Blind Ego at the Boerderij, Netherlands - live review

Blind Ego and Subsignal bring energetic shows to the famous Dutch venue

a crowd at a prog gig
(Image: © Katja Ogrin)

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Subsignal are a fairly energetic band on stage, but Prog has to admit that they are sometimes a bit too static, especially at the beginning of their set tonight. The music that they play is certainly a well mixed blend of progressive rock, AOR, classic rock and metal, while the five members are clearly talented and play very well. But despite all of this, there is something missing.

A noticeable negative in their performance tonight, however, is the fact that there are no live backing vocals provided by the band: they are pre-recorded and triggered as appropriate. Still, despite this, the band’s vocalist Arno Menses is certainly the entertainer for the evening, as he successfully keeps the audience’s attention in between the songs. He makes jokes and communicates with his loyal fans. There’s also an entertaining, albeit long, drum solo, which includes mesmerising, colourful lights.

The quality of the evening improves greatly when Blind Ego arrive onstage and kick right into action with the tracks A Place In The Sun and Obsession. The German band is technically a solo project by Kalle Wallner, with a varying cast of musicians that play alongside him.

The stunning lights that accompany the band onstage contribute to the vivacity that they all radiate – it’s a spectacular, energetic performance from highly experienced musicians.Wallner in particular really carries the band with his powerful guitar chords and solos. It’s evident that he’s the main guy onstage, but despite his dominance, there’s plenty of room left for the other guitarist Julian Kellner to shine, especially during his solo in Never Escape The Storm. He and Kalle even get into a serious guitar battle later on, to the absolute delight of the audience.

Before the band start to play Blackened from the album Liquid, Menses gets called back on stage. He’s the original vocalist for the song, so it’s no surprise that he joins in the fun at this part of the set.

He duets well with Scott Balaban, who is the vocalist Blind Ego have brought in for this tour. Somehow, Menses’ vocals are stronger with this band as opposed to his earlier performance with Subsignal. Perhaps it’s because the balladic approach on the song really suits him. The band still have one more trick up their sleeve, finishing off with encore Tears And Laughter.

The venue is nicely packed, and the two bands get an equal amount of playing time over two-and-a half hours of music. But there’s no doubt that Blind Ego are the stronger live band tonight.