Casual Silence
Farewell Concert

July 3, 2011 - De Lakei, Helmond (NL)

Back in 1999 someone gave me a copy of Shamelessly Dressed, the first mini-CD but the second album of the Dutch progressive rock band Casual Silence, formed in 1993. They had already released their debut Bad Side Memories on vinyl in 1997. I liked the music on Shamelessly Dressed so much that I decided to follow the band as much as I could. After the marvellous recordings Once In A Blue Moon (2003) and Lost In Life (2007, see review), Vertical Horizon (see review) is the band's latest - and probably their final - album that came out earlier this year. Unfortunately, the band decided to call it a day lately. Keyboard player Henry Meeuws

Rob Laarhoven
is looking for new musical challenges, so he decided to quit. The impact of his statement was so great that founding members guitarist-singer Ernst Le Cocq d'Armandville and lead singer Rob Laarhoven decided to quit as well. In practice this means that after eighteen years of friendship Casual Silence disbanded. However, their final effort once again shows that the band belong(ed) to the top of the Dutch prog rock scene.

In order to give their fans the opportunity to witness the band for the last time, a farewell concert was arranged at the venue that had been very important throughout their career. Lakei - previously known as Plato - is located in the band's home town of Helmond and on this stage they celebrated the release of a number of albums. When I noticed the people outside the venue waiting until someone would open the door, I had mixed feelings. I wasn't sure whether I was going to a kind of funeral of a good friend or just saying goodbye to someone who just had retired. Should I be sad or happy? Well, I guess I got the answer after the band performed the final song of this farewell gig.

I wasn't sure what to expect music wise. It was obvious that Casual Silence would perform songs spanning their entire career. However, how would the musicians deal with the idea that they had reached the end of an era? After a short instrumental intro the band members entered the stage and kicked off with two brand-new tracks from their latest album Vertical Horizon. The band played very solid and the sound was rather good. One could hear that they had practiced the new material a lot, because The Other Side and The Chance came pretty close to the original album versions. After these songs the audience made a trip in a time
The guitarists
machine. Captain Rob guided them through the history of the band with selections from all recorded albums while telling some anecdotes in between. The time machine started in 2003 with a couple of tracks from Once In A Blue Moon including the band's classic piece Lambrusco Evening. Next they got further back in time and performed the first two songs the band ever wrote for their debut album Bad Sides Memories. These songs, Free To Be Free and Valentine's Day, must have taken them down memory lane. The next was Lost In Life, an album recorded as a tribute to their former keyboard player David Natall, who passed away too soon. Well, I think he could have been proud of the songs performed from that album. They also played Haunted By The Past, one of the band's best songs recorded for their debut album. Henry Meeuws added some extra keyboard parts to this piece. The song Shamelessly Dressed, that once introduced me to this wonderful band, got an excellent live version. After this song the time machine returned to the present continuing with the title track of their last studio album followed by My Fifth Season. Both tracks were very well performed! Casual Silence ended the regular set with Empty Hands, another piece from the mini-album Shamelessly Dressed.

Obviously the band would give an encore. Without leaving the stage they asked the audience if they had any requests for an encore. I'm not sure if I heard someone call Casual Silence, the song named after the band, but they played it anyway. This fine live version proved again that it's a great pity Casual Silence decided to quit. These fantastic musicians performed their music with passion and emotion and I could also notice their friendship on stage. A couple of days after this fine performance they gave their definite last gig being a support-act for Threshold. Only time will tell if they ever reunite, but one thing's for sure: one or two other bands will rise out of the ashes of Casual Silence. Maybe this concert was a funeral after all...

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)


The Other Side
The Chance
Facing Reality
Foolish Plane
Lambrusco Evening
Free To Be Free
Valentine's Day
Goliath Theme
Lost In Life
Dress Code
Haunted By The Past
Shamelessly Dressed
Vertical Horizon
My Fifth Season
Empty Hands

Casual Silence

Pictures by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

with special thanks to the fog machine :-(

Line up ArtistX:

(left to right)
Mark van Dijk:
Henry Meeuws:
Igor Koopmans:
Ernst Le Cocq d’Armandville:
guitars, lead and backing vocals
Eric Smits:
bass, lead and backing vocals
Rob Laarhoven:
lead and backing vocals

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