A.C.T., Alma, Grand Stand, Sylvan
Slottskogen Goes Progressive festival
25th August 2001, Gothenburg, Sweden

By Stefan Polzer

For the second time G.A.R.F. (Gothenburg Art Rock Society) held their annual arrangement Slottsskogen Goes Progressive. It's an open-air progressive rock festival in a park in the centre of Gothenburg. The weather Gods was once again with the arrangers and for the delight of the big audience that must have been a bit over four hundred.

ALMA from the town Vxj in Sweden was the first band out this afternoon. Even though I've heard of them before this was my first meeting with their music. To be frank I can't say that they impressed me that much, it felt like their compositions hadn't been worked through properly. There sure was some pretty good intentions here and there that if given some more work could sound really well. I also feel that they need to practise some more together though they didn't at all sound that harmonised with each other.
Female vocalist Erika impressed a lot with her strong rock voice. It was fun to hear yet a new Swedish band that I'm pretty sure will do well in the future.

GRAND STAND from Stockholm did an album called In The Middle, On The Edge as an instrumental duo in 1997. Now as a four-piece and with a new album Tricks Of Time in the pipeline on Progress Records later this year they did their first gig together.
They started with two songs from the forthcoming; the first of those is a personal favourite called Jurassic Spark. A lengthy track with ingredients that true prog-rock lovers just can't dismiss, great keyboard arrangements and solid playing from all four members. Second song out is called Waiting For Water, it's a slower tune that oozes the calmer side of Peter Gabriel.
I felt that this one hasn't been rehearsed as much as the first song, hopefully it will grow on me.
Now it was time for the big crowd pleaser that the arrangers kindly asked Grand Stand to do, a lengthy (thirty-three minutes) Genesis medley consisting of songs from almost every Genesis era.
To my liking it was a little bit too long. It was however very well performed and the crowd spontaneously stood up cheering and applauding afterwards. I myself would have liked a shorter medley and yet another song from their forthcoming album considering the short time they had to play. They ended their set with a track from their first album called The Trees And The Chopping Nutcracker, a very entertaining tune that made me which for more.

A.C.T from Malmö in the south of Sweden was third band out and it was soon clear that many in the audience had come just for them. They did an excellent gig that consisted of a great mix between their two albums and a new written shorter piece to open up with. I think that it is fair to say that A.C.T is the best Swedish band around today. They are amazingly good on their albums, but seeing them live is a completely different thing. They perform their music with enthusiasm, power, humour and with great skilfulness. They are also great musicians and real professionals on stage; it's a joy watching them live. As good as it gets today...

SYLVAN from Germany was quite good and definitely harder then on their albums. I really should like this, but somehow it goes in through one ear and straight out through the other! A shame really, cause I can't find much to complain about. They are great performers and also have a good vocalist, it's just that it feels like it has been done before and they don't add anything new to it. I want and I should like them - but I don't!


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