IONA at DE BOERDERIJ, ZOETERMEER, NETHERLANDS,

OCTOBER 2009

 

 

 

 

My comments (for what it's worth):

IONA played De Boerderij, located just outside the town of Zoetermeer at 145 Amerikaweg, close to the capital Den Haag, on 24th October. You might be forgiven for thinking there is very little else that might attract one to this town as a tourist, apart from the venue itself. De Boerderij is fast becoming a venue of note for a variety of rock music, including progressive rock. Perhaps it has been for some time and I've simply not been aware of it. It's a great little venue, perhaps only just smaller than Shepherd's Bush in London. It was a fine turnout for Iona's 20th anniversary celebration concert (they played Zwolle the night before) and also the opportunity of showcasing new member Martin Nolan, a replacement for the extremely talented Troy Donockley, who, sadly, had acquired wild goose wings and fled the Iona fold. I think I deserve a prize ("brownie points" Dave calls it) for making the effort of getting there in the first place, as documented elsewhere on my website (link below). Thankfully I had allowed myself sufficient time to fly over, considering the fact that I had not pre-arranged any accommodation.

For some odd reason, I have always needed to travel a fair distance to get to an Iona gig. Only once has it involved a straightforward trip into London from Hertfordshire by train and Tube, this when I attended the gig at London University, where the official Live In London DVD was recorded. I had ventured up to Solihull near Birmingham to see them (there was  also the Troy/Dave thing when Iona were in hiatus). Sadly, I think the problem is that Iona play so few gigs that loyal fans tend to get withdrawal symptoms and do crazy things to get to concerts to see this massively underrated, phenomenal band just blow one away with their virtuosity and sheer exquisite sound. I arrived at De Boerderij in the rain prior to the doors opening, just as it did at the London gig, even more so. The logistics of taking photographs at gigs are numerous. One hopes for a good vantage point (once you've found one, don't move), reasonable lighting (not too low key) and no smoke machines (adds to the grain)!  Well, on this occasion I wasn't having it all my own way. I found a spot but it meant that I wasn't able to have a clear sighting of drummer Frank or new recruit Martin Nolan, a shame really. How I would love to get some shots of the band in a studio setting!  Black and white artistic sort of stuff.

Iona were in form at De Boerderij and a number of guests were invited to join them onstage for the odd number. A vast repertoire of songs from the Iona catalogue were performed, including some new ones. A strong feature of their musical style are the Celtic jigs and reels. My favourite pieces are the long, expansive, progressive pieces with amazing dynamics, as showcased on Journey Into The Morn and Open Sky, my favourite Iona albums. Joanne seems to introduce these songs during live performances with a slight measure of trepidation, as if to warn the audience. The blistering guitar solos of Dave Bainbridge are what I wait for, where he is likely to "self combust", as Joanne once jokingly suggested he might. There are so many diverse elements to this band - the distinctive rhythm section, the beautiful violin of Frank van Essen (on A Million Stars, for example, it's enough to make grown men weep), the Northumbrian bagpipes and low whistles and above all, the angelic beauty and clarity of Joanne's voice. I do also have a fondness for their earlier albums, which have more ethereal, jazzy musical textures, less of the jigs and reels, the saxophone back then of co-founder Dave Fitzgerald constantly reminding me of saxophonist-supreme Jan Garbarek. There is something special about this band and their music, leaving  one with a sense of being transported to a very special place. The crowd at De Boerderij loved the performance, demonstrating their enthusiastic support and dragging the band back on stage for two encores, before Martin came back for one final interlude.

I hope that the new album will be a strong one musically with that distinctive progressive Iona sound. In time Martin will no doubt establish his own identity and contribute to the new album in his own way. For a moment a year or so ago it seemed as if Iona were going to call it day. Thankfully, this appears not to be the case. I am relieved that whilst, for the foreseeable future, there will unfortunately be an X-Factor, there will, thankfully, also be..........an Iona.

..

 

IONA

 

Joanne Hogg - Vocals, Keyboards & Acoustic Guitars

 

Dave Baimbridge - Guitars and keyboards

 

Dave Baimbridge - Guitars and keyboards

 

Phil Barker - Bass Guitar

 

Joanne Hogg - Vocals, Keyboards & Acoustic Guitars

 

Dave Baimbridge - Guitars and keyboards

 

Phil Barker - Bass Guitar

 

Joanne Hogg - Vocals, Keyboards & Acoustic Guitars

 

Dave Baimbridge - Guitars and keyboards

 

 

 Phil Barker - Bass Guitar;  Dave Baimbridge - Guitars and keyboards

 

 

 Martin Nolan (pipes), Joanne Hogg (guitar) & Phil Barker (bass)

 

 

  Dave Baimbridge - Guitars and keyboards

 

Joanne Hogg - Vocals, Keyboards & Acoustic Guitars

 
 

Links to:

[ZOETERMEER, DEN HAAG, NETHERLANDS - 2009 - The travelogue]

 

 

 


 
 

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Other links:

[Iona - website]

[Iona - MySpace]

[De Boerderij - website]

 

For concert photos - Copyright Peter Groves, All rights reserved.