Northern Prog Festival 2022

Chain Reaktor, Leap Day,
Less Is Lessi & Also Eden

November 5, 2022 - De Uthof, Siegerswoude (NL)


These are difficult times for people trying to organize a concert or festival. Prices for fuel, food and gas are rising almost every day. So people have to cut spending and have to make choices about how they're going to spend their money. This often comes at the expense of the fun things in life such as attending concerts and festivals. But luckily there are still people who, despite the difficult times, support their favourite music and bands by going to their concerts. Fortunately, this allowed people behind the Northern Prog Festival to come up again with a worthwhile festival to enjoy. Again, just as last year (see review), with four bands on the bill. Namely Chain Reaktor, Leap Day, Less Is Lessie and Also Eden.  

Chain Reaktor

Last year the album Homesick (see review), made by the Dutch neo-prog band Chain Reaktor, got rather good reviews. On their debut album the brothers Bart Laan (vocals, guitars and flute) and Arjan Laan (drums and percussion) from the band Skylake were joined by their father Erik Laan (keyboards) from
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Arianne van Nieuwenhuijsen and Bart Laan
(►more pics)
Silhouette. Because there is no bass player in the family they asked Mark op Ten Berg to play the bass. The album is a rather strong musical effort, but how do they sound on a stage in front of a real audience? They probably also wanted to bring the music to their fans and lovers of progressive rock in general. Therefore they decided to rehearse their music and do a mini tour, which they named 'Enjoy your Live Tour', this fall. One of the dates on that tour was to open the Northern Prog Festival. To come up with a strong live sound they asked Arianne van Nieuwenhuijsen to do some extra guitar parts and add some vocals to the songs taken from their debut. To be honest I was absolutely flabbergasted when I heard the band perform all the songs from Homesick. Wow, they just sounded fantastic. Most of all the guitar solos by Bart were jaw-dropping. Also the close harmony vocals were breathtaking. And what about Erik's excellent keyboard parts? I also have to mention the way Arjan was moving behind his drum kit. His technical and groovy playing amazed me after seeing him earlier playing with Skylake at the same festival in 2019 (see review). At that time he was sick and could not show his true musicianship as it turned out.
There was one cover on the playlist, Amazing Flight of Ayreon, which was played in a perfect way. So after seeing this Dutch band for the first time it is easy to say that I want to see them again. And for those who have missed them, try to see them as soon as possible because they are pretty amazing!
 

Leap Day

Leap Day are, as many of you already know, the organisers of the festival. Therefore it is hard for them to climb the stage at the same time and to present a good show. However because of two earlier concerts not so long ago, one of them was a the Summer's End Festival in Wales, they managed to pulled it off again. They gave a rather
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Hans Kuypers (►more pics)
strong performance which mainly was focused on their latest release Treehouse (2021, see review). Only May 5th and Autumn were left out. Too bad that the last mentioned title wasn't played because it's probably my favourite of the album. Both guitarist Eddie Mulder (again great playing) and lead singer Hans Kuypers (which sounded live more raw as on the album) told me they were still working on it to be able to play this song live. However, even without this excellent piece of music there was much to enjoy. Only too bad that most of the old classic songs were the same as played last year on the festival (see review). Therefore the crowd could again enjoy When Leaves Fall, Phaeton and Changing Directions. But you won't hear me complain because they are also favourites of mine without any doubt. I also have to mention that I did find it a little bit strange that the band opened their set with a rather mellow piece. Clementine is a kind of ballad and therefore I would prefer that they kicked ass right from the start with the up tempo piece Like Icarus. But that's only my humble opinion. But as said before, it was a rather strong performance and therefore I couldn't have asked for more, I guess!
 

Less Is Lessie

Last year Poland's Less Is Lessie released their album The Escape Plan (see review), a concept album, which leads the listener through the vibrant streets of Wroclaw's Nadodrze district. To be honest I didn't expect to hear them playing the entire album in front of an audience and backed up with videos of the city. But thanks
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Weronika Kowal (►more pics)
to Witold Andree and their record company Oskar they had the chance to give the Dutch audience a tour around the city where they come from. Due to technical problems and an extra long soundcheck the band started one half hour later than planned. This didn't make their set any shorter and they presented us the entire The Escape Plan album. The setting on stage was rather dark and the video projection in the back could hardly be seen. Because there was too much equipment in front of it and moreover the five musicians were also blocking the view to be able to see it. However, even without seeing the screen as it should have been, there was enough to enjoy to be too critical about it. It has to be said that the whole album was done in a rather good way. Even our English speaking tour guide was present to tell you more about this special place. Although it was only his voice which could be heard. The musicians on stage were very much focused to be sure everything went right music wise. Everybody did what they had to do. Playing top notch! A special mention goes out to the only female in the band. Weronika Kowal who delivered some outstanding playing on her violin. Occasionally she assisted on her small keyboard and provided some vocals as well. So bravo to Weronika! I was very curious if the audience present would have liked what the band presented on stage. And according to the response after the last song, it became very clear that everybody who attended the festival enjoyed this special show very much. A big well deserved applause was given to the band. And nobody asked themselves 'Was this trip really necessary'?.
 

Also Eden

Back in 2009 there was a band from Wales which really gave me goosebumps when they set food on the stage to play their excellent compositions from the albums About Time (2006, see review) and It's Kind Of You To Ask (2008, see review). The name of the band was Also Eden and the venue at the time was the Starsound Studio in Utrecht
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Huw Lloyd-Jones (►more pics)
(see review). I will never forget the beautiful moments I had with those fantastic musicians before and after the concert. Now, 13 years later, I could meet most of them again thanks to the organizers of the Northern Prog Festival. They invited the band back on Dutch soil again in a line up which was almost the same as in 2009. With lead singer Huw Lloyd-Jones, their drummer Dave Roelofs, the keyboard player Ian 'Killer' Hodson and their guitarist Simon Rogers. All excellent musicians. On bass I could welcome Graham Lane who I had met in 2015 when Also Eden played their last concert on Dutch soil with a different line up. The welcome was again as warm as many years ago and the band played as if they never went away for such a long time. The band's drummer Dave told me that he had not played any concerts or rehearsals for a very long time. It actually was six months since he had played with the other musicians. He lives in the Netherlands and due to the brexit it became very difficult to cross the channel to join the other band members. Therefore this performance was also one of his last with them. Maybe that might have been the reason that he had put all of his energy into his playing.
As I said before, the band played as if they never went away, giving me goosebumps once again. Songs from the bands first two albums, mentioned earlier, were done in an excellent way. I witnessed one highlight after another. Therefore I can't mention any highlights at all. The crowd probably felt the same way and asked them back on stage to for two more encores. Namely A Widow's Eyes and Star. A special mention goes out for the great Peter Gabriel cover Huw and Simon did together. For those who attended the legendary Progfarm Festival in 2006 will remember that they did Here Comes The Flood in a slimmed-down shape version of the band. When a couple of members could not join them on stage they named themselves Almost Eden. Also the following year they played the same song again but in the complete line up as Also Eden. Overall it can be said that this comeback concert will be another performance to be remembered for a very very long time. Well done guys and for being there!

The ninth edition of Northern Prog Festival was once again another festival with only musical highlights on stage. So thanks for the people who booked all bands! Also a special mention goes out to people who were responsible for the excellent sound. Finally a thank you goes out once again for the people of De Uthof who made it possible that everybody had enough food and drinks. Thanks also that they made sure that our batteries were always fully charged to record every band on video. Hopefully the same can be said about next year event. Because it's the tenth anniversary of the festival. So join us all for the best festival in the Netherlands!

Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)


Live video
recordings

Henri, Eden & Roel Strik

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The Day That Never Came (10:36)


Setlist Chain Reaktor:

The Day That Never Came
Enjoy Your Life
The Lying King
A Thousand Diamonds
Homesick
Amazing Flight (Ayreon cover)
Stop Yelling
Lonely City



Pictures Chain Reaktor by Arthur Haggenburg

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Line up Chain Reaktor:

(left to right)
Arianne van Nieuwenhuijsen:
guitar, vocals
Bart Laan:
guitars, flute, vocals
Erik Laan:
keyboards, vocals
Arjan Laan:
drums
Mark Op Ten Berg:
bass
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Live video
recordings

Henri, Eden & Roel Strik

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Treehouse Live (8:41)


Setlist Leap Day:

Clementine
Gods Of War
Like Icarus
Treehouse
Raining
Haemus
What Would You Do
Changing Directions
When Leaves Fall





Pictures Leap Day by Arthur Haggenburg

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Line up Leap Day:

(left to right)
Gert van Engelenburg:
keyboards, backing vocals
Eddie Mulder:
guitar, backing vocals
Harry Scholing:
bass guitar
Hans Kuypers:
lead vocals
Koen Roozen: (back)
drums, percussion
Derk Evert Waalkens: (front)
keyboards, backing vocals
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Live video
recordings

Henri, Eden & Roel Strik

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Live at NPF2022 (20:28)

Setlist Less Is Lessie:

Wyszynskiego
The Great Escape
Nowowiejska
The Fall
Slowianska
Blackout
Jagiellonczyka
20/20
Kurkowa
One Minute At A Time
Chrobrego
Blue Steel
Park Staszica
Fast And Furious
Reymonta
The Great Escape Reprise
Caribou Gone
Blue Steel (Less Is More)





Pictures Less Is Lessie by Arthur Haggenburg

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Line up Less Is Lessie:

(left to right)
Filip Kozak:
main keyboards and main lead vocals
Konrad Mikolajczyk:
drums
Weronika Kowal:
violin, keyboard and vocals
Maciej Janiszewski:
bass
Emil Madalinski:
guitar
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Live video
recordings

Henri, Eden & Roel Strik

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A Widow's Eyes (12:17)



Setlist Also Eden:

Between The lines
Outside In
For Bumble
Here Comes The Flood (Peter Gabriel)
Skimming Stones
Together Alone
Photographs
Encores:
A widow’s Eyes
Star





Pictures Also Eden by Arthur Haggenburg

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Line up Also Eden:

(left to right)
Simon Rogers:
lead guitars, backing vocals
Graham Lane:
bass guitar, backing vocals
Huw Lloyd-Jones:
lead vocals
Dave Roelofs:
drums
Ian Hodson:
Keyboards, backing vocals
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