Progmotion Festival, De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Saturday 1 September 2012
It was a long time since Galahad played in The Netherlands. As far as I can remember their last gig was in 2007. Therefore expectations ran high for this concert, especially because Galahad's latest two releases Empires Never Last (2007) and Battle Scars (2012, see review) contain excellent material. That was probably the main reason that the set list was dominated by songs from these albums. Another reason why the band almost performed the entire Battle Scars album was to honour their bass player Neil Pepper, who passed away exactly one year earlier. He was replaced by multi-instrumentalist Mark Spencer (Twelfth Night) who occasionally played some additional guitar parts alongside guitarist Roy Keyworth.
At certain moments Galahad's music contained some trance influences, which was more or less expected. Well, trance or not the audience loved songs like Bitter And Twisted and Seize The Day anyway. That's why it surprised me a bit that they didn't perform Bug Eye. In a way this track already showed that prog rock can also be mixed with trance and house music. After their well-performed show the band told me that they intended to play an extended version of Bug Eye, but only if Wolverine would have played a shorter live set because of their singer's health problems.
Unfortunately, this Swedish band didn't become the headliners of the first Progmotion Festival and instead of Bug Eye the audience could enjoy a fine version of Termination as an encore.
Galahad, Mr Kyps, Poole
Saturday 10 July 2010
By Emma Sutherland
ALL generations of rock fans were out in force to enjoy a night of classic prog rock on Saturday night as local heroes Galahad were the attraction in Ashley Cross.
The Dorset five-piece were out to celebrate their 25 year career and did so in style, playing a variety of tracks to their many fans at a busy Mr Kyps.
The balmy night didn't stop the crowd rocking the night away where the superb sound of drums, keyboards and guitars were backed up by front man Stuart Nicholson's powerhouse of a voice. In true prog rock style there were guitar and drum solos a-plenty but this only served to prove the talents of the men behind the instruments – their joint experience giving them an arena-like stage presence.
It wasn't just their talents that shone through to the onlookers – their passion for their music and delivering a good show was felt in every lyric and thumping note. A surprise drum and bass interlude did nothing to dispel these rock pros’ established sound and seemed to add an interesting spin to the evening’s proceedings.
Rock prevailed and the already impressive set continued with another wall of sound.
As a band Galahad were top dogs; no support acts were required to add fuel to this rock fire as the five guys on stage owned it from the outset. This was a quarter-century of rock music for true fans.
WINTER'S END FESTIVAL, Stroud, Gloucestershire
13/14 March 2010
As mentioned, to close the festival we had the 25th Anniversary gig of English prog rockers Galahad a band formed in Dorset in 1985 and who have just released the critically acclaimed Empires Never Last album.
The bands roots for me lie in the Genesis/early Marillion type of rock mixed with a symphonic/heavy metal/industrial metal approach.
They certainly took the prize in the visual and theatrics sense over the weekend, with a back screen showing album artwork and photographs spanning their career on a repeating cycle, both before and during the performance.
To add to the theatrics we had lead singer Stuart Nicholson making his stage entrance in bright pink ladies wig and when this was removed stylised face make up was revealed.
In a clever trick vocalist Stuart left the stage and seemed to return in military get up and gas mask however during the number on walked the singer and the gas mask wearer was revealed as one of the CRS guys.
On to the music and two real stand outs from the cracking latest album were Termination and the magnificent This Life Could be my Last...and as this was an Anniversary show they of course visited their back catalogue, including the track Bug Eye from the Following Ghosts album and included in the encores was a version of the Faithless dance classic Insomnia.
A powerful colourful set to mark 25 years in the music business.
What a fantastic weekend of live music thanks so much to everyone involved.
Andrew Lock - Get Ready to Rock
Galahad which is celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year, closed the festival. By the time they came on the crowd had thinned – many fans having left early for home. This lack of enthusiasm could have affected the band, especially after the double-blow of, first, a muted response when they took the stage and, second, a bizarre incident during their opening number (a new song) when Dean Baker’s keyboard didn’t work and the band virtually froze – Neil Pepper (bass) and Spencer Luckman (drums) playing a simple holding rhythm – for what must have been nearly one minute whilst Dean‘s frantic investigations, interspersed by puzzled shrugs to his colleagues, eventually revealed that the dastardly keyboard had not been plugged in to the electric mains!
Problem solved, Dean then launched into a fabulous classical “intermezzo” and, from then on, the band was inspirational, led by a consummate and very theatrical performance from front-man and vocalist Stuart Nicholson. What a presence! He commanded the stage and held the audience, which had quickly warmed to the band’s performance, in his grip with a first-class display. The singing was superb, whether soft and gentle during sweet, melodic phases or belting out with emotion during climactic moments.
Despite reaching greater heaviness during some sections of their music than Touchstone, the sound was always crystal clear, with perfect definition between all the instruments and Stuart’s vocal. The result is that Galahad delivered a fabulous set of progressive rock drawn from their entire history, which included two new songs.
For me, theirs was the performance of the day: the only pity was that there were not more people there to witness it.
Alex Torres - DPRP
Galahad at Mister Smiths, Bournemouth, 2 December 2000 - Gig Review
Summers End -Saturday 17th September 2005
Gloucester Guildhall, UK
By John Morley
....And on to Galahad. These guys really blew me away at last years Progsfest event in Chippenham, and I had been singing their praises to friends for some time now. They don't get the chance to gig as much as they would like, but you would not know that from their extremely professional performance.
They have a very hard edge to them, definitely not typical melodic prog. I hesitate to use the phrase prog metal, but they do veer into that territory at times. But it's the sheer powerful intensity of their stage show that impresses.
I particularly admire keyboard player Dean Bakers contribution to the band because as well as being a very talented keyboard player, he also controls a lot of tapes, samples and various electronica that the band utilise in their set, so he's not just about soloing - though he can do that too when the need arises.
Guitarist Roy Keyworth avoids standard guitar solo clichés and comes up with some very inventive chord sequences and riffs. The tall, imposing figure of bass player Mike Kneller cuts quite a stage presence, and singer Stu Nicholson has a slightly manic glint in his eye, which helps when he is called upon to portray some of the various characters in the set - which he does effectively without having to resort to make-up or costumes.
Their song Sleepers is a mightily impressive behemoth of a prog epic, but it's the Year Zero (their current album) stuff that really does it for me, which thankfully they played a large chunk from tonight. We were also treated to a few tracks from their forthcoming CD Empires Never Last, which sounded excellent.
I treated myself to a few more CD's from their back catalogue, which I shall listen to with interest.
GALAHAD live at Spirit of 66, Verviers, Belgium
on Friday 22 March 2002
Alice (a colleague of Stu N's) has kindly produced this translation of a review written in French by Jean-Luc Picard Piérard that originally appeared on Piero's Musical Site.
When my friend Piero came towards me with the setlist and asked me if I wanted to write a review of the concert, I said "of course!". I had, of course, written about the history and presentation of the group....Now it's the concert.
One word comes to mind. ENERGY! Because that's what they are - no exaggeration! Not that their Neo-Prog was particularly violent on CD but on stage it really is like a firework. These guys love their music and share with us the love of good 'Progressive Rock music'.
I would somewhat deplore the reserve of the public except, of course, Fred who is always up for it. BUT it was not reserve it was more astonishment!
We were captivated by the energy and professionalism of these artists.
According to Stuart a new album has been recorded to be released in 2002 but he could not say when. The mixing had just been finished and a few priviliged people (including myself) have been able to buy a CD-R recording of this album which is called 'Year Zero'. This concert was based around the new compositions, you want my opinion, they are excellent. Long, excessive and progressive in the original sense (breaks and instrumental developments) as well as very melodic.
A few particularly impressive moments:
First of all the arrival of Stuart, thundering, charismatic as usual, hair painted orange! He rushed to the microphone whilst the rest of the band had already started the first song.
Then the birthday cake for Roy Keyworth, the guitarist, at the end of the concert. The group sang 'Happy Birthday' in front of Roy who was stunned!
At first the young age of the bass guitarist came as a surprise but a few moments were enough to conquer the public. I remember Jean-Marc who was hypnotised by his style. 18 years old and he does what he likes with the bass guitar!! There is no doubt that one day he will become a star. It seems that it was his first concert (with Galahad) which was difficult to believe.
From Ghost of Durtal (In A Moment of Complete Madness) to Sleepers and Myopia (Following Ghosts), the best of the group's repertoire was revisited. It was brilliant and it was for us! As an encore we were treated to Room 801, one of their best, and to a new title (actually it was One for the Record - a very old song to be found on the 'Madness' album!) Two great hours!!
After the concert came the usual hand shakes, autographs, discussions around a few drinks in a very friendly atmosphere.
We all had a great evening, they can come back anytime!
Bert van Rijssen has kindly provided this English translation of a review written by Leo Hoekstra that first appeared in the Dutch publication IO Pages [web representation here]. Bert also took some photos of the gig which are included in Room 801 here.
GALAHAD live (with Mangrove)
at De Lantaarn, Hellendoorn, The Netherlands
on Saturday 23 March 2002
Bert van Rijssen has kindly provided this English translation of a review written by Leo Hoekstra that first appeared in the Dutch publication IO Pages.
Back to Symphonic Roots
Progressive/symphonic rock is still alive; this is proven by the fact that a whole load of new bands are coming on to the scene. Mangrove, from the Dutch countryside of Twente, is one of these new bands. During the concert the crowd got increasingly into their music, which is influenced by King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Genesis. The musicians fitted together very well, especially keyboard player Chris Jonker who had a big part in the symphonic sound.
Sometimes drummer Joost Hagemeijer changed seats from the drumkit to a keyboard and assisted Jonker. The last song of the set was a very good rendition of Floyd's Comfortably Numb. Despite the fact that their singing skills are not very strong, Mangrove is a promising new band.
The headliner of the evening was GALAHAD, whom I have seen before during their Sleepers Tour. I still have some very positive memories of that particular gig. They started with the song Year Zero (part one) from their new studio album. It sound as if they are returning to their symphonic roots. The next songs were some classic ones, like Sleepers, The Chase, Myopia, Ghost of Durtal and Richelieu's Prayer. It was a pity that the band did not play the beautiful song Welcome to Paradise from the album IN A MOMENT OF COMPLETE MADNESS.
The last song of the regular gig was Year Zero (part two). This song was pure sympho — like Marillion playing at their best in their early days. Very promising and "back to roots".
Stu Nicholson with his very nice red hairdo had a very good voice and proved to be a very good frontman. Just one encore was played, Room 801 from NOTHING IS WRITTEN.
It was a fantastic evening, with a very talented new band and a very good established band. This gives the people of Symphel a very good reason to go on with this fantastic job.
Galahad duo ( Stu & Dean) at Whitchurch Music Festival Date: 7th August 1999
Setlist: Imago; Richelieu's Prayer; Love of My Life; Play the Game; High and Dry; Dancing with the Moonlit Knight; Room 801; Shine.
Despite having been on the music scene for some fifteen years now, I have to confess that Whitchurch Festival was my very first introduction to Galahad. Playing on the Saturday afternoon, the set was to follow the 'unplugged' format, and featured a very much 'cut down' band: founder member Stuart Nicholson, on vocals, was supported by piano style keyboards, played, I believe, by Dean Baker. Together the duo performed a superb set which lasted for about 35 minutes.
The opening track 'Imago', from the 1998 'Following Ghosts' CD, was creditably performed, although I must confess to coming in part way through, due to our interview with Janison Edge over running. Next came 'Richelieus Prayer', "Stripped to the bones" as Stuart put it! It seems this track is normally used as a set ender, and is taken from the bands premier CD release 'Nothing is Written' (1991). This is a song that undergoes several mood and tempo changes, with vocal passages linked by instrumental pieces: the unplugged format worked brilliantly and the starkness of the vocals gave the song a powerful emotional edge, quite different to the CD version.
"We're going to do something a bit unusual for us!", Stuart then announced, "we're going to do a couple of cover versions". That said, the piano starts, revealing that the first of these was to be the Queen song 'Love of My Life' (from their Night at the Opera album). This was, perhaps, a very brave decision to have taken since Freddie Mercury had a such a unique vocal style - Stuart was more than up to the job however, with the possible exception of George Michael, I have never witnessed a more convincing cover of a Queen song! As if that were not enough, no sooner had the song ended than they launched right into another Queen number, 'Play the Game'. Again the performance was spot on and a joy to listen to, a fitting tribute to one of rock's greatest singers.
Another cover followed with Radiohead's 'High and Dry'. Not normally a band I enjoy listening to, but on the strength of this performance alone, I am willing to go back and give them another try. This song was performed with feeling and conviction that was nothing short of inspiring! A further example of Stuart's stature as a vocalist came with a brief, unaccompanied snippet of 'Dancing with the Moonlit Knight', one of the seemingly few Genesis songs not covered the previous evening by Re-Genesis!
Then we were back on track, once again, with more of Galahad's own material and a rendition of 'Room 801' (from 'Nothing is Written'). This is a song dealing with the existence (or otherwise) of objects of extraterrestrial origins - very akin to the x-files - very enjoyable and well executed. The final number was 'Shine' (from 'Following Ghosts'), this is a very nice song with a fairly mellow sound to it. However, despite its obvious qualities, it did not strike me an ideal number with which to finish the set as it seemed to leave one with a slightly flat, empty feeling.
Several mentions have been made, already, as to how I have been impressed with Stuart Nicholson's vocals, but mention should also be made of the excellent keyboard backing that was provided throughout. Overall, this was a really powerful performance which has put Galahad right up in my current playlist. On the strength of this set we have obtained copies of both the featured CD's and will run reviews of both fairly soon. If you get the chance to catch Galahad live, go and see them -- they are most highly recommended!
Simon Hill 21 August 1999
Venue: Mr. Smiths, Bournemouth Date: 2nd December, 2000
I read somewhere recently, a rather curious statement, that "Rock music is not fashionable anymore". It kind of epitomises the state of the music business at present. The industry has been concentrating on maximising profits for so long that it seems to have forgotten what it's all about - music - and has consequently ended up strangling itself.
By continuing to turn the handle and churn out more and more formulaic, computer generated / sampled / reissued / rehashed recordings the real creative process has been forgotten. Why invest in a real band to write real songs and play them on real instruments when a machine can do it for you? But what has been the real result? Sales of singles and albums a small percentage of what they were twenty years ago; radio stations playing to fewer and fewer people and a myriad of transient one-hit wonders achieving nothing more than a minor annoyance on our TV screens once a week. How can a Top 20 music chart contain only two entries where the groups play musical instruments?
But if rock music is not fashionable then how come Galahad played to a venue that was packed, when nearby trendy pubs and clubs were not? There's a simple answer - free choice. When given a free choice, live, original, well-played, well-performed rock music wins hands down ... and this is why the industry is in trouble. It's been trying to force feed us its ideas, but it's not working. People are turning off, they don't want it. What they want is more of this...
Kicking off with 'Myopia' a classic rocker from their last studio album, 'Following Ghosts', Galahad had the crowd on their feet from the start, Stu Nicholson's energy and enthusiasm grabbing us all. Two older songs in true progressive rock style followed, 'The Truth of You' and 'The Ghost of Durtal'. Dean Baker on keyboards introducing some excellent new synth sounds to these established tracks. These are long, complex songs yet the audience, who included a large proportion of under 25s, were held rapt. Sometimes you could catch a whispered conversation from one of the younger ones - "What's that he's holding?" - "It's called a guitar, lad" - "Oh, wow, isn't it good!"
Next came the gentler 'Don't Lose Control', from the 1990 CD 'Nothing is Written', a song about survival that I'm sure has an effect on everyone who listens to it. Next came 'Sleepers' the title track from their 1995 CD and this was followed by 'Room 801', a classic hard edged prog song about cover-ups, conspiracy theories and aliens. Roy Keyworth was at his best with loads of widdley guitar parts.
Andy Stone, former Flaming Softie, Inhabitant of Yip and soundman at Mr. Smiths gave us an acoustic interval selection of Jethro Tull songs while we refilled our glasses ...
Galahad rejoined the stage and played 'Bug Eye', again from their last album. 'Bug Eye' is probably the most diverse song Galahad play. It opens with a deeply atmospheric instrumental part; gets rocky; goes into drum and bass (the surprise section), Spencer Luckman on drums and Neil Pepper on bass forming a very tight rhythm section; gets rocky again and then drifts into atmospheric weirdness. The combination is perfect and, at over ten minutes, a real song to get into.
We were then treated to some new music. Galahad's new album, due for release very soon, 'Year Zero' is going to be a single track. I guess this is going to make radio play somewhat tricky! The sample they gave us was enough to convince me that this will be a major prog album. The long, single track has been done before, but it's always been an obvious bolting together of separate pieces. With 'Year Zero' you don't notice the joins and the piece becomes seamless. It's an excellent accomplishment and I'm sure will be one of those albums you hear something new in every time you play it.
Thirty-five minutes later (when was the last time you heard a thirty-five minute song at a rock concert) they played the magnificent 'Richelieu's Prayer' ... party poppers, chocolates, streamers, a frenetic audience and with an atmosphere charged with emotion, the set closed.
But it couldn't stop there - after all it's nearly Christmas and this was their Christmas gig. Greg Lake's 'I Believe in Father Christmas' was given the Galahad treatment. It's sometimes dangerous to meddle with 'standards' but they actually improved the closest thing we've ever had to a prog Christmas song. 'One for the Record' was the second encore. A song about the Genesis reunion gig at Milton Keynes, from the album 'In a Moment of Complete Madness'.
And there you have it. The buzz continued for half-an-hour after the concert until we were finally kicked out, still singing onto the cold Bournemouth streets ... a great night out.