Progressive Circus – Palladium, Malmö; September 29th, 2018
I cannot remember how I heard about Progressive Circus in Malmö, but it must have either been Anneke van Giersbergen or iamthemorning who announced they were playing there. either way, it looked interesting, especially after I read they were only going to have female/femal fronted bands at the festval. When I bought the ticket I had no idea I was going to have time in September, but was very happy when it turned out I did. The Festival was a nice, small one, organized by friendly people at a good venue. I enjoyed being there and had a good time. 🙂
My trip to Malmö started early and I was there around 9:30 in the morning. Unfortunately, my hotel would not let me check in before 2 pm and so I could not catch up on some much needed sleep before the concert. The weather was nice though and I spent some time walking around Malmö before lunch. At 2:30 I was at the venue and nobody was there yet, even though the doors opened at 3. I had expected a line. Waited, saw a handful of people arrive, got in and learned that photography was not allowed. Nobody was checking really, but I refrained from doing it. Thought it might be a good thing to just enjoy the concert.
Merit Hemmingson was first. Apparently she’s been making music for over 50 years. It was her on Hammond organ together with a drummer. Their music was instrumental and somewhat jazzy. They played well and had some good tunes, but after a while I got a bit bored because this was not really my style. Her set had a good length though and was the right warm up for everyone else.
The second artist was one I had come for: The wonderful Anneke von Giersbergen. No matter which music she plays or which band she is with, I always enjoy her work. She did a solo set for us and that alone was worth the trip to Malmö.
At the start she joked about not being very tall and with a stage like this one (that was not raised from the floor) it was good that people were seated. She wanted to know what vuur (fire) is in Swedish and tried saying it. Then started with Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m on Fire’, telling us we could sing along if we liked. I did and others followed. It was a lovely chorus. 🙂 Afterwards Anneke had to re-tune her guitar, exclaimed “Scheisse!” when it would not work and then of course asked for the Swedish word. Well, skit is a bit difficult to pronounce for non-Swedish speakers , even though I would think it can’t be that hard for someone who knows Dutch. Anyway, guitar was tuned eventually and we got to hear The Gathering’s ‘Saturine’. No idea if I’ve heard her play that song before, but I loved it.
She treated us to Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish you were here’ and it was so beautiful I cried. That song has always had a special place in my heart. <3 Her very own, ‘Circles’ was next and brought more tears to my eyes. So many memories come with that song. Anneke told us a stories how she would sing Mr.Misters ‘Broken Wings’ along to the radio when she was a child and how her aunt would always asked her to sing that song. Yet when she did it in concert, her aunt did not remember, but played along anyway. I enjoyed hearing the song very much. She also joked that we were so nice she wanted to take us all home to live with her.
“Do you believe in love?” she wanted to know and not everyone agreed so she admitted to being a hippie, a metal hippie 😀 and played Foreigner’s ‘I wanna know what love is’ for us. It was such a great selection of songs she had made for this concert. Next was a story about talking Ayreon into touring with her and how amazing it was, but in the end he said he’d never do it again. Thus, Anneke played one of his songs too, ‘Valley of the Queens’. She also gave us Kate Bush’s ‘Cloudbusting’ and ended with Iron Maiden’s ‘Wasted Years’. I must admit I’ve never paid any attention to them and now I think I should. I absolutely loved the song. It was funny too, because it starts with a guitar solo and she joked she’d never dare playing that if Vuur’s guitarists were watching. The whole set made me smile. It was as perfect as can be. 😀
I’m on Fire (Bruce Springsteen cover)
Saturnine (The Gathering song)
Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd cover)
Broken Wings (Mr. Mister cover)
I Want to Know What Love Is (Foreigner cover)
Valley of the Queens (Ayreon cover)
Cloudbusting (Kate Bush cover)
Wasted Years (Iron Maiden cover)
Next up were Promise & the Monster a four piece band with three women and one man. I really liked their music. It was good and varied and even had me tap my foot at times. They had an interesting selection of instruments with a violin and even a transverse flute added to the mix. They had lots of power and drive all through their set and got people going. I loved watching them as well as listening and when the one guys played his guitar with a bow it put a big smile on my face. They were all really good and I enjoyed the singer’s voice. It’s not exactly the stuff I’d listen to on a daily basis, but sure worth checking out. At the end of their set they walked off the stage one by one with the violin remaining last. The organizers sure chose the artists well.
The festival organizers came out to announce the next band and first asked were people came from to see the festival.It was quite a nice mix of countries including Denmark, Russia and even Mexico.
iamthemorning played an amazing set too. They are not the band I listen to a lot at home, as I need to be in a certain mood to do so, but I love to see them live. There is just something about Marjana being lost in the music, moving across stage and her beautiful voice that really captures me. Not to mention Gleb’s amazing piano work. This time they had a guitar bass and drums with them, but I did not know the musicians. I had been hoping for Guillaume on cello, but no such luck. That did not make the concert any less awesome though. 🙂
After ‘Touching II’ Marjana apologized in advance for any possibly offensive jokes and talked about how difficult it was to make friends in Sweden where “people are not good with social things”. She told a lot of stories that day like mentioning they were supposed to play in London, but they would not let her in. Also she agreed with Anneke on how nice people were here and she was right. It was a very respectful audience. 🙂 The songs were all amazing and some even felt a little less depressing than the rest of them. 😉 Well, she did warn us they’d sing about death and mental illness and misery. Introducing ‘To Human Misery’ she even joked “That’s what we drink to in Russia”. Either way, I enjoyed it. It was a great set and they appear to be lovely people. Marjana was truly moved when they got standing ovations in the end. 😀
To Human Misery
Chalk And Coal
Finally it was time for Vuur, the band most seemed to have been waiting for. I like them, but I do prefer Anneke’s softer side. They certainly rocked the house, playing mostly their own songs, but a few covers as well. Watching the band is lots of fun, since they are constantly on the move. I got to see a lot of flying hair. 😉 They were loud though. I was glad I had earplugs. That being said, Anneke can sing anything and it was amazing to hear her clear voice mix in with such powerful music. The fact that the venue had great sound really helped too.
I had fun watching the band rock out and seeing the audience rock along. Anneke high-fived two guys who had chosen to sit on the floor in front of all the seats and they were visibly happy about it. She wanted to get everyone to move and with Devin Townsend’s ‘Fallout’ she asked everyone to get up and come closer. We did and she played ‘Fallout’ and ‘Rio’ among us. Of course they got an encore too and retured to the stage for us. Anneke asked them back to the stage and noted that “Vuur” was a weird name to shout. She thanked everyone before they played ‘Helsinki’. The last song of the night was The Gathering’s ‘Strange Machines’. 🙂
It had been a great night and the people I’d been chatting to between bands wanted to go out for drinks, but I felt beat so I declined and returned to my hotel to catch some sleep. I’ll keep an eye on this festival for sure. If there are more bands I like I might just return.
Time – Rotterdam
On Most Surfaces (Inuït) (The Gathering cover)
My Champion – Berlin
The Storm (The Gentle Storm cover)
The Martyr and the Saint – Beirut
Days Go By – London
Fallout (Devin Townsend Project cover)
Freedom – Rio
Your Glorious Light Will Shine – Helsinki
Strange Machines (The Gathering cover)