10th Northern Prog Festival
Casual Silence, Leap Day, Mangrove & Mad Fellaz

November 4, 2023 - De Uthof, Siegerswoude (NL)


On October 12, 2013 the people of the Northern Prog Festival took over the torch that once was held in the hands of the people who organised the legendary Progfarm festival. During the fifteen years of Progfarm's existence it had become a cosy festival where devotees of prog rock from all over the world could meet, greet and enjoy
X
fantastic live acts. Its last edition was held in November 2011. Two years later, some of the former organizers decided to set up another festival in the northern part of our country. They called it the Northern Prog Festival held only a couple of miles away from the location where Progfarm took place: This time around the venue was De Uthof in Siegerswoude, a community centre with a rather large stage. Again a cosy festival where devotees of prog rock from all over the world could meet, greet and enjoy fantastic live acts. Now ten years later in 2023 the festival is still going strong. Even though the Covid 19 and following years were difficult to survive, I can tell you that they are for me personally still the best prog rock festival in the Netherlands.

The 2023 edition of the festival is the 10th anniversary edition of the Northern Prog Festival. So congratulations to the people who make this event such a special event every year. Since the pandemic the line up of the festival only contains 4 bands instead of 5. For me personally that's the right number of bands, because when the fifth band entered the stage a lot of people had already gone home or were too tired or sleepy. For this year the following Dutch bands were booked: Casual Silence and Mangrove. Mangrove was already booked for 2021 but had to withdraw on short notice that year due to personal circumstances. Also the following year they were not able to climb the stage of the NPF because their keyboard player was no longer in the band. Lucky enough their line up is stable again and we could finally welcome the band. Also the Italian band Mad Fellaz was on the bill to close the festival. And of course the band who organize this event each year was present. Namely Leap Day.

 

Casual Silence

X
Ernst and Rob (►more pics)
The band that opened the festival was disbanded in 2011. But the six musicians still saw each other occasionally. Towards the end of 2022 they decided to resurrect Casual Silence and bring the band to where the they belong. On a stage in front of an audience where they could perform their large back catalogue. For me personally I was very glad they came to the festival. I had not seen the musicians for twelve long years. Way too long I guess. So it was a warm welcome again. Some problems with one of their cars did not prevent them to starting on time on the NPF stage. Doing an excellent set with songs taken from their entire career. The band was really on fire and you couldn't tell they were absent for so many tears. Classic Casual Silence songs such as Vertical Horizon, Dress Code, Shamelessly Dressed and Lambrusco Evening could be enjoyed. All done in a perfect way and always introduced in a humorous way by lead singer Rob Laarhoven. A man with a gifted voice that's for sure. But also the musicians next to him showed that they could handle their instruments in a perfect way. Keyboard player Henry Meeuws, bassist Eric Smits, drummer Igor Koopmans and the two guitar players Mark van Dijk and Ernst Le Cocq d'Armandville are certainly no amateurs. Being together again and having so much fun together resulted in writing six brand new compositions. One of them was already present on the festival. Titled Back Again! Well they are back again and it is with a bang! Thx guys for playing your strong tunes again. You have been away much too long...
 

Leap Day

X
Hans (►more pics)
Last year I mentioned that Leap Day performed on the NPF 2022 edition a bit too much of their well know songs of their repertoire. But you won't hear me complain because they are also favourites of mine without any doubt. Not sure they thought about it when they made up the setlist for the NPF 2023 edition. But maybe they did. Because several new songs were played this time around which hadn't been played for many years. Songs such as Signs On The 13th and In The Shadow Of Death. They even included a brand new piece of music. The strong instrumental Viral Cage. I loved them all very much! Last year they gave a rather strong performance which mainly was focused on their latest release Treehouse (2021, see review). Only May 5th and Autumn were left out. The last mentioned title is certainly my favourite of the album. It wasn't played because they were still working on it to be able to play this song live. Now one and a half year later still most of the songs came from their latest studio album and guess what? Autumn was one of them. And done in very strong way. So I can say they made me a happy spectator. But not only that title was done very strong. In a way you could say that their complete set was very well done. So thumbs up for Leap Day for giving once again a fine performance with only 24 carat progressive rock tunes!
 

Mangrove

X
Roland and Pieter (►more pics)
May last year I had already enjoyed the new line up of Mangrove at the Parkvilla in Alphen a/d Rijn (see review). With their brand new keyboard player Ebert Zwart they already performed songs from their soon to be released new album Bridge To Fiction. Namely the title track, Stay and Reflections. Now one and a half year later they climbed the stage of the NPF doing almost the same kind of songs. However Bridge To Fiction was this time around left out and the only new pieces that could be enjoyed were Stay and Reflections. As for the final they skipped Beyond Reality and replaced it for one of my favourite classic Mangrove tracks. Which has the title Wizard Of Tunes. With songs done like Daydreamer's Nightmare and Voyager you can only be happy. Because they present the best of the musical abilities this band has to offer. Excellent progressive rock tunes on which you can dream away on the fantastic guitar solos done by lead singer Roland van der Horst. By saying this it doesn't mean the other musicians aren't good as well. No way. Take for instance Lex Bekkernens, who certainly belongs to the best drummers in the Netherlands. He sometimes sounds like a modern version of Bill Bruford (Yes & King Crimson). Or listen to the fantastic bass player Pieter Drost. Who might be considered as the Dutch version of Jonas Reingold (The Flower Kings & Karmakanic). And last but not least the man who replaced keyboard player Chris Jonker. The earlier mentioned Ebert Zwart who seemed to fit perfectly in the band. Together they made sure that most people could enjoy a great set of excellent songs. Only those visitors who were talking throughout their entire set missed a lot of good music that's for sure.
 

Mad Fellaz

X
Alessandra (►more pics)
At first I was a bit surprised that the Italian band Mad Fellaz was booked as the closing act for the NPF 2023 Edition. I had listened to this band several times and I must confess it was not the kind of music I listen to on a daily basis. Therefore it was for me personally a bit strange they took the long trip to the Netherlands to entertain all the people who came to the festival. However after seeing the seven people on stage performing their songs, I had to change my opinion drastically. Those six men and one woman from Italy certainly know how to entertain a crowd. Their fresh sounding music with influences taken from jazz, fusion, rock, soul, pop and progressive rock was technically of very high quality! No doubt about that. All musicians mastered their instruments the best possible way and the female singer certainly knows how to sing a song the right way.
X
Paolo, Ruggero and Rudy (►more pics)
So bravissimo to all of them as they say in their native language. As for the songs performed I certainly had my favourites. Most of all the two instrumentals Myth Of The Cave and Tennouheika No Sakura were of a very high calibre music wise. Sorry Alessandra Perozzo. It didn't mean that I didn't enjoyed your singing. Most of all those who enjoy the music of Snarky Puppy had a great time while the band was on stage.

I can only say that the tenth edition of Northern Prog Festival was once again another festival with only musical highlights on stage. So once again thanks to the people who booked all the bands! And again a thank you goes out for the people of De Uthof who made it possible that everybody had enough food and drinks while watching the four fantastic acts. Also thanks to the people for the sound. The Northern Prog Festival was for me personally once again the best festival in the Netherlands!

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


Live videos

Henri, Eden & Roel Strik

X
Vertical Horizon (7:26)
X
The Other Side (6:46)
X
 Shamelessly Dressed (6:08)

Setlist Casual Silence:

Intro
The Other Side
Vertical Horizon
Dress Code
Moon
Back Again
Free To Be Free
Goliath Theme
Lost In Life
Shamelessly Dressed
Lambrusco Evening
Casual Silence


Pictures Casual Silence by Arthur Haggenburg

>>> Click here to view all pics on one page.

Click on the picture to enlarge.

X X X X
X X X X
X X X X
X X X X

Line up Casual Silence:

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




Live video
recordings

Henri, Eden & Roel Strik

X
Leap Day - In The
Shadow Of Death (8:42)
X
Like Icarus (9:19)

Setlist Leap Day:

March Under The Symbol (sample)
Clementine
Like Icarus
Signs On The 13th
Viral Cage (new instrumental)
Eyes Wide Open
In The Shadow Of Death
Autumn
Treehouse

Pictures Leap Day by Arthur Haggenburg

>>> Click here to view all pics on one page.

Click on the picture to enlarge.

X X X X
X X X X
X X X X

Line up Leap Day:

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



Live video
recordings

Henri & Roel Strik

X
Wizard Of Tunes (9:01)
X
Reflection (6:23)

Setlist Mangrove:

Daydreamer's Nightmare
Refelections
Back Again
Zone I
Zone III
Stay
Voyager
Wizard Of Tunes

Pictures Mangrove by Arthur Haggenburg

>>> Click here to view all pics on one page.

Click on the picture to enlarge.

X X X X
X X X X
X X X X

Line up Mangrove:

(left to right)
Lex Bekkernens:
drums
Ebert Zwart:
keyboards and backing vocals
Roland van der Horst:
lead vocals and electric guitar
Pieter Drost:
bass guitar and bass pedals
X



Live video
recordings

Henri, Eden & Roel Strik

Waiting for approval to publish by Mad Fellaz


Setlist Mad Fellaz:

Animal Spell
Sips Of Confidence
Liquid Bliss
Tuareg' s Dance
Rise And Shine
Myth Of The Cave (instrumental)
Free As A Dog
Babylon
Candy Store
Tennouheika No Sakura (instrumental)
Jokepot



Pictures Mad Fellaz by Arthur Haggenburg

>>> Click here to view all pics on one page.

Click on the picture to enlarge.

X X X X
X X X X
X X X X
X X X X

Line up Mad Fellaz:

(left to right)
Enrico Brunelli:
keyboards
Paolo Busatto:
guitar
Alessandra Perozzo:
vocals
Andrea Cecchetto:
drums
Carlo Passuello:
bass
Rudy Zilio:
synth, flute, clarinet, sax
Ruggero Burigo:
guitar
X





All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2023