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Gouveia Art Rock 2018, Portugal, 5-6 May

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    Posted: May 10 2018 at 07:17
It was 10am on the 5th of May when me and Joćo (PA reviewer Kotro) drove up the mountains for another edition of Gouveia Art Rock. After stopping in Seia for lunch we arrived at the theatre one hour before the first concert.
During that time we went through some vinyl crates. Besides the bands selling their merchandise, this year there was only one regular seller, but his crates were full of great records and I seriously had to make choices.

CAMEMBERT
Arriving from another planet (maybe Kobaļa?) wearing hazmat suits, this French band took us on a marvellous trip, varying between complex instrumental numbers and more atmospheric ones, all introduced by a spooky narration. 
I was truly amazed by the music, which sounds somewhere between Zeuhl and Canterbury, and the outstanding musicianship. The festival couldn't have started any better!

DAVID CROSS BAND & DAVID JACKSON
This concert started terribly, the drums and guitars were incredibly loud, the sound technician must have thought it was an open-air Metal concert rather than a small theatre. I was thinking about leaving when David Cross announced "The Pool", a song where the dynamics were reajusted and I was finally able to hear Cross and Jackson.
After that, they played a nice reinterpretation of King Crimson's "Exiles" and VdGG's "Theme One" with a great assistance from the audience. The concert ended with two more Crimson covers, "Starless" and "21st Century Schizoid Man", the former was great but the later had too much changes for its own good.

During the signing session of that concert I discovered a curious trivia, which might interest other RPI fans. Basically, I asked David Jackson to sign my copy of Ingranaggi della Valle's debut and while he remembered playing on it, he had never seen a copy of it. Then he said: "There was a disagreement with the band, they didn't like it, they said I didn't play angrily enough. I'm not an angry person, I'm a nice person!", while whining sarcasticaly. This does explain why the band didn't include him on the credits and why the label put a sticker with his name on it. My respect for IdV sank that day...

So that was all for the evening. After dinner the concerts were way behind schedule, the organization explained that there were some delays while preparing the stage but I wouldn't be surprised if it was because of a football game that glued many proggers' heads to the television screen (that's Portugal, folks!).

FLAIRCK
I completely forgot how bored I was from waiting when they started playing. Composed of a trio of violins, guitar and double bass, their music was an exciting mixture of Folk, Chamber Music and Flamenco with very interesting interplay between all the musicians. It was very entertaining to watch and the audience seemed to agree.

JOSÉ CID
What can I say? It was the third time I watched his "10.000 Anos Depois..." show and it was clearly the worst. He replaced the backing vocalists and the synth player with a cello player (if you know the album, you know what's wrong with it). Other than that, the musicians sounded very confident, and José Cid was singing greatly that day.
And then we get to the self-titled track where the audience has to sing the lyrics until his ego is satisfied. The thing is, there was much less audience than his previous concerts and many of them weren't even Portuguese, so we seemed to have been stuck on a never-ending hellish cycle. He didn't play anything besides the album, which was also disappointing.

The first day was over, we went back to the hotel with mixed feelings about it. 
The next morning we went to Gouveia's public library for the usual debate led by Thomas Olsson. This year's theme was "Group Therapy", based on Steve Hackett's song with the same name.
The musicians who took part of this discussion were Steve Hackett, Liesbeth Lambrecht (Flairck/Aranis) and Courtney Swain (Bent Knee). I'll not get into details but the musicians talked about their formative years, their early influences and musical memories, difficulties throughout their career, the current state of music, among other things.
What was most interesting about this conversation is that all three musicians come from different generations, countries, musical background, instruments with much different perspectives on music.
After the debate we had lunch at a very slow restaurant, we barely got in time for the first concert of the day.

BENT KNEE
I have to admit that I've known this band for a while but never clicked for me before, although I had a feeling this concert was just what I needed. I was right.
I'm at a loss for words when it comes to this mesmerizing performance. I'll only say that I particularly liked the atmospheric sounds of the violin, the precision and dynamism of the drums (which reminded me of Neil Peart at times) and the powerful vocal delivery.

After the concert it took me some time to get all the signatures and exchanging a few words with the band so I arrived late for the next concert.

MAGNA CARTA
This classic English Folk band played in the beautiful town hall's courtyard, although the weather wasn't promissing anything good. It was a relaxed moment with lovely Folk tunes and Chris Simpson's banter, which was at some point interrupted by the rain.
The band then moved to the town hall's main stairwell although in fully acoustic form. Since I couldn't hear a thing from where I was standing the concert ended there for me.

Then we waited a few hours for the highlight of the festival by strolling around town, having dinner and playing Neuroshima Hex.

STEVE HACKETT
This concert was really fantastic, it exceeded my expectations. Joćo said this show was superior to the last one he attended in Lisbon. There was a change in the band's line-up, Nick Beggs was replaced by The Flower Kings' Jonas Reingold.
The first half consisted of his solo work, where Steve gave a special attention to the albums "Please Don't Touch" for its 40th anniversary and his latest, "The Night Siren" and also the single from the GTR album. The best song of this part was clearly the epic rendition of "Every Day", I watched Steve playing in awe.
The second half was obviously dedicated to the classic Genesis era, without a particular album in mind. They played "Inside and Out" which I had never heard before and I really can't understand why it wasn't included on "Wind & Wuthering". Much to my satisfaction they played "The Fountain of Salmacis" and "The Musical Box".
The concert ended with "Supper's Ready" which isn't a favourite of mine but I recognize and admire the musicianship required to play this epic. The best part of it were the final minutes where Steve gifted us with a mighty improvised solo, much like David Gilmour on "Comfortably Numb".
For the encore we heard the classic "Los Endos".

With a big smile on my face and nothing else to see, we drove back home while discussing all that had happened during the weekend and listening to even more Prog.
Overall it was another excellent edition of Gouveia Art Rock, and I hope I'll be able to go next year!

I didn't take photos during the event, so here's my festival in three photos:

Steve Hackett and yours truly


The purchases


The signatures


(Written by Samuel Cadima with a little help from Joćo Cotrim)


Edited by Meltdowner - May 11 2018 at 04:10
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aussie-Byrd-Brother Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 28 2018 at 03:00
Amazing write-up, Sam, and glad you had a great time! Wow, you got to see Jonas Reingold in action too?! Definitely something on my wish list.

Oh man....SO happy you got some great albums too! How do you like the Zone Six one?!

That Present one....one of my favourite albums!

And `Black Mass Lucifer'?! Good score, buddy.

Great signatures too, my friend.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Meltdowner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 28 2018 at 07:38
Thanks! I actually didn't know it was him until he was presented Tongue I really liked to see him play though.

I didn't hear the Zone Six one yet... nor most of the other albums Embarrassed

That Present CD is an 80's Musea edition that also contains the debut. It's been a while since I played both of them.

Another OK bootleg pressing of a Mort Garson album. Eh, I guess we'll never have a decent official one.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 31 2018 at 09:39
Hi, 

While I can appreciate some of this stuff, it being on the other side of the world, is not doing anything for the majority of Progressive listening folks out there.

It boggles my mind that some of these shows do not take advantage of streaming, and Internet sales to help make their show more viable and worth while ... and the many fans on the other side of the world, will never have a chance at seeing these things. None of these come around the West Coast, and it probably has to do with the country and western thing around here ... and radio is even worse, including the public stations!

And the Internet? Some day, after I'm gone along with many other folks, maybe some of these people will grow up and find that they can also show this to more people that want to see it. 

Sad moments for Progressive Music in my book. What could be a NEW thing in the horizon, is continually being shown in the old way ... with less and less folks catching it.
... none of the hits, none of the time ... now you know what the art is all about!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Quinino Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 31 2018 at 09:56
Just for your knowledge, many concerts in Gouveia have been recorded thru the years and are available online/for sale, I can provide a quick list if you wish (or you can search youtube)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 01 2018 at 09:41
Originally posted by Quinino Quinino wrote:

Just for your knowledge, many concerts in Gouveia have been recorded thru the years and are available online/for sale, I can provide a quick list if you wish (or you can search youtube)

The excitement for me, as was the case in 1999 in the SF Progressive Music Festival (the only one in the West Coast in 20 years, so far, it looks like!), was BEING THERE and being able to enjoy and appreciate all the music and the different folks, and again, having re-affirmed within  MYSELF, how valuable so much of this music was for my experience. Seeing BRAND X, was just as exciting as seeing the PER LINDH PROJECT, as seeing BUCKETHEAD, as seeing BONDAGE FRUIT ... and seeing these individually on a smidgen in the internet, is not the same experience. 

FOR ME, it is mostly about the 'EXPERIENCE", not just my favorite band ... and I do not think that the majority of these fans in progressive music, are being served in the way they could, and should. I WOULD PAY, the $30 or $40 bux to see the whole show the same day as everyone else ... to feel the emotion at that moment along with the rest of the folks ... which is where the value of it all stands up.

But no. It's not gonna happen in my lifetime. Too many groups are stuck on the "past" and are not seeing the "future", and neither is the MEDIA that talks about them ... everything is in the past tense. We have no sense of future whatsoever, and this is what brought us the music in the first place!

I know that I sound "different" and "old", but in the end, I am a Portuguese citizen, linked to a famous writer in Portuguese Literature (my dad!), and, yes, I have to respect and appreciate the effort that it took for him to get there, as much as so many of these bands, but the ability/desire to be seen and appreciated even more by other cultures and peoples is not something that is noted ... as an example, the ash-holes that first put up the website on my dad, only did it in Portuguese ... and the rest of the world could not even read it ... how's that for sharing the information, and closing the avenues for communication and sharing of the interest and art?

MUSIC, is a much more "open" art and reaches far more than LITERATURE does these days ... and folks wasting the opportunity to share it even more, is scary, and just shows how small their desire is in terms of the whole effect of the music and the art form. 

It is a weird thing ... 20 years ago, Portugal was one of the important cogs on the wheel of the Internet and one of the connections between the USA and Europe (is Mario Pozzetti still around?), and a lot of this music got around much further than it did today ... with less visibility ... 

I almost wish I was in Portugal ... to be able to see this, when it happened, but my chances and days to see something like this are over. Portugal is but a small memory for me in my first decade, and I won't even get to see the shrine built for my dad in Lisbon ... much less a show of music that I would love to see so much, and simply can't!

With care, for you and the folks that put together the show ... I know how hard it is to make it all happen! Ask my dad and my mom!


Edited by moshkito - June 03 2018 at 07:27
... none of the hits, none of the time ... now you know what the art is all about!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guldbamsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 12 2018 at 09:25
Hephey better late than never!
This review is even better the third time I read it
I am somewhat jealous you and Joao got to see both Jose Cid and Bent Knee.
I really enjoyed all the small stories surrounding the festival (especially the one about Jax and IdV...ouch!)

Camembert and Hackett sound like awesome gigs as well.
Again very nice write-up my friend.

I've been thinking about this for a while and I have actually never attended a dedicated prog festival before. I've been to roskilde, electronic, psych rock and jazz festivals...but never a designated prog rock one. Does most of the crowd look like geography teachers?

Edited by Guldbamsen - June 12 2018 at 09:26
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nogbad_The_Bad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 12 2018 at 13:00
Speaking for the RIO crowd the answer is yes, though the proportion of females is better at RIO than ProgDay or ROSfest.
Ian



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Meltdowner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 13 2018 at 03:30
^^ Thanks, David! I always hated geography classes so I don't know about that. Most of the crowd were couples in their 50's/60's. I'd be even more below the average age if it wasn't for Bent Knee which brought some younger folk to the festival.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guldbamsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 13 2018 at 04:15
Ian: Somehow I knew that. My imagination is fairly good like that.
I gather the women at RIO most likely gravitate towards the more classical aspect of the music? Either way I'm all for more women at the live gigs I attend. I saw a Dutch band called DeWolff here the other weekend wih about 33 other people there...but the majority of attendees were 23-25 year old women. I really enjoyed that show...and so did the band!

Samuel: Hah! If you only knew how many times I've been in your shoes! First time was back in 95 where I went to see Uriah Heep with my best buddy. Felt like spending an evening with (inebriated) grandfathers that all looked at us like we were unicorns.
I am glad that the youngins came out to play during Bent Knee. Those guys (and gal) need to branch out among the younger crowds.
I was actually rather surprised to see them playing at this festival.
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