Just before our holiday I seized the opportunity to see Riverside 'up close' and very nearby: in Hengelo, some 15 km's from my home. The venue does well in my opinion and hopefully they will not close down as some other venues in the western part of our country did recently. Nicely filled up but not sold out so from the point of view for a photographer an excellent prospect. Before Riverside there was another band: Tides From Nebulah, four youngsters hailing from Warsaw in Poland, just like Riverside. In March 2009 they released their debut album Aura and in May this year the band released their second album called Earthshine. Emotional guitar oriented instrumental music as we all could see and hear in the 45 minutes of their show.
An ambient opening,was followed by more powerful music driven by Weglowski's bass and Stolowski's drums. Both guitarists were swaying or head banging and seemed to be in a sort of a trance, captured completely by their own sounds. Adam Waleszyński, playing the lead guitar, turned out to be the most expressive member of the band. His companion Karbowski uses keyboards but his main instrument is the guitar as well. Though the band seem to sound far more ambient and atmospheric on their albums, their set turned out to be quite impressive and certainly more 'metal' but within the boundaries of 'post-rock'. Lots of distorted and at times orchestral sounds but without a good vocalist 45 minutes was just about enough for me.
I cannot imagine this band will be capable to keep a crowd ecstatic with this type of music for more than two hours! However there were many enthusiastic responses from the crowd. Via their own site and Youtube there are several tracks available for ears and eyes but think of a more powerful version of Anathema without vocals.
The lighting -as seems to be the case with all support acts- was very minimalistic and most of the time the musicians were standing in the shade. I have yet to understand why a support act shouldn't get a decent light show...
After a break, probably the most renowned progressive band from Poland at the moment, Riverside, took the stage. Immediately they found themselves playing for a very enthusiastic crowd, obviously really familiar with Riverside's music. Mariusz Duda surely impressed with his ever stable, clear but sometimes growling vocals while he is playing bass at the same time. From the Rush cover Leave That Thing Alone one could notice Geddy Lee must have been one of his sources of inspiration. Celebrating their tenth anniversary, Riverside played an awesome set and of course it featured their new mini-album Memories In My Head. As usual guitarist Piotr Grudziński played immaculately but his stage presentation remained far from exiting. Same applies to Piotr Kozieradzki on -or should I say hidden behind- the drums.
No or little contact with the fans but the man made no mistakes at all. The only member of the band besides Duda who tried to do a bit more than just play his instrument was Michał Łapaj on the keyboards. His presentation begins to resemble the great Rick Wakeman at times. He has developed and has grown into a confident keyboardist, compared to the shy teenager he was ten years ago. Again Duda proved what a formidable front man he is and I have yet to see a Riverside show that disappointed me. Obviously the crowd shared my thoughts because after the first encore they just had to come back for another one. Although the light show was quite tasteful, like Porcupine Tree, it's not about the show, the lights, dancing girls or special costumes: it's purely about making good music and they do it so well they manage to get every crowd ectastic. The quality of the sound was exceptionally good for an indoor venue, so with an interesting support act and a really solid performance of the Polish Progressive Masters everyone could go home with feelings of admiration and satisfaction.
I'm planning to see them again at the Loreley festival near Koblenz (Germany) and I most certainly will not be bored! Fans will also be able to see this great band at the Bospop festival in Weert on the 10th of July. Long may you continue to make good music, Riverside, with or without a spectacular stage performance....
Setlist Riverside: 1. Beyond The Eyelids 2. Out Of Myself 3. Reality Dream III 4. Egoist Hedonist 5. Living In The Past 6. Conceiving You 7. Ultimate Trip 8. Left Out 9. Loose Heart 10. 02 Panic Room 11. Second Life Syndrome(Only pt.I, including Parasomnia snippet)
Encore 1 : 12. Forgotten Land 13. Reality Dream I
Encore 2: 14. Leave That Thing Alone (Rush cover) 15. The Curtain Falls