Sickening Horror
Head Cleaner, Kvazar, Samatas, Sklerotikz
Eightball Live Stage, Thessaloniki, Greece.

After a long time of me intentionally not attending any shows in Thessaloniki or elsewhere, I decided to attend 8ball’s show of Sickening Horror, Head Cleaner, Kvazar, Samatas and Sklerotikz. There are two reasons why I did this; first, because I consider Sklerotikz to be one of the most – if not the only – innovative bands in Thessaloniki and they haven’t performed live in more than two years now and second because I was curious to see Mitch (Head Cleaner’s front man) on stage with a band other than Homo Iratus. But, let’s just take things from the beginning…

To my disappointment, the first band to get on stage were Sklerotikz. It’s remarkable how at every single show, the opening act gets such little attention… I soon got over it though, ‘cause I deeply appreciate their music. For the time being, the band has no lead vocalist, which made it difficult for the audience to follow up with the music. As I see it, it’s crucial to present your music with lyrics so as the people can respond to what you’re offering them; and as someone said to me before, “The music is the soul, but the lyrics are the body and none of the two can fully function alone”. Anyway, the good part was the shift to their overall style, which brought the band to a higher level. What I found truly amazing is the cello that they chose to add to their new tracks, which gives them the “secret ingredient” to stand out from the rest. I only hope it takes a little less than two years this time for them to perform live again…

Moving on to Samatas, I have to admit that I was amazed by their guitarist’s skill, but I think he has to work on his stage performance a bit, ‘cause keeping your head down at all times and almost turning your back at the audience, won’t get you anywhere regardless of how many hours you spend playing the guitar at home. And if you think I’m being mean, what I’m saying can be seen on the photo I took of them, which was the most of his face I could capture on camera throughout their 20-minute set. Moreover, I liked most of the vocals parts with the exception of the high pitched bursts from time to time, which at points I found rather annoying.

The following band to get on stage were Kvazar, a band I’ve never watched perform live before. To be honest, I really enjoyed their music, but I had a hard time spotting their front man at first. I was so excited to see though that he was singing among the audience, which I found exquisite in terms of communicating with the people. However, I soon changed my mind, ‘cause I realized that he was there, throughout their set, singing to himself and hardly ever interacting with the people around him. Also, at times he would lie on the floor for unidentified reasons, taking all the attention off the band and on to himself, which even if done unintentionally, diminishes the overall value of the band’s performance. I believe that losing some of this attitude would contribute greatly to the overall performance, given that their music is unquestionably good; all they need is for the people to pay more attention to the music and a little less attention to the front man’s leaning over skills.

As I mentioned earlier, the second reason why I wanted to attend this show was to see Mitch perform with a band other than Homo Iratus. Finally, Head Cleaner went on stage. Even though this is not fully my kind of music, I have to admit that they did a really good job up there. However, I noticed that Mitch’s attitude on stage was somewhat exaggerated. What I mean by this is that a front man’s behavior on stage has to derive from the audience; you respond differently to a large audience than a smaller one, which is a key element to distinguish a superb front man from a good one. Exaggerated movements and gestures are more suitable for larger audiences – given that you need the people at the back to be able to see you. On the other hand, such a performance at a smaller audience may seem a little over the edge. Overall though, I would consider this one of the good performances of that night and I have to admit that Head Cleaner were one of the few bands that the people responded so actively to.

Last but not least, Sickening Horror were the ones to get on stage. This is a band from Athens and in fact the only band not from Thessaloniki to perform that night. They showed some true professionalism, since they continued to perform with the same intensity even after most of the people attending that show had left. Really, I don’t get this you guys; you spend some money – regardless of how much – to go to a show with five bands in total. You know which bands will be performing and yet you decide to go. However, you decide to leave before the show is over and with great disrespect to a truly good band, which happens to be from a different city. I mean, how many times in the near future will you get a chance to watch this band perform again?! Is it because they are not from Thessaloniki? – Because if that’s the case, then you need to work on your issues a bit. Is it because you don’t like their music? How come? It’s more or less the same type of music as the previous bands you watched. Then what the hell is it? Did you get tired? Then, would it be so unbearable for you to stick around for ten more minutes? No matter what it is, it’s your loss, not mine!

Summing up, I have to say that the sound was distinctively average, which is vivid from the fact that Sklerotikz, who had their own sound technician, brought out a solid and far more cohesive result. Overall, this was a fairly good show and I’d be lying, if I said I didn’t enjoy it…

Rena Kostopoulou.