Night of the Prog X, Day 2

Today was the day I had been waiting for – the day I had come to Night of the Prog X for. Read on and you’ll find out why… the picture I picked today is a bit of a giveaway…


First of, I have to admit that although 7 bands were scheduled today, I only heard 6 of them. Due to another appointment, I missed Luna Kiss. I’ll have a listen at their album later to find out what they are about, today I missed them – I arrived at the Freilichtbühne during Haken’s soundcheck.

Although early in the day, Haken were ready for a good show. Their heavy progressive rock went down quite well with the present audience, and they easily filled their slot. Heavy riffs and nice vocal harmonies (real ones here, not lead and backing vocals) are an interesting combination. Someone referred to them as a heavy version of Gentle Giant. That may be a bit far fetched, but the combined vocals do have some hints of what GG did in the past.

After Haken, the stage was for Sylvan, a German act from Hamburg who have played NotP 5 times before. With a seventeen year old guitarist and a manic bass player, they managed to win this home match easily. Classified by some as neoprogressive, they certainly aren’t an 80s Marillion or Pendragon copy. In fact Sylvan sounds far more modern and varied than that. The guitar and keys power the band, the bass player owns the stage when playing live. I’m not too familiar with their work, but what I heard today was certainly inviting.

Around diner time, Lazuli from French was the main occupant of the stage. A wonderful band, with a very own, rather heavy sound – partly thanks to the léode, a synth like instrument that looks as if it is played like a Chapman stick, but it has no strings. With the lead and a guitar playing duo leads, and the vocalist playing a third guitar, a lot is possible – certainly when taking into accounts the keys and percussion. On stage, the band put on an energetic show, with lots of interaction on stage and with the audience. If you love music, having people like this on stage can make your day.

The Enid followed. A completely different beast than the preceding bands. Founded in 1972, with only one original member remaining, the band plays symphonic prog that resembles musical music – an impression strengthened by the stage act of the vocalist. A mix of a musical star and a young Freddy Mercury probably describes him best (also when it comes to vocal range). I can enjoy musical and symphonic prog, but today this was a bit much for me – although the band played very well and tight.

So, after leaving The Enid half way through, I went for a walk and could still hear them outside the venue. Until I dosed off that is, and was awoken 15 minutes early by the sounds of Riverside reaching my ear. I rushed back to the photographers corral in time to catch most of their opening track. Riverside put on a heavy prog show in the way they are known for – a tight ship, run by bass master captain Mariusz Duda, a beast unleashed on stage. Old and new material were mixed, and receive with great enthusiasm (including mine).

And then, finally, the moment I had been waiting for. Fish was here to play Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood live, as part of the 30th anniversary tour for that album. Since one of my favourite live videos is Marillion’s Live at Loreley in 1987, this is what got me to buy a ticket to the festival.
Fish opened with a few of his won tracks, including Feast of Consequences. Then he announced Misplaced Childhood, and the band played it integrally, without interruptions. I decided to do what I had been wanting to do after getting a ticket and before getting my photo pass: I quit photographing after Lavender, went up the hill above the amphitheatre and sat down in the grass, enjoying the music. It wasn’t entirely up to expectations – Fish’ voice has know better times, and some songs seem to be played in a slightly lower key (probably for the same reason). However, I decided to not let that disturb me – and it worked.
After completing the album, the band played Market Square Heroes and said goodbye. Wanting to avoid traffic, I left quickly and to my surprise I could walk to the car on the tunes of an encore, The Company. Pity I missed that? No, I had my wish fulfilled.

On to day three now, but first – sleep!