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Anekdoten and Ritual, Boerderij, Zoetermeer, 11th April 2004

Two of Sweden’s finest bands descended to this great venue in The Netherlands as part of the double-headed tour, which ends in their homeland on 27th April.

Ritual got the evening underway with their collection of fine tunes and melodies. After the ‘Ritual’ opening, What Are You Waiting For blasted from out of the P.A.  The band were soon in full swing as per normal, and such classics such as Dinosaur Spaceship and Really Something from the Superb Birth album soon got the nice sized crowd won over.  Frontman and guitarist Patrik Lundstrom entertained us with his cheeky chat and comedy announcements before each song, and threatening to play Sweet Home Alabama at every opportunity!

From the last album, Think Like A Mountain, the acoustic Once The Tree Would Bloom got a nice warm welcome which is a good sign to say Ritual are becoming well known, and with three albums under their belts, they are unique in every way of their approach to their music.  The live shows are similar to the albums, a fine mixture of folk and rock, which for me works very well.  On the acoustic medley, which featured Just The Way of Things among others, got the other members Johan Nordgren, Fredrik Lindqvist and Jon Gamble playing all kinds of instruments, such as rattles, bell trees, dulcimer and other bits and pieces.

Do You Want To See The Sun got Patrik and crowd together singing away in merriment, and soon the set came to a close.  A quick change over and it was Anekdoten’s turn to take to the stage.

The statue like figure of guitarist Nicklas Barker hit the opening riff to Monolith from last year’s release Gravity and the remainder of the band just slid into this fine song.  The Mellotron played by Anna Sofi Dahlberg flowed with ease throughout the song too, and vocals from Jan Erik Liljestrom who also played a strong bass, shone through and around the venue. In contrast to the previous band Ritual, Anekdoten were the heavier sounding, which you would expect given the strong influence from King Crimson, and add the dynamic drumming from Peter Nordins, and that is the classic Anekdoten sound.  You can add the sales of albums too, well over 50,000 Worldwide to date!

Back to the evening’s entertainment, Anna stepped from behind the white figure of the Mellotron, and sat down with a cello for the next number from the debut album Vemod, The Old Man And The Sea.  Graceful as she was on the cello, she was soon back behind the Mellotron for the closing section of the song.  Back to Gravity, Ricochet was for me a highlight, the Mellotron just swirling around in the background as bass, drums and guitar powered away, and Jan’s strong vocals taking control.

Title track From Within was next from the third album of the same name.  Harvest from second album Nucleus followed, which got a big cheer from the crowd, then the Mellotron overload on Hole got everyone’s attention including the lads from Ritual who were cheering away at their Swedish countrymen.

Other songs that were aired were Groundbound, Kiss Of Life, the two classic cuts from the second album Book Of Hours and Nucleus, and set-closer Gravity.

The band returned from the wings to end the night with Sad Rain, which is a bonus track from the Japanese version of the first album Vemod.

All in all, a worthwhile journey, two great bands, two very different styles, great musicians, a perfect way to keep you away from eating too much chocolate eggs!

Hope the two bands will make the trip together to these shores before very long.

Danny Mayo


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