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Sunday, December 6, 2009

The 5th Season - a diary, Day 2

Rememberance is a "soft skill", especially on such a weekend. I know that some things are in different order as they happened, but I can't bring the proper order up anymore. Anyhow, it was a great day!
Dutch readers who are proud about Dutch food, better do not read the part where I'm eating a burger. That may be misunderstood as an offense, although it is not meant to be one. Some people might have a laugh reading it.

Hello world...
hello room...
...what room are you?
... hello progpower!
It's cold in here... Ah, yes, the broken window...
I better get up slowly... well that works good, no headache it seems. Good. Ah, Dario found his bed last night. 10:30 am already, I bet I'm gonna miss the progpower breakfast. Bummer.
Hmm, shower. ... we don't have a washroom in here, there is a shower room at the other end of the corridor. Going down a hotels corridor in shirt and pants is a new experience. I turn on the shower and wait for hot water. And wait. And wait. Oh no! Cold shower! Yikes! In '07 we've had boiling water, that was ok, but cold??? That won't get my body started. Ok, after shower's done, I go back to our room with the same mess of a brain as before, and do the rest of my personal hygene there, as quietly as possible. I'm glad I took my little electric espresso maker with me. Though the Dutch coffe is way better than the German one, espresso is even better anyway.

I can't manage to control my body properly, I'm unconcentrated on everything, can't focus on things... Where and when did I find Gary and Simon? But luckily no headache. :D
We're walking around in the little "park" and check it out a bit, while Gary starts picking apples from a tree and eating them. We decide getting some food and a coke at the supermarket in Barloo for breakfast. Gary takes an apple with him, seems he's found a new love. In the supermarket I'm feeling misplaced. Us among so  many normal people that do normal things in life. Back at DeBerckt we find a nice place and start 'breakfast'. Breakfast and coke on the table, Gary adds his apple. Suddenly a bottle of Jack Daniels is there. This is the reason for getting the coke. Why not? That may help on my hangover, so I blend my coke with it. Staff seems to have an office behind that door there. A man comes along, looks sceptically at us and enters the door. He didn't say anything... thanks god. I get out in the courtyard again for a cigarette and walk around a bit, walking on clouds... A few proggers are hanging out, in a small circle. I notice that there are no "normal" people there. There used to be families making vacations in the last years, but not now. Seems like the castle is all ours. Hehe! A van is standing there, and on the drum cases inside there are A.C.T. labels. A band's bus. ...Wait... A.C.T.? Just a moment... they're not on the schedule. Strange. Anyway, I'm too lazy to think about it. Or better, I can't...
We decide that it's already time to wake up Dario and prepare for "the walk". Waking up Dario was easier than expected. He gets an espresso and Gary's beloved apple.
The walk to Baarlo is refreshing, and soon I'm touching ground again. We go the new way the other regulars showed us yesterday, through the park, where Gary starts picking up nuts from the ground and eating them. No wonder that he grew so big.

Arriving at Sjiwa, there are way more people there already than I expected. I check the schedule, check the time and - damn! We've missed

Akphaezya! What a pity, I really was ooking forward to hearing them. I want to drive a nail through my brain. "You've missed Akphaezya!" is everybody telling us. "Awesome band, they were great!" Is what we continuously hear. Bummer. Well time to relax outside a bit and have another coffee. The catering booth in another one than last years'. Great, hopefully their food will have some flavor at all. At least their wagon looks way more professional. They seem to be from a local junk food company. That gives hope.
gluffyguts coems along, parying already, and tells us that Jamie still hasn't shown up. She wasn't in the room last night. Weird...

So the band we proguli start the day with is Vanity, a Polish one. I'm stunned because these guys are really young.  Are they really old enough
 to prog? hmmm... At least they are not another Riverside clone. Indeed, listening to them, it seems another jewel is growing there. They manage to combine old school prog with todays metal uniquely. And with some parts in their music they go back into the 60's some times. ...And a few beats later they growl. Although the vocalist should take lessons. The clean vocals don't turn out good, that gives me shivers. Badly sung melodies and cookies, that is nothing I'd support, but due to their instruments-work, I stay and listen to their set.

After Vanity I find a place at a table oustide. A regular comes along and offers me a beer. I say no. Oops, he reacts like that was an offense! I tell him that I want to start the day slowly, and that he understands. Exactly five minutes later comes Gary and gives me a beer, somehow making certain that I gotta drink it. The regular almost had a laugh about how firm I am. So much about having friends, hehe.
Gary, Simon and me decide to go to the bar that is pretty close to the venue and have some ear rest. Chaos Divine is a band I don't care much about anyway. Entering the bar, some black t-shirts are already there, and one raises his glass and says "Ray, you gotta taste this beer it's sooo tasty!" Johan and the rest of Andromeda. It takes approximytely one minute until I have a set at their table. Gary and Simon take place at the bar. I tell them to join us, and they sit down at the other end of the table. Some five minutes later they're back at the bar. One cannot help the English ones...
A voice mail comes in... Munich friends telling me that they're in a beer garden and ask if I join. No, I won't... it's a bit too far to go....
"We're not playing any venue under 115 dB, because we're a lout shouting metal band!" is on Evergrey's (if I remeber right) tech rider, tells me David with shaking head. I have to laugh.

Back at the venue, people begin calling me brave. I'm curious and wand to try out the new caterers. I look at the menue, but have no idea what food they offer. Sometimes Dutch is absolutely unintelligible. Knowing that we are from 15 nations, I would translate the menue into english at least... Well, so I order a burger. And have a hard time not shouting at the guy to not do that! Yikes! He takes the meat and puts it in a fryer! As if it were a french fry! Oh my god that will be an oily burger! After the meat is fried the burger becomes complete, yes with onions please, and... it has a tiny little bit of flavor. They did put a little bit of flavor into the meat. That's better that the other caterer. But it's only the meat that has some flavor. Not the bread, not the sauce, even the onions have no flavor. It is no wonder to me anymore that all the vegetables in our German supermarkets do not taste at all. It all comes from the Netherlands, and now that I'm studying Dutch fast food, well it seems that the Dutch actually do not want to taste anything. They probably even fear flavor. They must have spent loads of efforts in removing flavor from everything one can eat. (But would you please be so kind and eat all the vegetables yourselves instead of exporting it to people who love flavor?)
Dario somehow looks sick. Not like a hangover, more like having a cold...

Seventh Wonder is next. Number two of my faves. It is quite hard to listen into the wall of sound, which is a pity. Their whole gig is somehow lost for me because in their music it is essential to hear all the notes. All the vocal layer disappear, I can see more people than just the frontman singing. They do a pweful mshow from start to end. I see an awesome performence, but it doesn't make me enthusiastic anyhow. Gary and Simon are totally overwhealmed.
Fluffy calls the singer gay. Some other ladies say that too. If you can sing perfectly and are handsome, you can't have a lady who loves progmetal?

Nahemah is another for-the-sake-of-growling band. Those bands sound is always good enough, you don't need to follow so many notes. Anyway, I'll never become a fan of growlers. Time to get outside and chat with people.
On my way out, someone hands out flyers, oh, it announces a Day Six concert. I turn around, looking at who's handing them out, and see the bassist of the band. Simon is already sitting at a table and it doesn't take long until Gary joins.
No, I don't need to listen to every band because they're just playing. I also wanna chat with people. You can complain about crappy German roads and construction areas, Dutch beer, the windy, almost stormy weather, prog, straight metal, everything. The guys of Vanity come along, handing out loads of their promo for free.
Dario looks even worse, and he also feels worse. He blames it on yesterdays long night and announces that he'll go to bed directly after the show. Guess I'll have to care for the octoberfest beer alone tonight.

start their show with loads of power, they do know how to act on stage. In the beginning I like their gig pretty much. Three great vocalists in the band, and the approach and the sound are quite good. I get bothered a bit becaue they distract their awesome singing with growling that is spread in over and over. When they play their 5th song, I see that their song structures are all equal, no stepping out of the system please. And the speed shredding parts in all tunes are always on the low B of the 7th string. If someone stole them that note, the whole band would collapse...
While being out for a cigarette, Patrik, the guitarist of Cloudscape, tells me how he and their vocalist Mike happened to collaborate with Marel Coenen, how he likes Mercenary's powerful appearance and about German road constructions.
Back to Mercenary, the fix song structures begin to annoy me. Suddenly the show has ended. After 90 minutes. All headliners had been announced to play for two hours. If you're Mercenary you don't need to care about what you've agreed to in the past it seems. Hmm, I shouldn't be unfair.When Rene announced them, he mentioned that they signed in because they like the idea of the festival. Seems they normally are too big money-wise, but liked to support it. Now, playing a shorter set than agreed, is weird. What a way to trade music.

Back out in the "ear recovery area" I again hear a couple of complaints about the sound. I decide to stop complaining myself. What tough job is the engineer doing anyway. 15 bands on one weekend, 30 minutes of time to disassemble an assemble band gear and do sound check between every band is quite a hard job, I shouldn't complain about it all the time. Gladly there's somebody doing the job! And we haven't had any delay so far.

Time to check the new design of the club in the basement. The sound of Pagan's Mind "Osiris Eyes" just starts when we enter the club. Wow, the sofas are free! after the entire days of mostly standing on concrete, the sofas do so well. Dario couldn't go without a glimpse of the afterparty and keeps hanging out with us. More beer, chatting loudly, listening to music (though more relaxed)...
After an hour Dario leaves, the Brits leave half an hour later. In the meatime the party gathered momentum. I chat with all possible people. Master Of Puppets gets played. I had no idea that this is probably the core for most prog metal fans. I'm stunned. I'd think of Rush, Styx, Fates Warning, Queensryche, and, of course, Dream Theater as prog metal core bands. But Metallica?  Johan started playing air guitar, and it looks like he really knows every note in it. All the rest is dancing and shouting "MAS-TERRR!"
While I'm at the urinal, I hear someone saying "ZERO HOUR??" I look at my t-shirt when Jeroen's face shows up between mine and the wall, telling me that ZH have been the best band last year. I agree.
The party becomes even hotter, and it's a mass movement. Everybody's dancing with everyone, I'm inmidst a mass of people, and the mass controls my movements. Some lady'S daning on a table. Staff seems drunk too meanwhile. Beer orders and any others constantly fail, everybody disagrees on the pricees they're telling. Every order ends up in an argument.

I decide to rest a bit before the party will continue at the castle. So I go the way back to the castle alone. And miss the right road. That's not where I wanted to go. I go back to a place I do know and try again. And miss the way again. DEAR GOD! How stupid am I? How many times did I go that way in the past??? I go back all the way to the venue and start the walk for the 3rd time. And finally find the right road. After a while someone behind me says "Hey!" I turn around and see another one walking alone. So we walk together. Another guy from Germany. He wasn't attending the last two years, because he din't like the line up. Our tastes must be pretty opposite.
Arriving at the castle, all the others are alrady there. They overtook me, no wonder about that. I go to our room, trying to get the octoberfest beer out there quietly, but fail. I make a lot of noise. Nobody even moves, they're sleeping deep.
On my way to the party, I find some people, asking for one of those beers. They look Turkish. And like they desperately want a beer. Of course guys! Take some! And I bring the beer to the party. "Ah the octoberfest beer!"
Andromeda show up. Johan tears his throat skin while imitating high pitched metal screams. I guess I got it, he wants to tell us that he finds those vocals ridiculus. The beer got placed in the circle's mid, and Marcel sits on the box. Seems like he's one of the few who can open German beer bottles.
After another hour of partying, I gotta call it a day (or should I say night? It is almost day again...)


Marcel said...

Awesome, Ray! Can't wait for day 3 and your comments on the final afterparty :D

guitarsean said...

Hahaha, prog review and food review, all in one! Great read Ray. I'm tired just reading it. It must have taken a week to fully recover.

MAVIII said...

Hahaha!!!! "...and now that I'm studying Dutch fast food, well it seems that the Dutch actually do not want to taste anything. They probably even fear flavor. They must have spent loads of efforts in removing flavor from everything one can eat. (But would you please be so kind and eat all the vegetables yourselves instead of exporting it to people who love flavor?)"
Thats too funny! :D
Ray, if you EVER come to the States, us Yank PrOguli will TREAT you to some GREAT Burgers for sure!

I really felt with all your descriptions that I was there, I could even hear the "Gravel/Roads" that you walk on, the talking with random Proggers and the moods of the crowds. Quite nice :)

I see the vocalist for "Seventh Wonder" and I agree with you, he looks like a nice handsome fellow but some "chicks" want the long haired guy that looks like he has issues :P (what about the Long Haired vocalists that look like they have issues, but when you meet them they are super nice, girls don't like them either :P).

"Those bands sound is always good enough, you don't need to follow so many notes. Anyway, I'll never become a fan of growlers."
Boooo! :D hehehe.
That makes it all the more reason to "listen" to the notes.
Well I know your love for Meshuggah and Nevermore so I will have to request more of that lot when youre on prOgulus :P

On that note: I listened to "Chaos Divine" and "Nahemah".
Chaos Devine is pretty good, remind me of Soilwork in their early days.
The Headbangin' must of been in full aggression mode at the show, i like them!
(newer)Nahemah is very creative, yes, lots of growling screams but some very beautiful atmospheric passages and melodic vocals. Reminds of Dark Tranquility a bit with a touch of Amorphis (fits nicely with Ulver and Arcturus).

Thats too bad you missed the Opener of the day, I took a listen to them and they are very good, they have a sound all their own with the Femme vocals, nice layered harmonies.
They should fit nicely at PrOgulus, but they have "Cookies" Ray ;)
But man, they are all over the place with "styles", very impressive (picture Atrox with a more tolerable singer).

Vanity is another band in that Ulver type Prog Metal, cookie and clean vocals and interesting breaks and passages, they go through so many different sounds, good stuff for ones so young.

Thanks for Part2 Ray and look forward to your further adventures! :D