Tuesday, 25 December 2012

10 best shows of 2012

Time again to write down what blew me away during the past 12 months. On the CD front I have to relisten, review and order somewhat more, but on the live front it is pretty clear to me. What was really good this year, or in some occassions even an historical evening in the history of progmetal. Unfortunately the list of missed shows is, if possible, even bigger. Due to travelling, too many shows in a short period, other obligations and excuses I missed an impressive list. Some names that spring back to mind are Sean Filkins (due to Day Six cancellation), Marty Friedman, Savage Messiah, Flying Colors, Iced Earth and Evergrey the night before flying to Buzios and Fates Warning in Uden. But still the below list shows that I hardly can complain on the 2012 live scene especially given the fact that Leprous got stuck on place 11 only, so Are you ready to Rock!?!
10. Gorod /Exivious - Patronaat Haarlem April.
So I went alone for a night of Technical Death Metal in Haarlem. I already saw and liked Obscura some years ago and Spawn of Possession got great reviews. Both were pretty good, but the two opening bands were highlights for me. The Dutch part of Cynic instrumental Exivious played a very good show with these jaw dropping licks. Than Gorod was the surpise. I had one of their albums, which is good enough but seeing and feeling them live was so much better than the CD.  Together with Gojira they managed to change this year my view on French Metal.
9. Pendragon - Boerderij Zoetermeer May.
The choice was between the Erasmus football tournament evening with music, friends  and beer, or Pendragon in de Boerderij. Following my rule music over football I was not disappointed. Pendragon always are a guarantee for a long show of epics and this evening was not different. great band, great show, never get enough of them.
8 Rob Lamothe - Q-bus Leiden May.
The music turned singer songwriter style, the guitars are acoustic, the support band is modestly present, but the voice is still there. Obviously moved by presence of both son and daughter on stage Rob Lamothe passed through his career with a smile on his face. Highlight the performance on demand from old Riverdogs classics, where lyrics came from deep down his memory, or the audience.
7. Kyrbgrinder - Musicon Den Haag, May.
The surprise of the year. I learned about this show a few days in advance, knew the band around Threshold drummer existed, but none of their music and the steaming hot Musicon (it was the hottest weekend of the year so far) was jumping with the modest audience up and down to the very lively set.
Guitars and bass were very technically gifted and the music rocked, while performance was the biggest surprise. Progpower should appreciate this show.
6. Alarum / Shattered Skies - Progpower Baarlo October
Speaking of Progpower I only could see the Friday and Saturday shows this year and these bands were to me the highlight. Irish Shattered Skies due to their technical blend of heavy metal and enthiusiastic performance, while Alarum were already on CD one of 2012 surprises to me. Not overly impressed previous time I saw them at PP, they now caught me in a storm and gazing amazed was the main position I stayed in. Definitely one of the better guitar duos to walk heavy territories nowadays.
5. Galahad - De Pul Uden September
What a year for Galahad fans. Two new studio albus a live CD/DVD from the 90's a book underway and a glorious return to Dutch stages. At least to me it was glorious. With only Battle Scars being released at the time, main focus on that album. Their take no prisoners blend of prog with punky guitars, or dance trance influences is not appreciated by all, but for those who get it at least we had a blast! Seize the Day could make them sooo big, if only.
4. Headspace / Haken - Boerderij Zoetermeer September.
So here we had the best the UK offered us the last years in progmetal terms playing together in de Boerderij, so a home match. Great performances, great shows and I had a great time. They just don't make it to the top three since both bands played on complete CD integrally, so much for any surprises in the setlists. Performances at level with the material, hoping for new releases of both bands soon.
3. Saxon - Patronaat Haarlem December.
Arriving at the top three I noticed that I prefer shows from bands with a long back catalogue who can surprise and disappoint you with the song played, or not. Not a regular visitor of Saxon shows I so much appreciated going back in time to the music that got me started into metal. So many classics and only one show, so I did miss some of my favorites, but appreciated the setlist and performance which after all these years, still passing the feeling of just getting out there to have a great time.
2. Lillian Axe - Tahiti Amsterdam September.
Definitely the right band at the wrong place. Hidden way behind Central station my favrite melodic rock band played for a ridiculously empty hall some of the greatest Classics ever written. Much heavier than expected this show was one to remember. Basically having all their albums on LP or CD they could play to me for hours. Musically beyond any doubt now downers during the show. If only they would have added their best recent song  "Under the Same Moon" they might have taken the number one spot. Doubt if they ever come back with these audience numbers, but defintely hoping for it to happen.
1. Fates Warning - HSBC Hall Sao Paulo April
I do travel a lot for work and sometimes to Brazil. In March Fates Warning played Uden and I was in Brazil, missing out sadly. By chance I had t go back there in April when FW finished their tour in Sao Paulo supporting Queensryche. This turned out to become a historical night, mainly due to the fighting in the Queensryche camp, but also on the Fates Warning front. The hall had a few thousand people in, the sound was perfect and ike Portnoy guested on drums. Together enough ingredients fr my number 1 spot. Queensryche as closing act was also not to bad, since playing songs from all their albums, so also the good ones until 1994. I did see Fates Warning again in roermond in November, but where the setlists was longer and possible hldig more surprises the historical impact was less. Next year a new CD from them and ffinally a headline slot at Progpower?

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