Progdreams - April 14, 2012

Quantum Fantay, Airbag, The Enid and RPWL

Cultuurpodium Boerderij, Zoetermeer (NL)

In 2011 a rather well-known progressive rock festival ended its activities. After fifteen editions of the Progfarm Festival, held in the northern part of The Netherlands, the organizers decided to call it a day. By doing so they left a gap behind, because only few festivals have progressive rock bands on the bill. Apparently this gap existed only temporary since a brand new festival appeared that might as well become an annual event. This festival is called Progdreams and has been organized at Cultuurpodium Boerderij in Zoetermeer, the Dutch number one progressive rock venue for many years now. Four bands were booked for the first edition: Quantum Fantay (Belgium), Airbag (Norway), The Enid (United Kingdom) and RPWL (Germany). These bands appeared to be the right choice to attract a large audience and that's something the festival needed to continue!

Quantum Fantay

At 4PM at the beginning of the performance of Quantum Fantay many people had already gathered in the concert hall. Most people in the audience enjoyed the pleasant
Quantum Fantay
sounding instrumental rock from these Belgian musicians. Most of them stayed during their one-hour live set. This great set contained music that sounded like a mixture of prog rock, electronic music, groove, world music and especially psychedelic rock. It also contained elements of reggae and dub as could be heard in Chase Autumn Clocks (Medley). This medley was performed to celebrate their tenth anniversary.

During their existence the band mostly used the stage to perform an improvised musical section. However, they had decided to change the menu after being together for ten years. This time songs from their four albums were on the set list and accordingly this meant that they also performed pieces from their debut album Agapanthusterra (2005) released in 1866 according to the band members... The performance of Quantum Fantay was not only a nice treat to the ears, but also to the eyes. Many spacey visual effects brought the audience in the right mood for the next bands to come.


Many devotees of prog rock voted All Rights Removed (see review) − the second album of the Norwegian band Airbag − to be the album of the year 2011. That was also the case for the readers of our website. This was
Asle Tostrup
probably the reason why the venue was almost packed during their performance! Also the reactions of the audience proved that they loved this band a lot. In 2010 the five band members already surprised the Dutch progressive rock audience with their maiden concert in our country. At the time their debut album Identity (see review) formed the main ingredient of their performance. This time their second was mainly spotlighted.

Once again we could notice that Airbag's music is an accessible blend of Pink Floyd and David Gilmour with more contemporary influences from bands as Riverside, Anathema and Porcupine Tree. The connection with Gilmour ​​is explicable since all band members once played in a Pink Floyd tribute band. This was also noticeable on their brand new song Redemption. However, echoes of Riverside and Porcupine Tree could be heard as well. The band's performance was rather good and mainly proved that guitarist Björn Riis can also play his strong solos on a live stage. Several times he used an E-bow guitar to get that very melodic sound. Yet I had some problems with the way Asle Tostrup sang his vocal lines. He sounded rather flat during the entire concert. A bit more variety in the singing would have lifted their performance to a higher level.

The Enid

The Enid are a good example of a band that you either like or hate. It seems there's nothing in between. The band were already formed in 1974; they went through a number of line-up chances during their long career. Throughout their almost forty years of existence The Enid acquired a cult status. A
Robert John Godfrey
journalist once called the band'Pink Floyd and The Berliner Philharmoniker'. Well, I guess he was quite right because that's probably the best way to describe them to an ignorant audience. On the one hand it seemed that not everybody in the audience was aware of their musical style because some of them left the concert hall after a couple of songs. On the other hand others watched their performance as if they hadn't seen anything like this before. Almost panting for breath they saw the band perform the classic pieces The Last Judgement and In The Region Of The Summer Stars.

During their performance at De Pul in Uden (2010, see review), they played these pieces halfway through their set. Back then they started with numbers from their latest studio album Journey's End (see review). So this time they played them just the other way around, but all very well performed. After these pieces band leader and keyboard player Robert John Godfrey began to talk about the origin of the band. In the early days The Enid had a lead singer who
Joe Payne
unfortunately passed away much too young. His death was the reason that they continued as an instrumental band with occasional vocalized songs. However, several decades later they had finally found Joe Payne, a lead singer who's able to change the band's music drastically.

Originally Payne was only hired for the backing vocals on some new songs, but as soon as he began to sing he appeared to be much more than just a backing singer. He sang Summer and Something Wicked This Way Comes, two old pieces of The Enid, with a voice that strongly reminded me of the late Freddie Mercury. Many people in the audience got the idea of listening to songs performed by Queen. Not only his voice, but also his moves resembled this flamboyant singer. Besides being a great singer, he also proved to be a musician on some percussion instruments. One of them was a specially made tubular bell. At first it looked like a nice gimmick, but it worked out perfectly. Towards the end of the show the band ran out of time. Yet the audience could enjoy Dark Hydraulic before they left the stage. This meant that Sheets Of Blue and Tripping The Light Fantastic couldn't be performed. They had probably taken too much time to set up their equipment. However, even without these songs we can consider their performance to be one of the highlights of this festival.


Being the headliner RPWL had the difficult task to give a better performance than The Enid. Whether they succeeded in doing so or not strongly depends on your personal approach to the music of both bands. Recently RPWL released a superb concept album. They told me (see interview) to play Beyond Man And Time (see review) in its entirety followed by a couple of encores. Well, that was just what they did. I was very curious to know how they would perform and visualize the concept of this album on a live stage since the band isn't really experienced in performing concept albums. As far as I'm concerned they succeeded with flying colours. Although they didn't reach the high level of bands as Marillion or IQ, they came pretty close.

Kalle Wallner and Werner Taus
The band used a main projection screen at the back of the stage and two small ones at the left and right hand side in front of the stage behind which guitarist Kalle Wallner and bassist Werner Taus were hiding at the beginning of the concert. Only their silhouettes were visible. During the concert the audience could enjoy several images and short movies on the screens. Of course lead singer and additional keyboard player Yogi Lang caught the eye on stage. Only during the first songs he played the keyboards and later on a portable Moog Liberation-synthesizer. Markus Jehle was responsible for most of the keyboard parts throughout the concert. Yogi Lang has no acting experience at all and therefore I would like to give him a big compliment for the way he managed to visualize all the characters of the concept which is strongly based on the book Also Sprach Zarathustra (1885) by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

The first time he entered the stage I thought he was wearing a judogi. However, it turned out to be a walking outfit. In his hands he held small lights; this way he depicted The Keeper. For The Blind he came on stage blindfolded. For his role as The Scientist he was dressed in a white coat wearing a pair of glasses and holding a flower in his hand. His weirdest costume was undoubtedly the one that represented The Ugly. He had a mutilated eye and was dressed like a hunchback wearing a kind of big potato bag. I immediately had to think of the movie The Hunchback Of Notre Dame. Musically speaking the live version of The Fisherman was the absolute highlight. In this song Kalle Wallner played an excellent guitar solo while Lang was dressed as a priest.

The Blind The Scientist The Ugly The Priest
Beyond Man And Time Unchain The Earth The Ugliest Man In The World

The Fisherman
The Keeper The Shadow The Wise The Fisherman
We Are What We Are The Shadow The Wise In The Desert The Fisherman

During the instrumental part of The Fisherman Mr. Lang entered the stage with a fishing rod. At the end of the fishing line hang a human heart which he moved several times over the audience. A nice gimmick!   At the end he blessed the audience by sprinkling 'holy' water. During the last track a woman on the side screens used sign language to explain the lyrics 'for the deaf among us'. After the ninety minutes live version of Beyond Man And Time the band returned two times to do some encores. The first encore featured the tracks Trying To Kiss The Sun, Roses and Hole In The Sky. The second one was Breathe In, Breathe Out that ended their very first performance of the Beyond Man And Time-tour. I think most people will agree that RPWL managed to perform a very entertaining live show. If you haven't decided yet whether you will attend this show or not then I would advise you to go. The band ended the successful Progdreams Festival that will hopefully get a second edition in 2013.

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist RPWL:

We Are What We Are
Beyond Man And Time
Unchain The Earth
The Ugliest Man In The World
The Road Of Creation
Somewhere In Between
The Shadow
The Wise In The Desert
The Fisherman
The Noon
Try To Kiss The Sun
Hole In The Sky
Breath In, Breath Out

Pictures RPWL by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up RPWL:

(left to right)
Kalle Wallner:
guitars, backing vocals
Markus Jehle:
Yogi Lang:
lead and backing vocals, keyboards,
Marc Turiaux:
Werner Taus:
bass, backing vocals
Bine Heller (not visible):
stage assistance

Setlist The Enid:

The Last Judgement
In The Region Of The Summer Stars
Space Surfing
Terra Firma
Terra Nova
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Dark Hydraulic

Pictures The Enid by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up The Enid:

(left to right)
Dave Storey:
drums, percussion, backing vocals
Nic Willes:
bass guitar, percussion, backing vocals
Robert John Godfrey:
Jason Ducker:
Max Read:
guitars, keyboard, lead and backing vocals
Joe Payne:
lead vocals on Summer and Something Wicked This Way Comes

Setlist Airbag:

All Rights Removed
White Walls
The Bridge
Never Coming Home
Safe Like You
Steal My Soul

Pictures Airbag by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Airbag:

(left to right)
Andres Hovdan:
bass guitar
Jørgen Hagen:
Asle Tostrup:
lead vocals & rhythm guitar
Henrik Fossum:
Bjørn Riis:
backing vocals & electric lead guitar

Setlist Quantum Fantay:

The Spirit
Forehead Echo
Chase Autumn Clocks (Medley)
Kukeriku part 1
Kukeriku part 2
Moving Circles
Niek Schlut
Trip Escape

Pictures Quantum Fantay by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Quantum Fantay:

(left to right)
bass guitar
Gino Bertonelli:
Pete Mush:
Dario Frodo:

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