Northern Prog Festival

Defiance, Leap Day, Novatia, Walfad & IO Earth

November 3, 2018 - De Uthof, Siegerswoude (NL)


For me personally is the Northern Prog Festival in Siegerswoude is the best progressive rock festival the Netherlands has to offer. They don't go for the big names in the scene but also give rather unknown acts a chance to present themselves to a larger audience. In the past five years the prog audience could enjoy dark horses such as Minor Giant, Osada Vida, Hangover Paradise, X-Panda and JunXion. However once in a while they try to attract a larger crowd by booking a band of international allure. Just as they did with Galahad in 2015. This year's edition , which is already the sixth, they tried it again with IO Earth, next to some other rather unknown acts in the progressive rock scene. Bands such as Defiance ,Novatia and Walfad you don't see that often on a Dutch stage. Just like the organisers, Leap Day, themselves.
 

Defiance

An unknown band for me had the task of opening the festival. Well Defiance from Zwolle surprised me all the way with their strong compositions. Compositions which were for me a mix between Kansas and The Gathering. The comparisons were most of all made because of the strong vocal performances of the two vocalists. Male singer Mitchell van Kleef sounds a lot like former Kansas violinist and singer Robbie Steinhardt.

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Mitchell van Kleef

Josť Kistenkas
Female singer Josť Kistenkas comes close to the voice of former Gathering lead singer Anneke Van Giersbergen. With a couple of excellent musicians behind them they could sing solo parts or strong duets together. Always entertaining and never a dull moments. Well that's how I experienced this for me very surprisingly good performance. A performance which even had a headbanging singer on stage during a progressive rock concert. Looking forward to their future releases without any doubt. Hopefully they will surprise me again!
 

Leap Day

Since 2015 it because more or less a tradition that the organizing band Leap Day starts as the second act on the festival. So also this year they might have thought "let's get it done early and party after it". Just like every year they came with a set which contained songs which were never done before or not done for a very long time. Such as In The Shadow Of Death taken from The Days Of Deucalion - Chapter 2 (2015, see review).

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Jos Harteveld

Harry Scholing
A song which I enjoyed for the very first time from them. A song with a lot of variety and above all very melodic. Most of all the final part with the church organ part was very impressive. The bands brand new anniversary album Timelapse (2018, see review) was in the spotlight as well. March Under The Symbol and Half Man, Half Machine got strong live versions as was to be expected from a band which belongs in the top of Dutch progressive rock acts. With a new bassist in the line up (Harry Scholing replaced Peter Stel,) who was amongst the visitors), it was also nice to see that they still did splendid versions of classic songs such as Secret Gardner, Changing Directions, God Of Wars and set closer Little Green Men.
 

Novatia

Compared to the opening act the third band on the bill was familiar to me. Novatia from Houten have already released three EPs. I have heard them all and seen one of their concerts. They supported The Gift (see review) in September last year . Now with a new bassist in the line up. Reg Schuchner . This first appearance with Reg in the band was a strong one indeed. Just as the first concert I saw of the band they once again had an extra percussionist on stage.

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Joep Selen

Rindert Bul
Jeroen Moerenhout, who added some extra musical parts to the old and new compositions. Compositions on which most of all guitarist Rindert Bul and keyboardist Ingmar Kops could shine. But also a leading role for singer Joep Selen. Even though he is blessed with a beautiful powerful voice, he still needed a paper to remember the lyrics for the four new tunes they performed. The time the band was on stage was just long enough to enjoy their music. Sometimes a too long set kills the fun, which this didn't.
 

Walfad

A lot has already been said and written about the name of the second band from Poland that climbed the stage at the Northern Prog Festival. For those who don't know why the band named themselves Walfad, I can tell you that it is short for "We are looking for a drummer". It seemed that during rehearsals their drummer never showed up, hence the name. In 2014 their fellow countrymen of Osada Vida gave a surprisingly strong performance at De Uthof in Siegerwoude (see review). So my expectations were certainly high.

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Wojciech Ciuraj

Pawel Krawiec
Because what I heard from their released albums sounded rather strong. Most of all their second offering An Unsung Hero, Salty Rains & Him (2014) has some strong compositions. Therefore I felt a little bit disappointed that they were not performed. Instead the band concentrated more on their latest two albums. Sure Momentum (2016) and the brand new album Colloids (2018) are very enjoyable progressive rock albums for most progheads. Albums with enough outstanding musical parts on it and with solos done by guitarist Pawel Krawiec and keyboard player Dariusz Tatoj. Something which the crowd also could enjoy on stage, even seeing lead singer Wojciech Ciuraj play on the 8-string mandolin. All in all the band gave a fine performance, although it has to be said that the band sounds stronger on their studio albums.
 

IO Earth

For most people this years headliner IO Earth is no stranger. Probably most of them came to see the main act of the evening. Seeing the seven musicians on stage doing an amazing performance. A performance which contained all of the tracks on the band's latest studio album. It's probably not so strange they played all songs from Solitude (2018, see review), as it features the bands current female lead singer Rosanna Lefevre. She replaced the wonderful singer Linda Odinsen a couple of years ago, after she released with the band their masterpiece New World (2015, see review).

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Dave Cureton and Rosanna Levevre

Surprisingly enough Rosanna managed to copy the parts done by her predecessor in a perfect way. Because the way she contributed on the sets highlights New World and Insomnia (encore), I can only compliment. So thumbs up for Lefevre. But not only thumbs up for this fine singer, who gave an outstanding show on stage with all her fine moves. Also her fellow musicians on stage gave outstanding performances. I am not going to mention everybody, but those who gave fine solos on their instruments I'll have to put in the spotlight. This are Luke Shingler on saxophones, flute and EWI. Jez King on violin. And most of all guitarist Dave Cureton who shines on most of the played songs.

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IO Earth on stage

Playing excellent solo on his instrument while making funny and crazy faces at the same time. Just like Mr. King did several times. Most of all Cureton was top notch during the highlight of the band's latest release. Find A Way has everything to make the hearts of lovers of progressive rock beat faster. Great vocal performances and excellent musical breaks. And above all a musical climax which contains an amazing guitar solo! The band made sure the festival ended with a true musical highlight!

Once again the organization can look back at a well organized festival. A festival which had five very good bands on stage, which got a perfect sound made possible by the people behind the mixing desk. The wonderful atmosphere between the many lovers of progressive rock characterizes once again this excellent festival. A festival which hopefully can come up with another great 7th edition in 2019. Coming up again with a great headliner and some true dark horses! All I can say is that I loved every minute of this year's edition together with all the other spectators who made the long trip to the Northern parts of the Netherlands!

Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)


Live video
recordings

   Henri & Roel Strik

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They Take From our Hearts (7:53)

Setlist Defiance:


Part II Deterioration
Part IV Victory
Are We Crazy
Lessons Frpm Nature
How Long Will We Take It
We Are Addicted
They Take From Our Hearts
Leave The Job
Part III Power



Pictures Defiance by Arthur Haggenburg

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Click on the picture to enlarge.

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Line up Defiance:

(left to right)
Djimmer Vos:
bass guitar
Tomas Sciphorst:
drums
Ruben Oosting:
guitar
Josť Kistenkas:
lead vocals, backing vocals
Mitchell van Kleef:
lead vocals, backing vocals
Marijn Wouda:
keyboards
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Live video
recordings

   Henri & Roel Strik

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Time Passing By (7:38)

Setlist Leap Day:


Changing Directions
God Of Wars
Sign On The 13th
In The Shadow Of Death
Time Passing By
Home At Last
Secret Gardner
March Under The Symbol
Half Man, Half Machine
Little Green Men





Pictures Leap Day by Arthur Haggenburg

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Line up Leap Day:

(left to right)
Gert van Engelenburg:
keyboards, backing vocals
Eddie Mulder:
lead guitar, backing vocals
Jos Harteveld:
lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Koen Roozen:
drums, percussion
Harry Scholing:
bass guitar
Derk Evert Waalkens:
keyboards, backing vocals
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Live video
recordings

   Henri & Roel Strik

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Closure (5:26)

Setlist Novatia:


Night Filled With Colours
Between The Lines
Flowing Thoughts
Underway
Rule
Closure
Closer To The Next
More
Try
Balance
Waves & Reprise





Pictures Novatia by Arthur Haggenburg

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Line up Novatia:

(left to right)
Jeroen Moerenhout:
percussion (special guest)
Rindert Bul:
guitar
Joost Lobbes:
drums
Joep Selen:
vocals
Reg Schuchner:
bass
Ingmar Kops:
keyboards
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Live video
recordings

   Henri & Roel Strik

X
Colloids (9:41)

Setlist Walfad:


Intro
Octopuses
In A Powder Keg
Down
To Walk On The Water
Colloids
Rust
Dum Spiro, Spero
Jottings
Sisyphus Sons
Breath For A Words
Our Gods, Your Gods




Pictures Walfad by Arthur Haggenburg

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Click on the picture to enlarge.

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Line up Walfad:

(left to right)
Dariusz Tatoj:
keyboards
Pawel Krawiec:
lead guitar
Jakub Dabrowski:
drums
Radoslaw Zelazny:
bass
Wojciech Ciuraj:
lead vocal and guitar
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Live video
recordings

   Henri & Roel Strik

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Breakdown (10:13)

Setlist IO Earth:


Solitude
Strangest Ways In Life
Madness
Hold On
Breakdown
Embrace
Race Against Time
Find A Way
New World
Encore:
Insomnia




Pictures IO Earth by Arthur Haggenburg

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Click on the picture to enlarge.

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Line up IO Earth:

(left to right)
Dave Cureton:
lead guitar, lead and backing vocals
Adam Gough:
keyboards, programming, guitar, vocals
Christian Jerromes:
drums
Rosanna Lefevre:
lead and backing vocals
Jez King:
violin, guitar
Christian Nokes:
bass
Luke Shingler:
saxophones, flute, EWI
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