Regardless of how many gigs someone attends and how often he is able to do it, you realize on the spot how much you have missed certain things. Sunday, October 7th has been one of those nights and for very simple reasons.

The weekend was an easy going and relaxing one, not may things happened before Sunday night, due to the tough schedule of the coming week, so that was another reason why this gig was really anticipated. We arrived on time for the first band, Debaser Strand was not so crowded, but as the time went by, more and more people started to gather up. Vojd, a recently formed band (with members from Black Trip, Enforcer among others), kicked off the night with their electrifying, Thin Lizzy-bred sound, playing like there was not another day left. These guys show some real guts on stage, playing with tons of energy, passion and leaving no doubt about their performance. Peter Stjärnvind (guitar) and Joseph Tholl (bass and lead vocals) impressed us more, and especially Peter, whom I have never before witnessed live, and, although I already knew pretty well his awesome drumming skills (while playing for Entombed, Krux, etc), he gave everything on that live and proved to be a kick-ass guitar player! The band delivered well-crafted melodies, edgy riffs, catchy choruses and all this under the influences of blues rock, heavy metal and that distinctive sound influence from the greats Thin Lizzy. I really look forward to catch them next time soon hopefully!

Following a 20 minute break, the mighty Lucifer took over the gig duties in such an emphatic way. Speaking about what I have missed so much, I have to admit, that even though that was the first time I witnessed Nicke Andersson behind his drum kit live, for me that was the night’s highlight. The way he played drums during the whole gig, with a frenzy, powerful and emphatic way, left me no room for misunderstandings and second thoughts. It was so much pleasant to see him kicking his drums, on every beat, on every kick… Absolutely massive! And of course, when we refer to Lucifer, the soul and main driver of this band can be no other than Johanna, especially on stage, ding her magic moves, seducing the audience and praising Demon. She is so charismatic, not only vocal-wise, but also the way she moves within the other band players during the songs, the way she speaks and communicates with the audience, during or before/after the songs, the way she overall performs. She is the main attraction of the band, the heart and soul. But, this band has two guitar and one bass players, devoted members of ‘Lucifer’ who play with passion and, consist along with Nicke on the drums, a solid and fully compact ensemble. An ensemble playing with raging fury at times, with fast riffing and drumming, but also delivering sweet, vintage or psychedelic melodies, perfectly fitted under Johanna’s vocals. The doomy parts were my favorite though, as these provide the perfect mingle of all influences of the band. Personally, watching them live, I felt like having memory spots from Cathedral, Witchcraft, Entombed and Blood Ceremony.

That was a fantastic gig and probably the best way to kick off their european tour, and what better place than Stockholm to host their first gig?

Till next time! Raise your beer/wine glasses and pray for Lucifer!

Antonis Mantzavinos

The prospect of watching Q5 in a live show enthused us since we don’t have the chance to enjoy this legendary 80s metal band every day. Q5 is still alive and kicking after all these years, even without Floyd Rose in the line-up. So, when the time came, we headed for the Crow club, where the Americans would play for us. We were there on time and the club was already full of many fans of classic metal. The program included also Paladine and Valor, two Greek metal bands, which would open for Q5.


Soon enough the show started, with Paladine taking their place on the stage. The band, which was formed by Chris Stergianidis, released its debut album (“Finding Solace”) in 2017 and faced recently some line-up changes. Despite that, they gave an excellent show and warmed up the audience with their melodic epic/power metal. And although it was the first live performance of the line-up, they sounded very tight and solid. When a band is mature and has worked well, the result can be easily heard – Paladine performed their “Finding Solace” songs with conviction and we all, the band and the audience, had great fun. We are looking forward to listening to the new songs of Paladine! Valor was the band that continued after the Paladine show and the beginning of their performance was an amazing surprise for everyone – they began with a tribute medley to the late Mark Shelton (Manilla Road). Well, it is always a great pleasure to listen to some Manilla Road classics, especially when they are performed with such loyalty and passion! After the medley, Valor continued with their own songs, spanning from all their discography. Their true metal music sounded really nice and their live show impressed the fans, who enjoyed Valor’s conviction and musicianship. Of course, the band’s latest album, “Arrogance: The Fall” (2017), was honored by the band and generally, we had the privilege to listen to some genuine epic metal music. It was a perfect introduction for Q5, whose live show was so much anticipated. The time had come for the Americans. And what they did, was awesome! Because they played for over an hour and a half and they kicked our ass! They were in perfect shape, they had a tremendous energy and their beauty and freshness seemed untouched by time. 34 years since the release of “Steel the Night”, Q5 was there for us and played like a group of ruthless teenagers. A sonic force took over the Crow club, and an adrenalized band led us to an orgasmic delirium. Q5 pulled the trigger, stole the night and our minds and hearts. The setlist was incredible and consisted of both classic and more recent numbers. Of course, they performed almost the entirety of their monumental debut, “Steel the Night”, and drove us insane with songs like “Steel the Night”, “Lonely Lady”, “Missing in Action”, “In the Night”, “Come and Gone” etc. The historic band faced some sound problems (especially with the bass guitar), but that didn’t stop them – they pulled the trigger, they pushed the button and shot us with their wonderful tunes. I should not bypass the fact that they played “Lonely Lady” twice, after the crowd’s request – we were all lunatics, screaming and banging our heads! Congratulations to these old guys for giving these moments of hard-hitting rock n’ roll! We are already anxious about their new album and their next show in Athens!  

Dimitris Zacharopoulos    

 

 

King Crimson was one of the greatest bands of the 70s progressive rock scene. They have released classic prog rock albums, which were ahead of their time and influenced a lot of music genres and musicians, from the 70s until now. For example “In The Court of the Crimson King” and “In the Wake of Poseidon” are considered to be innovative works of art, monuments of pure inspiration and musicianship. But apart from the peerless technique, King Crimson always expressed their feelings through their music and as a result, music journalists include them in the “sentimental” prog rock class. Indeed, I personally grew up with the music of King Crimson and so did countless other music aficionados, who support the band even now, 50 years since the formation of the band - King Crimson may not release new albums frequently, they are still touring now all over the world. Imagine my surprise, when I learned that King Crimson have included my town, Rome, in their tour schedule. We have the luck to see several artists/groups in Italy, but the news of a King Crimson show is always special news. I bought my tickets and I picked with anxiety my old King Crimson vinyls from the dusty shelves of my record collection! A night of nice prog music would follow.

The Rome concert would take place at the Auditorium, a perfect place for sophisticated gigs since there are only numbered seats for the audience and no arena. I can’t think of another, more suitable place to enjoy King Crimson. We arrived there on time, and took our seat, waiting eagerly for the show to start. During the waiting time, you could hear strange sounds from the speakers, obviously selected by the band itself, good enough for us to get in the right mood. We couldn’t help waiting for the band to appear on stage - and when the musicians did so, the audience burst into a big applause. We couldn’t believe it, Robert Fripp was right in front of us!

The band selected an ideal playlist, which included all its classics. We had the chance to listen to great prog rock songs, which the band performed excellently. You can’t ask for more, when you listen to such legendary songs as “In the Court of the Crimson King”, “Moonchild”, “Epitaph”, “Starless”, etc. It was a blast to listen to King Crimson play all this stuff, with their remarkable technique, with their true passion. We witnessed a flawless performance, which sent shivers down our spine and will never be forgotten.

But you will understand what I am describing, only if I mention that the band played with three drummers, whose drum kits were in front of the rest of the band! The drummers performed at the same time and in turns - it was a strange and beautiful spectacle.

Watching King Crimson playing live, it was a dream that came true. I almost shed tears of joy and excitement because of this wondrous live show. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that our jaws were dropped off during this fantastic live show, which ended with the heavy prog epic “21st Century Schizoid Man”.

Every moment of what we experienced this evening will live in our hearts forever. And when King Crimson said goodbye us, we thanked the mythic band with a long standing ovation. Only true music lovers can enjoy such state-of-art concerts, from a band which prefers to speak through music and lyrics. These things happen once in a lifetime!

Giuseppe Caprani

 

Being one of my favorite bands ever, The Hellacopters’ live at Gröna Lund in Stockholm was not just highly anticipated, but it could be characterized as the gig of the year (until next one). And someone feels lucky participating on a high energy rock n’ roll party at the band’s hometown, on a beautiful August evening.

Impressive was the sound of the helicopters approaching, as a backdrop for the band’s entrance on stage, heating up the crowd and setting the levels of attention to red alert, like the backdrop of the stage, with the Hellacopters logo in flames. “Hopeless case of a kid in denial” started everything, and here we have a band massively starting the show on full throttle. Nicke in the middle of the stage with his white Gibson SG electrifying everyone possible with his amazing performance. Dregen, one of the original members of course, has been in contact with the public all night long, playing solos and rhythm guitars his own special way, reminding us how much we like the first Hellacopters records, and his energy and motion, a trademark of each one of the members throughout the band’s years. Dolf De Borst (an old friend of the band, since 1998), has already replaced Sami Yaffa, who toured with the band the last period, and who also replaced the all-time bass player of the band Kenny Håkansson, did great, both on bass and also on backing vocals on several occasions. The other 2 members of the band, Anders “Boba” Lindström (keyboards) and the mighty Robban Eriksson (drums) were just awesome... Either taking over Dregen’s guitar (Boba) and doing a Sex Pistol’s cover (‘Bodies) which was a highlight of the night, or being one of the most massive, awesome and trademark drummers out there… Magic!

Set-list wise there cannot be anyone left unhappy, as they played a really good bunch of their whole career, including their most recognizable hits but also some not so expected ones, which was a very welcomed thing!

It feels so great to see Nicke & Co. live on stage, playing their tunes, giving an exceptional show, giving it all for the crowd and proving one more time that this bunch of dudes are one of the best act to see live! No question about it! We are talking about the original High Energy Rock N’ Roll act, one of Sweden’s finest musicians, but also band to make us wanna see them soon again, but also record new songs soon, why not?! In 2008, we had “The Tour Before the Fall”, drawing the curtain down as a farewell, but, but… You never know what comes next and we were always wanting this to happen, a Hellacopters reunion, that might lead to record new stuff...! So, bring it on boys! Skål till nästa gång! (Cheers till next time!)

Antonis Mantzavinos

The great day had come! 20th July 2018! A date that is already written in the history of the Greek metal world! Before we continue, there are some things that should be mentioned … Firstly, just put your mobile phone down! As it can be seen in several YouTube videos, most people in the audience didn’t bang their heads or just enjoy the bands, but were holding their mobile phones up, trying to shoot photos or capture the show in video … that’s tragic! Take some photos, record a small video, and that’s enough! Put it down! I experienced some frustrating moments, when during the show a lot of people were trying to pass through the audience, holding their mobiles, only to shoot photos! That’s a pity! Secondly, are you nuts? You want to see Iron Maiden, like 36,000 other people, and you come five minutes before the official beginning of Maiden’s show? We were packed in like sardines, we have been standing there for hours in order to have a decent view of the stage and you get to the venue, demanding to seat in front of the stage? Should we also let you seat upon us or what? Come on you guys, snap out of it! Thirdly, stub your cigarettes out! I don’t know how many cigarettes you were smoking, when you were in concerts in your home village! We all had attended a festival, not a small coffee shop, there were 36,000 people, we couldn’t even breathe and you light your cigarette! I saw people around me getting burned by cigarettes – I wonder how that didn’t happen to me! Is it so difficult for you to restrain yourselves? If you can’ t enjoy the music and you prefer your cigar, well, leave the space for us and go to a coffee shop and light as many cigarettes as you want! We can go on now with what we saw that day in Rockwave Festival …

We arrived at Malakasa around two o’ clock – the heat was unbearable, the hot sun didn’t show any mercy for us and the two stages were ready to welcome the six bands, which were scheduled to play.

Rollin Dice: The Greeks would open this marvelous day of loud, heavy music. With their personal sound, which mixes heavy metal music with blues elements, Rollin Dice gave a nice show of 45 minutes and pleased everybody, especially the older ones, when they covered The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”! If you haven’t seen them on stage, you should check their tour program immediately!

W.E.B.: The baton was passed to the second Greek band of the day, W.E.B. To be frank, this band plays in a dark metal style, which I am not fond of. Despite that, the guys were flawless, justifying why they are one of the biggest names of the Greek metal scene. They were unmistakable, not only technical wise, but also as a stage act. Their outfit and face make-up were impressive, just like their performance, especially if you consider the heat – they deserved our applause. However, W.E.B.’s extreme metal sound didn’t fit with the other bands of the Festival – not to mention their black metal visuals at the noon! What I am saying is that if they were playing at night in a small venue, we would enjoy them much more! Nevertheless, we must focus on their excellent performance.

Monument: 15:45 … Terra Stage is ready to welcome Monument. Despite the hot rays of the sun, most people don’t hesitate to gather before the stage to enjoy Monument (some call them “the new Iron Maiden” or “the new Running Wild”, you can call whatever you like …). Guitarist Dan Baune and drummer Giovanni Durst appear first on stage, and the crowd is going wild! Suddenly, as the first notes of “Hellhound” can be heard, Peter Ellis, the singer of the band, who comes from Greece, can be seen running on stage like a hurricane! I won’t tire you with my words – with the exception of a minor sound problem at the beginning of their show, during which the sound of the bass guitar and the drums was covering Peter Ellis’ voice, the guys were perfect!   The audience was roused by Peter Ellis’ amazing vocals and generally, all the guys’ incredible performance! You could tell by their every movement, every expression in their face how much fun they had playing live and that energy passed to us, throughout their gig. The Brits said goodbye to us with the song “Lionheart”, having left everybody satisfied, having proved how good they are on stage, having shown to everyone that they are worth checking out (if you haven’t already done it). Of course, their influences are obvious (Iron Maiden, Saxon, Running Wild), but they also have their own personal touch in their songs. The only thing that we are waiting for their next show is that they will play the songs “A Bridge to Far” and “William Kidd”, which were requested by many fans and are two of their best tracks. We would like to mention that Monument were also wronged by the time they played, since most of the fans started to fill Terra Vibe after six o’ clock in the afternoon due to the hot weather.  Yet, imagine what would happen, if they played later, with more fans before the stage! We thank them so much, for their outstanding performance, our neck and vocal chords were already in pain after their show!

The Raven Age: I will be frank… As long as I listened to their music at home, I was thinking that they would give a nice live show. However, their actual gig in Malakasa was a disappointment for me. I was already tired after their first two songs and I decided to hang somewhere else, far from the Vibe stage and have a rest. You can’t say that The Raven Age are bad, they are indifferent. It’s the case of a band, which you prefer to listen to through the speakers of your home stereo, not live on stage. Was it maybe, because their new singer, Matt James, seemed to take care more of his ego and less of his voice? I don’t know, I want to see them again at another live concert, just to see If I am misjudging them.

Tremonti: They don’t need any introduction! Having served a lot of years in metal and having released four studio albums, Tremonti are considered as a powerful modern metal band, which is kicking ass in its live shows. Mark Tremonti, their lead guitarist/singer, of Creed and Alter Bridge fame, is a guarantee, both in the studio and on stage. Their latest album, “A Dying Machine” rocks big time, and during the title track, everybody seemed to have a good time. Nevertheless, I found them a little monotonous. Technical wise they were perfect, their energy was remarkable, but I didn’t like all the songs on their setlist. Don’t get me wrong, the fans liked what they saw on stage and Tremonti were worth of the fans’ applause.

Volbeat: The Danish band managed to excite everybody! Their mix of Metallica’s “Black Album”/”Load” sound with southern rock/rockabilly influences was original enough for everybody to have fun! This live show revealed all the reasons why this band is beloved in Greece and the rest of the world. Most of the fans knew the lyrics and sung the songs together with Michael Poulsen (vocals, rhythm guitar). Even the doubters understood how good this band is! I personally am not a Volbeat fan, but their songs made us shout, shake and bang our heads. Songs like “The Devil's Bleeding Crown”, “For Evigt”, “Seal the Deal”, “Let It Burn”, “Black Rose” and “Still Counting” are real rockers, an amalgam of power and melody! But Maiden’s show was approaching, so we left Vibe Stage to reserve a nice seat for what would follow!

Iron Maiden: The moment that all the fans were waiting for months, since the first announcement, had come! We were all there, so anxious, so nervous for the big show! 36,000 people had paid their ticket to see Iron Maiden. At this point I would like to make a mention – Terra Vive isn’t a place for so more than twenty thousand. There was no space to stand, many people couldn’t have a view of the stage, you couldn’t even hold your glass and drink. Comfortable isn’t a word, which can describe the whole place. It was obvious that the organizers wanted to make some more money and sell more tickets than Terra Vibe could host. But that’s another story, the story of an organizing company (Didi Music), which obviously didn’t care about the people’s security and health. Let’s get back to …the Irons! According to the announcement, the show would start at 21:00 o’ clock, but the minutes were passing and the only music was coming from the decks of the DJ. And suddenly, we listen to “Doctor Doctor”, one of the favorite songs of the Steve Harris. It’s Maiden time, my friends! Everybody is yelling, as we understood that the time had come … “Aces High”! Everything is now chaotic, as the band is playing its classic songs and everybody in the crowd is headbanging, singing and playing air guitar! An impressive Bruce Dickinson is running on stage, fronting a legendary band, which is giving its 100% for the fans. The sound was perfect and the setlist ideal! I would like to emphasize on the following fact; Iron Maiden may have grown up, may have white hair now and wrinkles, but they managed to make us feel like small children! And apart from their great performance, the sextet’s show included a fantastic show with lights, videos and special effects. It is the first time we see such a heavy metal show in Greece. That’s phantasmagoria! Everybody in the band was flawless and in an ecstatic mood. Of course, some minor vocal mistakes won’t spoil what we saw, heard and felt! Dickinson didn’t speak a lot to the audience, except for in the beginning and the end of the show – his communication with us was superb (“Scream for me, Athens!”). We all wanted to listen to “Alexander the Great”, but Dickinson sang only the refrain a Capella – you can imagine how we felt when we thought for a moment that Maiden would play also this classic opus! It was a big honor for us to listen to all these Iron Maiden songs, like “The Flight of Icarus”, “Two Minutes to Midnight”, “Revelations”, “The Clansman, “Hallowed be thy Name” etc. Iron Maiden promised that they will come back – they presented a gorgeous live show, which is maybe the most complete and touching show we have ever witnessed in Greece! There are so many feelings now, after the show… We close our eyes and we are still there, in Terra Stage! We can’t believe what we experienced, not even now, some days after the event … Can you believe it?

Sylvia Crystal