KNIGHT AREA, 2011-10-08 (NL+E)
zaterdag, oktober 8, 2011

Ruim een week voor de officiële releasedatum presenteerde Knight Area, een van Nederlands vlaggenschepen op het gebied van de progressieve rock, zijn nieuwe album Nine Paths. In een uithoek van Nederland maar wel een sfeervolle uithoek, bleek de band in bloedvorm voor een redelijk gevulde zaal. Voor de pauze speelde de band, tot groot enthousiasme van de aanwezigen, de nieuwe cd integraal en dat moet je als band toch maar kunnen!

Bassist Gijs Koopman had zichtbaar plezier met zijn Rickenbacker-bas en zijn nieuwe Moog Taurus-pedalen die hij geregeld gebruikte. Toetsenman Gerben Klazinga zocht vaak contact met bekenden uit de zaal en Pieter van Hoorn drumde geconcentreerd, maar ook hij speelde in contact met bandleden en publiek. In de pauze bedankte hij namens de band ook alle trouwe fans. Na de onderbreking volgde nog een doorsnede uit de eerste drie albums, waarbij al die prachtige nummers als Ethereal, Under A New Sign, Occlusion en Dark Souls voorbij kwamen. Geen technische problemen dit keer en een prachtig geluid, sfeervol licht met een laser als extraatje. Na een fraaie solo van gitarist Mark Vermeule, sloot de band in stijl af met het nummer Mortal Brow. Met slechts één verkleedpartijtje kon frontman Mark Smit zich goed concentreren op zijn zang en toetsenspel en dat lukte hem verbluffend goed. Naar mijn smaak behoort Knight Area in Nederland tot de absolute top in het progressieve genre en het einde van de mogelijkheden lijkt nog niet in zicht. Met een dijk van een nieuw album en een liveshow, waamee men zo Europa in kan, had Knight Area beslist een uitverkochte zaal verdiend!


A special show this evening in the eastern part of the Netherlands, because it was the launch of Knight Area's fourth studio album called Nine Paths. Knight Area are one of the Dutch flagships of symphonic rock, no doubt, because it was a night to remember. Some 250 people showed up in this nicely improved building that used to be a factory. Too bad the location of the place is somewhat remote but it proved to be a very friendly and nice venue with helpful staff and and awesome big stage. The five Dutchmen worked hard on this album and it appears to be a group effort even more than the three previous albums. Before the break Knight Area played impeccable renditions of all the songs on the new album. Excellent lighting and an excellent sound quality and one would think there was a major act on stage! Only Charlotte Wessels (Delain) had to be excused in the track Please Come Home, because she was residing in Sweden to record the new album by Delain at the time of this show. Mark Smit had to do it alone, and again he did a great job. As a live act the band is still improving. Considering the few performances they do on a yearly basis, I'd say it's pretty impressive that a band is able to play a new album in its entirety without the aid of extra musicians or digital assistance.

Most of the visitors in the audience had never heard one note of the album so far, and immediately it became clear that all new music went down very well. My advantage was that I already knew the album, so I was really impressed the band could come so close to the excellent studio sound recordings. Although keyboardist Gerben Klazinga is still the main composer and the producer of Knight Area, it's a good thing both bassist Gijs Koopman (ex-Cliffhanger, ex- NoVact) and vocalist Mark Smit contributed one composition each. The River by Gijs Koopman is a very cool majestic song in which he uses his newly bought Moog Taurus pedals to the full. I always tend to think these pedals sound much better live because you can really feel the deep vibrations throughout your whole body. Angel's Call is a song written by Mark Smit and not only a challenge to sing, but also beautifully written in the vein of Knight Area's bombastic symphonic music, but it has some intimate and subtle parts nonetheless. Before the break Pieter van Hoorn handed over the first CD to someone who had proved to be extremely helpful in promoting the band for this concert. Subsequently it was running to the booth of Knight Area to buy the new album.

After the break the band performed a selection of their classic songs. Especially the older songs, originally performed by seven members of the band, had to be arranged in order to be able to play those as a five piece. Also some of the songs were linked together in a new arrangement. Together with the light show, the smoke and the lasers it was all quite impressive and with this show Knight Area will certainly impress audiences outside of the Netherlands too. Altogether, the band played for over two hours and left the audience in a state of ecstasy. In my opinion the band would have deserved a 'full house'. Unfortunately duty called, and I had to drive home straight after the show so I wasn't able to speak to the band members in order to compliment them on their exquisite performances, so here's to you guys: well done indeed!

Setlist Part One: Ever Since You Killed Me, Summerland, Please Come Home, Clueless, The River, Pride And Joy, The Balance, Wakerun, Angel's Call.

Setlist Part Two: Beyond/The Gate Of Eternity, Exit L.U.M.C./Courteous Love, Ethereal, Forever Now, Two Of A Kind, Under A New Sign, Occlusion, Dark Souls,

Encores: Solo by Mark Vermeule, Saevis Tranquillis In Indis, Mortal Brow.