even though the keys play a main role within their music, a song like Dansez avec la Lune from the Ange medley, played without keys, creates the same great, spectacular, atmospheric sound with the 2 guitars. Still the keys are the main topping and old master Decamps plays at his best and totally freaks out. Accompanied by some great guitar playing the band creates a splendid sound.

Gens De La Lune

The drum solo including the chimes is another highlight when it joins the keyboard and theremin extravaganza. The audience is truly swept of its feet and knows, feels it is experiencing a great performance. At the end of the show Francis opens his shirt and touches his heart emotionally, overwhelmed by the very enthusiastic, alomst epic reaction of the crowd. This band truly was the big surprise of the festival and offered, to my opinion, even the best performance of the whole festival! At the encore most of the audience clapped and sang along with the song; a truly marvellous moment. I was so clever to already buy the latest, and only still available, 2CD of the band at the merch stand, because shortly after the show it was already sold out! Absolutely brilliant, what a discovery this band!

Setlist Gens De La Lune
Satanas
Ange Medley
Amours Impudiques
Gens de la Lune
Le beaume érotique
Les arts
Choc d'un prélude
Épitaphe
C'no Peran
Slideshow Gens De La Lune

 

RPWL

Marcel Hartenberg

Opening with a statement on religious fanatism, RPWL took to the stage around 16:30 at the second day of the festival. Home turf, yet still the task at hand to please the crowd. RPWL surely succeeded in that as they had the crowd moving from track one. What made a clear difference from the other time I witnessed the band in concert is that their show now really put forward what they were and are about. It was full of power, a diversity in tracks and that was what go the attention. The other time I saw RPWL play live was during the tour for the Beyond Man and Time album. It's not that the band lacked inspiration in that tour, yet, to me it appeared that the constant changing of clothes that Yogi Lang went through distracted too much from the music the band play. That might be a personal observation as I did gather that a lot of people enjoyed that tour.

RPWL

Yet, here and now, it is their 2016 appearance at the Loreley that matters. The band clearly enjoyed their return and had everybody in awe as they performed a gigantic medley of snippets of songs that either were taken from the ancient history of prog masters or, just for the fun of it, tracks that were progified by those ever so wicked guys in RPWL. "Are you ready for some pop music?", Yogi asked beforehand and then, within the stretch of minutes, we got excerpts of Solsbury Hill, Kayleigh, Owner of a Lonely Heart, Heat of the Moment, the evergreen Stop in the Name of Prog!, The Model, I Was Made for Progging You, Firth of Fifth, I Want to Know What Prog is, Progging on Heaven's Door, Another Prog in the Wall, Stairway to Heaven, Rock 'n Roll, Money, Aqualung, Watcher of the Skies, Nights in White Satin and Close to the Edge and even quite some more. The way the band played the medley with great enthusiasm and virtuously so, gained them a lot of enthusiasm from the audience. RPWL really had the place on prog. And that continued for the whole of the show.

RPWL

Kalle's guitar playing again was outstanding and with a performance of the never released Pink Floyd track Embryo RPWL convinced even those who might have been ever so sceptic. RPWL really master the playfulness of prog 'n roll. Very nice!

Setlist RPWL
Swords and Guns
Breathe in, Breathe out
Gentle Art of Swimming
This is Not a Prog Song (including the grand prog medley)
Silenced
The Fisherman
Embryo (Pink Floyd cover)
Slideshow RPWL

 

Focus

Marcel Hartenberg

One of the eldest bands of the bands, Focus , never took their old age very serious at this year's festival. With Thijs van Leer already being very playful at the soundcheck, I had the feeling we were going to be in for a treat. With sounds that reminded me of the days of way back, when Ian Gillan used a flute during the shows with The Ian Gillan Band, the band made its way through the opening track which was Focus I. The band, with two members gracefully around seventy years of age, was on fire and gave a lot of young bands and artists a run for the money. Especially when all brakes were let loose and the band took on House of the King, it was time for the band's junior member, Menno Gootjes, to shine on guitar. Yet all the members made Focus live to be a real happening.

Focus

Thijs was his chatty self and was very enthusiastic about playing NOTP and thanked the audience several times for their enthusiasm. Interaction was high as band and audience were both energizing for the other. Whether the band took on their elder, more well known tracks, or either the more recent tracks like the romantic track for a French movie, like Thijs put it, Le Tango or the equally fresh All Hens on Deck, the band fired on all cylinders and the audience loved every little sound the band seemed to make.

Focus

Of course, the afternoon turned magic when they launched into Hocus Pocus and, since Thijs decided to challenge the organization of whom he said: "Want us to fuck off of the stage" the band once again shifted gears for a great version of Focus III. I had never expected it, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the swiftness of the band and the energetic way they played the whole of the set. More of them any time, please!

Setlist Focus
Focus I/Anonymus
House of the King
Eruption
Sylvia
Le Tango
All Hens on Deck
Hocus Pocus
Focus III
Slideshow Focus

 

Peter Pankas Jane

Gert Hulshof

Like yesterday on the first of the three day festival we have a German band from the early 70's on stage, We now greet Peter Pankas Jane. With some intention you can call this the legacy of Peter Panka's Jane. This is a band I know little to nothing about. The only fact I know about them is that they are called a krautrock band. Without the intention of repeating myself seems a bit far fetched to have Jane play at NOTP, well yes Krautrock according to PA is a type of Progressive music. But since all started I think we have to many subgenres all together.

Peter Pankas Jane

We looking at a show by a band that seem a bit uninspired, can be that their age has something to do with this. Not all of us age in the same manner. Sure they play well, not doubt in my mind about that it is a solid set once again.

Peter Pankas Jane

Still I find the programming of Jane like with Lucifer's friend not all that good, You cannot have it all. The playing was good and solid.

Setlist Peter Pankas Jane
All My Friends
Tomorrow
Fire, Water, Earth & Air
Grown
Windows/Spain
Daytime
Auroville
Fly Away
Just More Words
Age of Madness
Hangman
Here We Are
Slideshow Peter Pankas Jane

 

Hawkwind

Joris Donkel

Hawkwind on the NOTP bands list already caused quite a commotion with the avid prog-heads. Mainly because many of them aren't so charmed with their music and certainly didn't see them as a headliner for this festival. Exactly the absence of a true crowd pleaser on this year's festival caused several people to stay away. Spock's Beard with Neal Morse playing Snow surely was a rightful choice and still convinced some people to come afterall. But the other 2 headliners being an ancient space-rock band and an excellent cover band was just not enough for people to decide to attend the festival, of which the prizes had risen considerably also. Before the gig of Hawkwind I heard and had some conversations about this band and it was very clear that this is a band you either love or loathe, at least in the prog community.

Hawkwind

The gig started with a futuristic intro on the screen that already hung there all day and now finally was used fully. A spoken introduction came from tape to introduce All Hail to the Machine and for The Machine a mystic story was told about a futuristic world in Utopia that is ruled by machines. Typical guitar violence, spinning synths, heavy bass and drums bombarded the audience. Colourful projections on the screen accompanied the pulsating, repetitious, droning sounds the band is well known for. The band confessed to the audience they have been a tourist all day long on and beside the Rhine. Central theme of this gig was clearly ‘Machines', due to the release of their new album The Machine Stops earlier this year. Several songs of this new album were played. I was rather surprised that the drum kit of the band was so small, considering their massive sound I would have expected a more Keith Emerson-like battery. But clearly the band's sound is more defined by the synths and guitars. Synths were used in steady and mobile versions.

A Hawkwind gig is like a hallucinating trip and it's most likely a big mistake to listen to their music totally sober, like I did. That could explain why I and several of my friends around me (probably also sober) didn't quite enjoy the gig. Around half time many people had already left and this surely was the headlining concert on NOTP with the least audience ever! The dark, sonor, reiterative and psychedelic fitted very well to the blurred images of a naked woman dancing on the screen. In the past the band had naked dancers on the stage with them, but clearly the budget didn't allow them that anymore. The song The Watcher was played in memory of Lemmy, their former band member that died some months ago. Hexagone was one of the few slower, quieter songs, almost like a ballad. The second keyboard player wasn't needed for several songs, so he wasn't always present on stage. Totally fitting the image of the band the singer regularly sips from a whiskey bottle. In several songs his voice can take it easy though, since longer instrumental bits were present too, accompanied by stroboscope light effect to enhance the powerful songs. The singer also sometimes produces some squeeky, bleepy sounds from his iPad or another device. Some segments were quite the opposite still, almost trance like with very artistic, colourful projections on the screen. The bass and two keyboard players were clearly younger band members than the weary older men that make up the band. Spirit of the Age has an almost Pet Shop Boys-like electronic backbeat, making me wonder once again why the hell this band on this stage now to start with. The very bright lights, shining directly in my eyes every few seconds, only enhance my wish that it'll end quickly. One of the last songs clearly dealt with the topic of hashies and had a great oriental intro, but after that the repetitive beats and drones came back again unfortunately. The inclusion of their big hit Silver Machine, a title even fitting the theme of this tour, could have been an apt last encore, an award I actually had expected for holding out so long, but even that was not granted.

Hawkwind

Probably only thanks to the open mind of a part of the prog audience there were still plenty people left at the end of the gig. The demand for an encore wasn't very strong. Hawkwind came and did what they do best and they did that absolutely great. But there really wasn't much proggy about their music. Not the instrumentation, not the songs, not the genre, not the variety, not the rhythm changes, not the creativity. So they were totally misplaced at this festival, certainly as headliner. I was still amazed that still so many people stayed to the end, even though the audience had considerably diminished. The next day I mainly heard very negative comments on this gig, apart from the few people that were totally into this kind of music, for them this performance was the highlight of the festival.

Setlist HAWKWIND
Intro
All Hail the Machine
The Machine
In My Room
Arrival in Utopia
Thursday
Orgone Accumulator
Synchronised Blue
The Watcher
Hexagone
The Harmonic Hall
Assault and Battery
The Golden Void
Lost in Science
Shot Down in the Night (Steve Swindells song)
Spirit of the Age
Assassins of Allah / Space Is There (Palestine)
Slideshow Hawkwind

 

Sunday, 17th July 2015

Knifeworld

Gert Hulshof

Third day. to start the third day is a difficult as being the first band programmed at the festival. The first band has lets say almost no real audience yet, and has to try make best of what they are worth, on the third day All of the festival visitors start to become a little tired of 2 nights not too much sleep when your on the campsite that is. So before Tavus Corabi and his band Knifeworld lay the difficult task to get us the festival people going again.

Knifeworld

From the first notes played I got a hint of the Tangent music, not surprising may be but to me was pleasant. Knifeworld is in my opinion a true progressive band. With on stage a horn section really this is something different and an add on to the music. Playing a marvellous set with now and again hints to the progressive rock poll where one of their songs was nominated for Anthem.

Knifeworld

They played the very song and speaking with Tavus Corabi's own word the song is nothing like an anthem you cannot very well sing along to it like you can with anthems I must say that was true, one of the last songs they did was a song where their singer and Tavus where singing against eachother, too bad we could not very well hear how magnificent they did sing their own parts The sound was not to good, their singer could be heard very well, but Tavus only very slightly too bad for such a nice song.

Setlist Knifeworld
High/Aflame
I Am Lost
The Germ Inside
The Deathless
Send Him Seaworthy
Foul Temple
Vision / Portrait
A Dream About A Dream
Feel The Sorcery
Me to the Future of You
Slideshow Knifeworld

 

Anima Mundi

Joris Donkel

Once again Anima Mundi from Cuba came and conquered the rock above the Rhine. I could leave this review at this, because that's the essence. Their latest album showed a shift in style with a more rockier, heavier album, less keys dominated, including a new singer and drummer. And even though several songs were played from this last album, the band made another big impression on the over-enthusiastic prog crowd.

Anima Mundi

The new drummer also played sax on stage and the new singer also added some keys and guitar. Virginia, the gorgeous keyboard player, was classy dressed in black stockings and plain dress of the same colour. The band started their gig in a rather calm way, a dramatic slow song with on which the keys only had a supporting role. After that the music became more rockier, more guitar based like in the past, more in the vein of the last album. But older, more symphonic songs were also included in the set list.

Anima Mundi

The singing was always a weaker point of the music of this band, but with the new singer this element was improved a bit. Still not to perfection, an accent is inevitable and his voice is also a bit screamy in some segments when he clearly tries to sing over the top of his abilities. His voice is rather raw and not always pure. The band clearly tries to impress with emotional, sensitive songs and with less bombast. Train to Future on the other hand starts with a heavy bass intro and then turns into a powerful, pumping song to which the singer adds some keyboard sounds together with Virginia.

Anima Mundi

The screaming guitar solo by band leader Roberto Diaz is another delight to hear and from start to end this band manages to capture and mesmerize the crowd at Lorely again. The encore Cosmic Man with its nice bass solo was a another crowd pleaser and it's quite clear that the crowd was most enthusiastic about this band and Gens de la Lune; they were the highlights! The band made another excellent impression, played a passionate and great gig, offered a good show and certainly made a great impact and loads of new fans. This show was their last from a 2 month tour through Europe and the band clearly expressed their happiness and amazement about all the nice experiences they had encountered. Memories enough to last for a very long time whilst back in Cuba.

Setlist Anima Mundi
Flowers
Somewhere
Lone Rider
Clockwork Heart
The Return - Part I / Endless Star
The Chimney, the Wheel and the War
The Call and Farewell Song
Sanctuary
Train to Future
Cosmic Man
Slideshow Anima Mundi

 

Lifesigns

Marcel Hartenberg

Lifesigns are a band that is all about talent. There is John Young whose experience varies from Strawbs and Greenslade to Asia on keyboards and vocals, there is Cutting Crew's 'Frosty' Beedle on drums, Jon Poole, ex Cardiacs, ex Wildhearts on bass and Niko Tsonev on guitar who happened to play with Steven Wilson. That is one great pool of talent. Yet in what way do they mix and enthrall the audience?

Lifesigns

This here reviewer is in two minds about how the band took the hearts of the audience. For sure, the band are all masters at their instruments and yes, there is nothing that can be said, negatively, about John Young's vocals. So, there seems to be little problem for an out and out enjoyable show. Well, the point that I want to make, is that the band, most certainly in the first few songs, seem to just go about the tracks. That might as well have been because the particular songs just lack energy and passion.

Lifesigns

So, it was great that when we got to about the third song, all of a sudden, the band seemed to get more into the music. The songs became darker and much more energy came from the stage to mingle with that of the audience. I think it was during Different that this change came about. It most certainly saw to it that more eyes and ears turned to the stage. All in all, it must be said that Lifesigns most certainly know their chops and way beyond that, yet, without being negative at all about the band, there is still a chance to grow in their performance and have their songs not just performed but experienced as well. Mind, it might have been that I was too critical for the band's afternoon's moment of fame, yet I do truly believe that they can up their live shows with just a bit more feel added to the performance.

Setlist Lifesigns
Lighthouse
Telephone
Different
Open Skies (John Young cover)
At The End Of The World
Kings (John Young cover)
Carousel
Slideshow Lifesigns

 

Magic Pie

Joris Donkel

Magic Pie Hailing for Norway, it's not NOTP's house band Gazpacho this time, but Magic Pie, offering a whole different kind of music. With 6 men on stage, including two on guitar and one on acoustic guitar and 4 men on vocals this band offers a very nice spectrum of music. Very melodic songs, easy listening at times with some surprises, unexpected additions and twitches. Progressive in the true sense of being creative, adding uncommon elements and not mainstream at all. The double guitar sound and the keys produce a very pleasant sound. Technical problems at the beginning caused the set-list to be shortened by 1 song and since they only played epic long songs the set-list ended up only being 4 songs long!

Magic Pie

The keyboard player was a bit hidden in the far right corner, but luckily the sounds he was producing were well heard. The main singer has an excellent voice, maybe more suit for hard rock orientated music, but the quality of his singing was surely a very pleasant experience in comparison with the many prog bands that struggle with the vocal quality. Even more considering the many harmony singing by all 4, the rawer hard voice of Eirik Hanssen was very acceptable and fitting. The overall sound was rather rock, but certainly no plain rock, AOR or anything like that.

Magic Pie

Lengthy songs, tempo changes, melody changes, the harmony singing and creative additions made their music truly progressive, maybe even a bit too progressive at times when the flow of the song disappears in the flood of creativeness. Ranging from soft to hard, from ballad to headbanging and that all in 1 song. This is surely no boring band to hear! The band was almost freaking out on stage, totally going into their music, only losing the song structure occasionally. Still presenting the audience high quality stuff, partly from their last album. King for a Day is their really epic song and a fitting end to this marvellous gig, that was truly one of the biggest highlights of the festival. Absolutely impressive!

Setlist Magic Pie
Introversion
Pointless Masquerade
Tears Gone Dry
King for a Day
Slideshow Magic Pie

 

Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy

Gert Hulshof

Now what to expect from a legendary drummer playing legendary progressive music. ELP was keyboards dominated and yet on stage no keys. How can you play ELP music without keys with drums, bass and guitar. I honestly did not know what to expect. I can tell you now we were in for a huge surprise, a trio playing ELP music as if the three were on stage. Most of the key parts were played by the bassplayer either on electric bass guitar or on chapman stick.

Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy

And I must say this was pretty awesome. Carl Palmer took a moment to remember his dear friend Keith Emerson who passed away not too long ago. In Keith's honour a complete version of Modeste Mussorgsky's Pictures at an exhibition was played a real ode to passed away legendary keyboard player like Keith Emerson was. All through the set Carl Palmer told stories about how song s had come about really amusing stories and tales too.

Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy

all three had their own moment first there was a classical piece played on guitar later on bassguitar queens bohemian rhapsody was played brilliantly. and of course Carl Palmer showed off how good he still is on his drums, a tiny set considering the enormous drumsets seen with ELP. A monstrous set of ELP music performed sublime.

Setlist Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy
Peter Gunn
The Barbarian
Hoedown
Bitches Crystal
Jerusalem
21st Century Schizoid Man
Pictures at an Exhibition
Fanfare for the Common Man
Nutrocker
Slideshow Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy

 

The Musical Box

Gert Hulshof

Well The Musical Box, why on earth have a cover artist perform the last show on NOTP, sure I know Musical Box is not your average coverband.

The Musical Box

They bring us on stage the FOXTROT show, and really they do outstanding, cant say anything else about that. Playing songs from Genesis like Genesis are on stage themselves including at that time the illustrious mr Peter Gabriel. Dressing up like Peter Gabriel always did, changing outfits its like watching old but then new again.

The Musical Box

Always very good shows enjoyable Even the not so well known songs and songs Genesis never played live its outstanding what these guys do. Really enjoyable, with no offense I do not understand programming a coveract. must be me. I enjoyed the show very much

Setlist The Musical Box
watcher of the skies
The musical box
The fountain of salmacis
Get em out by friday
Supper's ready
The return of the giant Hogweed
The Knife, Harold the Barrel
Time Table
Dusk
Twilight Alehouse
Seven Stones
Can-Utility and the Coastliners
Slideshow The Musical Box

 

Ian Butler's review

NOTP never fails to deliver each year. There is always an interesting mix of bands to satisfy your favourite flavour of prog, combining the usual interesting array of people, familiar faces, prog opinions, standard fried food, black rock t-shirts and sunburnt body parts. This year was no exception but there seemed to be less people than previous years, perhaps due to the less well known line up. Despite this the atmosphere was still amazing and the sun shone down on us once again for the 3 day prog extravaganza weekend. A lot of clips are available on YouTube to watch, but here are my highlights of 2016.

Lion Shepherd

Lion Shepherd brilliantly kicked off the festival with their mix of prog metal, guitar solos and some Eastern influences. They even successfully dared to cover Peter Gabriel's Red Rain which was well received by the audience. Subsignal followed with a similar solid sound and good stage presence, gaining more audience exposure and then made way for more well-known acts like Mostly Autumn and Anekdoten. Last year in 2015 Anglagard played at NOTP, so it was only fitting that Anekdoten followed in their Swedish unique dark mellotron footsteps. A few tracks from Vemod, the new album Until the ghosts are gone, some extended jamming, and some dubious singing made them for me my favourite band I came to see.

Spock's Beard and Neil Morse

Spock's Beard and Neil Morse headlined the Friday evening and blew the roof off the amphitheatre. Playing the album Snow in its entirety and giving an amazing show, like only Spocks and Neil Morse can with passion and precision, including crazy drum solos and with original band member Nick D'Virgillo and Jimmy Kegan doing a drum off on the stage hitting anything they could with drumsticks! No words can really do their performance justice, just a real epic show for 2.5 hours.

On Saturday, Seven Steps to the Green Door and Frequency Drift were both excellent openers, both with their solid technical prog sound and fun packed performances. I missed Gens De la Lune, but I heard that they were mad, in a good way with theatrical performances and added a touch of French flair like Lazuli do so often at this festival. Some of the other DPRP'ers will have elaborated on this interesting band.

Focus

The legendary Focus oozed class with their era defining original blues/classical/ wacky style prog and brought former memories back to life with Hocus Pocus and some other classics. Thijs van Leer was very happy chatting with the crowd and Van der Linden cut some classic beats and an outstanding drum solos during of Hocus Pocus. Classic prog isn't more classic than this!

RPWL

RPWL played flawlessly and did the most wonderful Ultimate Prog Medley which included the snippets of famous rock and prog riffs of songs intertwined. They covered Pink Floyd's Embryo to a rousing ovation and fitting end, which was a real high point of their show and converted me to become a fan. Perhaps Hawkwind should retire gracefully, sorry Mr Brock.

On Sunday, Knifeworld opened the day's festivities with a performance combining their surprising and challenging music with an interesting set of instruments, saxophones and even a huge bassoon in the audience! Mix in some ever quirky vocals and some Gong Camembert Electric-esque craziness and this led to a very unique sound. Anima Mundi followed to restore some classic sounding prog and were brilliant again as always, mixing with Gilmour-esque guitars and atmospheric keyboards back by a thunderous rhythm section, despite the still dubious vocals.

Carl Palmer's ELP

Carl Palmer's ELP legacy proved again that fortunately there is no substitute for talent. The man was physically and emotionally moved on stage by the death of Keith Emerson, and dedicated this performance to the late great man. Transcribing all the borrowed Emerson classical keyboard parts onto bass and guitar, the trio were nothing less than spectacular. The most unexpected part must have been a full rendition of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody on the bass guitar. Carl gave everything in this performance and a drum solo where if there was a category, Cruelty to drum kits, he would win hands down battering that poor drum kit into submission, no contest.

The Musical Box

Talking of battery, Robbery, Assault and …The Musical Box, another Genesis tribute band, played Genesis Supper's Ready flawlessly note by note and re-enacting the stage sets of years gone by. If you know the music, hearing it on a large scale in an amphitheatre is so much better. Pretty much a repeat performance, a la Steve Hackett from 2015 NOTP. Perhaps time for a change of theme next year for NOTP? Still for Genesis fans, a great time to cast the mind back to when the music sank into your soul and never left you again.

What a festival, just go! See you there next year everyone!

 


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