The first gig of Aeolus started just before midnight, after having survived the first band it was finally time for some real action. The lights dimmed, the stage filled up with smoke, and it was time for the first song Vicious Circle.
We were all waiting in anticipation for the voice of the new vocalist Bart Fekkes who is replacing Raymond van Kooten who left Aeolus earlier this year. To be honest the voice of Bart is different than the one we are used to from the CD, nevertheless it is refreshing and has a lot of power in it. This difference is especially noticeable in the first song because Raymond starts this song very quietly while Bart starts quite the opposite of that. Although Barts voice is more rough to hear we did not have to get used to his voice, the vocals were from the start quite natural to hear, almost if it was meant to be part of Aeolus. The strong vocals gave the first song the extra we missed in Raymonds voice, it added more power to the song, we both think it was meant that way in the first place.
The next song come here my love is a ballad. It starts out very quiet and relaxed. What we missed here was the subtile vocals of Raymond, but nevertheless it was very well done by Bart, and gave it his feel to the song. While the song continued we noticed differences in lyrics and rhythm. This is probably the biggest difference between Raymond and Bart, which is not a negative thing, but something to get used to.
Fate ... This song starts also like a ballad, at least the first part is very quiet, after that the music changed rhythm and style, faster and more aggressive. This song has more of these style changes along the way, you can clearly recognize some influences from other bands. The guitar solo of Jurrie in this song was really nice and identical to the one on the cd. Very well performed!.
Coming to the song Dust On The Mirror we noticed that the atmosphere changed for the better in a more relaxing one, the band had their warming up, and was now really ready to turn the place up side down, and so they did :.
Dust on the mirror is probably one of the best tracks on the first album. Really amazing and powerful. People in the audience started to get more excited, probably since this song has also been released as a single. Again this song was very well performed with nice guitar playing of Marco de Neijs and Jurrie Teeuwen.
What we didn't tell you until now is that in between every song the local village fool (a drunk guy dressed like an hells angel) was yelling "WE WANT MORE…WE WANT MORE". This was fun in the beginning, but started to get annoying after a few times. It was fun to see how the band members, especially Bart and Jurrie handled the situation by shaking his hand and accepting his beer.
Anyhow, since the guy was really drunk it was hard to do something about it and we focussed on the rest of the show.
The songs Forbidden City and Where Light Is Coming Through could be described as songs with lots of tempo and mood changes, especially Chris van 't Veer who plays the bass did a great job, and it was simply amazing to see these guys do their thing without any break and they just kept on going. Michiel Kramp who is playing the keyboard and Matthijs Hekking who is playing the drums and percussion put up a great show during the whole performance. Everything sounded like a well oiled machine and we were amazed that the sound was actually the same as on CD!.
We noticed that the band skipped one song, named Anonymous Embrace. The song Anonymous Embrace on the CD is in between the tracks Forbidden city and Where light is coming through. It is unclear why the band did not play this one, it could be because this song so strongly identifies with Raymond's voice, and also in this song and one other song you can hear the voice of Femke Feenstra who is doing the background vocals. We kind of missed that too during the performance.
Because we are very familiar with the songs of the first album, we were able to sing along with every song, but this time it was a bit harder to do, but not impossible.
During the last four songs of the first album (Tears, It's not impossible, Aeolus Breath and Last Song) the performance and sound was absolutely outstanding, these guys really put up a f***** amazing show with nice light effects and a lot of smoke.
At the end of all the songs from the first album it was time for some new material. In total they played three new songs; Split Personality, Passion love and One By One.
Split Personality started with an introduction of some real fine guitar playing of Jurrie, very subtile and with a lot of emotion. The nice thing of the new songs was that we were now getting familiar with the songs and Bart's voice, as a whole and not as a comparison between two singers (Raymond & Bart).
The 2nd and 3rd song were more rough and faster. Bart seemed to be the right candidate for these songs.
It is clear that the next album is going to be more aggressive and with a more progressive rock style. What we heard from Jurrie is that the next album is going to be more like a theme album, however we are not going to spoil the surprise by telling you what the theme is :-P.
To conclude this review we can say it was a very enjoyable night, Aeolus is a band with a LOT of experience, which was clear during the whole performance. Also Bart is a great entertainer which is invaluable for a band!.
Michiel, Jurrie, Marco, Bart, Chris & Matthijs keep up the good work!, and thank you all for the autographs and the video tape.
Now we have something to look forward to. On December the 6th they will be playing another gig at "De Souffleur" in Leerdam, The Netherlands.
We can hardly wait!.
JUST BE THERE!.