Red Sparowes, Head Of Wantastiquet
Eightball Club, Thessaloniki, Greece

How fortunate can a man be sometimes in his life… It is very very outrageous the fact than we can simply pay some money for a ticket to see such bands live. Someone may tell ”So, what’s so wrong about it anyway?” and the answer is ”Nothing”. I just think that such occasions should only be for a few fortunate people and the ones rewarded should be the ones diving into the depths of the meaninig of some groups’ music. Not to sound typical, but it was simply one of the most unique live experiences I have witnessed in my short lifetime. I could equalize this with the live of the Japanese quintet MONO some months ago, only this time the whole experience seemed more as a ritual and a cleansing of the soul. Add the colossal and outstanding visuals as a background and you have the whole idea of what happened.

Head Of Wantastiquet is the one man project of Paul Labrecque. The artist from Belgium managed to produce a minimalistic style of music in the twenty minutes he had. With his Gibson guitar in the beginning and with the help of samples as an accompanying sound, he produced a ritualistic experience. He reminded me of Lichens when I saw OM in Athens in the beginning of the year, only he hadn’t that tribal incidents in his music. He stated that it’s a wonderful experience for him to share the stage with Red Sparowes and he thanked us for being there and supporting good music in general. I guess that despite playing a while, he dives deep into the trippy atmosphere of his music, that’s why he seemed out of place after he finished. For sure something special, but everyone was eager to witness the quintet from Los Angeles.

Red Sparowes is hell of an experience. For those not knowing, they are just the post instrumental band with the long song titles. For those knowing though, they are the band that talks straight to the heart, without sounding melancholic or cheesy. Just pure feeling and dedication to music’s sake. They started the show twenty minutes after ten with ”Buildings Began To Stretch Wide Across the Sky, And The Air Filled With A Reddish Glow” from the debut album ”At The Soundless Dawn” and straight after that came ”A Hail Of Bombs” from the newest album ”The Fear Is Excruciating But Therein Lies The Answer”. The sound is crystalline, drummer David Clifford plays as if he is in a native tribal band and the three guitarists make the sound gargantuan in every note, every riff and every breath they breathe. What a start my goodness.

Again from the debut album we have ”The Soundless Dawn Came Alive As Cities Began To Mark The Horizon” and again from the new album we have ”A Swarm” (yes, they can also have short song titles), and the duo that follows was in my opinion the high peak of the show, with ”Error Has Turned Animals Into Men, And To Each The Fold Repeats” from ”Aphorisms” (that was big time shock) and ”The Great Leap Forward Poured Down Upon Us One Day Like A Mighty Storm Suddenly And Furiously Blinding Our Senses” from the second album ”Every Red Heart Shines Toward The Red Sun”. You couldn’t just stand and stare at them, you also had to close your eyes to feel the whole vibe, plus see the video wall visuals mentioned before that were driving you to different places in the universe. Imagine if they had lyrics…

Two more tunes from the new album were next on the list with ”Giving Birth To Imagined Saviors” and ”Illusions Of Order” closing the first part of the selitst that lasted one hour. The band returned for two more songs, with the hint that we should wish the drummer happy birthday because it was his 17th birthday as they said. After that small break, and of course thanking us for being there, it was time for two of their best tracks ever, ”Alone And Unaware, The Landscape Was Transformed In Front Of Our Eyes” from the first album and ” We Left The Apes To Rot, But Find The Fang Grows Within” from ”Aphorisms”. All in all it was a pretty much balanced setlist that lasted 75 minutes, ten songs produced as heavy and clear as they could.

Of course we wanted some more but start complaining would be the least arrogant of ourselves. It is very nice to see that there is something moving on in the city of Thessaloniki with bands having a good response and things getting better in gig level. Let’s hope for more great gigs to come, 2010 has been one of the best live years so far. We are always looking forward for more. If you missed them this time, don’t do the same mistake twice. History doesn’t always repeat itself…

Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.