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Pinkpop, Landgraaf, the Netherlands
May 13th thru 15th 2005
The Prodigy, Apocalyptica, Epica, Heideroosjes, Within Temptation

There is one name in the Dutch festival scene that is above any others: Pinkpop. It’s the 26th time it’s being held this year. Though locations have changed over the years, as in the last few years it’s being held at the Landgraaf Megaland area. Ticket sales didn’t go too well because of the lack of real big names. All days of this multi style event were headlined by dance acts. Apart form the Chemical Brothers and Faithless, there was the Prodigy. Something I personally looked forward to having been quite a fan of their ‘Fat of the Land’ album for a while. But being there on day one as the photographer for Epica’s special gig, I also had a chance to have an exclusive look at the ‘dark music’ acts of this festival.


After what seemed like forever the Epica guitarist, grunter and founder Mark Jansen was finally where he wanted to be: Pinkpop. The fact that he could at last play at the oldest multi-day festival of Europe, something he just missed when he was forced to leave his previous band, made this a very special moment for both him and the rest of the band. The record company had decided to record the entire performance in order to be able to make a DVD out of it, so Epica had a special trick up its sleeve.

Epica somehow has had quite their share of bad critics at the Dutch festivals, though I didn’t really share that opinion. They had decided to give it all to convince the audience and the press. The music was played well by all musicians, considering more than half of the setlist was made up of the songs of the new album. The new songs sounded as if they were well rehearsed and played for a while. The show kicked off with the band’s new intro, followed by ‘Dance of Fate’, ‘The Last Crusade’ and ‘Quietus’ from the new album, ‘Consign to Oblivion’. During their new single ‘Solitary Ground’ the stage was reorganised, a grand piano was put on stage and a string quartet was sat down besides it. With Coen (keys) on the grand piano and the string quartet, this version sounded much like the version on their single. Apart from two very unfortunate problems with the sound it all was pretty nice to listen to. We must however feel sorry for Epica. Somebody stepped on an item on stage forcing Mark (guitars/vocals) to franticly search for the problem with his guitar for an entire song. And if that wasn’t enough a security guard pulled the plug of the vocals by accident during ‘Mother of Light’, leaving us with a karaoke version of the song for a chorus

As mentioned before on this site Epica is rapidly progressing in the way of performance. It looks like the band starts to feel much better on a larger stage. Almost constantly the band members are seeking interaction both with eachother and with the audience. Simone, dressed in purple pants and a black jacket, was moving all over the stage trying to make contact with the audience who were just out of reach. Even stepping down to the lowered part of the stage, reserved for the cameras, couldn’t get her or Mark close enough to the enthusiastic audience. As mentioned before the addiction of the grand piano and string quartet on stage gave this show a special touch. It was nice to see that it only took a minute or so to get it all set-up causing minimal delay in the show, great work by all the crew. Mark gave his all on stage making powerful gestures to emphasize his words, even pulling over the mic stand while falling down at the floor during ‘Cry for the Moon’. This was what he worked for for such a long time, and it paid off. Showing his gratitude and happiness he was personally thanking the audience in the front row while the last notes of ‘The Phantom Agony’ sounded. On the whole light was decent during the show giving it a nice atmosphere, some front light to see all the band members and still enough surrounding coloured light or strobes to create the right atmosphere. I can conclude Epica has grown and seems to be enjoying themselves on stage. The feedback from the audience seems to give them extra energy making the audience even more enthusiastic.

0. Hunab K’u (intro)
1. Dance of Fate
2. The Last Crusade
3. Quietus
4. Seif al Din
5. Run for a Fall
6. Solitary Ground
7. Cry for the Moon
8. Mother of Light
9. Black Infinity
10. The Phantom Agony

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 8 (7.8)

Within Temptation

They seemed to be booked for every festival this year; not only in the Netherlands but the band surely grows bigger and bigger in the rest of the world too. With a number 1 hit song in Spain and great sales of their album ‘The Silent Force’ all over Europe it’s still a band that should be at some of the bigger festivals in the Netherlands. Almost no young devoted fans in the audience today, but mainly seasoned festival fans with a much more general musical taste than gothic metal. It may be a lot harder to convince these people than their devoted fan base, can they?

The band seems to be able to play these songs by heart now; the same songs as usual were played at this festival. But we need to keep in mind that many of these people haven’t seen that much of the band so far, therefore the setlist gave a really good impression of the way Within Temptation is now. Again Sharon knows to convince me with the angelic voice which sounds great through the wall of heavy guitars and drums. The drums however seemed to be even better in the mix than Sharon this time; producing a very clear and ferocious beat from the bass drum. The guitars weren’t too present, only at the solo of Ruud, the guitar had a very clear presence. Although there was quite a bit of wind the sound overall seemed to be pretty good in the various places I have been during the concert.

Like all bands, Within Temptation was also introduced by the Dutch radio host Giel Beelen. For the occasion he was dressed in a pink dress; like the doll in the festival’s logo. I must say, even though he was wearing really bad outfits the whole weekend, this one was by far the worst. He agreed and told the audience Sharon would look much better in a dress and so she did. She entered the stage while she was singing the first notes of ‘See who I am’ dressed in a long black skirt with a dark blue corset with attached ribbons that made her arm moves even more dramatic. After I had to leave the photo pit behind when the first three songs had finished Sharon had changed her outfit. She was now wearing the white corset with pink straps as she has worn during their club tour. There seemed to be plenty of room on the main stage because all the props they have were on stage and there was still enough room left for everybody to move. Even the angels that seemed to have exchanged by the pillars were now side by side with those same inflatable pillars on the stage, where all the props seems to grow more and more green plastic plants every new concert I see. The band seemed to have a good time again jumping up and down, both on the main stage as well as on the small catwalk in front of the stage. Guitarist Ruud seems to like the cameras; posing while he plays, during his solo he too uses the catwalk to get closer to the audience. Because of the day time hours full of light the show wasn’t as impressive as it could be at night. The video projector had been replaced by a back-drop, the lights were pale and a lot of smoke was needed to produce some bit of a light show. The pyro however had more effect with some fire torches, smoke columns and flares. With some of the audience on it’s way to the show of the Heideroosjes the band returns for an encore of two songs, Sharon changed clothes again, while wearing a white dress she sung ‘Deceiver of Fools’ and of course ‘Ice Queen’. Did they capture the attention of the audience? I’d say so. While walking around the audience I didn’t see too many people who didn’t watch the show: mission accomplished.

0. Intro
1. See Who I Am
2. Jillian
3. Angels
4. The Promise
5. Pale
6. Forsaken
7. Stand My Ground
8. Memories
9. Running up that Hill
10. Caged
11. Mother Earth
12. Deceiver of Fools
13. Ice Queen

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 5 (not in the total score due to daylight)
Total: 8 (7.8)


Well this is a band most of you have most probably never heard of outside the Netherlands. This punkrock band has been around for 15 years and was practically playing in their backyard. Singer Marco has done the presentation of Pinkpop quite a few times (as he did this year too), so he sure knew his way around the festival. Marco sings quite a few songs in Dutch and English on a variety of subjects. If the titles do sound a bit weird at times I’m sorry, it’s a Dutch band after all.

Now this is punk, a big wall of sound is supposed to come your way, but it doesn’t, at least not all the time. The band mixes the aggressive songs well with their critical sing-a-longs, something the audience clearly enjoys because I do hear quite a few of them sing at the top of their lungs at songs like ‘Sjonnie en Anita’ about the Dutch ignorant youth who just seem to have eyes for their bikes. Though he seems to have altered the lyrics, he sings “Within Temptation is cool” referring of course to the now popular Within Temptation. Soon after this song he starts to sing a cover of Iggy Pop: ‘Candy’, something that surely doesn’t sound as good as it could with a female partner, just when I write down the song sounds empty like this Within Temptation’s Sharon enters the stage showing what a great voice she has for this kind of songs. Vocals were pretty basic and not all in tune but it suited the entire show and core of the ‘Heideroosjes’. And so did the instruments, nothing too fancy, just straight forward party punk. The sound was mainly focussed on the vocals, guitars and drums leaving the bass in the back; it somehow didn’t really make it all the way to my ears. Not bad but could have been better.

Aggression is the first thing that comes to mind when looking at Marco in stage. He seems to be furious about whatever he’s opposed to in his lyrics. On the other hand he’s very friendly and enthusiastic when talking to the audience. As one of the few artists he announces almost every song with the proper and lengthy introduction. Bass player Fred mentions to happy to be on stage in his, rather outrageous, new suit. During the show the band members move around the stage, though Marco was even worse, he was just is all over the place. Marco was complaining about the fact that they wanted bras thrown on stage but all he got was a CD. Most of the rest of the performance is made up of the ‘stand-up comedian-like presentation of their songs. During the introduction of ‘Time is Ticking Away’ he explains that it’s a song about death and everybody’s invited to march along, this is no death march however! A special bit of attention is put into inviting the audience to sing along in a song against the civil war in Liberia, closely linked to the central theme for Amnesty International during the festival. The radio item that was recorded was a small song of the audience and the band singing: “Hello Liberia, this is Holland calling, I say: vote against rape!” Less serious but not less noteworthy was the cover of Iggy Pop’s ‘Candy’ which featured the same Sharon who had just finished her on show minutes before the Heideroosjes kicked off. Back then she was wearing a white long dress, now she had changed into a short black one, much to the appreciation of the male audience. The light was monochromous at the beginning and gradually changed into a more colourful mode. Sometimes the light was bright but at least all of the band could clearly be seen during the entire show. Nothing really special however, just plain concert lighting.

1. Scapegoat revolution
2. Blind born predjudice
3. We’re all fucked up
4. Ik Wil Niks
5. Break the Public Peace
6. Nothing’s wrong
7. Sjonnie en Anita
8. I’ve Got a Fistfull of Ideals in a World Full of Shit
9. Time is Ticking Away
10. Amnesty song
11. I’m Not Deaf, I’m Just Ignoring You
12. Candy (Iggy Pop cover)
13. Damclub Hooligan
14. Since 1989
15. A Bag Full of Stories

Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 6
Light: 6
Total 7 (7.3)


The Finnish metal cellists (Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, Perttu Kivilaakso) returned to the Netherlands after having been there during their European tour in March/April. Looking at the audience and careful listening revealed that many of the female audience is interested in the band for more than one reason. The second being the looks of the two long haired cellists, who for sure do not look like the everyday cello player which you see in big orchestras. Of course looks count for artists, but if the music sucks be sure the band won’t last too long, the novelty of Apocalyptica sure hasn’t worked out proving their musical skills still manage to impress the audience. With an almost full tent, a low stage and many arms in the air many of the visitors can’t even see the band, so the music must have convinced them. With a loud roar and some high screams the audience welcomes the band when it enters the stage. The band is ready, the audience is ready, let’s hear some kick ass cello metal.

Once the band is seated they hit off violently with ‘Path’ while being in their wooden thrones. With only for cellists and a, by all means very capable, drummer (Mikko), sound could be expected to be a bit limited. This band however shows the full versatility of a cello. Everything; ranging from high pitched violin-like sounds to a powerful bass, can be played on the cello. With some conventional and less conventional techniques the band manages to produce a rich sound straight from the cello or with the use of some effect elements. Picking the strings, producing a distortion guitar-like sound and producing a scream like sound by playing at the wrong side of the strings. They use all their tricks to make it a diverse musical experience. Although some of their more recent songs include vocals, there was no vocalist at hand for the day because Lauri Ylönen of the Rasmus was recording a new album. The band therefore asked the audience to sing along with their new single ‘Life Burns’. The words however were too unknown to most of the audience to sing along. Something the audience however did at full force with some Metallica covers like ‘Master of Puppets’, ‘Nothing Else Matters’ and ‘Enter Sandman’. At the end of the show Apocalyptica asked the audience if they wanted more, the band treated them with the classical music they like. Greig’s ‘Hall of the Mountain King’ was a piece that certainly fit the set well, giving the audience a taste of mind blowing classical music. The sound was very well balanced. There was plenty of definition in the sound making it easy to hear all the different melodies played by each of the four cellos as well as the rhythms of the bass and the drums. Speaking of the bass, this was top class amplifying, a very deep and full sound that never went into an oversteared hum. The sound engineer showed us what the installation was capable of, the best I heard whole weekend!

The band makes a good entry to the stage; friendly greeting their fans. After that they start off the show sitting on their fragile chairs. Soon after the show has started, especially the guys with long hair, had problems sitting still and they feel the unstoppable need to do some serious headbanging while playing the cello, a truly stunning performance. The band, especially Paavo, was trying to get people to join in and party which at least the first 15 rows of the audiences were more than eager to do. It took a while, but during ‘Life Burns’ they finally left their seats and started to play all around the stage, first one, then two and eventually three, leaving only they forth cellist (Antero) in his seat looking cool with his sunglasses on. The band cheered up the audience, waving their hands not even bothered they were holding their cellos high above their heads in the mean time. Much to the joy of the many women in the front of the audience Eicca and Perttu even decided to take care of some heat reduction by taking of their shirts. While moving around and playing the show got more exciting to look when it progressed. Just before they left the stage Eicca collapsed on the stage while trying to ‘saw’ through his cello with his bow ending this frantic solo by throwing away his bow and leaving the cello behind on stage; a dramatic sight. The lights were bright but mainly coming from behind, the overall visibility was bad because of the heavy use of smoke which was too bad. The light show wasn’t bad, but the smoke sort of ruined it for me. After the encore, with two more songs, the audience still wanted more, but the band was not allowed to return. “We want more, we want more” has to mean they convinced the audience.

1. Path
2. Master of Puppets
3. Somewhere
4. Nothing Else Matters
5. Quutamo
6. Life Burns
7. Betrayal
8. Bittersweet
9. Seek & Destroy
10. Inquisition Symphony
11. Enter Sandman
12. Hall of the Mountain King

Music: 9
Performance: 8
Sound: 9
Light: 6
Total: 8 (8.3)

The Prodigy

How to introduce a band with such a reputation, and where to start on describing their music? I think I’ll just stick to mentioning their biggest hit and I guess that will do the job for everybody. Those of you who have never heard of ‘Firestarter’ should at least go and listen to their critically acclaimed album ‘Fat of the Land’ which was released back in the 90’s. After this it went all quiet with the band and it’s frontman Keith Flint with the characteristic red horns on his head. Last August the band released a new album, they are now ready for a real come-back on stage, many festivals have the Prodigy in their line-up this summer. But they start at Pinkpop, can they pull this one off?

This is where things get tricky, this music is mainly electronic and the question is: how to perform this live. To do this you need to have at least live vocals and for that they brought two singers Maxim, wearing a long dark skirt, a long coat and a white banner on his dark face, was clearly the better of the two when it came to singing. When looking at the vocal capabilities of Keith Flint you have to admit he’s not as talented but still it suits the show in a strange way. The band further consists of founder and main writer Liam Howlett behind the keyboards and sequencers, a guitarist (Jim Davis) and a drummer (Kieron Peeper). These last two seemed to be there just for the show because I couldn’t really hear them in the mix. The set started off with 3 songs of the new album ‘Always Outnumbers, Never Outgunned’ and then got the audience into the next level of excitement when they started ‘Breathe’ of their top album ‘Fat of the Land’. The sound on the festival area was very nice, a deep bass and lots of clarity in the high notes, you could feel the music right through your body without it getting too loud (or was that due to my earplugs). A great sound of the music and average vocals made it sound good enough, still wonder what the guitarist and drummer were doing there…

The show started with the band members entering the stage, a rather timid reaction of the audience, until Keith appeared in sight. No longer equipped with his red horns but still with his piercing eyes, Keith was quite a sight. With this the music picked up pace and the audience seemed to explode right then and there. This was the first band that really conquered Pinkpop out of the blue. While running around like a madman Keith even got the entire press stressed out. I’ve not seen so many photographers running front of the stage trying to capture his outrageous poses or his sweet interaction with the cameras or their operators. The Prodigy was there and made that very clear from the start. With Maxim singing Keith got even weirder than before showing his gratitude to the audience for their great response. When I made my way through the audience after I had left the photo pit I couldn’t deny the power of the music and the aggressive rhythms; I was almost tempted to dance (ask anyone who knows me, I never dance). Almost I say because I was very concentrated on trying to write a review looking through the thousands of cheering hands and waving flags. The light of this show was impressive; with spots on Keith and Maxim we could see their every move, that is, if the spot operators could actually follow them running around the stage. A huge amount of light was thrown into the skies from the stage, pulsating with the beats of the music leaving the audience stare at the stage when it was all over. They sure pulled this one off!

0. Wake Up Call (intro)
1. Their Law
2. Wake up Call
3. Warning
4. Breathe
5. Spitfire
6. Back to School
7. Girls/More Girls
8. Dead Ken Beats
9. Firestarter
10. Action Radar break
11. Mindfields
12. Poison
13. Smack my bitch Up
14. Out of Space

Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 9
Total: 8 (8.4)

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