Pain Of Salvation
Lake Of Tears, Agua Di Annique, Disillusion, Scar Of The Sun
Principal Club Theater, Thessaloniki, Greece

First of all I must start with this as a statement to the promoter of this show, whom I happen to know for years. Don’t you book a gig in Thessaloniki again my friend, I can’t continue seeing your passion for music and people’s fan getting rejected continuously in a city of one million people which can’t even hold a good amount of fans for five different bands. About 300 people joined this mini fest, and at least, the ones who came had a great time, for different reasons each other.

Scar Of The Sun were the first band to open the show. Our Greek fellows played six songs for about half an hour, trying to do their best to keep the interest of the people. At that time, we were about a hundred only, so their role was a little absurd. I could characterize them with a touch of Sentenced and Poisonblack, their sound was kinda decent for the likes of the initial band in such occasions and they left the stage with their heads up high. Good try, maybe next time they could play in front of more passionate crowd hopefully.

Disillusion from Germany was the band that really made me want to go to this concert. So it is a little sad I must say that they left me unfinished. I enjoyed their set despite the lack of guitar sound, but as time moved on, it became quite annoying. They have great compositions but they don’t seem they can reproduce them live. Starting with ”The Hole We Are In”, they played 40 minutes only, we also heard ”Alone I Stand In Fires” from debut album ”Back To Times Of Splendor” amongst the rest and they finished with ”Don’t Go Any Further”. As a good friend of mine said, maybe the fact that their songs don’t get this great live feeling, is the reason why they haven’t become bigger than they deserve.

Next was Agua Di Annique of our beloved Anneke Van Giersbergen (ex The Gathering). She is up to date a presence that pulls everything towards her like she has inborn magnetism around her. The music of her group is not of my taste at all, but this doesn’t prevent them to work perfectly live, very tight band that accompany her voice and produce a result that not only doesn’t annoy, but also makes you attracted to it. She also played ”Hyperdrive” from Devin Townsend’s latest release ”Addicted!” where she takes part, a cover of ”Pappilon” by The Editors and two songs of The Gathering, ”My Electricity” and ”Shrink”. Well done Anneke, we love you, you love us and we all know it.

Lake Of Tears has always been a deep love for me, their music has this magic touch which happens to make everything around you look better. Without being technical, they were always right to the point and this happened also this time. An amazing live performance for an hour only (unfortunately), starting with great tunes like ”So Fell Autumn Rain” and ”Hold On Tight”, they played songs from almost every record. One of the best moments was ”Raven Land”, while what I enjoyed the most was ”The Shadowshires” in a powerful reproduction of it. We also had the luck to listen to ”Evil Inside” from their debut ”Greater Art” and some other cool ones like ”Demon You/Lily Anne” or ”Boogie Bobble” and ”Cosmic Weed”. Frontman Daniel Brennare had his birthday and we hope he remembers this day with such joy as we did.

And here we come now to the headliners Pain Of Salvation. I was ready to pull the shovel and start burying their soon to be corpse, as I hated their last EP ”Linoleum” and thought their downfall would continue on live occasion. I am so happy I was wrong, since performancewise, it was the best show they have done in Greece. The band seems full of energy apart from the changes in members, their new rhythm section is really phenomenal and Daniel Gildenlow in tremendous shape. They headbanged so much this time like never before and having a great sound as an ally, they played two full hours with songs from all albums. If the setlist was a little better, we would be talking about something colossal. I still prefer the set of their first appearance in Greece in 2003 when I saw them in Athens with Rage.

For the history, the songs played were the following:
Remedy Lane
Nights In White Satin (The Moody Blues Cover with drummer Leo Margarit on vocals and Daniel on drums)
The Perfect Element
A Handful Of Nothing
Drum Solo
Spirit Of The Land
If You Wait
Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen Cover)
Disco Queen

Until next time, this was a good overdose of all bands. Let’s hope that in such occasion response will be better in the upcoming months because it is really a pity for this city to be constantly humiliated by lack of fans. Not only in metal but in general. We get forced in going to capital Athens to see some groups because if they played here they would have 50 people the most. All get what they deserve and we really don’t deserve better. I am curious to see what will happen the next four months. Greece: The place of true metalheads and the most passionate crowd… Yeah, right…

Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.