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WEBCounter by GOWEB    

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   HEADWAY FESTIVAL 2003
Day Six © Nico Wobben P60 - Amstelveen (NL)
April 4th-5th 2003

http://www.headwayfestival.com

This was Headway's first edition and I think organizer Dennis Leeflang (Sun Caged) can look back on a (for him) exhausting but satisfying weekend. Both bands and fans praised the good organisation so it looks like there's going to be a second edition next year. In a day and a half 12 progressive rock/metal bands showed their musicianship and entertained around 700 visitors in total in the modern P60 venue. It also had a couple of bars where we could hang out or see a few workshops. Carthago © Nico Wobben But let's talk about the music!

CARTHAGO reminded me a bit of Arabesque because they have two female singers, but that's about where the comparison stops. The music of this Dutch band was more symphonic and heavier. The girls had great voices and sang some chilling duets together, they also had a really strong stage presence, I couldn't stop watching and listening to them. Girlpowerrrrrr!

Loch Vostok © Nico Wobben After three and a half years I saw Teddy Möller play again, this time on guitar and vocals in his LOCH VOSTOK - back then it was drums and backing vocals in Mayadome at ProgPower. It was a very interesting mix of all kinds of metal styles but I didn't really know where to place it. Heavy, quiet, black metal and cheesy power metal parts alternated at such a high tempo that I started to think it was a kind of high quality parody in the vein of Zimmer's Hole for instance. Teddy said it wasn't, but I guess his great sense of humor and continuous joking during the gig contributed to my confusion. Funniest thing for me was that they came on stage all dressed in black-grey-white camouflage pants and I went to buy exactly such pants the day before. They didn't have that color in my size though, so I was Zero Hour © Nico Wobben wearing a blue one that I bought instead! Phew!

The band of the friday for me was ZERO HOUR. I'm a fan since I saw them in 2001 and it was so great to see them again! The rhythmsection (Mike on drums and Troy Tipton on bass) wove a complex and tight musical basis on which Troy's twin brother Jasun embroideries his characteristic riffs and mesmerizing melodies completed by singer Eric's emotional vocals. Next to songs from their debut mini CD and "Towers Of Avarice" there were some new songs that were just as beautiful but definitely heavier. Unfortunetaly Eric is so introvert he doesn't connect with the audience and even though Jay and Troy do, I wouldn't mind seeing a little bit more action on the stage.

Freak Kitchen © Nico Wobben Headliner of the friday were FREAK KITCHEN whose name pretty much says it all. A melting pot of freaky, experimental and funny stuff, all done with an enormous amount of humor as well as amazing musicianship, so even though I wasn't too crazy about the colorful mix of styles it was fascinating enough to stay for the whole gig. Guitarist Mattias Eklundh jokes around the whole time and even with himself when it's "humiliation time". He put a whole bunch of metal dildos strapped together around his neck and starts playing the guitar with them. Of course Freak Kitchen © Nico Wobbenafterwards he giggled and had to find that one dildo that was still vibrating;) He said "I'll have a signature model next time, so if you bend over too much... *making a sticking movement with the dildo*... you'll know it's me" Bassist Christer Örtefors was wearing a couple of pieces of tape on his nipples and changed hats a few times. Drummer Björn Fryklund was just headbanging the whole time and of course flawlessly drumming his parts. What a charismatic, funny and skilled bunch of guys!

Marlies and Teddy Möller © Nico Wobben SATURDAY

We spend the night at our friends Henri (a.k.a. Hawk) and Petri's place, because they live closer by than Day Six © Nico Wobben we do. Thanks guys! After breakfast we headed back to the P60 again for day two. Or should I say day six? :)

DAY SIX took some time out from recording their new CD "Eternal Dignity" (to be released in October) and opened this second day of the festival. And an energetic opening it was, wake up Amstelveen! Singer Robbie is pulling a lot of funny faces and jumping around. Musically they showed a lot of variety in the few songs (o.a. "Dark Tower") they played. Some very balladesque parts vs. heavy parts. Well done!

Atmosfear © Nico Wobben ATMOSFEAR however, could learn a lot from their young colleagues. Even though they showed us some very good musicianship with their Dream Theater-influenced progressive rock, they forgot to add something to the stagepresence and that's kind of necessary on a festival where you're playing for a lot of people that don't know you. Hopefully we get to see some more energy towards the audience next time. Morgana X © Nico Wobben

MORGANA X, and esp. singer Eddy Borremans, extensively made up for that. His powerful, and emotional/soulful vocals and ditto stagepresence made a great impression on the people and let's not forget their music. Melodic yet heavy, good songs (I think they played all 4 songs of the promo and I remember a song called "Promises") - an energetic performance that leaves you wanting more!

Epica © Nico Wobben Time for grace and beauty next with EPICA. The band, formerly known as Sahara Dust, was formed by ex-After Forever guitarist Mark Jansen, who also adds some death growls to the sound. But eye- (and ear-)catcher of the band is of course female singer Simone Simons. With her sopranic voice and her graceful appearance she enchants a lot of people in the audience. It showed that the band didn't have a lot of stage experience yet, but their future agenda is pretty full, so we don't have to be worried about that. If "gothic metal" is your thing, keep an eye out for the soon to be released Bumblefoot © Nico Wobben CD "The Phantom Agony".

If you think Freak Kitchen's show was already crazy and funny, you ain't seen BUMBLEFOOT yet. Guitarist Ron Thal's project is some kind of weird mix of metal, prog and rock, like Jimi Hendrix being reborn as a stand-up comedian and playing Zappa tunes or something. His guitar was pretty special too, half bumblebee, half foot. Ah, a... - yes, exactly:) Joost and Dennis of Sun Caged were part of his band today and Freak Kitchen's Mattias joined them for a couple of songs. Very entertaining!

After a little break drummer (and festivalorganizer) Dennis Leeflang could get behind his drumkit again, for a gig of his own band SUN CAGED. Their CD isn't out yet, but the band has gotten a Dennis Leeflang/Sun Caged © Nico Wobben big fanbase already by playing a lot. All members get in the picture in their own way, guitar-hero Marcel Coenen with his incredible shredding, bassplayer Rob van der Loo with his awesome playing and stagepresence, André Vuurboom with his voice and most of all of their chemistry on stage among each other. Their fun almost makes you forget you're dealing with some top-notch musicians here. André was troubled by a cold but still managed to give me goosebumps on several occasions. Next to their own songs they also played Queensryche's "Eyes Of A Stranger".

Prototype © Nico Wobben And then there was metal. Real thrashy metal, the headbanging kind: PROTOTYPE. Still with a progressive edge, but nothing like the bands we've seen on this festival. I'm enjoying every minute of it, with songs like "Pure", "Mind In Motion" and "Trinity" of "Trinity", "Transcedent Velocity" of "Cloned" and "Cold Is This God" of their Psychosis days. The band is looking for a new drummer but ex-drummer Damion Ramirez is helping them out. Wow what a drum-animal! He hit so hard that he needed to put his snaredrum back in place several times during each song, hehe! I'm sure they'll find a fine drummer for the band, but I feel so lucky to have seen this line-up at work:)

Then finally it was time for the ultimate headliners... PAIN OF SALVATION. Between the last gig we saw (Dynamo Open Air 2002) and today, Nico and I have become big fans of this band and we were Pain Of Salvation © Nico Wobben very anxious to see them live again. They had been ill on the last tour and quite frankly, Daniel looked like he lost half his weight. Nevertheless they played one hell of a gig. Dressed in orange shirts with NO WAR, they played all my favorite songs like "Undertow" and "Second Love" of "Remedy Lane" and "! (Foreword)", the brilliant opener of "Entropia", to dream away or freak out on. Their combination of incredible emotions (Daniel's mostly) with the extremes in prog (quiet and heavy parts alternate) either takes your breath away, makes you cry or simply gives you goosebumps. They also played "Inside" and "Handful Of Nothing" from Joost van den Broek and Marlies © Nico Wobben"One Hour On The Concrete Lake", but the very highlight of this whole festival was the "The Perfect Element" song "Ashes", one of my all time favorite songs..... AWESOME!

submitted by Marlies 25.02.2004

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