A little circus story
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Vulkan played at Slottsskogen goes Progressive in Gothenburg. Fan Marcus Enochsson who also plays in Soniq Circus had a talk with the band afterwards about doing a gig together. In Helsingborg, Jeanette Sollén, who ran the venue Salongen wasn’t only keen on that idea, but challenged Marcus to think bigger and invite some more known names.
On April 26th, the very first Progressive Circus was held at Salongen, to much critical acclaim and enthusiasm from visitors. Line-up: A.C.T, Lalle Larsson Electric Trio, Soniq Circus, Vulkan, Jonas Jonassons Huvudwerk, Dan Bornemark: For the love of Gentle Giant, Peter Wildoer drum clinic.
Due to a fortunate decision at Musikverket to grant financial support for PC15 to Marcus’ and wife Anna’s family company Kulturpunkten, the event could be held at two stages at legendary rock club The Tivoli in Helsingborg, and include an internationally strong line-up with Caravan (first gig in Sweden, after 48 years around), Änglagård, Beardfish, AnnaMy, Demoner and Soniq Circus.
One of the bands that Kulturpunkten started a dialogue with for PC15 was Magma, who wanted to do their first Swedish concert since their birth in 1969, and performed an absolutely extraordinary set at The Tivoli, October 10th, supported by Mats/Morgan Duo. The kind reviewer in Gaffa wrote that ”the cheering of the audience only shows that this could be one of the most appreciated bookings and gigs in Helsingborg ever.” and many visitors thanked for one of the best concerts they had ever attended.
Progressive Circus 2016 – part I was held at Slagthuset in Malmö, with a line-up that once again stands up very well on an international level. IQ – doing their first Nordic headline tour, Anekdoten, Atlas – reuniting after a 35 year absence, Me and my kites, Soniq Circus and Harry Bult. A PC16 – part II was announced as well, with Three Friends and Hooffoot on the bill, at KB, Malmö. However, due to TF and Gentle Giant guitarist Gary Green’s heart conditions, the event had to be cancelled.
PC16 – part III was held in September, and was practically a time machine to the 70’s prog scene with the first visit by a Rock Progressivo Italiano artist in Sweden – Le Orme, who celebrated 50 years, and also Kaipa da Capo and Hasse Bruniusson plays Samla Mammas Manna who played awesome versions of 70s classics. Hooffoot gave a great performance as well.
Thanks to support from Kulturrådet and Helsingborgs Stad we were able to arrange the first gender equal progressive rock festival in the universe (we think) with Progressive Circus 2017 where 12 female and 12 male musicians were on stage at The Tivoli. Adrian Belew Power Trio and Moulettes were our international names, joined by Postures, s n a r t d ö r v i, Hannas Orkester and Crumb.
In the summer we invited our first band with status as a headliner at Night of the Prog and Cruise to the Edge – Mike Portnoy’s 2017 only project The Shattered Fortress, playing only Dream Theater material, including the twelve step suite. The agent squeezed the Malmö gig at Slagthuset and 28 extra bus hours into a free day in the schedule between Paris and Luxembourg. The result was that they arrived around 18 instead of 14 as planned, but rigged & sound checked super quickly. Nevertheless, it set a new PC standard with not only an amazing concert with an impressive stage production, but also our biggest crowd so far.
IQ were very happy to do their first full concert in Sweden at PC16 – part I, and wanted to come back. For this, we announced a second concert at Bryggarsalen in Stockholm in October as we wanted to bring them to another geographical market, but as it sold ”too well”, we had to move it to Studion in Kulturhuset. The concert was incredibly well received.
Magma also wanted to do a second concert in Sweden, and did an awesome concert with three ”songs” at KB in Malmö two weeks after IQ in Stockholm. We arranged a warm-up party the day before at Grand Öl & mat with Agusa and Khadavra on stage + Jazz är farligt as DJ, and also did a gig with Green Asphalt and Soniq Circus in December.
In a survey we were told that Van der Graaf Generator is the third most asked for name for us to book. We took contact, which lead to the booking of front man Peter Hammill for one concert in Malmö and one in Stockholm, which were his first in Sweden since the 80’s. The intimate concerts with only Peter, a grand piano and an acoustic guitar were both shockingly intense and brilliant, with great reviews in Sydsvenskan and DN Kultur.
We really liked the idea of a gender equal prog festival, and were given funds from Musikverket to do it once more. The result was one of our most loved events – Progressive Circus 2018 in Malmö. It was a magic and super cozy day with top notch performances by Hammond queen Merit Hemmingson, a solo set by amazing Anneke van Giersbergen, Promise & the Monster, a hauntingly beautiful Iamthemorning gig, and some powerful metal by VUUR to top it all off.
In December, Spock’s Beard did their first full concerts in Sweden since 2000 when going on tour with co-billed The Flower Kings who were resurrected from a believed definite non-existence. It was one awesome night in Stockholm at a nearly full Kulturhuset Studion and one at KB in Malmö.
The busiest 4 days in the PC history were in March/April 2019 when we arranged 5 concerts on a Friday-Monday run on the two tours of Riverside+Lesoir and The Neal Morse Band. The concerts were very well received, and the first NMB date was our first event in Copenhagen and our start of a collaboration with KPM Concerts/Karsten Mortensen. GARF and Rockwater Productions also made it possible for us to be in 3 cities and the same time…
The business continued in the autumn with 5 concerts in 2 months, and then 3 in December. Scorpions’ guitarist Uli Jon Roth played in Malmö, then IQ in Copenhagen + Stockholm. We celebrated 5 years of Progressive Circus at Mejeriet in Lund, where Soniq Circus and Vulkan joined forces just like in 2014, with Khadavra added to the bill. November 2, Magma celebrated 50 years with All traps on Earth as opening act.
The year ended with a 3-date tour of Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Stockholm with The Flower Kings with guests Iamthemorning and Rikard Sjöblom. Initially Kayak were planned to join TFK, but had to pull out due to health issues. During the tour, TFK were announced as grammy nominees in the hardrock/metal category. It was to be the last PC concerts for almost 2 years.
As you know, 2020 was the year when the Corona pandemic changed everything. Pendragon had to abort their ongoing tour in March, and postponed the Scandinavian concerts. We had to do the same thing with Van der Graaf Generator…
After countless changes of restrictions the Corona situation finally appeared more optimistic, and it was a great joy to welcome Van der Graaf Generator to Sweden again after 44 years, for 2 unforgettable October concerts at lilla Cirkus, Stockholm and Brewhouse, Gothenburg.
In April/May a nice Malmö-Gothenburg-Stockholm tour with Anekdoten and Soniq Circus took place. The two bands played together at PC16, and were happy to rejoin for this occasion. Another returning favourite was The Neal Morse Band who knocked Gothenburg and Stockholm out when finishing a 32 date tour for the Innocence and Danger album.
In December Jethro Tull legend Martin Barre performed all of iconic album Aqualung with his band in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Copenhagen, and seemed to have the energy of someone a lot less than the 74 years he was.
After first having the tour announced in 2021, IQ’s third visit to Stockholm finally happened in March, a month before Riverside also came back for two super shows in Gothenburg and Stockholm.
The very first sold out PC event was to take place at China Teatern in May, where Camel were booked, but two months before, their tour sadly had to be cancelled due to health issues for Andy Latimer. In our polls that have been done since 2016, Camel actually share the first position on the accumulated wanted-bands-list with Big Big Train, and in August they brought the full BBT experience, including a 4 piece horn section and did two completely magical shows at lovely Stora Teatern in Gothenburg and Fryshuset Klubben in Stockholm.
In september, Gothenburg got all of Clutching at straws, Grendel and other early Marillion material from a Steve Rothery band on fire. The final PC event of 2023 was a very pleasant tour with ”PC14 buddies” A.C.T and Soniq Circus in Stockholm, Gothenburg and homebase Malmö.
And after that, well, in case we haven’t told you otherwise we are most likely working on bringing more of the best of progressive rock to YOU!