Progventure Part 6: Cryptex, Enochian Theory, Threshold - Biebob, Vosselaar, Belgium, 17.03.2013
|Event:||Threshold: European Tour|
Cryptex, Enochian Theory, Threshold - Biebob, Vosselaar, Belgium, 17.03.2013 by Ivor (51)
Do you hear it? No?! Well, I do! Every once and a while the calling can be heard. And when it is heard, the time has come to spread your wings, to rise up and fly, to soar beneath the golden globe and above the silver clouds, to fly high, to travel far. This is the time to see destinations yet unseen, to visit places yet unvisited. This is the time when masters of the holy electric instruments, the commanders of the intricate melodies, and the illusionists of simple complexity are calling for passionate like-minded gatherings known as concerts. Or, in other words, once in a while, it's a prime time for another Progventure for me.
As with any trip in recent years, it has the benefit of being in the idea phase well within reasonable time limits for a decent planning. Despite that, it all comes to fruition at just about the eleventh hour, or in less than two weeks before T-0. Nevertheless, come the right time, the flights were arranged, the car rented, hotels booked, necessary concert tickets ordered, I was armed with a camera, and accompanied by two friends. The trip was on and just about to hit the first major obstacle at the destination airport. Not to bore you with details but let's just say that our baggage was not seen on the direct flight from Tallinn to Amsterdam. Bagage is gelost. Indeed. More like baggage is lost. Friggin air services.
Anyway, that stuff got happily sorted by the next evening. Meanwhile we had a gig to attend at pretty much nowhere in Belgium, nowhere to me at least. However, that nowhere, Vosselaar, would make a list of the top 15 Estonian cities by population, and the nearby city of Turnhout, where we were staying, would even make the top 4. Some nowhere, huh? Nevertheless, the venue of the first gig, Biebob, is a well established place for good rock and metal concerts that, as I was told, isn't even easy to get to perform at. The owner seems to know his way around the scene, so to say. The place itself is small, cosy, and, most importantly, has an excellent sound, albeit with no small help from the sound man, blessed he be. It's such a great feeling to attend a gig where quality of sound is a given and not a miracle.
The first entertainer of the evening was Cryptex, a German folk rock band. Being familiar with their début album, this band felt like a rather strange support for the likes of Threshold. The music is all right, a catchy sort of folky heavy sided rock that has both the edge and the fresh playfulness. Come to think of it, it's likely received less credit than it actually deserves. But as with any music, the moment of truth comes when the band hits the stage and my! what an eye-opener that was.
I mean, such a pure burst of energy coming from the band whose singer was sporting a lopsided face and a bottle of water not an hour earlier, claiming to have just woken up and trying to get to grips with the reality, is not what I was expecting. The music that doesn't feel overly driven on the album became more than alive on stage and all encompassing. The sparkling energy was flowing from the stage, and the trio were truly living it. Folk elements also added a layer of different vibes and rhythms across their performance. If there is folk rock I'd readily listen to, Cryptex has got to be it. Not sure I'm sold on the studio material but I'm definitely sold on their live gigs, that's for sure.
Next up on the list were Enochian Theory, Metal Storm staff favourite of the past year. The mood during their performance was considerably different from the opener, though. While Cryptex was about kick-starting the show, Enochian Theory were more about creating a deeper introspective atmosphere of floating melancholy. It takes a bit of an effort to be immersed in the flowing patterns, and Ben's high-pitched vocals can make it considerably harder to appreciate the whole mix. Frankly, that is not for everyone. From my perspective it all went rather well.
However, throughout their performance Enochian Theory seemed to be plagued by some sort of technical problems. Firstly, minor background interference was running through the sound. Secondly, Ben had issues with delays on his microphones. There either was no delay, or too much of it. Ben was even joking that "You guys can be the delay for me! Do you know all the lyrics?" And while you might notice what is missing from the sound if you know their music in detail, I really think it wasn't that much of a big deal. Although, I'm not sure it left the band all too happy about their performance as they were trying their best for the final show of the tour. A bit of a sour note for the end of the tour.
As far as Threshold goes, I'll have to admit up front that I have never been an avid follower. I am, however, a huge Damian Wilson fan. Which may well be the reason why I love March Of Progress so much and why I considered including the Threshold gig in my trip. And while I've never seen them play before, an excellent live performance was nothing less than expected from the band who have been delivering quality for over 20 years. As it went, Threshold felt big on stage, they might as well have been playing a huge arena. But at the same time they appeared very close to the audience.
Threshold are a great live band. First, it's the music. A kind of straightforward prog that leans quite a bit on heavy metal is bound to envelop the audience in its accessible nature and warrant an occasional sing-along. Secondly, the band plays like clockwork. Everything runs smoothly, no excessive antics and show-offs on stage, just a joy of playing for a responsive crowd. Thirdly, Damian is a very charismatic front-man who loves to interact with his audience and share a joke or two. "So, did someone just call me a sweaty bastard?! I love it! Anybody else a sweaty bastard? - Yay! - But are you sweaty bastard with a beard?"
One of the most relaxed events I've ever been present at was Damian performing with his brother. The way he talks to the audience creates a warm atmosphere as if you've in a small tight circle of friends around the fire. He just finds the words. I mean, there's the "Are you all right?" and then there's the sincere heartfelt "Are you all right?" said in a genuinely welcoming fashion. Some people just know how to reach out to their audience. It lifts the performance to another level and it brings the whole band closer to you, not just the singer. Through his interactions you could feel the band being with you all the time instead of them being on stage for you. A gathering of like-minded close friends is how it felt.
1. Mission Profile (Subsurface)
2. Don't Look Down (March Of Progress)
3. Hollow (Dead Reckoning)
4. Coda (March Of Progress)
5. Part Of The Chaos (Extinct Instinct)
6. Colophon (March Of Progress)
7. Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams (Dead Reckoning)
8. Ashes (March Of Progress)
9. Angels (Clone)
10. Staring At The Sun (March Of Progress)
11. Long Way Home (Hypothetical)
12. Rubicon (March Of Progress)
13. Light And Space (Hypothetical)
14. Slipstream (Dead Reckoning)
When Threshold finished their last song I was surprised to discover that almost two hours had passed. That's a pretty long time, and looking at the set list, it looked as if not that much was played at all. Especially if you take their long career into account. To me, this set list worked fine but I'm not a picky one in this particular case. And I must say I'm really happy to have seen Threshold play a standalone gig because it seems to me a festival appearance probably wouldn't have worked all that well. I'm having a feeling it would have had a bit of a rushed atmosphere to it. Nevertheless, Threshold are definitely a band worth seeing live.
In the end, Damian and the rest of the guys: you've definitely earned your drinks!
Drink with me, friends!
More from the same trip in Progventure Part 7 and Part 8.
Written on 01.04.2013 by
I shoot people.
Sometimes, I also write about it.
And one day I'm going to start a band. We're going to be playing pun-rock.
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