Mars Red Sky, GodSleep, 45Rats //  Six d.o.g.s, Athens, Greece //  01.03.2014

One of the most promising bands of the heavy/ psychedelic rock sound visited Athens, Thessaloniki and Larissa for three memorable shows, thanks to SmoketheFuzz productions which is bound to drive us all insane by bringing here bands – and especially at certain points in their career- that a few years ago would be a distant dream for the followers of this scene. I hope you’ll excuse me taking up a little bit of space in this report to mention the names that SmoketheFuzz has or will bring to Greece, besides Mars red sky: Sigiriya, Belzebong, and Stoned Jesus are yet to come, while The Cosmic Dead, Monkey3,DSC_1824a Naam and Suma have already performed and let’s not forget the numerous fresh, generally unknown and awesome Greek bands of the same sound that are chosen as supports on those concerts. If that doesn’t deserve a round of applause, I don’t know what does. Way to go SmoketheFuzz gigs!

The topic at hand here however is Mars red sky with the support of Godsleep and 45Rats. At first I was concerned that the attendance would be poor since Saturday happened to be a rainy day for Athens. Yeah, like that was going to stop us. First upon the stage was the instrumental heavy rock trio of 45Rats who did very well in drying us up from all the rain with their warm, desert like rock n roll. Their sound was excellent, with catchy riffs and skillful solos that welcomed you to dance and move your body in any way you’d like as long as you didn’t stay immobile. They performed for almost 40 minutes, mostly songs of their freshly cut 12 inch vinyl “Electric”, with “79” gaining the biggest applause, plus a powerful and quite “electric” unreleased song which for me was the best of all. I suggest you include that on your next release guys!

Next up was the most pleasant surprise of the night, Godsleep. Having heard only a few tracks from them I could not say I was thrilled, they seemed as just a nice band with potentials. Yet their live performance was a different scenarioDSC_1874a altogether. They rowed their boat more on the psychedelic side than on the –saturated if you ask me- southern< side. Utilizing the help of the visuals depicting cosmic phenomena on the screen behind them they drove us in a thrilling space trip of sounds and images. Riffs more solid than a rock accompanied by long psychedelic solos, a bass player I with absolutely stunning sound setting the rhythm amazingly for the rest of the band, songs long in duration but not boring at any time (like “Smoke” for example or the crushing “Wrong turn”) and a singer so awesome and cult that I couldn’t take my eyes from. His eyes had this spark of madness you love to see in every frontman, he was constantly headbanging with his guitarist’s riffs when not singing (automatically lifting the rest of the crowd up) and generally his passion was bonding marvelously with the other member’s music. Plus, his raw, harsh vocals were very characteristic and unique, fortunately not a cheap imitation of Anselmo’s voice, a trap we’ve all witnessed many bands falling in. I know a band I’ll be watching closely from now on!

And then it was time for the main course of the night, Mars red sky. What has a band with only a full album and an EP to offer? Very, very much, I’ll tell you that! Their music does not offer many chances for headbanging, it is a different kind of experience. It’s a soothing, cosmic medicine for the soul and almost 100 people received this psychedelic healing for about an hour and a half, staring and hearing at the magic released from the amplifiers and Julien Mars’s microphone. I had a slight worry his voice would not be as majestic as in DSC_2120athe album because we’ve all been let down at some point from a singer we admired. That was not the case, I assure you. He an alchemist of singing and no matter how many hours I’ll spent contemplating his performance I don’t think I’ll feel exactly as I did then. That voice, so serene, sweet and touching, as if crafted by memories, dreams and lullabies blend with the heavy music in a way that only Mars red sky can offer. “Up the stairs”, “Way to Rome”, “Marble sky” and the refrain of “Strong reflection” were wonders that we somehow found ourselves floating in, just for a few minutes before the end and their ever so humble thanks for our appearance in the concert burst the bubble of magic we’d been in.  Their fuzzy, dreamy (but so heavy when they wanted it to be) rock performance left no one in Six D.O.G.S unimpressed, from their opening with “Clean white hands” to their closing with a slightly different version of “Seen a ghost” from their EP “Be my guide” which they mentioned would also be its final form in their new release that they’ll include it in. Amusing our eyes with their videos on the wall screen and our ears with their songs, they earned a fair round of cheers and applause and a pillaging at their merchandise bench, equipped to fit the needs of many fans.

The only drawback of the concert was that, at some point after the fourth song the noise got extremely loud, at least for me, so I had to move to the back of the venue for a more pleasant experience. Most of the other attendants though did not seem to mind and stayed where they were. I guess it was a consequence of the technical difficulties they experienced during the first song and of course it wasn’t enough to spoil a beautiful evening. The rain continued when I left the venue and I found myself mumbling the words of Strong reflection’s refrain. Well, their performance certainly went upstream and we most certainly met them in a dream…

Check S&D Photography for more photos.

Report: Axilleas Pantogios
Photos: Dimitris Balabakis