The Prognosis Festival Diary – Day 2

Thijs van Leer showing off his flute skills to one of the longer tracks in the Focus set

And so we arrive at day two of the festival. More bands were performing on the Saturday, which led to the busy lineup starting a few hours earlier than the day before. Plenty of proggy goodness to bite my teeth into. Magic Pie, Leprous, Focus, Ross Jennings performing a solo acoustic set, Wheel, all lined up for the day’s entertainment.

… However I was slightly late off the mark due to the nighttime antics that occurred. I was initially excited to catch the Ross Jennings solo acoustic set that was starting off the day, but it turns out drinking until 5am, and subsequently being ridiculously hungover, meant that finding the motivation to do anything but sleep was a struggle. Sorry Ross! I heard it was great, and I’m sure there were lessons learned for next time. Probably…

In case you missed the first article, you can catch up on Day 1 below

The Prognosis Festival Diary – Day 1

I did however slide into the festival just in time to catch Cobra the Impaler who recently released their debut album ‘Colossal Gods’. And although I had a bit of a rough view, the sludgy goodness of these new players to the scene dolloped thick riffs right into my ears. Now that’s how to get over a hangover! I always love seeing young acts come to the festivals and blow everyone’s socks off as so far the band only has one studio album that came out only a month before the festival.

Cobra the Impaler proving to everyone on the second stage that they are dressed to impress

Next up for me was Magic Pie – an artist I wasn’t hugely familiar with before seeing the festival lineup published, but fell in love with during my pre-festival listening research. Their playful approach to composition makes for fun listening, similar to Spock’s Beard and other neo-prog bands that came out of the 90s.

The thing that really blew me away though, was whilst listening to the studio albums before, I heard a number of awesome synth solos that were already really hitting a sonic mark in my brain, and then realised that actually, all of these solos were doubled by Kim Stenberg on guitar when played live. My jaw was on the floor watching his fingers effortlessly glide around the stratocaster in perfect unison. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for headline shows in my area soon…

Magic Pie taking their bows on the main stage

I was still struggling with my digestive system so took a quick break from the festival to grab a bite to eat before readying myself back to the main stage to catch the end of Long Distance Calling’s set. Taking a break for some much-needed outdoor sunlight was exactly the right amount of vitamin d my body needed after mostly being surrounded interior walls for the best part of the last 36 hours.

I took the upstairs view for this band to take in the vibes of the day, and these post-rockers had the entire venue gently headbanging to their instrumental goodness. Post-rock is a genre I sometimes struggle to get myself into, but even I was nodding along to the infections riffs and catchy melodies. Although they did fall into the classic post-rock trap of playing the same riff over, and over, and over again, and then again some more – which wasn’t particularly to my personal tastes. The wider crowd was having a great time though, and hey – you aren’t going to like everything you come across at a festival this dense. But sometimes that’s the fun of it, immersing yourself in something that you wouldn’t normally take to and still manage to have a good time anyway.

A sea of headbangers swimming along to Long Distance Calling

Now I had the pleasure of seeing Focus do a full headline show very recently in London, which allowed me to properly appreciate some of the nuances of their performance this time around for this very special 50th anniversary set at the festival that was up next on the main stage. All the members of the band each have such interesting and entertaining stage characters, particularly Thijs van Leer with his majestic sideburns.

The band wormed their way through some of their jammier tracks, having fun playing around with tempos, and handing off solos between one another, before settling on the obvious classic ‘Hocus Pocus’ for the finalΓ©, complete with a jazzy drum solo from Pierre van der Linden. Once again I cannot believe he’s hitting the drums as he does at his age, because it is truly phenomenal to witness live.

Focus taking their bows

And thus the festival was coming near to an end. It had been such an incredible couple of days up until this point, but we still had one more headlining treat to really knock everyone’s socks off.

Leprous is a band that needs no introduction at this point, being at the top of the prog scene for the last few years with countless pristine studio releases, and a notorious reputation for their live shows. They took to the stage tonight with a pre-voted request set, covering fan favourites (aka, the longest songs…) from each of their studio albums. From ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’, through ‘Bilateral’, ‘The Congregation’ and ‘Pitfalls’, right up to ‘Aphelion’ – they covered it all.

I’ve seen Leprous a number of times going back over 5 years now, and it’s been wonderful to see them hone in on their live performances. With the band now commanding the whole of the stage, having them constantly move around tied in with bits of choreography – even though they were playing material that they self-admitted to being not as familiar with – led to such an infectious energy on top of their already infectious riffs.

Ralph came forward to center stage multiple times when dramatic string moments were occuring

Raphael Weinroth-Browne was also on stage with the band, their resident cello player. And it was certainly impressive how much he was able to move around the stage to show himself off to the audience – particularly so without damaging his cello. I always loved seeing him as a part of the touring band recently, as well as being all over Leprous’ studio albums. I know of very few classically trained musicians that would get up on stage and move around in the way that he did on this evening.

One other notable tidbit of information about this is that Einar Solberg rocked up to the festival only a couple of hours before the start of the set. Why? Well he’d just completed the road trip of a lifetime. His partner and their family are Ukranian, and although his partner was settled in Norway, the rest of her family was stuck inside the warzone. So what does Einar take it upon himself to do? Well, he drove all the way from Norway to Moldova to pick them up, and then straight to the Netherlands, directly to the Prognosis festival to perform with the band. In fact, some members of the family were at the side of the stage dancing away to the set as it went along.

Once the epitome of a celebrity rockstar was drugs, sex, parties, private jets, and drama – but Einar has proven to be a much classier role model for today’s young budding musicians. Pushing his body to the absolute limit through tiredness and exhaustion to save his loved ones from the terrors of war. Huge huge huge respect, and much love to his family.

Leprous making full use of the staging, switching places with each to make sure no one in the audience misses out

And one other other notable tidbit of information, Tor Oddmund Suhrke (guitars) had also injured his leg at some point and was performing with a plastic leg brace on. But still managed to get around the stage and rock out to this very special set. Talk about pushing through no matter what the cost hey?

I really enjoyed having a variety set from them, particularly picking out some deeper cuts. A lot of bands seem to fall into the trap of never playing songs again after the initial release cycle, so to have so much old and new repertoire in the set must have pleased every Leprous fan at this stunning finishing headline set.

… And then it was over. The conclusion of Prognosis 2022 – and what a weekend it had been. Parties, antics, heavy metal, progressive nonsense, headbanging, good friends, good food, and great music. What more could anyone really want from a festival weekend?

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