Minimum Vital + Finisterre + Difícil Equilibrio+ Galleon
Saturday day 13 of May turned out to be one of the most important days for the progressive scene in Spain. The biggest prog-rock event in the year took place for the second year in the small village of Tiana, very close to the city of Barcelona. The concert lineup, which included well known names such as Finisterre, Minimum Vital, the spectacular Difícil Equilibrio and Galleon, augured a colorful night in a beautiful location, perfect for the recreation of something as rich, musically speaking, as progressive rock. With a concert organization completely geared on to perfection in arrangements, for an event that given its dimensions and the number of people implied, must have not been an easy task
At around 5:00 in the afternoon in a radiant sunny day the progVisions team formed by JP and Jordi Costa arrived to the place, which for us turned out to be the center point to concentrate our deeper musical emotions. The atmosphere could not be better. We found, apart from the excellent organizing team, the musicians that were working on the soundchecks in that moment, some of which we were happy to talk to, verifying that emotion was not exclusive of those that came to witness the show, but also of the musicians, mixed with their desires to please the progressive audience and make us enjoy the most. Somewhat later arrived the group of people that were dedicated to the stands for sale of progressive products. These stands were located in the entrance of the club, with people like Antonio Escalante from the magazine Mellotron, Toni Roig of Lunar Waves, Esteve Vendrell of the prog store Pan y Música and George Pinilla that represented the French record label Musea.
Time seemed to fly enjoying the good atmosphere that was generated as the hour for the opening of doors came closer. At 19:30 PM, after satiating our progressive desire in the bar located in the same place, we were announced that the musicians were prepared for a round of questions that, of course, we attended. We could verify in the small press meeting that, apart from the more technical answers, there was an excellent latent atmosphere between the groups and the musicians aimed to give everything in their performances, happy with the organization, the place, the atmosphere .
The extensive setlist with 4 bands, one more than the previous year, required of great punctuality in the start and end of each performance, and to avoid an excessive duration of the festival, which could affect the strength of the concurrence. In this way Galleon began their concert with English punctuality, at nine o'clock. The Swedes are a band that practices a progressive of evident classic influences, and whose main contribution is to bring up to date the musical patterns of the big bands of the genre. We are speaking of Yes and Genesis, mainly, but also of King Crimson and, in some moments, Van der Graaf Generator. They possess a quite melodic sound, like it is usual in the Swedish bands, as well as an inherited theatrical spirit from Gabriel's band. They carried out a very well prepared performance and they wanted to make us happy. The delivery and the contact with the public were one of the relevant factors, as well as the repertoire of selected pieces of all their published albums making an special emphasis in their last work, the recently published "Beyond dreams".
And now we were facing Difícil Equilibrio, a perfectly assembled machine of Crimson sounds. A trio of a city very close to Tiana, Badalona, that presented a collection of compositions belonging to their two albums, "Difícil Equilibrio" and "Trayecto" that made the public vibrate, checking the tremendous force of their instrumental developments. Those of us that attended a while ago their concert in Terrassa already knew about this formations great talent, student of the most complicated structures created in progressive (Gong, Magma, Univers Zero, ) and they caused a great impact to those that were there. The expectations of watching them play in a large scenario with all the power of a good sound equipment were large, and of course, they didn't defraud us. As an entry they already showed their great talent with songs like "By pass" or "Naufragio" that left the audience that filled the club completely hypnotized. Alberto's Frippian developments (guitar) with those circular loops, accompanied by a rhythm section that captivated an audience that could not hide their astonishment in some moments, with a huge Lluís (drums), emulating the best percussion moments of Bill Bruford or Christian Vander, and Enric (bass) the perfect complement giving body and volume, lifting his partners toward the sky in pieces like "Compulsion". The beautiful Malva Bruma", more calm, opened the final part of the concert, in a last effort that made the audience shake. "Generación extraviada (part 1 and 2)" or "La lógica del vampiro" almost closed their performance, and I mean almost, as the final ovation followed by the chants of the audience that wanted to continue enjoying the music of these guys of Badalona, made the group return to the scenario, finishing off the night with "Larks' tongues in aspic, part II" of Crimson, in their classic perfect recreation, making us submerge in a total ecstasy.
The sensation that you almost could feel at the end of the concert was of illusion, after verifying the existence of such a brilliant band in our land. We have them so close and they maintain the flame of a movement that was generated at the end of the 70s here.
The level of Difícil Equilibrio was difficult to increase. People, after the previous lesson, and after refreshing in the bar and the tables where they could acquire interesting progressive material, entered again the club with a desire to follow the party. And the party went on with the excellent Finisterre coming from Italy. One of the best bands in the last years with fantastic works like "In limine" or "In ogni luogo", and big followers of the Italian progressive tradition. Their performance began with the interpretation of pieces of their last album. "Tempi moderni", "Snàporaz" or "Ninive" compositions of great lyricism with the very intense melodies characteristic of bands so emblematic as Le Orme or Museo Rosenbach, blended with far away sounds used outside the genre by Radiohead, Kula Shaker The intensity, emotion and force of their concert made us enjoy a lot, with compositions of long duration like "Syn". Pure progressive trips with registration changes and constant intensity. Fabio Zuffanti (bass) was the most extrovert player, apart from a great musician, moving the concert and his partners at all moments. Stefano Marelli (guitar and voice), Andrea Orlando (drums), Boris Valle (keyboards). Having finished their first hour of show nobody had doubts of the capacity of the Italian group, but the fatigue of the audience that had been standing for many hours already maybe caused a certain lack of attention leaving the place more empty. After the interpretation of The dream", a beautiful song from the project in solitary of Mr. Zuffanti Höstsonaten, the performance faced the final rush, where the delirium invaded us again, as in the penultimate piece they included parts of 21st century schizoid man" (and we should recognize that the version was too short, in spite that in some moments the music didn't flow completely well) and of "Firth of fifth", making people return to the room, in a really touching part. And as a finish, a version of "The knife" of Genesis, in a full interpretation of a difficult classic of the progressive genre that closed an exquisite concert in a brilliant way, and that left a good flavor in our mouth.
The festival closed with the enormous Minimum Vital. After four studio albums and one live record, and being one of the big progressive groups of the present time, four musicians (the Payssan brothers to the keyboards and guitars, Eric Rebeyrol to the bass and the drummer Charly Berna) and two vocalists (the brilliant and nice Sonia Nedelec and the vocalist J.B. Ferracci) offered us a concert that concentrated on songs from their last three works, from "Sarabandes" to "Esprit d'amor", mainly of this last one. The musicians were delighted to play and it was a very warm performance and with a lot of rhythm, although it seems strange. The music of the French is a mix of jazz, Latin rhythms, classic progressive rock and classical music that is susceptible of being danced to. We attended a vibrant concert full with emotion, with a succession of songs as "Les voyages du Costey", "L'invitation", "Esprit d'amor", "Danse pour la nouvelle alliance", "Tabou" and a wonderful interpretation of "Sarabande nº 1" that developed until unimaginable limits the keyboards and guitar and that almost made us cry of happiness. The novelty was the inclusion of four new songs, of which we do know the title of, that follow the line marked by the last album of the formation. The approach of the band to Latin and Caribbean rhythms is more and more evident, and this is not a characteristic too common in the progressive rock. What is more interesting is that the Vital are able to integrate the whole range of influences that they present in an own, completely characteristic sound. This was completely corroborated by the new songs, one of which was presented for the first time in direct, full with pure light, energy and optimism and long instrumental developments. The concert became short, even if we had been already for a long time in Tiana, and we wanted it to last much more. We hope to see them soon here again.
The end of the festival was spectacular and the general level was much better than in the first edition. We could corroborate that the bands that acted are among the best in the international progressive scene, with great albums and about to publish new works. From progVisions we want to thank openly the great work carried out by the organizers of the event: Dudu, Chuchu and the rest of the team (you are amazing) that have provided us two editions of a festival that we hope will consolidate on time. The only worrying fact was the lower public's attendance with respect to the first edition, that we estimated at some 80 people, even with a, in our opinion, much more interesting band setlist. Maybe Colin Bass has a lot of fans, or a second edition doesn't present the same novelty that the first one, but anyway it is a pity. Let us hope the future continues giving us big nights of progressive concerts in Tiana and that the serious followers of the genre can enjoy them.