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The Flower Kings and Ritual, London Mean Fiddler UK, 27th October 2003

On a chilly Monday evening, these two Swedish bands hit the UK stage, which was to be a great event.

Taking the stage first, Ritual played an entertaining hour long set, with their unique blend of prog, folk and rock.  Front man and fellow Kaipa person with the Flower King trio Patrik Lundstrom, shone through with his unique voice.  His voice has quite a range and in my opinion is one of the very best on the circuit. Opening with a tribe like chant, the band soon delighted the crowd with Typhoons Decide, which is from the self-titled debut album.

Acoustic time came along, and drummer Johan Nordgren appeared with a homemade stringed instrument of which was built by his very own mother.  It made a pleasant sound, and got a great cheer from the fair sized crowd.  Songs that stood out were Really Something, and I See The Sun, the latter had a sing a long between Patrik and band.  Keys man Jon Gamble and bass and mandolin player Fredrik Lindqvist deserve a mention too, and if you have not heard Ritual before, do check them out, they are worth it!

Returning again to these shores, The Flower Kings entered the stage at 20:45, and powered straight into The Devilís Playground.  All members, and special guest Daniel Gildenlow on keys, were on top form, and going on tonightís performance one of the best prog acts around today.  With gems such as The Truth Will Set You Free, the band just go on with great musicianship and they enjoy playing too.  Roine Stolt just plays to the crowd with great showmanship, and there was time for some humour too; Daniel, Roine and Hasse Froberg sat down on stools, and a member of the crowd remarked it was the California Guitar Trio.  Roine replied it was the Scandinavian version!  With Zoltan on horses hooves and wearing a cowboy hat, they played versions of songs from long ago, and they were soon joined by Tomas (Cash!) Bodin who, with a deep voice, put a very nice edge and delighted the crowd.  Who says prog stars are always serious???

Church Of Your Heart was aired once again, and Cosmic Lover from Back In The World Of Adventures received generous applause too.

Ending the set with There Is More To This World, they encored with The Flower King, and the just over two hour set was sadly over.

Yes, Jonas Reingold still wore his flowerpot hat and his bass playing again was faultless.  It is a honour and pleasure to see this band and we hope they tour again very soon.

Danny Mayo


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