It has been a great expectation for me to see Steve Vai in concert for …
Devildriver, Slaveatgod, One Of These Days, Sonic Death Monkey
Kyttaro Club, Athens, Greece
Who’d believe we would ever see Devildriver in Greece? Very few people I guess, as the Americans rose quickly in status and sold thousands of copies rapidly across the world. I had the luck to see them three years ago in France and I was totally blown away with their presence on the scene, all I remember of them is starting their set and I was driven about 50 meters back in about 10 seconds, total chaos that is. Their first (and last?) performance in Greece was one of the best I’ve seen in my life and they proved to the few that came (less than 200 people unfortunately) that they are unstoppable on stage and all those who didn’t honour them will surely regret it in the future. Supported by three very capable and passionate groups, the whole package started at half past eight and finished twenty minutes before midnight, in a flawless organisation and the changes between the bands not taking more than ten minutes.
Sonic Death Monkey from the island of Cyprus opened the set and just like their fellow mates Blynd (cheers guys), they are a modern band with much Lamb Of God ferocity, with Chimaira’s heaviness and As I Lay Dying melodies on their music. Though they had to suffer an already organised drum set which changed all local drummers’ approach, they managed to present their demanding material which is characterized by long compositions filled with riffs and great drum fills. Everything works right, the rhythm section, the guitarists and the skilled vocalist who moves his ass up and down, filling the stage as he must, while his voice is the most suitable for the style they play (thumbs up for the military Obituary hat mate). They played for half an hour and it is clear that they are a very tied band who knows what they want to play and how to do it right. Next time I’ll see them I’m sure they will be even better, whenever this may happen.
One Of These Days were the brutal guys of the night, they have short tracks but long dicks and this shows from the compositions they present, a wave of ferocity aims towards you and hits you between the eyes (or legs, it’s exactly the same, believe me) and in the end, you are unable to do or say anything. They played thirteen tracks, with a cover of ‘’Unanswered’’ of Suicide Silence before they end, with the addition of the growler of Mortal Torment on this one. The skinny vocalist creates terror with his pig squeals, the string guys are insane, putting their heads down and torturing their instruments, the drummer is totally out of place and hits everything that’s everywhere. They were even better than the first time I saw them some months ago, the sound helped them a lot and many fans inside the club were astonished by their presence. I told you through these pages that they would kick serious ass when they would support Devildriver and I’m glad they proved me right. The best are yet to come for them.
Slave At God had a diffucult tusk to overcome the performance of One Of These Days, but were ready for this big chance given to them and they proved that they are a great band too. Their new tattooed vocalist kicks serious ass and he is the wild card of the band. The guys play like insane, banging their asses down, grooving themselves all the way and showing that they really enjoy being there. If I’m not wrong, they played eight tracks for half an hour also and they closed as great as they could the performances of the three Greek bands. Here we have to state that such gigs are a big chance for every capable Greek band to show its worth and it would be even better if all the promoters gave opportunities to newer bands to prove what they can do. I know many bands that gained contracts through great live performances, you never know what happens. Anyone who tries will be rewarded in the end.
Devildriver enter the stage ten minutes after half past ten and with ‘’End Of The Line’’ as the opening track, it’s more than certain that Kyttaro Club would be set afire, just like it finally happened. The sound is enormous, the guitars cut through flesh and the drummer fires everyone without mercy and they go on with ‘’Horn Of Betrayal’’ and ‘’The Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand’’. It is amazing how Dez Fafara screams his ass out, he is the epitome of a frontman and I can say he’s one of the best out there currently. If you think that he’s 46 and he does that so easily, than all below 30 years old must retire soon enough if they claim they get tired of doing this. ‘’Dead To Rights’’ is the only track played from the last album ‘’Beast’’ and ‘’Pure Sincerity’’ is one of the best moments of the night, an amazing groovy track that drives us up and down. ‘’Pray For Villains’’ is the best preparation for ‘’Clouds Over California’’ which turns the place upside down and with ‘’Fate Stepped In’’, things don’t get better for the fans, more headbanging and sweat are added.
‘’I Could Care Less’’ makes everyone scream, the first big Devildriver hit ever is welcomed with cheers and ‘’Hold On To The Heartache’’ boosts things up in the best possible way. Out of control and without any sign of tireness, the quintet stops at nothing and they leave the best for the three final tracks. ‘’Hold Back The Day’’ unleashes so much energy that it feels like the fans were keeping it for the end, ‘’Not All Who Wander Are Lost’’ is a step before the final explosion and ‘’Meet The Wretched’’ is the last nail in the coffin of a safe live performance for cheesy groups. Devildriver were the kings of the night in Athens, though somewhere outside the city The Prodigy were playing. Machine Head’s performance the day before cut a lot of people from not attending Devildriver. They will soon regret it if the band never returns to Greece after that, though Dez Fafara was so happy that he said ‘’We will come back’’. If something happens once, maybe it’s a matter of a good day. When you see such a performance twice, it’s no coincidence, it’s ability and it’s professional, period.
Report: Aggelos Katsouras.
Photos: Eleni Stavridi.