Report: Shadow Gallery + Support Acts – Athens, Greece

A band made out of our wildest dreams and two support bands I hadn’t seen in years. Which better reason to attend a gig in a warm October night? Three years after their first phenomenal visit in Greece, Americans progsters Shadow Gallery came back to finish what they had started in 2010. The show was promising from the very beginning with the announcement of the support bands, Greek heavy progsters Wastefall and heavy/power metallers Dark Nova, and having seen Wastefall supporting Black Sabbath in 2005 and Dark Nova playing with bands like Rage and Testament before even the ‘00s decade, I knew what to wait from two of the most important bands of our country which for various reasons, never got the attention and publicity they deserved. Seven minutes after eight o’clock, Wastefall entered the stage and it was a great joy to see nothing changing compared to what I knew. The quartet delivered really heavy progressive metal, mainly based on the marvellous ‘’Soulrain 21’’ album, with touches from their latest internet release ‘’Meridiem’’. Their singer was about to audition for Ark once if I’m not wrong and he showed us all how it is to be able and play great riffs and have a voice that fits the genre. The best thing about this band is that despite being a progressive one, they are even heavier than you can imagine and they are the best possible answer to progsters who sacrifice their heaviness in order to sound more mellow or emotional. Wastefall can sound like everything you want from a modern thinking metal band with a very traditional way of acting on the stage and without forgetting to power it up when needed. I also liked the use of cymbals of their drummer, the guy hit everything and he adds a lot to their sound. I hope they’ll be releasing stuff more often and they won’t miss a second chance given to them to become real leaders in the Greek scene. Dark Nova came out with the air of the experienced band and even if the sound in the first two tracks was burying the heavy riffs somehow, the continuation was much better. They have a bassist that is the epitome of his organ, a seven string monster which looks very much like the eight string guitars Meshuggah are using. Together with the help of the relentless pounding of the drummer, they created a rhythm section many bands would be jealous about. The guitarist was always pulling new riffs from his chest and the lady in the keyboards showed how it must be to have a woman in your band. She was not just standing like a primadonna like many other ladies in bands do, but she was also headbanging while playing, showing a real metal attitude. Last but definitely not least comes the singer who helps the band and delivered a great performance. Highlights of the night were ‘’Twilight Star’’ (from the legendary ‘’Dark Rhapsodies’’ debut), ‘’Temptation’’ from the ‘’1999-A Step Beyond’’ album) and for the end, the ‘’Dark Nova’’ track which is also the title of their latest album. After forty five minutes and with the joy painted on their faces, knowing they had done the best they could and getting the applause of the crowd, they left the stage and we were ready for Shadow Gallery. Time for magic, time for joy, time to forget all our problems, though we suspected it, we didn’t imagine it would be in such a scale. Shadow Gallery made such a performance once again that they make you believe in God, in music’s power around the world and in a better tomorrow in general. If the first time we saw them is marked as most special in our hearts, then this second visit of theirs is simply the establishment of their talent, of the transmission of countless feelings through their music and of their undisputed skill to sound even better than in their six wonderful albums. In a band where every member is a protagonist and three of them switch from guitars, keyboards and singing, then I don’t know what else someone else could expect. When Brian Ashland says ‘’this is our home’’ just at the very beginning of the show, you understand how happy they felt for coming back. When they play ‘’Don’t Ever Cry, Just Remember’’, you get the feeling that Mike Baker is up there, watching proudly his friends getting recognized in front of people amazed with the band’s shine on the stage. When they play ‘’Alaska’’ they remind us that they can offer surprises as well, when they play ‘’Pain’’ you can see why Ashland is a very expressive singer and why their latest album ‘’Digital Ghosts’’ can look the other five albums straight in the eyes. When you know they’re going to celebrate fifteen years from the release of ‘’Tyranny’’ you expect them to unleash hymns like ‘’Stilleto In The Sand’’, ‘’War For Sale’’, ‘’Mystery’’, you even expect the guest D.C. Cooper to give an extra touch to ‘’New World Order’’ or ‘’Christmas Day’’, but you don’t imagine how much of a chemistry there is between them and the Royal Hunt frontman, about ten minutes are enough to witness the difference with his presence and the gig boosting up in colossal levels of musicianship, like watching the greatest theater performing flawlessly in front of you, like seeing something of the Savatage magic in their music (the show started with ‘’Bohemian Rhapsody’’ of Queen on the speakers, like Savatage did with other Queen tracks), you don’t expect they’ll give you a die-hard moment like ‘’2 Minutes To Midnight’’ of Iron Maiden played in a furious way (I wish Iron Maiden could sound even a bit like this today…) and when the gig closes with ‘’Gold Dust’’ with Ashland singing among the crowd and ‘’Crystalline Dream’’, you simply realize that all you lived for more than two hours was reality and not a dream. They thank the crowd collectively, though the crowd should spend years in thanking them for what they offer. You see the joy in their faces and they see the tears in the faces of many fans. The relationship between Shadow Gallery and the Greek fans can’t even be compared with the movie made loves at first sight (include first listening as well). This night we forgot about problems, thoughts, internal conflicts, crisis and needless argues between us. This night we were free to feel happy again, like we did five, ten, fifteen years ago with such incidents. This night was added to one of the best in our entire lives until we close our eyes. There’s nothing more precious than this. Thank you Shadow Gallery for making this all happen and for letting us understand that this better second time you came here was the reason to realize that the first time was really true and not just a thought in our minds. I bet a fortune that it’s going to be a day set for many people to re-arrange their lives and think of many stuff from the beginning. Food for positive thought definitely!

Report: Tardive Dyskinesia + Support Acts – Athens, Greece

This Saturday (06/08), a mini music fest took place in Gagarin, a fest for charity reasons. Some of the best Greek groups joined forces to give an outstanding performance and support ‘Ανακούφιση’, a guesthouse for homeless children or homeless grown-ups. The money gathered by the arrangers of the event would be given for medicines and food for the homeless. These actions should take place even more often and the number of people who came by to support was satisfying. The bands arranged to perform were seven and two of them was Tardive Dyskinesia and Lucky Funeral, some of the biggest names in Greek music scene. First band on stage was 2theBone! Those young rocknrollers has been giving support to many concerts for a while. Unfortunately, because of some problems with the transportation, I was forced to drop by late at the concert and only watched two songs by the specific band. The trio performed some good heavy rock songs, with wild mood and badass guitars. Last song was ‘Sister Demon’, a song that was uploaded as a rehearsal demo track recently at the band’s facebook page. I hope I will have the chance to hear more from them in the future. After 2theBone, Puta Volcano came on stage to warm up the audience with some desert rock music. The band rocked heartily, offering great, fuzzy guitar riffs along with strong vocals by the band’s female vocalist.

Report: Red Fang, Cancer Bats – Athens, Greece

Night of the beasts this Tuesday on Gagarin205 and prehistoric dogs meet with bats from hell to give us a full scale animalistic experience! I arrived at the venue moments after Cancer Bats had released their merciless assault on the Greek audience’s ears and I was taken aback from the vast attendance on such an early point of the concert. I’m talking about 800-850 people in a 1000 people maximum venue! But after I started realizing what I was seeing, I also realized what a fool I had been thinking that someone would deliberately miss Cancer Bats’s set. These guys were out of this planet! The lead singer’s performance was the essence of the phrase “human tornado”. He was explosive, so energetic that at some point I caught myself thinking that if he keeps going like that for the rest of their set, he is definitely getting a heart attack. Luckily for all of us, he didn’t. He kept jumping up and down all the time, running across the stage when not singing,

Report: Riverside, Playgrounded – Athens, Greece

Sunday night was THE night for the lovers of the progressive sound. Three years after their latest visit in Greece and with a new and exceptional album at hand, Riverside decided to come to Greece once more. And with a little over ten years of existence and five great albums, they showed us why they are rightfully considered one of the best progressive bands. The doors of Gagarin were to open at 21:00 and I arrived at the venue 15 minutes later, only to find Playgrounded, the opening act, on stage and already halfway through their set. The first thing I noticed though, was that the band was really cramped up; they were literally taking only 1/4 of the stage, as most of the space was occupied by the drum set and keyboards of Riverside. Apart from that, their appearance was decent, with a few sound problems. Since this was the first time I saw them live and listened to their work and since I managed to see them only for 15 minutes, I can’t say much. But Playgrounded definitely earned a warm applause at the end of their performance.

Report: Riverside, Rex Mundi – Thessaloniki, Greece

Saturday 1/6/2013 and finally the time had come to see for the second time one of my favourite bands "Riverside". The doors were opening 20.30 and i arrived at 9 o'clock. At that time weren't much people at the venue. Fortunately as the time passed more and more people were coming. There was a support band arranged to open the show, but unfortunately their appearance was cancelled due to lack of space on stage (...!), there was no room at all to set their equipment and no chance of using Riverside's, so... No Rex Mundi.. Finally some minutes before ten o'clock we heard the first few notes from the bands intro Nightsession 1+2 so we knew the time had come. 10 o'clock sharp the lights went off and the polish progsters finally got on stage! From the first notes i got in all my body goosebumbs, perfect sound and perfect perfomance, you could hear each instrument perfectly clear, professionalism in every level!!! I have been in over 40-50 concerts, there are very few bands who have such live sound and perfomance. The emotional compositions and meaningful lyrics of the band makes you almost cry in their concerts.