Timo Somers – Guitar
Barend Courbois – Bass
Atma Anur – Drums
Marcel Coenen – Guitar
Joop Walters – Guitar
Erik Van Ittersum- Keys
Andy James – Guitar
Daniele Gottardo – Guitar
Martin Miller – Guitar
Franck Hermanny – Bass
Federico Solazo – Keys
Stephane Forte – Guitar
Marco Sfogli – Guitar
Mattias IA Eklund – Guitar
Michael Lee Firkins – Guitar
Stu Hamm – Bass
Kiko Loureiro – Guitar
Hedras Ramos – Guitar
Guthrie Govan – Guitar
Organizers – Kris Claerhout, Laurie Monk, Ron Coolen
Things kicked off with Barend, Timo and Atma. The local heroes were well-received and young Timo served up some hot chops to set the table for the evening. Particularly poignant was a tune dedicated to Timo’s dad and Gary Moore, both of whom sadly passed away a week apart in February 2011. Timo is a young talent to watch!
Next up were Marcel with Joop who interchanged lead and rhythm on a short set. The local boys were hot, Marcel is a charismatic performer with wicked metal chops and their version of Jason’s “Altitudes” was hair raising. We felt bad for Joop, a wonderful man and a great guitar player who was just not cutting through the mix.
Then came the wonder that is Andy James. Jamming his intricate melodic metal shred with Atma and Barend must have been a joy to him, he who usually performs his own stuff to backing tracks. Andy is every inch the future of shred, wickedly technical yet melodic, and he should soon be a huge star.
Next up was Daniele and he delivered a scintillating emotional performance, he is a joy to watch work. Unfortunately for him, after blowing away the crowd with the band (which at times included Martin Miller and Stephane Forte) the Jason tune “The End of the Beginning” suffered because Daniele was way out of tune with the backing track, a pitfall of no sound check.
Following Dan was Stephane Forte, a charismatic performer who for the first time all week let his hair down, put on his stage clothes and performed a scintillating set from his awesome solo release “Shadow’s Compendium” and the Jason tune “Opus Pocus”. Stephane reminds me of a young Steve Vai, stage presence, chops and drama, a great set.
Marco Sfogli is a treasure. Quiet and reserved on stage he lets his playing do the talking, and boy does it talk. A technical wizard who plays smoothly and professionally, his set was a treat.
Mattias came out and blew away the crowd with his personality and squeals and harmonics every trick in the book. He had the crowd eating out of his hand with “la Bamba” and one of the few vocal tracks of the night, “Closing Time”…. Mattias is a MUST SEE if he is appearing anywhere close to you!
Michael came out and blew us away with the most room filling sound of the night. His tone is huge as are his attitude and chops. Never having seen Michael before, I was a little disappointed not to get more of his early material as he favoured long jam tunes, but it must be said, he, Stu and Atma were having a blast up there. I hope to see Michael again in a smaller venue.
Kiko is another dynamite performer with exotic and wickedly technical prowess, perhaps the most metal of the night (along with Andy) Kiko delivered a superb set along with Hedras, Stu and Atma, these guys were the only to get a sound check at the venue and it showed, they sounded great.
The finale, the wonder that is Guthrie Govan jamming joyfully with Stu and Atma. Everyone knows all about his monster technique but he is very playful with his shtick as well, injecting some personality into his show. When his Hook amp died, they plugged him into the closest box available and he still sounded exactly the same! Yes Virginia, it is in the hands, and Guthrie possesses two of the most magical on earth, a great finish to a great 6 hours of music that seemed half as long it was that interesting and diverse.
Kudos to the guys for performing with scant rehearsal, zero soundcheck and Jason watching from the wings via Skype…. You are all stars and wonderful human beings for having been part of this emotional event!
Call me blown away…….