Kristoffer Gildenl÷w &
A Liquid Landscape

May 24, 2013, ParkTheater, Alphen a/d Rijn (NL)

After the release of the vinyl album Rust (2012) from Pain Of Salvation's former bassist Kristoffer Gildenl÷w, the next step was to release a CD of that album. As a bonus some extra songs were added and packed up in a beautiful digipack designed by Blacklake. I was already aware of the high quality of the songs, so the vinyl album reached the ninth position in my personal top ten of 2012. When I heard that Rust was presented as a CD version, I was anxious to go to Alphen a/d Rijn to see Gildenl÷w and his band perform live.

A Liquid Landscape

Fons Herder
The support act of this evening presented by Serious Music was A Liquid Landscape, a young band from the northern parts of the Netherlands. I liked their debut album Nightingale Express (2012, see review) very much and after seeing them live on stage with Riverside in September 2011 (see review) I wished the band could grow from a reasonable unknown newcomer to a band that could light up some prominent festivals in Europe. But wishes don't always come true although the band played one of their longest performances as a support act. In the Park Theater you could watch closely how the band members work on stage.
Niels van Dam
Vocalist-guitarist Fons Herder is in the centre of the band and as a vocalist he again convinced me as a promise for the future: from powerful singing to a melodramatic solo part, he does it all. However, it slightly bothered me that the musicians were constantly tuning their guitars, before, after and even during the songs, which kind of took away the tension they had built during the songs. Nevertheless, it was a pleasure to watch the band play rock music drenched in effects and soundscapes. In one of the compositions guitarist Niels van Dam was able to play fast riffs and melodies as well as soundscapes in the vein of Robert Fripp. Having no new album released yet, A Liquid Landscape played several songs from their debut and in between some new songs were presented. I think these new and less electronic songs will appear on the new album as well as the impressive acoustic solo by Fons Herder.

Kristoffer Gildenl÷w

Kristoffer Gildenl÷w
During the break I was told that Gildenl÷w was quite nervous to perform this evening, but from the first moment he hit the stage he had total control. Just as on the album the opening song was Call Out, sung through a telephone; his very emotional voice visibly moved the audience. He continued behind a piano with Story Ends, an intense composition built around Kristoffer's voice and piano, and again his singing grabbed me. The Swedish musician was accompanied by a very capable band. They only rehearsed once...yes, only once for this CD presentation! It's needless to say what a tremendous effort this must have been. I heard that drummer Dirk Bruinenberg recently lent his majestic drum play for two metal bands, so it must have been hard for him to change to Gildenl÷w's music, which is completely different. Believe is another strong composition accompanied by nice and atmospheric guitar sounds. When vocalist Ann May walked on stage during Desire for singing the harmony vocals it was hard to believe that she didn't even participate on that one and only rehearsal! Hats off to Ann May! Apart from the songs from Rust, the band played Green Knees, a song that was basically used as a foundation for Rust; it was recorded in 2007 with Gildenl÷w's band Dial. This piece recalled some good memories according to the audience's reactions.

Ann May
Another special song was Take Me Home, originally added as a download for people who bought the vinyl version of Rust. During OverWinter bass player Mark Brekelmans and violinist Laura Schrijver got in the spotlight with beautiful solo parts. During the entire show the high quality of the backing vocals was just outstanding especially when guitarist Paul Coenradie, keyboardist Robby Valentine and bassist Brekelmans joined Gildenl÷w and Ann May on vocals. Only towards the end of the performance I noticed how the show had been built up. Gradually the atmosphere got looser and the rocker in Kristoffer Gildenl÷w emerged. Heroes and Save My Soul were more powerful than on the album. These were great songs to watch, especially the way the band members interacted. The song that the audience hoped for was also the final song of the show. Rust is a special composition, an absolute highlight in the progressive rock genre and beyond. As far as I'm concerned the guitar duel in this song should last forever; it brought out the best in both guitarists. The audience wanted an encore, but the band didn't rehearse any other pieces, so Living Soil, one of the already performed songs, was played 'just because there were some mistakes in there', as Gildenl÷w stated.

After the show the audience got the chance to talk to the band members of both bands in the pleasant atmosphere of the theatre's lobby. I had some drinks, talked to some musicians whom I'd never met before and caught up with old friends. It was a nice end to a successful evening with Kristoffer Gildenl÷w being a super entertainer and an interesting man to talk to. Let's hope for a full tour next time!

Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist A Liquid Landscape:

Nightingale Express
June Fifth
The Unreachable
Sticks And Stones
Leave All This Behind
My Hands
Open Wounds
Thieves Of Time
Wanderer's Logs
Secret Isle

Pictures A Liquid Landscape by Henri Strik

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up A Liquid Landscape:

Fons Herder:
vocals, guitar
Niels van Dam:
Robert van Dam:
bass, keyboard
Coen Speelman:
Lex Vasseur:

Setlist Kristoffer Gildenl÷w:

Call Out
Story Ends
Living Soil
Desire (Stay At Home)
Green Knees
Take Me Home
Save My Soul
Living Soil

Pictures Kristoffer Gildenl÷w by Henri Strik

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Kristoffer Gildenl÷w:

(left to right)
Mark Brekelmans:
bass, vocals
Laura Schrijver:
Kristoffer Gildenl÷w:
lead vocals, guitars, piano
Dirk Bruinenberg:
Robby Valentine:
keyboards, vocals
Ann May:
Paul Coenradie:
guitar, vocals

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