The night before performing at Prog Power Europe in Baarlo, Sons Of Apollo stopped at Cultuurpodium Boerderij in Zoetermeer. The venue was sold-out and some cameras have been positioned for recording the show, so all ready to go at 20:30.
But before the quintet entered the stage it was another five-piece band that opened the spectacle. Dutch progressive rockers Dilemma started at half past eight and we were on the way. Dilemma released a debut in 1995 before radio silence took over. After a hiatus of eight years, the band was reactivated in 2010 and it’s the sophomore album that’s on its way. Dilemma plays well-crafted prog rock/metal that can be compared with bands like Haken, Frost and Dream Theater. Together with their new frontman Dec Burke, the guys performed 45 minutes and received very positive reactions. Also the fact that the room was already filled very well shows the curiosity of Dutch prog fans for what Dilemma in 2018 has in the offer. Dilemma was space-wise quite limited on stage. The band didn’t have a lot of room to move, so the focus went on the songs performed that night and those were great. Combining a certain catchiness with complex structures is a fundamental asset of Dilemma’s sound and it helps to win over folks in no time. It’s worth to keep this band on the prog radar.
The term ’supergroup’ is used these days in an excessive way, but a band that for sure is a supergroup is Sons Of Apollo. Mike Portnoy, Derek Sherinian, Billy Sheehan, Jeff Scott Soto and Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal are all experts on their field. These five guys have such a long track record that there is no doubt about their musical capabilities and the impact they have on young guys that start playing an instrument.
The joy with such a huge experience bundled to a band is that none of them needs to prove anything to anybody. With such a starting point music is based on fun, passion and creativity, something the debut ‘Psychotic Symphony’ showed already.
Seeing and listening to band in a live environment strengthened the impression. Each of the five guys enjoyed playing for almost two hours in front of an enthusiastic audience. What was an eye catcher was the double neck guitar of Thal as well as the double neck bass of Billy Sheehan. The fact that both guys almost got one with their instruments intensive the experience, not even talking about the great riff power and groove that was produced. Mentioning ‘groove’ brings me the ‘Mr. One Thousand Arms’ Mike Portnoy who provided far more than merely the heartbeat of the Sons Of Apollo. He is playing the drums and not just hitting them, all this by adding some background vocals as well as handling the Theremin. Derek Sherinian provided the keyboard foundation for Sons Of Apollo and it was singer Jeff Scott that was all over the stage. Next to his great vocals, Soto is an excellent frontman who catches people attention with his very vital stage presence.
The setlist that night comprised of songs, taken from the debut. What enriched the setlist were Queen covers like ‘The Prophet’s Song’, done by Soto himself and ‘Save Me’ for which he was joined by ‘Bumblefoot’. Another highlight was the powerful version of Pat Mancini’s ‘The Pink Panther Theme’ which gave this night a few exciting twists.
Sons Of Apollo delivered a great show with fans rewarding the band with enthusiastic applause. A night of the progs.
Location: Cultuurpodium Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
Date: October 4th, 2018