Samsara Blues Experiment, Hogg, High Noon, Welcome Home
Eightball Club, Thessaloniki, Greece

It seems there is a turn of events regarding the quantity and variety of gigs in the city of Thessaloniki. The same exists for the booking companies as well, especially those trying to establish a good name and try to bring something different for the fans. Such is the case of Lovelight Productions which has already started its course by bringing Cathedral for the last time ever in Greece. This time they dared something else, by booking the psychedelic groovy stoner band Samsara Blues Experiment, the German quartet from Berlin which had a sold out show two days ago in Athens. So the only thing left was to see what kind of response they would have in Thessaloniki too, with the addition of three great support bands, that added their own colour in a night full of pictures and feelings.

Welcome Home was the first band to come on stage. At first, just by the name I thought they would be influenced by Metallica or such stuff. It proved out that I was completely wrong, as the trio is an epitome of ’70s rock’n’roll stuff, having taken their name from the undoubted master of the six string of all times, Jimi Hendrix. It didn’t need much effort to understand this, just by looking at the singer/guitarist, who had an image close to the sacred being that made the guitar scream in all possible ways four to five decades ago. They played about half an hour a mixture of Jimi Hendrix meets Rory Gallagher stuff and being rather moody, they set the spark for the next bands. Modest and decent presence on the scene, some really great guitar skills by the aforementioned guy and after six songs, they left the stage knowing that they were great on what they played. Well done, didn’t even know them, now it’s about time checking them out.

High Noon on the other hand, is a band I had the luck to see in late September, supporting Cathedral. Not much changed since then, despite three and a half months passed. Groovy riffs from the southern parts of the United States of America and again the singer going left and right, back and front, up and down, sideways and all possible directions, showing he was born to be a frontman for such a case. Those not knowing, the guy must have studied Phil Anselmo’s moves and singing, fully influenced by him. This gives him enough points to stay on your mind and by using low tuned frequencies on his voice before screaming his guts out, you have to give him the fact that he surely doesn’t sound boring. Their Down meets Saint Vitus style was greeted from the fans and I can tell they were even better than the previous time. Their sound on Cathedral’s gig was taking the riffs away, this time everything sounded in order. Selling their cd for 3 euros only proved to be a good hint, as they sold some copies later on. Well done!

Hogg were the next ones and it is clear from the very beginning they are the band sounding closer to the headliners of the night. Once again we have to deal with a concrete groovy force of riffs following one another. What is different is the influential sound they have, as they give me the feeling like I listen to Kyuss raping Black Sabbath, while Clutch are voyeurs in this atrocity. The result of course can’t be anything but fuckable and with the bassist having a great sound, filling the riffs of the guitarist perfectly, the singer has the ability to even dance sometimes during the songs and when he’s not tripping with his vocal melodies, he turns red from obsession and spits his bowels out. They played a little more compared to the previous two bands, about 45 minutes and they closed the show with a cover on Motorhead’s ”Bomber”, which they managed to adapt to their sound, making it sound in a more garage interpretation which certainly didn’t affect anybody inside Eightball. Amazing performance as well. Three out of three for the local bands.

Samsara Blues Experiment is a great band that has released two great albums, the more trippy/psychedelic ”Long Distance Trip” and the more groovy/straight forward ”Revelation And Mystery”. The Germans are what I can surely call the perfect case in the balance between vocals and instrumental parts in their music. They would be as great as they are without vocals, but adding them exactly where they must, makes them even better. What I liked most was the fact that they knew how to create a great atmosphere surrounded by heaviness and groove and the fact that I saw all of them banging like maniacs (with the bassist making windmills as if he was in a thrash metal band, state of the art headbanging) cast them enormous on stage. Hair inside the face, necks down, and the strings are on fire.
They started the show with ”Singata Mystic Queen” and ”For The Lost Souls” if I’m not mistaken and they easily took over the fans inside the club which would mainly watch at them fully astonished.

They focused on their second album mostly after the beginning and the performance on ”Flipside Apocalypse” especially was one of the strong parts of the set. And of course, how couldn’t I mention their large opus ”Double Freedom”, where they simply got out of control? After an hour and a half, including a fifteen minute encore, the four-piece left the stage, showing that good music doesn’t only lie on moshing parts and blastbeats, no matter how much we also love such stuff. In all simplicity, it’s great to see people feeling great with what they play, the rhythm section playing their asses out, the two meter rhythm guitarist filling the parts where the singer leads with his solos and the trippy vocals sending you to a journey to the other dimension. You may not want to return, as you have found your peace of mind through pictures and visions shown before you in all possible ways of expression. Good music is for everyone. Next stops for Lovelight Productions events is on Long Distance Calling gig, in two weeks. We’ll be there!

Report: Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.