ProgFarm 1999 Festival
"06 November 1999, Bakkeveen, Netherlands"
ProgFarm 1999 Festival
"06 November 1999, Bakkeveen, Netherlands"
It's November again ... time for a nice and sympathic venue to attract 260 progmaniacs from the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, the U.K., France and some other countries in order to enjoy great progrock, a nice and peaceful atmosphere, to share the night (and snores) in sleeping bags and to meet one day after for breakfast ... it's PROGFARM time.
At first I'd like to thank the organizers of this festival, the dutch band FLAMBOROUGH HEAD, for the great time we had among all those progmaniacs in that cosy atmosphere. Although it rained throughout the entire Saturday and the nights were cold it again was a very nice time with lots of nice people, good musicians and good catering. Congratulations to the hard working kitchen staff ... they really gave all they had to give to provide fans and bands with Nasi, Chili, great Hamburgers, Frikadels and drinks.
The first band, LADY LAKE (NL) entered the stage at 15:00 o'clock in the afternoon. The history of this band reaches back far into the 70ies. The name of the band is taken from the album title of second album of the british 70ies prog legend GNIDROLOG. In 1982 the band decided to stop playing in the public because of the declination of prog and thinking, that nobody wants to hear this kind of music anymore. After the french label MUSEA had contacted them in 1995 for a re-release of their Album "No pictures", the band came back to strength and back into the public, as they made a gig in early 1998 (25th anniversary of the band) together with the Goldring twins of GNIDROLOG. LADY LAKE played for about one hour and during a very few parts it seemed that they still have not enough life experience, but it did not matter at all. These three nice guys performed their Gentle Giant / Focus / Camel / Gryphon - influenced instrumental progrock in an astonishing and exciting way. Compact songs without useless breaks, sensitive guitar-melodies, developing structures and effectful blues/jazzrock influences. The highlights of their perfomance: 48 cm and the great new song Ford theatre. It's great that this band is on the streets again !
After a very short break the two GOLDRING twins (STEWART AND COLLIN GOLDRING) of the 70ies cult progband GNIDROLOG entered the stage (electric guitar & acoustic guitar). These two very sympathic and experienced brothers were the special highlight of the PROGFARM 99. As you might know, they founded GNIDROLOG in 1969 (!!!). In the early 70ies this band released two milestone albums for prog music. Their experience reaches from classical musicianship to producing albums, playing prog in the early 70ies, touring with Yes, Santana, Jimmy Hendrix, Gentle Giant and so on. Even present reviews state, that GNIDROLOG's music has been "ahead of it's time" in the early 70ies. Because of RCA's decision (in 1999) to rerelease the GNIDROLOG albums, the GOLDRING brothers decided to return to making progressive albums again and here they were ... 24 years after their last GNIDROLOG-gig in Europe. Supported by LADY LAKE on keyboards, keyboard-bass, drums and e-guitar the GOLDRING Stewart and Collin performed the GNIDROLOG classic "I could never be a soldjer", one of the most essential anti-war songs ("dedicated" to the Vietnam war) of the hippie-period. I can't desribe that lucky and satisfying feeling to see these two brothers on stage ... the entire room could feel their dedication and joy to play in front again and as the song was over loud, respectful and deeply honest applause forced the two brothers to nearly fall into tears as they lay in their arms and left the stage so that even some of the fans had more water in the eyes as usual (including me).
The Goldring brothers
SINKADUS (SWE) were next. It was my first contact with the music of this band and I have to admit that it was not catchy enough for writing a review on it after hearing it the first time. But I'll try anyway. SINKADUS play freakin' progrock on a high technical level ... no neoprog clichees ... just pure freakin' progrock, carried especially by the flute. SINKADUS opened with the instrumental Positivhalaren that sent shivers down the spine of the crowd by Gentle Giant flair combined with warm flute, great bass-lines and fascinating prog-grooves. One of the highlights was Jag.Änglmarks bane, a varied song with freakin parts, dark athmosphere, warm and melodic parts that let the audience dream from beautiful fjords, dramatic elements with hammering bass ... superb stuff ... as was the weird instrumental Valkyria. An very, very interesting performance. I really wish that SINKADUS get more pupularity over here ... they deserve it because of their freakin' and damn dramatic progrock somwhere between GENESIS, SPOCK'S BEARD, GENTLE GIANT and dark and a stunning horrifying atmosphere that always is able to pull the listener back into safe waters with sensitive parts dominated by beautiful flute melodies. Wow !
Now it was the hosts' turn. FLAMBOROUGH HEAD started with the instrumental Legend of the old man's tree which was followed by a long break because of a blown fuse. The light's fell out, a few times all people stood in complete darkness but not a single fans got annoyed. There was enough to talk about with other fans. In order to stay in the timeframe, FLAMBOROUGH HEADS cut down their program down to size and played a new song called "House of cards". "Garden of dreams" (played on ProgFarm 1998 already) was played in an enhanced version (at least that's what I think). What can I say ? The songwriting of FLAMBOROUGH HEAD have got more experimental, more daring, smashing some real heavy and freakin' influences into the crowd. The gig was definetily too short (but it's a great gesture to cut down the own program on the own festival to stay in time) but the great new songs showed, that the upcoming FH-album is able to become a prog-highlight of next year.
Now it was time again for the GOLDRING twins to enter the stage and lighten the hearts again - now unplugged ... equiped with two accoustic guitars. With Thank you Martin McCarthy, Promised land, Wonder, wonder, the sarcasm-overloaded humourous My mother gave me a gun, Give us peace and an hebrew title [yeah Stewart, you were right, I can't write this ... ] the GOLDRINGs played theirselfes into the hearts of the audience. This is what rock music is all about. Dedication, music, joy, expression and entertainment. Great musicianship, classical guitar skills and charisma do not need amplifiers, keyboards, bass or drums ... it that's what these two musicians demonstrated to all the friends in music gathered around the stage. I think for all people it was a great pleasure and experience to meet you, Stewart and Collin and to listen to your performance !
The real headliner of the evening was JANISON EDGE (UK). I don't know why so many german proggers always complain about neoprog-clichees ... I really don't care. It's the music and the feeling that counts, no matter who invented certain styles and atmospheres. JANISON EDGE play beautiful, highly melodic progrock ... this is big music with floating keyboards, bombast, tight songwriting, spine-tingling keyboard-solos and warm female vocals. They opened with Twist in the tale of earth history which could not quite grab my soul, but after The Birth of Mary Goode, Oldman, The services of Mary Goode (I don't care if it sounds like Nolan) the souls of all people in the audience were set on fire - burning until JANISON EDGE left the stage. A great band that deservers wider exposure ! Perhaps a gig exchange with german bands like AMON RA or ESTHETIC PALE could help here.
At 10 minutes past midnight the Genesis cover-band RE-GENESIS started their performance with Watcher of the skies. I have to admit that I am not a great fan of Genesis cover bands, as the german band SECOND'S OUT really pulled my finger during a real bad gig last summer. RE-GENESIS fulfilled their "mission" very good. I have never heard a Genesis-coverband to be that close to the original songs (the vocals were not quite sounding like Gabriel but who cares). With the help of some customes the singer brought a touch of the original stage to Bakkeveen, trying the best to let the crowd boil ... but somehow it did not happen ... might be it was too late. But as Supper's Ready was played (at 1:10 a.m.) the athmosphere was heating up again. RE-GENESIS really played the big ones without any problems. Great work !
And so at 1:50 in the morning another great ProgFarm festival ended and most of the fans grabbed their sleeping bags to get some sleep before travelling home on the next morning ... filled with tons of great dutch breakfast tradition: bescuit, appelstroop and tons of coffee ;-)
© 12/1999 Markus Weis
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