Gouveia Art Rock - 2004 (DVD)
The second Gouveia Art Rock (GAR) Festival took place on April 24th and 25th 2004 at the Teatro-Cine de Gouveia in Portugal. The additional day meant that six bands, from Portugal, Italy, England and Sweden were able to perform, double that of the previous year.
Performances by Italy's La Torre Dell'Alchimista and Periiferia Del Mondo, Portugal's Fernando Guiomar and the superb Isildurs Bane from Sweden are captured on this 3 hour DVD but, sadly we are given just brief glimpses of Portugal's Forgotten Suns and England's Richard Sinclair Band.
Like 2003, the organiser's choices for 2004 were far from safe in the sense that I imagine that only a few people in the audience would have heard the music of all these bands prior to the festival. Try something as daring in the UK and hardly anyone would turn up. Clearly the audience at Gouveia is open-minded and willing to try something new and that is to be applauded.
It could be said that the music on this DVD is for intellectuals, which is not to say that it isn't accessible, but it is perhaps not so accessible for those with smaller and perhaps more mainstream prog CD collections. There is a theme running through of the jazzier side of prog, and very good it is too. The unlikely looking bunch that make up La Torre Dell'Alchimista add a touch of medieval folk-prog, neither Gryphon nor Tull but hovering in that area. Prog has never been about looks or dress sense thankfully, and the vocalist for this band, Michele Giardino, has a remarkable voice. Periferia Del Mondo are again hard to pigeonhole but veer on the jazzier side of things but once they get into their groove they really rock. Trape-Zape guitarist Fernando Guiomar performs a contrasting complex yet relaxing acoustic piece (Ibero) and the stars of the show, Isildurs Bane perform a similar set to that of their Mind Vol:5 DVD but with a slight difference in line-up - missing are the two girls (the cellist and guitarist both providing vocals) but in their place is violinist Joachim Gustafsson.
The DVD extras include a short selection of interviews including Richard Sinclair, and a further incite into Gouveia's history and culture (the more I see of that place, the more I want to be there).
The stereo sound is superb throughout. Picture quality is again excellent. As I pointed out in the review of Gouveia 2003 DVD, we should be able to appreciate the sort of costs involved in producing a professional DVD such as this so the omission of niceties such as Dolby and DTS soundtracks is understandable. I was a little surprised to see that the screen format was still 4:3 given that the audience for this type of DVD is likely to own a widescreen television or screen.
The menu is easy to navigate although it is not that easy to see which section is highlighted and requires a bit of concentration. Song titles and composers subtly appear at the foot of the screen at the start of each track which is a nice touch. In the extras section English subtitles are provided where the dialogue is in Portuguese (thank you!) and there is an option to select an English audio track for the piece about Gouveia, which again we applaud.
The DVD is Region 0 PAL, 4:3, stereo sound, and is available now.
This is a cracker of a DVD and an absolute must for anyone who is serious about prog. With Isildurs Bane's DVD released this year you may be wondering if it is worth picking up a copy of Gouveia 2004 but like any live gig there are differences and I am delighted to have both in my collection. Highly recommended.
The DVD can be purchased from the following outlets:
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