Pagan`s Mind / Power Quest / Soliloquy
27 March 2006
Camden Underworld, London
Soliloquy conquered Bloodstock`s Darwin Stage last year, turning in the best performance I saw on it all weekend. It was therefore great to finally catch them in London. Of course as openers time is limited and with very long songs we only got four numbers from Soliloquy tonight.
Corrosive De-Emphasis from the band`s first demo opened the set with its twists and turns and Pete Morten`s helium vocals giving a clear indication of what to expect. Actually it`s difficult to know what to expect from a Soliloquy song as there`s so many about turns which hold your interest.
Cramped into a small space there was not much room for the band to manoeuvre but on downing his guitar for Fractured, Pete Morten put his energy into getting the crowd clapping along. That`s actually only something that can be done in short segments due to the many time changes.
New song This Changes Everything adds a moody edge to the set with bassist Pete Waldock echoing the song`s title over a more restrained progressive backing. Of Earth & Sky had to finish the set and is a song I never tire of hearing.
Soliloquy set list:
Corrosive De-Emphasis / Fractured / This Changes Everything / Of Earth & Sky
Billed as a co-headliner, Power Quest took the stage first tonight with an equal stage time to Pagan`s Mind. Having picked up the band`s latest cd at ProgPower UK, where I also caught Freedom Call, the crux of my hot/cold relationship with the band`s material became apparent, so I`ll get it out of the way. Much like Freedom Call, Power Quest widely employ 80s sounding synth sounds, which are just not to my pallet.
However, looking at the performance, there was a lot to take from tonight`s display. Find My Heaven opened and rides along on a Sonata Arctica like vibe, with a great guitar solo from Andrea Martongelli. Sacred Land had Alessio Garavello singing at high speed over the racing rhythm as he builds to the high pitched conclusion of the song`s chorus. Garavello is actually a great frontman both in terms of his high range and personality. With a seemingly constant smile he remains right in the crowd`s faces for the duration.
Temple Of Fire maintained the feel good factor with bassist Steve Scott bouncing along to the song`s chorus. Following this it was time for Steve Williams to step out from behind his keyboards to the chants of "key-tar" which he duly put on for Children Of The Dream.
The band enter AOR territory and leave my tastes with Hold On To Love, but the Quest faithful lap it up, singing the song`s title. Neverworld put the pedal to the metal and closed a tight and energetic set.
Power Quest set list:
Find My Heaven / Soulfire / Wings Of Forever / Edge Of Time / Sacred Land / Temple Of Fire / Children Of The Dream / Magic Never Dies / Hold On To Love / Strike force / Neverworld
I`d initially wondered how up I`d be for seeing Pagan`s Mind twice in three days, but following their awesome showing at ProgPower UK nothing was going to stop me from attending tonight. Amazingly the band not only matched that performance but topped it.
The setlist tonight was basically an expanded version of the one played at ProgPower UK, though I had no reservations in hearing the likes of openers The Celestine Prophecy and Agean Shores for a second time.
Stian Kristoffersen drum roll introduced The Seven Sacred Promises with its technical verses and uplifting chorus. That`s something that really appeals to me about Pagan`s Mind. The band are able to showcase their undoubted musical talent but never at the expense of the song itself.
What came across in the performance was how much the band were enjoying themselves. The crowd was far bigger than I had anticipated and to hear them singing back the chorus to Entrance To Infinity in what up until two days before had been an unchartered territory, explained the huge grin on bassist Steinar Krokmo`s face. Armed with six strings Krokmo is an absolute monster on the bass and it`s with jealousy I watched his fingers race across the fretboard.
Back To The Magic Of Childhood Part 2 provided an instrumental interlude and a chance to showcase the band`s dexterity. Apparently keyboard player Ronny Tegner had been entertaining customers in the hotel the band were staying in on the piano and his abilities were proven here with a great musical relationship with Jørn Viggo Lofstad`s guitar. Lofstad once again was holding my attention. His demeanour is so laid back versus what his fingers appear to be doing. The tail end of this instrumental really picked up with Lofstad mouthing along a sound to match his roaring guitar before racing through a section of jaw dropping tapping and picking to the song`s conclusion.
Ronny Tegner`s "Close Encounter" sounding keyboards introduced The Prophecy Of Pleiades with it`s spaced-out vibe providing a back drop for Nils K. Rue`s vocals to soar higher and higher to the point where you think he`s hit his ceiling before he pushes them that bit further.
Enigmatic Mission is perhaps one of the most direct songs Pagan`s Mind have delivered and it`s power just makes you want to headbang along. The guitar run at the conclusion of the chorus is an absolute gem and I`m told in rehearsals Lofstad nonchalantly runs through it with ease with a fag hanging out of the corner of his mouth. Comically Rue turned in an extra-high scream during this song much to the amusement of Krokmo.
Through Osiris' Eyes was the band`s signature tune prior to the latest album and it`s full credit to the band that they`ve assembled new material that easily matches up to it. Things were supposed to conclude with New World Order but we wanted more and weren`t leaving until we got it. Looking gobsmacked by the reaction to their debut UK headline show the band returned to treat us with Dimensions Of Fire. Quite frankly I could have stood there all night until they`d covered the whole of their last two albums given the chance. Simply awesome.
Pagan`s Mind set list:
The Celestine Prophecy / Aegean Shores / The Seven Sacred Promises / Entrance To Infinity / Back To The Magic Of Childhood Part 2 / The Prophecy Of Pleiades / Enigmatic Mission / Through Osiris' Eyes / New World Order / Dimensions Of Fire