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De Boerderij, Zoetermeer
8th May 2015

Ian Sutherland: Photos by Sharik Derksen

ian sutherland

stream of passion

First band on tonight were Synergy Protocol, a five piece progressive Metal outfit. They were full of energy and fun throughout their short set but the songs came over as unfocused and lacked any real hooks to get the audience interested.

Blonde bombshell singer Laura Guldemond (it's almost obligatory these days for a Dutch Metal band to have a female singer) certainly looks like a rock star and has a pretty good voice but the only song in the set which really kept the audience's attention was final number 'Flight From Terra'.

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This was a more ambitious, complex song than the others in their set but their bizarre promotional idea of throwing out paper aeroplanes made from band leaflets was mostly what got the audience engaged and smiling while throwing them around. It was revealed to me later that Laura is leaving the band so I'm not sure where they go from there; a band at a crossroads.

stream of passion
Synergy Protocol

Kingfisher Sky are a much better known band, in the same genre technically as Synergy Protocol but as this performance showed, in a whole different league.

With a history going as far back as 2001 when drummer Ivar de Graaf formed the band after leaving Within Temptation they have matured into an impressive outfit. Their unique style mixes classical and folk influences with progressive Metal overtones and gives them an epic yet understated vibe full of lush melodies and uplifting harmonies.

stream of passion
Kingfisher Sky

Complex though their sound may be there is an obvious chemistry in the band so it comes over that they are having fun and singer Judith Rijnveld exchanges jokes and smiles throughout with the rest of the band and the audience. One of the things that makes this seven piece band stand out is having a full time cello player in the band and Maaike Peterse adds to the sound and performance, seemingly having more fun than anyone else with a cello short of Apocalyptica.

Much of their set is drawn from last year's 'Arms Of Morpheus' album which has the band sounding stronger and more confident than ever. 'Mercy On This Wounded Heart' is suitably epic in style with some fine atmospheric guitar work from Edo van der Kolk and a heartfelt, emotional lead vocal but the band return to their back catalogue to finish off with 'Brody' which takes them through all the light and shade which is their trademark.

stream of passion
Kingfisher Sky

I've seen Kingfisher Sky a few times now and this was the best performance in my opinion. They are becoming a really confident and impressive outfit and deserve to get more exposure and opportunities. The rapturous reception they got at the end of this set is ample evidence of that.

Headliners Stream Of Passion were celebrating the 10th anniversary of the release of their classic debut album 'Embrace The Storm'. Starting as a side project for Ayreon mastermind Arjen Lucassen there have been many changes in the band's style and line up in the years since then but there is a palpable sense of anticipation in a crowd including Lucassen himself and original lead guitarist Lori Linstruth as the lights dim.

'Spellbound' is the opening track and is perfect for this with Martijn Peters starting the complex intro on the drums then each band member appearing one by one as they join in on the song. It builds up to a joyous crescendo before the band launch into crowd favourite 'Passion' which gave the band their name and with its' blend of drama, complexities and atmosphere much of their style. Mexican siren Marcela Bovio is as captivating as ever with her seemingly endless ability to hit notes other singers can only dream of while prowling the stage and engaging anyone in the crowd she fastens her gaze on.

The plan is to run through the whole of 'Embrace The Storm' in order and while many of the songs have been or are regulars in recent sets it is a little strange to hear them in the same order as the album. The breathless power of 'Haunted' is usually used to finish off a gig but is no less effective for being included earlier. The ballad 'Nostalgia' sung in Spanish and on this occasion with some beautiful haunting cello from Kingfisher Sky's Maaike Peterse turns up later than it normally might but is stunning nevertheless.

stream of passion
Stream Of Passion

The hardcore fan base had been especially looking forward to hearing songs that the band had never played live before and there was no disappointment as 'Breathing Again' and 'I'll Keep On Dreaming' were stunningly executed. Guitarist Stephan Schultz admitted later that he felt the pressure to get the wild and wonderful solos right with the original players watching him from the crowd but he and fellow axeman Eric Hazebroek both played a blinder.

'Open Your Eyes' had been only performed before as piano and vocal but this time keyboard maestro Jeffrey Revet allowed the rest of the band to join in and the result retained the fragile beauty of the song but added some extra power as well.

All too quickly it was time for the quirky keyboard hook of 'Calliopeia' to herald the last song from the album and the band left the stage to a huge ovation which simply didn't die down until they returned a few minutes later.

Rather than a traditional encore what came next was a mini set of post 'Embrace The Storm' material starting with 'Monster' during which the band donned the same scary masks used in the recently released video. It was a nice touch and I have to say bass player Johan van Stratum looked particularly at home in his as he stomped around the stage in his trademark high energy style.

stream of passion
Stream Of Passion

Masks removed the band ran through the more recent material with the same energy as usual, feeding off an enthusiastic crowd for a huge singalong section in 'The Curse' and leaping around like there's no tomorrow for 'In The End'. The haunting 'Broken' was done as a duet between Ms Bovio and Synergy Protocol's Laura Guldemond which was in effect a teacher duetting with a student from the Metal Factory music school in Holland. The student did well but still has some way to go to match her mentor.

'This Endless Night' was resurrected as set closer and with its' all in this together vibe was a suitable way for band and audience to celebrate the end of a fantastic gig together(although of course the post gig celebrations went on long into the night).

Playing a whole album from end to end is very common for bands with a heritage now and in my experience sometimes it works and sometimes not. In this case it definitely 100% worked and both band and audience would be happy to do it again. I hope we don't have to wait until the 2019 'The Flame Within' anniversary.

I'll Keep on Dreaming
Wherever You Are
Open Your Eyes
Embrace the Storm
Breathing Again
Out in the Real World
A War of Our Own
The Curse
Broken (with Laura Guldemond from Synergy Protocol)
In the End
This Endless Night

Synergy Protocol


Kingfisher Sky


Stream Of Passion




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