M double U

Music

If you know me it won’t come as a surprise I am a big fan of Marillion. I do not know how many times I have seen them live so far but it must be way over 200… It started in 1984 when I saw them live for the very first time in Aachen (Fish was still the lead singer at that time). Each Marillion concert is special but there are some extraordinary events. I can still vividly remember the very first Marillion convention ever in Oxford,  the fantastic Christmas Dinner in Aachen, and then not to forget the time I was able to experience a day in a life of a roadie for a concert in Cologne. The bi-annual weekends are something never to forget (The 2019 Weekend, my 7th one in Port Zelande has just finished and was without doubt one of the most intense so far). I am counting down the days to see them at the fabulous Royal Albert Hall in November 2019.

So which other bands can you find on my iPhone? You won’t find them in the charts very often and neither do they have herds of screaming and crying teenagers running after them. Their music however is to say in one word marvelous. Let me introduce you to some of the bands I like listening to… If you like your music to be out of the ordinary this list might be a good start…  

Whilst surfing the net looking for new music I discovered this band from Dubai. At first sound I was blown away by the powerful and melodic music on their debut album resolve[d]. Unfortunately the band quit after just two excellent albums. If you like the sound of Porcupine Tree you should check this out.


Sometimes a band hits you on the very first note. This is exactly what happened when I listened to the album “Hunt” from this Polish band. A wonderful and melodic album that hasn’t left my mind since. I cannot wait till their next release.


I’m not to keen on their earlier work (far to heavy for me) but sometimes one album is enough to bring a band in my favorite list. Listen to Hindsight, a semi acoustic album, and you’ll know why. The haunting electric guitar just brings tears to my eyes. Somehow it seems this band is getting better and better with each album they release. This is how music should be…


Nick Moss is the mastermind behind this band (or is it still a solo project) who claims it has made the saddest album ever.  Oh well, to some it might sound depressing but for me it is certainly not! Their gig of 2018 easily made it to my personal top three of that year.


A former colleague recommended this band and after listening to “The Underfall Yard” I was sold. Long and melodic tracks with lots of surprising twists. David Longdon’s voice is simply magic.


There’s no-one quite like her, the first time I heard “Wuthering Heights” I thought it was horrible. The second time “not bad”. The third time awesome!!! I’ve stayed loyal ever since. Unfortunately I missed her first concerts but was lucky enough to get a ticket for “Before the Dawn” in 2014 which I regard as one of my best gigs ever!


This band has its roots in the seventies and is still going strong. Their music really creeps under your skin, especially Andrew Lattimer’s haunting guitar solos. I saw them live several times and time after time they keep on impressing. Like good wine they improve with age.


It took me a while before I started to appreciate them but after being introduced to “Scenes from a Memory” I slowly opened up to this very technical progressive metal band. Their music is heavy and complex and definitely not easy listening. It’s worth though giving it a try.


I discovered this band because Steve Rothery produced several songs of their first album “Blueprint from the World”. After their impressive performance during Marillion’s Radiat10n tour I was totally convinced about the qualities of this band. Fantastic songs, great guitar rifs and a stunning voice! Unfortunately they quit but their catalog is an impressive achievement.


During one of my visits to my local “prog” recordshop to The FlowerI was introduced to this Swedish Band. After having listened to “Flower Power” I quickly completed the rest of the collection. Beautiful songs, strong emotions and surprisingly different. By now I’ve seen them live in concert several times and every time I came back totally mesmerized. This band certainly rocksUnfortunately the band does no longer exist but I count myself lucky to have seen them live countless times.


Another long time favorite. Is there anything I have to say about him? Don’t think so! Besides his regular work Peter is very much involved into World Music. Calling ” The Secret World Tour” and “The growing Up” tours stunning is a major understatement. It’s been a while since Peter released new work but I am patiently waiting.


Do they need any introduction at all? My first introduction to this band was in 1978 with “And then there were three…”. My favourite period is when Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett were still in the band. I must admit I totally lost interest after “Duke” as I was not impressed by their attempt to become more pop oriented. Still I could not resist to go and see the Turn It On Again tour in 2007 which was quite entertaining, especially the older work of course!


h

You might not have heard of h yet but it’s Steve Hogarth, the lead vocalist of Marillion himself. I was already impressed by his voice before he joined Marillion. So far he’s only made one album (Ice Cream Genius) but it’s an absolute killer. I saw h and his band live in Amsterdam, Geneva, Utrecht and Bonn. Believe me, it was In one word fantastic! his h Natural live solo performances are not to be missed, and once in a while there is the opportunity to see one of his fabulous Christmas shows.


The former lead guitarist of Genesis, the band who started my interest in the more serious, progressive, side of music.  His guitar playing is legendary, haunting and brings a shiver down my spine, just listen to “Every Day” which starts an a nice easy listening type of song before Steve breaks out… I am really happy he is keeping the Genesis Spirit alive during his live shows and cannot wait to see him in 2020 in Wuppertal when he is accompanied by a symphonic orchestra and an opera choir.


IQ

Changing rhythms, haunting melodies and an intriguing voice. IQ makes progressive rock like it should be. Their album Subterrenea is their absolute masterpiece. Their concerts are absolutely mesmerizing which the live CD and video from the Subterrenea tour prove. With “Frequency” their latest album they continue to impress. Check them out!


This is a side project from Mariusz Duda, the bass and vocal from Riverside. It’s dark, experimental and so extremely beautiful. It’s about death, afterlife and I’ve hardly heard such a gripping music for a long time…


You don’t need to be brave to listen to this band… A splendid voice (Especially after h joined…), superb guitar and beautiful songs. The lyrics are much in-depth and many of those wrote the soundtrack of my life. No wonder that they are my absolute favourite!!! Marillion is out of this world.  Some years ago F.E.A.R. came on the market, a splendid album where Marillion proved once again they are still number one!!! Thinking of the seven weekends in Zeeland I attended bring a huge smile on my face and I can’t wait until the next Port Zelande convention, my 8th one, in 2021


Who says that Irish folk and progressive rock don’t combine very well? If you listen to the first 2 albums Mostly Autumn released you will know it can! Really refreshing and surprising. On stage the band is totally stunning, I can hardly remember a gig where I had so much goose bums as during their performance in Verviers’ especially the live version of The Gap Is Too Wide.


Not a single album exists of this band, neither have they written a single note of music but still they are one of my favorite live bands. So what’s going on. The Musical Box reproduces mostly Gabriel era Live Shows from Genesis in the smallest details. I was too young to experience the real thing but seeing this band live is like ending up in a timewarp. Thanks to them I now saw all ‘original’ tours of Genesis up to trick of the Tail. I even travelled to London to see the “Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” show in the Royal Albert Hall in London. It was magic, pure magic.


These friendly Canadians know how to rock. It was another discovery I made in Spirit of 66 in Verviers and I have seen them live several times since. It seems they are getting better with every release. Give them a try.


It started a long long time ago with “Tubular Bells”. He’s made brilliant music and did some fantastic live shows but unfortunately seemed to have lost (at least in a musical way) the plot the last couple of years. He did release his original albums in 5.1 surround sound, a magical experience! And then, out of nowhere there was “Return to Ommadawn”, the first decent new material since years where Mike returns to his musical roots.


It was their Album “Into The Wilderness” that attracted my interest in this English Band. This a fantastic album was followed by “Dissolution”, another album that I frequently listen to. Magic, pure magic.


These titans do not need any introduction. Their progressive and psychedelic music is distinguished by their philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, extended compositions, and elaborate live shows. I’m glad I had the opportunity to see them liveonce, an epic performance.


Normally I am not too keen on support acts but these Greek guys based in Rotterdam simply blew me away. Their performance was so energetic and fun. I had the chance to speak to two of them after the show and their album “In time with gravity” brings me to different levels. Their music is best described as electronic / heavy rock but with a melodic touch to it. I am very keen on their next release as I cannot get enough of them.


Progressive rock with psychedelic influences. Perfect soundscapes created by Steve Wilson and his mates. Every album follows a new direction, that’s why they are never boring. Fear of a Blank Planet is superb from the very first until the very last note. Seeing Porcupine Tree live was an awesome experience. I’m really lucky I was able to go to both concerts in Tilburg where their DVD Anesthetize was filmed. It’s a shame Steven Wilson decided to go solo, it simply isn’t the same.


This 70’s symphonic rock band with Singer Annie Haslam has stolen my heart with their beautiful melodies. “Live at the Carnegie Hall” is an album not to be missed. It was because of this band I joined “Cruise to the Edge” in 204 and their performances simply blew me away.


To be honest I cannot remember when I first heard of this Polish band but they certainly rock! It could have been at the Spirit of 66 in Verviers where I saw them for the first time. If you like your music to be powerful you can not miss out on this! After the tragic loss of their guitarist and cofounder Piotr Grudzińskin February 2016 the band continued and I am glad they did. Their last album “Wasteland” is a masterpiece.


Another trip to Verviers introduced my to the delights of German progress RPWL. They started of as a Pink Floyd cover band but then released their debut album “God has failed”. Although the floydian influences are clear RPWL is not just a Floyd clone. Really refreshing and wonderful music. Their live performances are all quadraphonic which make them an extraordinary event. 


It is only rock ‘n roll but I like it… This Canadian Rock band is known for its musicianship, complex compositions, and eclectic lyrical motifs drawing heavily on science fiction, fantasy, and philosophy. Unfortunately they have retired now but their memory remains…


Another visit to my local recordshop introduced me to Spock’s Beard. It’s difficult to put a label on their music, but it’s certainly progressive! Long songs, abrupt changes and lots of surprises. Live this band flourishes even better as you can see the members have a lot of fun making their music. It’s a shame Neil Morse left cause for religious reasons. The band’s music changed and I’m still having some problems with it, though I feel it is worth giving them another chance. Things turned for the better again when Ted Leonard, the former singer of Enchant joined the band.


Seeing a band live is the best way to witness their musical abilities. I was introduced to the German band Sylvan during a performance in the Spirit of 66 in Verviers and was hooked straight away. Powerful progressive rock and a singer with a terrific voice. They convince with their strong, original compositions and stunning live performance.


Nad is mainly known for his work as the lead singer of the live Steve Hackett Band but he has released some brilliant albums on his own. He’s a big Genesis “old style” fan, something which becomes very clear when you listen to his former and Unifaun.


What do you expect when Roine Stolt (Flower Kings), Neil Morse (Spock’s Beard), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) and Pete Trewavas (Marillion) join up to create an album? This can’t go wrong, indeed the result of the cooperation of these four rock giants resulted in five splendid albums. Not surprisingly long epics dominate the albums.


The former Bass player of Pink Floyd has done some amazing things on his own. His concerts are an experience not to be missed and he proves that after all those years he’s still enjoying his music. His concerts are true musical extravaganzas with a tremendous show that revives the old Floydian days. The only thing I am not too keen on is the facts that his gigs are drenched in politics. Roger would better concentrate on the fabulous music.


What should I say about these Dinosaurs of progressive roads. On the road for almost 50 years. But which Yes is Yes? Jon Anderson left the original band a wile ago and when I saw them live on “Cruise To The Edge” they did not impress… To confuse the fans Jon started his own lineup of Yes with Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman. Although for me Yes is no Yes without the stunning voice of Jon Anderson I’d rather like the original band members to get their act together and rejoin (once again).


Yosiji is in fact Jos Smeets, a good friend of mine. He makes wonderful music for meditation and relaxation. His atmospheric soundscapes are ideal to drift away and let things go.