iOPages Festival (Day 2)
Knight Area, iOEarth, Iona & Credo

April 16, 2011 - De Boerderij, Zoetermeer (NL)

For many people the program of the second day of the iO Pages Festival was a good reason to make the trip to De Boerderij anew. Unfortunately the festival wasn't sold out, though I think that many people had expected it to be with a line-up consisting of Knight Area, IO Earth, Iona and Credo. In the past a single concert of Iona could produce a full house, but they already gave two other well-received gigs in The Netherlands. That might have been the reason that the venue wasn't packed. However, fact is that Iona attracted the most visitors on the second day of the festival.

Knight Area

Just like the first day (see review iO Pages Festival, Day One) a Dutch band kicked off. Knight Area are busy recording their fourth studio album, so they liked to show the audience that they currently belong to the best prog rock bands in the country.
Gijs Koopman & Mark Vermeule
The set was mainly dominated by songs taken from the latest studio album Realm Of Shadows: the strong opening tune A Million Lives, the fine instrumental piece Momentum, but the audience could also enjoy Ethereal, Dark Souls and the epic piece Occlusion. Summerland, a song with different moods, was the only taster from the upcoming new album. It contains rather mellow parts, but also music played in a higher gear. Toward the end the audience could enjoy a splendid guitar solo by Mark Vermeule that he repeated at the end of Mortal Brow. He currently plays the solo much better than he did when he had to take over from Rinie Huigen, who left the band a couple of years ago. I would like to give a special mention for the short statement bassist Gijs Koopman made before starting Mastermind. He told the audience that he lives in the same place where a week earlier a young man had killed six innocent people at a shopping mall. He dedicated the song to the victims of the shooting. Fortunately Knight Area brought the audience in a happier mood with their fine progressive rock music.


For me, the next band to perform was one of the reasons to visit the second day. In my opinion IO Earth made one of the most impressive albums of 2009 (see review). I wondered if they could perform this melting pot of musical styles on a live stage. While listening to the album you'll sometimes hear complex passages that seem hard to perform on stage. However, I had to wait until the third song before I got a serious answer, because IO Earth started with two new tracks.
Linda Odinsen
Moments had some Arabian and Spanish influences. Apart from the keyboards, founding member Adam Couch played the rhythm guitar as well, but he left the lead guitar solos in the capable hands of Dave Cureton, the other founding member. The audience could also witness the brand-new female singer Linda Odinsen from Norway. She replaced Claire Malin who got pregnant lately. Unfortunately Linda's voice got a bad mix, so you could hardly hear how good she actually was. After this strong piece, Finest Hour the second new song was next featuring Dave Cureton on lead vocals and Winston Churchill on tape. This song also proved the new album to be something to look out for. The next songs performed were all taken from the eponymous debut album. Storyteller included some fantastic guitar parts by Dave Cureton. His brother Richard Cureton, who looked a bit like Alan Morse (Spock's Beard), proved to be an excellent musician as well. His drum parts are very important on the album giving the songs the right grooves that I also heard during the live versions. After this track Dave Cureton showed that he had learned some Dutch from a Dutch friend. The sentence 'mag ik een biertje, alstublieft?' which means 'can I have a beer, please' was followed by 'alleen als jij betaalt'. This made a lot of people laugh since it means 'only if you pay'. During Smokey Wood Luke Shingles got a leading role on the saxophone. This time Linda Odinsen sounded loud and crystal clear. The band ended the regular set with Light And Shade, but it got another rendition compared to the original album track. This time they included the guitar melody of Popcorn, a famous early synthy pop instrumental originally composed by Gershon Kingsley in 1969. It became a big hit in 1972 by Hot Butter. It once more showed what an excellent guitar player Dave Cureton is. He can play delicately like Andy Latimer, but also forcefully and rapidly like Steve Vai. IO Earth was the first band that was asked for an encore by the audience. It was well-deserved, because all songs performed from their debut album sounded excellent. After the encore Harmonix the musicians got a resounding ovation showing that the Dutch audience loved their music a lot. After their impressive debut album, it's fair to say that IO Earth are also an impressive live unit.


In October 2009 I witnessed a concert by Iona in the city of Zwolle (see review). Then the band already gave a 'sneak preview' of the upcoming studio album. With songs as Let Your Glory Fall and The Ancient Wells they proved to be on the right track. At this moment the new album Another Realm is nearly completed. The band
Joanne Hogg & Dave Bainbridge (background)
members wrote so many songs from which they had to make a choice that eventually they decided to release it as a double-CD in September 2011. I guess the fans of the band will have no problem at all with such a release comprising only new material. Their short tour in The Netherlands included three concerts that served as a try-out for the new songs. Therefore six songs from Another Realm were performed at the festival. They started with The Ancient Wells a piece we could already enjoy in Zwolle. This is a typical Iona-piece with a leading role for Martin Nolan on the Uillean pipes, followed by a strong version of Flight Of The Wild Goose, one of my favourite tracks from their eponymous debut album (1990). The title track of the new album sounded a bit mediocre, but I guess you have to listen more often to it. Two classic Iona-pieces were performed before we could enjoy four new tracks in a row. Encircling and Edge Of The World sounded perfect and appealed very much to the audience. The new tracks An Atmosphere Of Miracles and Let Your Glory Fall contained excellent guitar solos by Dave Bainbridge, although the latter song got a false start. Joanne Hogg started to sing prematurely after the drum intro by Frank van Essen. After the gig I asked her why they restarted the song since hardly anybody was familiar with it. She explained that the keyboard sequencers had already started. The band had to follow them otherwise the whole song would have gone wrong. For me, the saddest song of the new material was Ruach, a Hebrew word meaning 'moving air in the form of a breeze, breath or
Left to right: Martin Nolan, Phil Barker, Joanne
Hogg & Frank van Essen
wind'. The way Van Essen played the violin was breathtaking and together with Bainbridge's keyboards this piece sounded like a classical piece. Memories of the Holocaust came to mind during the performance of this beautiful song. The last new track was introduced as a sort of Encircling, part 2. White Horse certainly moved in the same direction with a stunning guitar solo. Without doubt White Horse belongs to one of the best tracks on Another Realm. Before the final song Joanne told the audience that the Dutch and Irish people have much in common. Therefore she finds it strange that no-one starts to dance when the band performs a reel or a jig. In Ireland people can hardly stand still when they perform Castlerigg/Reels. For some people this remark was a sign to dance when the band started to play this track, but it was easy to tell that they had no experience at all. Just listening and enjoying this classic piece was just enough for them. I had expected the band to return for a final encore. I had Irish Day in mind, but it seemed that the time they had spent to get the sound right had lasted too long. After the final notes they left the stage to make room for the final band. Bad luck since the two encores Irish Day and Be-Se I Mo Shuil, part 2 that were written on the set list, would have been nice extra's. However, even without the encores the band did a strong performance. Maybe they could have played some older material, instead of playing a lot of new music, but that's the only remark I got. 


Seemingly, British band Credo have gained a strong following in The Netherlands. I expected many people to leave after the concert of Iona because they too have a strong following in our country, but I was wrong. A rather large audience stayed to witness a concert that turned out to be one of the highlights of day two. It certainly helped the band a lot playing in front of many people. Right from the start Credo demonstrated that they are top-notch in the neo-prog genre. Round And Round was a strong opener wherein all instruments sounded perfectly; the band appeared to be in great shape. Lead singer Mark Colton
Mark Colton
said that it was great to be back in The Netherlands. This comment marked the start for him to tell jokes and funny stories. After Skintrade it was time to perform a song from their upcoming album Against Reason. During the introduction of Insane a microphone had some technical problems. For Colton, who was dressed in a shirt with skulls on it again, that incident was the right moment to tell some jokes. He probably would have become a stand-up comedian were it not that fate decided otherwise. Next was Intimate Stranger, a second strongly performed new piece. Then the band returned to their latest studio album Rhetoric (2005). With The Game the audience got another fine and recognizable tune before Ghosts Of Yesterday, another new piece filled the concert hall. You could easily conclude that this song had been practiced a lot for it sounded perfect. With Too Late...To Say Goodbye the band returned to the more epic tracks. The last song of the regular set was the one which could be heard on the band's website as a teaser for the new album. Therefore it sounded already familiar to me. At the start of the band's performance Mr. Colton already told the audience that if they would make enough noise they would leave the stage and come back for an encore. However, at the end of the regular set he probably was too exhausted to leave the stage, so he only asked the people whether they wanted another song. Well, who wouldn't say yes to such a request? I even asked if they could do two more and in a way I was right for the song they had planned to perform is a combination of two separate tracks. It starts with From The Cradle...  and ends with ...To The Grave, a perfect ending for a live show. This track has an unbelievable climax wherein all band members can give everything they got...left. Indeed, when the song was over it looked as if Mark Colton had blown away his final breath; he could hardly stand on his feet. With a satisfying look in his eyes he just sat there knowing that Credo had conquered the hearts of the Dutch again with their astonishing prog rock. It not only sounds as a cliché it is, but Credo's strong live performance formed a perfect ending of the second day of the iO Pages Festival, a day with four outstanding bands on stage. A big hand for the organizers!

 Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist Knight Area:

A Million Lives
Dark Souls
Mortal Brow

Pictures Knight Area by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Knight Area:

(back, left to right)
Gerben Klazinga:
keyboards, backing vocals
Mark Smit:
lead vocals, portable keyboard
Mark Vermeule:
guitars, backing vocals

(front, left to right)
Gijs Koopman:
bass, bass pedals
Pieter van Hoorn:
drums, backing vocals

Setlist iOEarth:

Finest Hour
Smoky Wood
Take Me
Sun Is Going Down
The Creation
Come With Me
Light And Shade


Pictures iOEarth (by Arthur Haggenburg)

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up iOEarth:

(left to right)
Adam Gough:
keyboards, guitar
Dave Cureton:
lead guitar, vocals
Linda Odinsen:
lead vocals
Richard Cureton:
Luke Shingles:
saxophone, flute
Marc Williams:
bass guitar

Setlist Iona:

The Ancient Wells
Flight Of The Wild Goose
Another Realm
Edge Of The World
An Atmosphere Of Miracles
Let Your Glory Fall
White Horse

Pictures Iona (by Arthur Haggenburg)

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Iona:

(left to right)
Frank van Essen:
drums, background vocals, percussion, violin
Phil Barker:
bass guitar, electric double bass
Joanne Hogg:
lead vocals, keyboard, percussion
Dave Brainbridge:
guitars, bouzouki, keyboards
Martin Nolan:
Uilleann pipes, background vocals, low and tin whistles

Setlist Credo:

Round And Round
Intimate Strangers
The Game
The Ghosts Of Yesterday
Too Late...
...To Say Goodbye
Staring At The Sun

From The Cradle...
...To The Grave

Pictures Credo (by Arthur Haggenburg)

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Credo:

(left to right)
Tim Birrel:
lead guitar
Mike Varty:
keyboards, backing vocals
Mark Colton:
lead vocals
Martin Meads:
Jim Murdoch:
bass guitar, backing vocals

All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013