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SYMPHORCE tourreport - Cede Dupont telling about life on the road



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WEBCounter by GOWEB    


René Janssen with headliner Evergrey © Nico Wobben Sjiwa - Baarlo (NL)
October 4th-5th 2003

It was the 5th ProgPower edition (4th in Baarlo) and as usual people from a lot of different countries (and continents - even Heaven's Cry frontman Pierre St. Jean came back for it), found their way to this relatively small and familiar festival in this cosy little Dutch town in the south of Holland. The nicest thing is that it is so easy to make new friends among the visitors as well as the musicians, although there were less bands than usual sticking around for the whole festival. Silkie, Cora, Nico and I checked in at the usual bed & breakfast address again and covered this lustrum for you! (Marlies)


Symmetry © Nico Wobben The Dutch band SYMMETRY was the opening act on the first day of the ProgPower festival in Baarlo and the first time for me hearing anything of them. Technically, they were a nice surprise, but sometimes mixes of elements didn't go that well. The singer Erik Maselink couldn't convince me somehow. Maybe I was expecting too much, but IMO a singer needs a certain charisma and I was missing this here. Nevertheless, maybe they needed a bit more originality, but for the opening part the band did well altogether. At the beginning they played songs of a new album, then the song "Lost", followed by a song called "Lies" and then "Journey To The Unknown" from the new/upcoming album "Dark Horizons & Journey Into The Unknown" if I got it right. They had announced new material and were talking about their promo CD with 3 songs. To be honest, I can’t recall most of the songs they played, due to the fact I’m new to the band and only caught some titles of what they have announced ;)
And unfortunately I can’t recall the name of the guitarist I have been talking to during the last two shows of the night. Anyway, it was quite entertaining and I guess I have to learn more Dutch, so I will be prepared Two Chrome Shifters + one organizer (René Jansen) © Silkie Gerold to understand what the heck people are telling me next time :) (Silkie)

CHROME SHIFT from Denmark released their debut on René Janssen's label DVS in February 2003 and were a great surprise on this festival. With Rasmus Bax the band has a fantastic frontman, who knows how to entertain the audience with his enthusiasm. To name a few songs they played "Full Moon", "In My Own Dream", "Worlds" which isn't actually on their release nor will you find "Chapter 19" on it. Have to thank Rasmus for anouncing them, ofterwise we wouldn't have known them at all. They showed their great musical skills esp. with the instrumental song "Kosmonauten er dřd". The progmetal is complex but never too much and what makes it special is the emotion they put into it, a bit similar to how a band like Pain Of Salvation does that. Rasmus has a wonderful voice and the harmonies with the backing vocals lift the songs to a next level. Their show belongs to our Chrome Shift © Nico Wobben favorites list of this festival (hopefully we hear and see more of them in the near future) and we wished their wonderful performance was longer!! Actually we wished their whole stay was longer. We had the pleasure of meeting the guys the day before and had the opportunity to chat a little bit. Unfortunately they had to leave Baarlo right after their gig to get home :( (Silkie/Marlies)

Ripples In Time - Part I
Full Moon
In My Own Dream
Kosmonauten er dřd
Chapter 19
Les Temps des Assasins
Chrome Shift

I didn't know anything about NOVEMBRE but Katalin said a few good things about them, so I at Novembre © Silkie Gerold least was a little curious to see them. I still cannot get over that tight black skirt one of their guitarists was wearing but I'm not here to judge over fashion. I have to admit that I did only see a part of their show, for several reasons: one of them was a bad sound. Other reasons were the fact that we wanted to have a little more time for dinner and last but not least gothic metal simply isn't really my cup of tea. I suppose they are quite good at what they do but I found the material a little too boring. I liked them the most when they got a bit more aggressive and Carmelo did some harsh vocals. (Cora)

Green Carnation © Nico Wobben After a nice dinner I was looking forward to GREEN CARNATION. They were performing material from "A Blessing In Disguise" and a light version of "Light of Day, Day of Darkness". Vocalist Kjetil Nordhus has a fascinating charisma, with a sort of calm manner. Well, the complete band has an expressive aura! They had some technical problems and during the shortened version of "Light of Day, Day of Darkness" Stein Roger Sordal had some bad luck with his 5 string bass. But even if one string was ripped, he managed in a great manner to finish the song. I really like their stage acting and their fantastic musical skills. They had a great selection of songs (see setlist). I'd say they were my personal #1 of the festival. Later you could find them down the cellar bar. And when the Morrigan's Pit crew left the festival area, I met them outside, seemed like they were missing the cold of Norway ;) Anyway, I got some cool photo shots of the band then, they had lots of fun :p Wished I would have been able to see them on tour, Green Carnation © Silkie Gerold but unfortunately I couldn’t take a day off work for it. (Silkie)

Into Deep
Crushed To Dust
The Writings On The Wall
Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness (short vision)
The Boy In The Attic
Myron And Cole
As Life Flows By

I felt well entertained by NIGHTINGALE even though there were also a few things that were bothering me. The band started with "Into The Night" and one of my favourite tracks was already next: "Scarred For Life". It was after the third song, "Shadowland Serenade", that Dan said he was not so nervous anymore. Is nervousness maybe the reason for him having at Nightingale © Nico Wobben least parts of his lyrics written/printed on sheets? Or does this man simply have too many musical projects going on to remember what to sing? "Eternal" admittedly does have a lot of lyrics to remember though - yes, they did play that over 11 minutes song live! Dan switched to the keyboard for that one. And after I had seen Nightingale earlier this year at 2000 Decibel festival in Sweden I was curious to see if Dan's brother Dag still does his silly posing on stage. To make a long story short: he did. I just can't get over it, why does he have to act as if he was playing one of the most difficult solos on earth while he only plays simple rhythm guitar? Of course nobody wants to see a musician standing on stage moving nothing at all, but Dag's stageacting is more reason to smile amusedly at than to take him serious (though I didn't mind him running around on stage in white socks that turned into rather dirty black ones during the show ;)) And just what I've somehow been hoping for happened at the end of the show: we got to hear "Black Tears" from Dan's death metal band Edge Of Sanity! /mp/\.jpgm/ (Cora)

Vanden Plas © Nico Wobben VANDEN PLAS is a band I always enjoy - a great and enthusiastic live show with great songs (melodic, progressive and heavy at the same time). They played songs from all albums, although only "Soul Survives" from "The Color Temple" and two songs from "The God Thing" ("We're Not God" and "Rainmaker"). The rest was from "The God Thing" and of course the latest gem "Beyond Daylight". I have to say the sound was good, finally, and it all went down well with the crowd. Singer Andy Kuntz had us singing along and he captured the audience with his voice as well as his typical theatrical performance. Guitarist Stephan Lill also takes some of the spotlight with his beautiful soloing, even though the rhythm section and Günther Werno's keys are just as important to the Vanden Plas sound. Fantastic closer of the day! Or almost closer... we partied on in the basement and so did Vanden Plas: playing fussball ;) (Marlies)

Vanden Plas © Nico Wobben Nightwalker
Iodic Rain
Into The Sun
Soul Survives
We're Not God
Cold Wind
Healing Tree
Free The Fire
Beyond Daylight

I Can See
Far Off Grace
Pierre St.Jean (Heaven's Cry) came over all the way from Montreal © Silkie Gerold

The second day started with a breakfast meeting in the basement of Sjiwa, that was actually nicer than the ones in a bar the other years. We had some coffee and were chatting with others until it was time to check out the first band of today.
Xystus © Nico Wobben
All I knew about XYSTUS was that Silent Edge guitarist Emo Suripatty was going to help them out on bass, so I wanted to check them out. Both the quality of the music and the enthusiasm of the band kept me interested during the whole gig. This young band just got signed by DVS so I'll be looking forward to their debut album "Receiving Tomorrow" (to be released early 2004)! Songs like "Waste Of Compassion", "Into The Void", "Elements Of Truth", "Prophecy", "Journey" and "Lost In Misery" are progressive, powerful and at times even fast or bombastic. Mark that name and keep an eye out for this promising band! (Marlies)

Andromeda © Nico Wobben ANDROMEDA obviously have been one of the most anticipated bands of the festival, judging by the great number of people in front of the stage when they started playing. Argueably they would have deserved a showtime further up the billing also. I must admit that personally I'm not a fan of Andromeda and the sound didn't help getting into the band's rather technical prog either. The sound was still quite bad with the drums, vocals and keyboard far too much in the front of the mix. But I guess most people were just happy to see them :) From what I could tell, the setlist was a well balanced mix of songs from both albums the band released to date, including "In The Deepest Of Water", the title tracks "Extension Of The Wish" and "II = I" and "This Fragile Surface". (Cora)

Pagan's Mind © Nico Wobben In await of the (by our crew member Aleksi) highly recommended Norwegian band PAGAN'S MIND, I took some photo shots of their set list. :p It promised "Through Osiris' Eyes", "Entrance : Stargate", "The Prophecy of Pleiades", then an instrumental song, followed by "A New Beginning", "Dimensions of Fire", "Aegean Shores"... in other words, the band was focusing mainly on their second album "Celestial Entrance". Just "A New Beginning" was from the first album "Infinity Divine". When the band came on stage, singer Nils K. Rue reminded me a little bit of James La Brie, Pagan's Mind © Silkie Gerold but not only him, also their music let me hear their influences! Which is not meant in a bad way. And still, they didn't forget the typical dark Norwegian vibes. Have to admit, the instrumental song "The Seven Sacred Promises Back to the Magic of Childhood" was IMO a bit long-winded, therefore boring in the beginning, but just when I was about to take another view from the back it became more interesting, thanks to the man behind the drums...
For the same reason as the day before, that we wanted to have a little more time for dinner, we left before the show was finished. For sure I keep an eye on Pagan's Mind, this band seems promising. After the show, the band was mostly found downstairs at their merchandise booth, they signed their merchandise and took time for their fans. I couldn’t resist to catch drummer Stian for a photo shot. :p (Silkie)

As a replacement for At Vance René managed to get the German EVERON, who themselves had Everon © Nico Wobben to cancel twice before. This time they actually played, but I can't say it was worth the wait. Oliver Philipps and his band were not interesting to listen to (unless you wanted to fall asleep, which we almost did on one of the couches later on ;)) nor interesting to look at (zero stagepresence). Maybe this is one of those bands you better just listen to on CD when you're in the mood for some mellow stuff. Only bright thing was the performance of guest singer Judith Stüber. (Marlies)

Elegy © Nico Wobben I've known ELEGY from the time they started out in the 80's in my hometown Eindhoven, but I can't remember when I saw them for the last time. Their show today was one I looked forward to because of that. Ian Parry is an energetic frontman and good singer that I last saw years ago with his Consortium project. And it was fun to see him again! He was constantly in touch with the crowd, shaking their hands, letting them sing etc., although a bit more interaction and fire from the others, esp. guitarist Patrick Rondat, would have been nice - the band (or maybe the music - someone said Artwork artist Mattias Norén is a regular visitor :) © Cora Gonser to me he thought it sounded a bit outdated somehow) didn't seem to appeal to the audience much. Almost half of the songs were from their most recent release "Principles Of Pain" and there was also one song of one of Rondat's solo albums, "Vivaldi". (Marlies)

Under My Skin
Pilgrims Parade
The Inner Room
Visual Vortex
Principles Of Pain
No Code No Honour
Master Of Deception

Evergrey © Nico Wobben It took a while before they were ready and the waiting fans came up with new versions to the usual (loving) Evergay/Everspray/Everbeer-nicknames, like Everwait and Neverplay ;) But finally it was time for the ultimate Progpower headliner: EVERGREY. The sound wasn't good, but I was in the front and enjoyed it all no matter what ;) Over the years, Evergrey have learned how to take the stage and rule over the audience with their charisma, esp. Tom Englund's charisma, regardless the circumstances. And they needed it today. Still not happy with the stage sound, they started with the old "Dark Discovery" gem "Blackened Dawn". What a beautiful dark album that debut still is.. Evergrey © Nico Wobben After a few songs bassist Michael rushed off the stage in pain, his hip was giving him pain after a recent motorcycle accident. Tom and keyboardist Rikard used the opportunity to start the "Trilogy Of The Damned" but after 2/3 of it, Michael came back on stage and the song was unfortunately not finished. They continued with their set and even though Micke was still in pain, he managed to stick it out, numbing the pain with some extra (Ever)beers ;) The songs were not really a surprise, mostly from the two last albums "Recreation Day" and "In Search Of Truth", but the crowd was cheering for all of them and singing along a lot. A very intense and worthy end of this festival! (Marlies)

Blackend Dawn
Mark Of The Triangle
She Speaks To The Dead
for those who still wonder why their nick is EverGAY ;) © Nico Wobben Watching The Skies
Trilogy Of The Damned (2/3)
End Of Your Days
Rulers Of The Mind
State Of Paralysis
The Encounter
I'm Sorry
Your Darkest Hour
The Great Deceiver

Recreation Day
Solitude Within
The Masterplan
(we're not 100% sure about the last part of the setlist...)

/mp/\.jpgm/ the MP crew /mp/\.jpgm/ © Silkie/Marlies

submitted by Marlies 19.01.2004









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