Sky Architect, M!ndgames &
Anima Mundi

June 18, 2011 - De Lakei, Helmond (NL)

Over the last twenty years Dutch venues organized several great prog rock festivals. They made it possible for new prog bands to perform on a Dutch stage. Visiting festivals like Planet Pul (Uden), Day Of Dreams (Zwolle) and ProgPassion (Zoetermeer) was a real festivity for many prog heads. Other festivals like ProgFarm (Bakkeveen), Symforce (Tilburg), and the iO Pages Festival (Zoetermeer) kept the flame burning. However, economic and financial problems and a decreasing

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number of visitors were the main reasons that only a few festivals could survive. Nowadays, only ProgFarm and the iO Pages Festival manage to continue thanks to loyal prog die-hards. However, it seems a new festival may be added to this short list since Marcel Haster, former reviewer for Background Magazine and the man behind the Live Prog website, succeeded in contracting the Cuban progressive rock band Anima Mundi for a single performance in The Netherlands. Together with two other bands - thus becoming a mini-festival - they performed at the Live Prog Festival at Lakei in Helmond. Despite the fact that the concert wasn't sold out, the organizers thought it to be very successful and worth trying again next year.

Sky Architect

Our fellow-countrymen from Sky Architect had the task to bring the audience in the right mood. I'd seen them once last year during the P=Progrock Festival (see review) at the same venue. Then they performed three tracks from their debut album Excavations Of The Mind (2010, see review) and a piece meant to be released on their next album. They especially tried to show the audience how well they master their instruments, but I noticed hardly any passion or emotions in the band. Well, I got the same feeling during this gig. Meanwhile the new album
Sky Architect, click to enlarge
A Dying Man's Hymn had been released and they probably thought that most people in the audience were already familiar with the content. Therefore they'd chosen to only perform material from the new album. Lead singer Tom Luchies told the audience that Sky Architect would perform two pieces from the new album: A Rustle In The Wind and Deaths Contraption, together lasting almost an hour. The performed music was very elaborate, but from time to time the audience could enjoy some fine musical moments not only created for people who fan cy bands as Gentle Giant, King Crimson or Frank Zappa. Especially during the first piece they came up with some good material. However, I also noticed that not all went smoothly. Right from the start Wabe Wieringa had some technical problems with the wires from his electric guitar and drummer Christiaan Bruin started his hand-clapping much too soon, but I guess only few people noticed it. Despite the fact that the well-performed music contained some fine moments it was for most people difficult to keep focused until the end of the set. Even the strange hats they wore couldn't change that. I think these competent musicians demand too much from their audience. This kind of music with a high complexity factor sounds way better in a comfortable chair of a living room. Or lying on the couch with your headphones on and the lights dimmed.


For most visitors the music of M!ndgames felt more comfortable. These Belgian musicians had already proved to be a great live band and their neo-progressive rock style certainly is of an international calibre. M!ndgames are relatively popular in our
King Bart, click to enlarge
country. Lately I saw them perform at 't Blok in Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel (see review). During this fine performance they brought The King back alive on stage. They must have noticed that the audience was impressed by this theatrical performance. Therefore they had decided to do this act again in Helmond. However, M!ndgames have much more to offer than playing a stunning version of Royalty In Jeopardy. A mixture of songs from their penultimate and latest album Actors In A Play and MMX (see review) gave a good impression of what they're capable of. On the one hand I missed the impressive church organ part from The Statue, but on the other hand they had included Both Sides Of The Show with its fantastic musical climax. M!ndgames really deserved the encore the people asked for. Destination Sky ended an excellent live performance. Without derogating from the other musician's merits, lead singer Bart Schram proved once more to be a very good singer, performer and entertainer. He was supported by outstanding musicians who know how to play progressive rock on a live stage.

Anima Mundi

Someone in the audience shouted 'Cuba libra' when Anima Mundi took their first steps on a Dutch stage. The musicians loved this slightly strange, but warm welcome. They seemed to be willing to give a special live show in return. The band played for a dedicated audience as appeared during the two-hour performance. Anima Mundi started their concert with Time To Understand, the opening tune of their third and latest album The Way (see review). This piece immediately showed how competent these musicians are in creating their elaborate music on a live stage. Lead singer Carlos Sosa reached the high notes without any problems. He didn't have to scream or make faces to sing the lyrics in a proper way. He either played Latin percussion instruments and some additional keyboards showing to be much more than just a singer in the band. Highlight of the opening tune was band leader Roberto Diaz playing a breathtaking guitar solo; goosebumps all over! The other songs from the impressive album The Way could be enjoyed as well throughout the set, although I wished they had performed some more material from their second album Jagannath Orbit (see review). For me, this album is just as strong as The Way. Therefore I think that songs as We Are The Light and the title track should have been on the set list as well. However, they performed great versions of Sanctuary and Rhythm Of The Spheres which proved that they could outstandingly perform songs from Jagannath Orbit as well. On these tracks the female keyboardist
Anima Mundi, click to enlarge
Virginia Peraza showed to be a prominent band member. The way she played the keyboards often provided for a very nice ambient and mellow sound. Playing less from Jagannath Orbit meant that the band could perform some material from their debut album Septentrión (2002) instead. This album is less known in Europe and therefore few people know that the lyrics are sung in the Spanish language. The music also included influences from folk and traditional Cuban music. Anaisy Gomez was responsible for most of these influences. She left Anima Mundi after Septentrión had been released and moved to Spain. However, with her old band doing a European tour it was rather easy for her to join them again on stage. With her help it was possible to perform some pieces from the debut album. She played the bagpipes on La Montana Del Vigir and the recorder on El Umbral. Both instrumental tracks sounded superb just as the two encores. The first encore was a new piece meant to be recorded for their fourth album. I noticed that Tales From Endless Star needs to be played more often. While introducing this piece, Mr. Diaz told the audience that it would contain a nice surprise. When I heard the first notes of that surprise I understood why it was indicated as Arthur on the set list. It should have been mentioned Firth Of Fifth, the classic prog piece written by Genesis. But putting this title on the set list would have spoiled this surprise for people in front of the stage who could have a look at the set list. Roberto Diaz played a fine version of this classic guitar solo of Steve Hackett, although I have to admit that I witnessed other bands doing it slightly better. The Polish band Quidam for instance, did an amazing job adding this guitar solo in their classic piece Sanktuarium. But anyway, I have no negative remarks at all about the first performance of Anima Mundi in The Netherlands. Some people already called it the best live performance of 2011. Well, maybe they're right because they came and conquered the hearts of the people who stayed 'til two o'clock in the morning. This last remark is in fact the only criticism I have about this wonderful live event. The organization could have started earlier instead of kicking off at half past eight with the first act while two more had to play. I guess it must be possible to start at least two hours earlier on a Saturday evening and keeping a tight schedule. Hopefully they will consider these remarks for a possible second edition of this festival next year. Hopefully Live Prog will become a new recurring yearly festival.

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist Sky Archtect:

A Rustle In The Wind
- Treebird
- Melody Of The Air
- The Campfire Ghost Song
Deaths Contraption
- Woodcutters Vile
- Melody Of The Air
- The Breach

Pictures Sky Architect by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Sky Architect:

(left to right)
Rik van Honk:
keyboards, backing vocals
Wabe Wieringa:
Tom Luchies:
lead vocals, lead guitar
Christiaan Bruin:
drums, backing vocals
Guus van Mierlo:
bass guitar

Setlist M!ndgames:

The Source
Glory Of Night
Outside The Gloom
Royalty In Jeopardy
Both Sides Of The Show

Destination Sky

Pictures M!ndgames by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up M!ndgames:

(left to right)
Rudy Van Der Veken:
Benny Petak:
drums, percussion
Tom Truyers:
Bart Schram:
lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Maximilian von Wüllerstorff:
bass guitar

Setlist Anima Mundi:

Time To Understand
Rhythm Of The Spheres
La Montana Del Vigir
Spring Knocks On The Door Of Men
Flying To The Sun
El Umbral
Cosmic Man

Tales From Endless Star

Pictures Anima Mundi by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Anima Mundi:

(left to right)
Roberto Díaz:
guitars, backing vocals
Manuel Govin:
Virginia Peraza:
keyboards, backing vocals
Carlos Sosa:
percussion, keyboard, lead & backing vocals
Anaisy Gomez Fernandez:
pipes, recorder
Yaroski Corredera:
bass guitar

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