ProgFarm Festival 1998
It's a cold Friday in November. Together with the wonderful lady of heart (and prog) ;-) we are driving into the little village "Bakkeveen" (that's near Draachten in the northern part of the Netherlands, .. erm in the frieslandish part to be precise). Inside the beautiful small village we are looking for a former farm now to be a small camping site and a venue for school classes that want to spend some days here (there's a nice park with a lake behind the farm). Here is is ... the venue "De Harmsd˘bbe". Belonging to the drummer of the dutch progrock band "Flamborough Head" this is a quite useful place for the band (great practicing facility) and the PROGFARM festival.
De Harmsdobbe , official host of ProgFarm 98
1998 is the second season of PROGFARM. In 1997 Flamborough Head made their idea of an own prog festival become reality. As I already mentioned before, the farm is not used as farm anymore but as a sleeping facility for school classes etc. So the site has all that is needed for a festival:
And there it was ... the first band hit the stage: the dutch progrockers Sinister Street, playing progrock somehow reminding me of Jadis. All of the songs were grabbing my attention, lots of melody but lots of changes and development as well. With the words "hey, we're all here to enjoy ourselves" the played some cover versions, i.e. XYZ (Rush) and In the dead of night (UK). I will never become a fan of Rush but I know how hard it is to play that song ! Wow ! In the dead of night pushed the crowd (at least at the place where I stood) into loud singing. This really was an interesting performance and I am really looking forward to feature this band in the "Progressive DisDURPance" compilation cd series.
This british band did not quite manage to grab the crowd. Their set started with progressive music, but was not progressive rock in the common sense of the word. I think most people could not cope with the folk influences of the first half of their gig. During this first half the band seemed to play isolated ... isolated from themselves (I did not see a community on the stage) and this might have inflicted the isolation from the crowd. To the end the songs got straighter, more catchy and more concrete and at least a few people including me) got used to Big Big Train and could catch their music. A big hello to Peter, the new drummer ... he played nearly the whole set from the sheets and what complex drumming it was ... superb work, man.
Big Big Train
Wow, a great performance. From the first moment on stage the crowd knew that the organizers of ProgFarm 98 seemed to be the musicians with the most experience and most professional attitude to their music. They played their debut and presented a new song called Garden of dreams which is by far more complicated than all tracks of "Unspoken whisper" and: one of the best progrock songs that I heard this year. The crowd enjoyed the gig of the ProgFarm hosts and even more did the children of them ! Check out the compilation "Progressive DisDURPance Vol.2" (will be available on the DURP around spring 1999), it will feature a track of Flamborough Head.
The atmosphere grew and grew. From Luxembourg they came and started to turn the audience into a boiling crowd. Their music ? An interesting combination of slow emotional parts and fast progressive parts, mainly carried by the keyboards. Speaking of the keyboards. I am sure ... I saw the "satan of keys" that night ... I really was stunned by his work ! Back to the music of No Name. I think they're on the best way , they have great progressive parts in it, but between them there are some lengths, the melodies sang by the vocals are quite unique but too unconcrete for me (as sometimes is the music during singing). The most impressive song they played was Orient express, prog rock at its best ! The live atmosphere was brilliant, powerful and they after the cover of IQs "No love lost" they left a steaming crowd begging for more.
I really felt like a fool. Everyone seemed to know at least the name of this band. I never ever have heard of them before and when I came back I asked lots of friends in prog over here in Germany. Now I don't feel like an fool anymore because I could not find anyone that knew this band. :-) WHAT A SHAME ! Twin Age became the heroes of the evening. This young swedish band (all of them 20 to 26 years old) managed to create an atmosphere that reminded me of an early Marillion gig I saw in television lots of years ago. If you add the atmosphere of early releases of IQ, a bit of Illuvatar and a subtile stage performance (costume changes and jesteralike movements of the vocalist) you get TWIN AGE. I am not a prophet (luckily I am not - otherwise I would have to climb up a hill and let my limbs freeze off) :-) but I think a new star has risen in the european progscene ! As nobody knows Twin Age over here I rearranged the song selection of "Progressive DisDURPance Vol.2" and am glad to announce that this great band will be featured on the second edition of the DURP compilation cd series as one of it's main attractions.
10 points This has been the best prog festival I have been to. I would like to thank Flamborough Head for doing a great job in organizing this festival, all bands for giving their best and all people I talked to for creating this intimate family-alike prog atmosphere.
|© 11/1998 Markus Weis / Die Ultimative Review Page - http://www.durp.com|