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ennlfrdeitrues
Archeon, Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands
18th and 19th December 2004
Imperia, Morning, Apocypha, Dreambound, Oerknal, Roadkill, Sassenachs, The Fated, Thirsty Dog


18 December 2005

In the dark and cold days of December there was a Midwinter fair in the Archeon in Alphen aan den Rijn (the Netherlands). The Archeon is an archaeological theme park. You can visit prehistoric times, the Middle Ages and the Roman Era. For two days there was a lot more to see and hear. There were lectures in the roman inn, you could shop at the roman bathhouse, see live roll play all around and, listen to bands in the monastery.


Apocypha

This was the first band we saw. Unfortunately they started too late, as would all the bands these two days. There was little audience and nobody dared to stand in front. Apocrypha is a very young band. It was founded in 2001 but after some member changes they came to their final form in 2002.

Music
On their website their style is described as: heavy/melodic black metal inspired by bands like Dimmu Borgir, Emperor & Dark Funeral. This is definitely dark music. They use an overwhelming bass (live anyway). And their singer (Gilles) was able to produce very deep grunts, his screams were pretty low as well. Their keyboard player (Rudi) is also the backing vocal. His singing was not bad at all, but could use some practice. The mix from the speakers was done by an independent company and therefore not considered in the final score.

Performance
Gilles didn't have a lot of space to move. The stage was very small. Still he seemed to have to release some energy sometimes by head banging or moving around the stage. The band did seem to enjoy them selves on stage. They thanked the audience for being there. The light didn't change during the entire concert. Because of the bright sun that morning the light that was there had little effect.
Due to the fact the light was not their responsibility it is not considered in the final score.

Rating
Music 7
Performance 7
Sound 7
Total 7

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Oerknal


For this performance big drums were placed on a bench on the stage. They looked very prehistoric, with fur on them. All the instruments had natural colours, light brown mostly. There was a bigger audience for this band. People sat on the floor. Next to me someone opened a bottle of mede (honey wine) to stay warm. There was some draught because of the wooden doors. The mood kept improving as more people came in. Bring on the beats.

Music
They started out with just the big drum on the benches. There was one cymbal which was to loud to my opinion. It was far louder than the drums. The beat was catchy, made everybody nod their heads. Still I thought there was something missing, the sound wasn't complete. After a minute or two a drum kit joined in. now that's what I was missing. This made the music complete. There was hardly need for microphones because of the natural loudness of all these drums. Therefore sound has not been rated.

Performance
The performers were dressed in prehistoric clothes. At least one of them actually works in the prehistoric area of the Archeon. (I used to his medieval colleague). The band was really enthusiastic.
This enthusiasm definitely reached the audience. When they started to play one of their ancient African songs 2 ladies's entered the dance floor and more followed. It became a genuine party with these contageous beats. Light was, like with the rest of the bands, pretty basic but sufficient.
Due to the fact the light was not their responsibility it is not considered in the final score.

Rating
Music 6
Performance 7
Sound 7
Total 6.5

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De Sassenachs

As soon as Oerknal had beat their last beats the Sassenachs came in. They came from the back of the venue through the audience. My first thought when seeing the Sassenachs was: Braveheart. These men had also painted their faces. Not just blue but combination of white and blue. They wore kilts in the original way, as they did around the year 1300 in Scotland. One of them told us this in between songs. On their backs they all wore a sword. They were ready for battle with their warpipes and drums.

Music
The Sassenachs play traditional music but also new songs they write themselves. When hearing their music you immediately find yourself on the moors of Scotland: marching towards the enemy on the other side of the plains. What more can I say, a true traditional sound. No amplifiers were used, sound therefore was not rated.

Performance
The Sassenachs stood in front of the stage, in a half circle. This gave the performance an intimate atmosphere. Because they were standing in front of the stage, the light had no effect. This was a pity because it made it harder to see the band. Due to the fact that there was no light part of the show it's not rated.

Rating
Music 6
Performance 7
Total 6.5

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Morning

Dream metal: imagine a mix from atmospheric pop, progressive rock and heavy fantasy metal. Combine this with influences from bands like The Gathering, Ayreon, Rhapsody and Lacuna Coil. And you have the description Morning gives of their music. This band was founded in 2000 so it is still a pretty young band. The band members are young as well, with ages between 16 and 27.

Music
Morning plays a cover of Queen's ‘the show must go on'. Personally I think Queen can't be covered. But Morning does it quite well. The have made it their own and since Saskia is a good singer she is able to make it sound great. Their own songs catchy, due this and the enthusiasm of Saskia the audience is taken into the world of Morning. From the first to the last note heads are nodding along with their beats and when the songs get heavy heads start banging all over the place.

Performance
Saskia is a very enthusiastic performer. She moves al over the stage with a radiant smile on her face. She also makes contact with the other band members while performing. During the performance a TV crew came to film a bit of the show, this however didn't seem to distract the band in any way. At one point during the show Saskia invited someone on stage. This girl was congratulated with her birthday. She got a card from the band and a Santa hat. Due to the fact the light was not their responsibility it is not considered in the final score.

Rating
Music 7
Performance 8
Sound 7
Total 7 (7,2)

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Thirsty Dog

The band consists of 4 members and plays Irish folk music with some own songs and further covers of the Pogues and Flogging Molly. They did this with great enthusiasm much to the likings of the audience who could appreciate getting a chance to get drunk through the music and thus avoiding the ill side effects like hangovers and alcohol checks.

Music
Many different kinds of instruments were used though the drums were absent and either replaced by a banjo or a single bongo. Further only acoustic instruments (even the bass guitar), including a harmonica and two flutes. The singing wasn't always right in tune but it didn't disturb the atmosphere and actually seemed to fit the performance in the best of Irish folk traditions, but all in all the vocals were well done, full of the necessary drama and melancholy. Sound was well balanced and even though many instruments were changed during the set the balance remained good.

Performance
The performance was rather static, partially limited by the stage, otherwise this kind of music need to be played this why because the original performers normally seem hardly able to stand on their feet. The contact with the audience was quite okay, though interaction between the band members seems to be very limited during play. Light was, like with the rest of the bands, pretty basic but sufficient. Due to the fact the light was not their responsibility it is not considered in the final score.

Rating
Music 7
Performance 6
Sound 8
Light 6
Total 7 (6.8)

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Festival item: Lecture by Prof. Rotherham

On the first floor of the Roman inn a lecture was given by Prof. Dr. Ronald Rotherham. The professor holds degrees in Ancient and Medieval studies, Anglo-Saxon Culture, Heraldry, Anglo-Norman Culture, Ancient and Medieval Cultural Studies, and Education. The lecture was called ‘have a merry pagan Christmas' only this wasn't known to the professor. He had prepared a lecture called ‘warfare that never was... or was it'. He showed us drawings of the very first hand grenade, the battle rabbit, and more of these fantastic instruments of war. With his usual sense of humour he made us pay attention and hang on to every word he said. At the end of his lecture about warfare he answered all our questions about Christmas and Yule.


19 December 2005

The Fated

The day started off with yet again a very young band on stage. The Fated was founded in 2003 and they play mainly their own songs. They are inspired by grunge bands like the ‘Smashing Pumpkins' and ‘Soundgarden' but also by wave bands like ‘The Cure'. In December 2003 they recorded their first demo called ‘Stardustbunnypulp'.

Music
The voices of both singers were in good harmony. The lead singer also plays the guitar; the backing vocalist takes care of the bass guitar. The band is completed with their third member on drums.

Performance
The look of The Fated is definitely grunge. The first thing that comes to mind when seeing them is ‘Nirvana'. The singer had a Kurt Cobain look going, with his blond hair and grungy clothes. Although this band had quite some room to move around on stage they were rather static, though the intensity of their singing made up for the lack of motion. Due to the fact the light was not their responsibility it is not considered in the final score.

Rating
Music 7
Performance 7
Sound 7
Light 6
Total 7

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Dreambound

Again a new and young band. Their music is inspired by After Forever, Epica, Within Temptation and Nightwish. They say they are bound to create their own reality with the soft sound of classical music and the more brutal sounds of metal. This band for only exists 6 months. The performance at the Archeon was their first real gig.

Music
The singing of the leading lady wasn't out of tune but it was not convincing at all. She sung with a very thin voice. We were hardly able to hear her singing because the instruments out powered it most of the time. The grunts, done by their bas player, were ok. During one of the songs there was some spoken word; unfortunately I couldn't hear a word of what was said. The idea of this band is very nice. A great variety of instruments and they are able to write their own songs. My guess is they could grow to be a better band, they just need a lot of practice.

Performance
Their appearance was not that impressive. The singer was wearing a black velvet dress with a beautiful belt. The violinist wore a very standard blue gothic dress, but she looked good in it. The guitarists looked like they just came from school. Looking at their clothes made me wonder whether they were all playing in the same band. The singer has looked in to the audience maybe twice during the entire performance. And when she did she looked at someone in the first row whom she probably knew because these were the only times a little smile appeared on her face. During the rest of the show she kept her eyes on the ground. It seemed as though she didn't dare to move. A little head movement was all we got. Their bass player was responsible for grunts, speech, and he announced the songs. I guess he himself the fearless one of the band as was noted on his shirt. All in all there was little to no contact with the audience. Due to the fact the light was not their responsibility it is not considered in the final score.

Rating
Music 4
Performance 5
Sound 5
Light 6
Total 4.5 (4.7)

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Roadkill

Some solid hard rock from the Netherlands, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing new, but nevertheless not at all bad to listen to The band played mainly own songs from their upcoming album, to be released on January 15th with a cd-release concert in de Baroeg in Rotterdam

Music
Here is your every day hard rock rock band, all the basic ingredients are there,  2 guitars,  bass, drums and of course a ferocious singer. Nothing special about the individual performances of the musicians or the singer, just a solid performance without any fuss. Sound was well balanced and even though many instruments were changed during the set the balance remained good.

Performance
The singer was energetic as well as the bass guitarist trying to interact with the audience which at that time seemed to consist of friends and family, did it sure did have it's effect. At some point during the show there was even a small careful moshpit. Focussing on the front lines the band only seemed to have eyes for the audience dragging them into their performance. It was clear this band has been playing for these kinds of audiences a long time. The fact that only a few knew their music did not discourage the band in any way. These small stages are their playground, they sure know how to play there. Light was, as said before, rather dull but there was plenty of light so the band could clearly be seen. Due to the fact the light was not their responsibility it is not considered in the final score.

Rating
Music 6
Performance 7
Sound 7
Light 6
Total 7 (6.5)

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Festival item: Return of the king

‘A spectacular fantasy fight' This was the announcement of ‘the return of the king'.
I expected a larp fight based on ‘the lord of the rings'. It did start out like a larp event. 3 monks were summoning a spirit. Their master came and tried to stop them because with the book they were using only evil spirits could be summoned. At the command of the monks a cage of forgetfulness was opened, two lovely ladies came out and lured the master into their cage.
The monk summoned their spirit.... They rolled out the red carpet for it. It came into the arena under a cloak. When at the end of the red carpet the cloak was thrown of..... it became clear which king was returning..... Elvis.
Elvis started to sing. The master of the monks came back out of the cage and started to attack Elvis, he was joined by a stone monster. The monster couldn't stand the singing and started to hit himself in the head. One of the monks beat the monster but when it fell down... it fell upon him. The last words of the monk were ‘oh shit'. During the fight Elvis was lured into the cage by the lovely ladies. After this an announcement was made "the king has left the building'.
All in all it was a feast of jokes, great fighting and Elvis!


Imperia

Helena Iren Michaelsen's Imperia as they are called on their debut cd consists of 5 members from 4 different countries. Helena has chosen some experienced band members to accompany her on stage, musicians who are hardly noticeable on stage because Helena just steals the show and won't give it back till it's done. The former singer of Trail of Tears, dressed in a white top, suede brown skirt and matching boots is everywhere, all the time. The music ranges from quite energetic to very emotional and can best be described as gothic metal, though not like Within Temptation or Nightwish. Imperia is not as bombastic and has less metal riffs.

Music
Helena has a very clear voice most of the time but she does seem to like making some grunts along the way as well. Her singing was melodic and at times very dramatic. The musicians played well, without focussing the attention to themselves, all in service of the diva. The sound during the gig was okay, though not exceptional, this was mostly due to the distance between backline and audience, because of this close to the stage Helena's voice was somewhat out powered by the instruments.

Performance
This lady sure knows how to cheer up a crowd and show off in many ways. However it seemed like most of the audience was either not interested, running late or shocked by the band and left during the gig. This didn't seem to bother the band nor Helena the least, they kept on going for the few enthusiasts at the front of the stage. Because of the non-metal audience the playing with the audience Helena tried didn't quite work out as hoped for but nevertheless she managed to get the audience screaming. Interaction within the band however was limited, apart from a few moves from one side of the drums to the other by the bass player, no real interaction was possible due to the stage size. On the second day they had real fireworks on stage. Helena held two small tubes in her hands out of which came beautiful silver sparks. She gave one of hem to a fan who was standing in front of the stage. Together they waved their sparkling tubes.
The lights were turned down to try and create some atmosphere, although it did work out nicely the light was as could be expected rather bad. Due to the fact the light was not their responsibility it is not considered in the final score.

Setlist
-intro-
Mysted by desire
Ancient dace op qetesh
Mordor
Entering the perspective
Into paradise
In your mind (acoustic)
Scared for your love
Escape
(Encore)
Angelchild
The lotus eaters
-outro-
 
Rating
Music 8
Performance 8
Sound 7
Total 8 (7.8)

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Archeon Midwinter Fair
 
This year was the second time the Midwinterfair took place in the Archeon.

Food and drinks
In the monastery there was a bar where you could get food and drinks, medieval beer for instance. At the Roman inn there was also a bar where you could get food and drinks. At the market you could also buy drinks like Ambrosia and Mede.

Stage
The stage was not really high but sufficient for the purpose it was built for. The high was about 0.30m but because it wasn't always that busy you had a good view most of the time. The stage was a bit to small for most of the bands, there was not much space to move.

Audience area
The hall was big enough for the audiences who came to see al the different bands. It had a really high sealing so smoke could go up without troubling anyone.

Staff
The staff was very friendly. Everybody was happy to help or answer a question.

Rating
Facilities 7
Accommodation 7
Staff 7
Total 7

More photos at ConcertvisionS

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