iOPages Festival
PBII, Magenta & RPWL

April 10, 2009 - De Boerderij, Zoetermeer (NL)

Spring was in the air on a warm and sunny day in April 2009, but also music. In De Boerderij at Zoetermeer, PBII, Magenta and RPWL gave a triple concert on the first evening of the third iO Pages Prog Festival.


In 2008, the Dutch formation Plackband decided to continue without a lead vocalist. Therefore, they changed their name into PBII. I already saw this Dutch band perform at the 2008 edition of Rock Ittervoort. At the time, they played songs from the Plackband back catalogue, songs strongly related to the music Genesis played in the seventies and eighties.
They also performed songs with elements of jazz rock, neo prog and fusion. This concert was also the last performance of bass player Albert de Keijzer . Harry den Hartog replaced him and appeared for the first time at the Symforce Festival 2008. His bass playing impressed me especially during the intro of the instrumental piece Ladrillo. He played the bass as if it was a Spanish flamenco guitar. Well done! The song reminded me of bands like Spaced Out en Karcius. The band already released Loneliness, You Know and Oceans on a demo CD, so I was familiar with those songs, but Living By The Dice is a track I did not know. Once more, this song proved that the musicians are masters on their instruments. PBII plays the instrumental parts very tasteful. Unfortunately, the lead vocals by keyboard player Michel van Wassem were a bit flat . PBII is aware of the fact that the vocals are the weakest part of their music. For that reason, it was a wise decision to bring the lovely Heidi Jo Hines on stage. She is the daughter of Danny Laine ( ex-Moody Blues, ex-Wings) and she has a very strong voice that resembles the voice and music of Joss Stone. Heidi wrote It’s Your Life and Weak Turns To Strong herself while Michel and guitarist Ronald Brautigam arranged them. As a result, the mainstream music sounded a bit more melodic. Last song of the set was Cold To Warm, written by the band and featuring Heidi again on vocals, this time supported by Michel van Wassem. The song will probably appear on their forthcoming album.


The performance of Welsh band Magenta was the highlight of the evening. Magenta’s live show was excellent, incredible. I saw the band a couple of times before, but this time they showed that they belong to one of the best live bands in the genre. Everything they did was perfect: the light- and slide-show, the sound and of course, the songs performed. I do not consider their albums Home and Metamorphosis as my favourites, but played live the material from those releases sounded much stronger. Demons from Home and the title track from Metamorphosis are more energetic when performed by an entire band. You can see that the musicians enjoy playing together and do their utmost to perform all those great Magenta tracks. Even the single orientated songs such as Speechless and I’m Alive sounded superb. I have to give keyboard player Rob Reed a big compliment. He managed to find good replacements for guitarist Martin Rosser and drummer Allan Mason-Jones in a very short period. Colin Edwards can be considered as a very good guitar player. His solos reach the same high level as those performed by Chris Fry . Maybe he is not such a showman as Chris, but he certainly knows how to play a strong melody. Just like Colin drummer Kieran Bailey stands in the shadow of the other musicians most of the time, but that does not mean that he deserves less attention. However, Christina Booth is the eye-catcher of the band. Nobody has to tell her how to perform on stage. Barefooted she knows how to entertain an audience. She has a crystal clear voice and she sings with a lot of energy and passion. The expression on her face makes the songs even sound more beautiful. Without any doubt, the bands second album Seven is a personal favourite for most band members. They performed three pieces from that album: Gluttony, Anger and Pride. Unfortunately, we could only enjoy one track from Revolutions . They ended this wonderful concert with a small part of White Witch . I expected an encore, because they really deserved one, but they just left the stage. Nobody shouted for an encore. Apparently, the audience knew that there was no room for encores.


Even RPWL skipped a couple of songs from their set list as I found out later. They left the Syd Barrett cover Opel out of the set. The band started with Sleep followed by Breath In, Breath Out. Nice versions, no more no less. The first highlight was 3 Lights accompanied by images on the screen. The synthesizer solo by Markus Jehle always brings me in higher spheres. A beautiful song! Most songs came from their latest release The RPWL Experience, but they already focused on that album during the promotional tour in Zoetermeer. Therefore, I had rather heard older material. In This Is Not A Prog Song , the band ridiculed the prog rock genre by performing parts of well-known commercial songs with the word ‘rock’ in the title and changed it into ‘prog’. For example, I Will Rock You Like A Hurricane became I will Prog You Like A Hurricane . The screen at the back of the stage showed several phrases from the press how RPWL was selling out in a commercial way (see pictures). Unfortunately, RPWL did not bring along Ray Wilson to sing Roses, but the way Yogi Lang sang this song was very acceptable for the audience. It is a pity that Mr. Lang has not much of a stage personality. He should try harder to improve his stage act. The opening song Hole In The Sky of their debut album God Has Failed, was always the first encore during live concerts, but not this time. In a live setting, this piece always brings about a sphere of magic. Instead, they played the Pink Floyd cover Biding My Time in the encore section. The band also left out the more progressive rock related material with long guitar and key solos. Well, I saw previous gigs of RPWL that were much better. Making too much jokes on stage could be the reason for their lesser performance. My conclusion is simple: Magenta ruled in Zoetermeer!

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist PBII:

You Know
Living By The Dice
It’s Your Life
Weak Turns To Strong
Cold To Warm

Line up PBII:

(left to right)

Tom van de Meulen:
Harry den Hartog:
bass guitars
Heidi Jo Hines:
lead and backing vocals
Ronald Brautigam:
guitars and backing vocals
Michel van Wassem:
keyboards, lead and backing vocals

Pictures PBII by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Setlist Magenta:

I'm Alive
The White Witch

Line up Magenta:

(left to right)

Rob Reed:
keyboards and backing vocals
Chris Fry:
backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars
Christina Booth:
lead and backing vocals
Colin Edwards:
electric guitar
Kieran Bailey:
Dan Fry:
bass guitar

Pictures Magenta by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Setlist RPWL:

Breath In, Breath Out
Three Lights
Start The Fire
This Is Not A Prog Song
Waiting For A Smile
Trying To Kiss The Sun
Wasted Land
Encore:Biding My Time
Encore:I Don’t Know

Line up RPWL:

(left to right)

Kalle Wallner: electric
guitars and backing vocals
Markus Jehle:
Yogi Lang:
lead vocals and keyboards
Mark Turiaux:
Chris Postl:
bass guitars and backing vocals

Pictures RPWL by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

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