Review of the Tour
In 2010 Antony Kalugin's Sunchild/Karfagen performed their first concert in the Netherlands. During this performance at the legendary Progfarm Festival (see review) the musician from the Ukraine performed a rather strong set which was loved by most of the spectators. However, it took them almost six years to return to the Netherlands. During the 2016 edition of the Progdreams Festival, Antony and his fellow musicians climbed a stage in our country the second time. A third time was exactly one week later. Weird isn't it. First you have to wait almost six years and then one week later they are back. For this extra concert they had invited their Dutch friends from Leap Day to be the double headliner. Too bad not many progheads were in attendance for a special evening with two excellent acts. I guess two concerts for a Ukrainian band in such a short time just isn't possible unfortunately.
With this band from the Ukraine you could say you get two for the price of one because the musicians perform songs which are released on albums made by both acts whom are both led by Antony Kalugin. Compared to the first time I watched them, a lot has changed in the line-up. Only bassist Oleg Prokhorov once again accompanied keyboard player and lead singer Anton Kalugin during their 'Breaking Free' tour. Together with drummer Kostya Shepelenko they were an excellent rhythm section. This time around though, no Sergii Kovalov on the bayan.
In a way, he was replaced by an extra keyboard player-his wife Olha Rostovskaya, who also did some extra backing vocals. The female lead vocals were this time done by the Kate Bush-like Olga Vodolazhskaya. Next to her perfect vocal parts she also played very well on the acoustic guitar and played some percussion. One of the best musicians on stage was guitarist Max Velychko. His excellent guitar parts were, next to the fine synthesizer solos done by Antony, a feast for my ears.
Also, the songs performed were of course different and music-wise had less elements of original Ukrainian folk music. This time the music moved more towards a style which could be labeled neo progressive rock. The songs done from the bands back catalogue came mainly from the Sunchild album As Far As The Eye Can See (2011, see review) and the two Karfagen albums Lost Symphony (2011, see review) and Magician's Theater (2014). From As Far As The Eye Can See the audience could enjoy the set opener Stars Of Cardiff Bay, Mirrors, Visionary sights and the title track. From Lost Symphony they did Sylph and Journey Through The Looking Glass. Before the last mentioned title was done Mr. Kalugin told the crowd that it was about a shy cat with big with brown eyes who had two kittens. The sound of those cats could also be heard during the opening part of this song, mainly performed on the synthesizer.
From Magician's Theater they did the title track and the final part of the song. Nice was also the tribute they did for one of our best known progressive rock acts ever. I am of course talking about Focus. During Ode To A New Life from the Karfagen album Solitary Sandpiper Journey (2010, see review) the guitar parts certainly referred to Jan Akerman. Three older songs also done at the Progfarm Festival could be enjoyed again. A track taken from Karfagen's Continium (2006) they did one of my all time favourites titled A Winter's Tale Part 2. From Sunchild two pieces were on the setlist namely from The Invisible Line (2009) was Rain Drops and from The Wrap (2010, see review) they played The Day Of Destiny.
The final song done in Uden was a song during which the people present could participate by singing along with Antony. After one hour and fifty minutes of music Antony and his excellent fellow musicians called it a day. Together with his two female musicians he later on joined the merchandise stand for a talk and an autograph. The boys in the band were left behind to get the gear off the stage.
I certainly enjoyed the bands performance whole heartedly. In a way, I think it was better than the first time they showed their faces in our country. You could say they left me speechless.
Hopefully they will not wait another six years to perform some concerts in the Netherlands.
Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)