The Prognosis Festival Diary – Day 1
Prognosis is one of the largest prog-related festivals in the world, usually hosted in the small city of Eindhoven in the Netherlands. So obviously me being the absolutely massive prog nerd, I had to get along to get in on some of the action. Leprous, The Ocean, Focus, Enslaved, Magic Pie, Argus, Novena, and more all came together into the fantastic Effenaar venue for two days only.
Sadly due to covid there were a few lineup changes along the way, with Haken pulling out – originally being a headline act – and getting replaced with Leprous. This did however mean that Novena, as well as Ross Jennings, both performed sets across the weekend which more than made up for it. Klone also had to pull out due to one of the band members catching covid days before they were due to be on stage which was gutting.
But despite any lineup changes and setbacks, off I hopped on a plane straight to Eindhoven, checked into my hotel, explored a bit of the Dutch nightlife, before returning for a good nights sleep awaiting day one of Prognosis…
Argus were up first on the second stage. Now this is a band I’m not personally familiar with, but I managed to grab onto their grooves straight away to kick off the festival! They took to playing their album ‘The Outsider’ in full for this excitable audience. Of course, this proggy weekend had to be kicked off with a Theramin solo – because is it really a prog festival without one? I did have to hop skip and a jump my way out of their set early though because I was unreasonably excited to check out The Ocean’s set on the main stage.
There were also a couple of their injured personnel across the weekend, with Loic (Vocals) from The Ocean unable to perform due to a vast number of leg injuries from a stage dive gone wrong on their US tour. The other one to note was Tor Oddmund Suhrke (Leprous, Guitars) who had injured his leg at some point, and was still managing to rock out on stage despite having to wear a plastic leg brace. With the pandemic still going, it’s honestly a miracle (miracle miracle… aaaAAAAAaaa… sorry) that this many bands managed to make it onto the stage at all.
The Ocean took to the main stage to play a special instrumental set, mostly featuring tracks from the two Phanerozoic albums. I’m a huge fan of the second one, so getting to hear 6 tracks live from this album was blissful for me. The hard-hitting punchy moments on the record translated very well to this live venue, and although a mosh pit didn’t break out, the audience still seemed enamoured.
It was such a shame not getting the full ocean experience with Loic, but he still managed to make a special guest appearance over a facetime call to the audience as the phone was passed around between band members so he could still be brought into the spirit of the festival, even if it was just digitally.
Finishing the set with Jurassic | Cretaceous, possibly my favourite Ocean song, the band showed that even missing a key member of their lineup, they can still put on an insane performance, and do their discography justice. All the best to a swift recovery Loic!
It was slightly disappointing that even with the fewer amount of bands playing on the Friday, there was still a great deal of overlap between sets which led me to constantly pick favourites. And that led to me more or less completely missing ‘The Fierce and the Dead’ because I needed some food and sustenance, and also my ears needed a break from hours of music being belted into them. Hopefully, there’ll be another opportunity to see them in the future.
Enslaved were the next band I caught, setting up a set they dubbed ‘Heard of the Norse Rhymes’. Now I’m not overly familiar with their discography, but from what I have heard I’ve loved, so I made sure to check out as much of their set as possible before having to dart to the second stage to catch Novena. Still, no mosh pit formed for these norse heavy metallers, who have now been going for over 30 years! They picked plenty of fan favourites to play it seems over their wide discography, and their stage presence filled out the room with pure heavy metal, and no chill. I can’t wait to catch this band for a full headline show at some point in the future because they absolutely killed it.
Alas, I really wanted to catch Novena’s set, which meant heading on downstairs to the second stage, and also bumping into some familiar faces…
As the weekend went on, it was clear that I wasn’t the only nerd that had made the prog pilgrimage to the festival this year. I noted the likes of Jerry Ewing from Prog Magazine, Dario and Van from the Progspace, Sam formerly of the Progressive Subway, Cheri Faulkner of Invicta magazine, all in attendance at the festival. The prog media Illuminati if you will. It was so great to catch up with such a wide range of writers and enthusiasts in the space in person! Some of which for the first time ever. And seeing them all in the room awaiting for Novena’s set to start…
Novena had the headline slot on the second stage (due to Klone pulling out), so it ended up being a great way to send off the band’s existence as a five-piece (after vocalist Gareth Mason departed the band last year). The band opened with ‘The Stopped Clock’, played fan favourites from their 2020 album such as ‘Sun Dance’, and ‘Corazón’ before leading into the tracks ‘Indestructible’ and ‘The Tyrant’ for a grand finisher.
The musicians on stage have such great personalities to them which energy resonated back to the audience, even though dep guitar player Nick was filling in for Dan who sadly couldn’t make the show. Ross did a stellar job with harsh vocals, and I do really hope he has the chance to integrate them into some sort of studio project in the future. They’re absolutely terrifying, and really have to be heard in person to be believed…
And so onto the main headline act for day one, Katatonia! … Except I completely missed them. I’m not overly familiar with their music, even though I’ve very much enjoyed what I’ve heard. So I chose to miss them as the bar was calling my name, and due to the fast-paced nature of the festival, I hadn’t been able to give my ears a proper break since the event started.
A few drinks later, I was monumentally drunk and ready for bed, but a friend messaged noting the existence of a certain after party which went on into the early hours of the morning… A fun time was had indeed.