Rock'N'Iasi Indoor

 •  Posted in: Kogaionon Articles

It happened! I've been to RockNIasi Indoor! To Iasi, in fact! I didn't grant a visit to Eminescu's tree, nor did I shadow among the students' hostels. Right on the giratory dominated by beautiful architecture of the town library building, you can take a glimpse of Iasi's Student Cultural House. I remember that back some years ago, after a concert held by Karsten in another location, I've found myself on the morning tide in a pub harboured in this very building...Belfast was its name seemingly... Nevermind, metalic memories are flowing within my mind now...

Well, I've done that short material mixing short questions for the bands participating at the festival and their correspondent answers (except for ARKONA and AVATAR's that haven't accepted my invitation) and posted it on my site; one day before the concert, a friend told me that my exact material has been also posted on another Romanian website, metalhead.ro, yet without making any reference to Kogaionon. I think that friend of mine was more upset than me, or how I should have been in what concerns this very fact. The important thing is that it didn't mind me at all, on the contrary, I am glad that other sites have also tried to promote such an event by doing more than the peter posting of a color poster.

I was supposed to arrive at 5 pm, when the concerts started, but personal matters delayed my arrival until 7 pm or even later. But, once I've got there, I've spotted that for a decent priced ticket (50 RON or 15 EUR) you were receiving a bracelet on your right hand with which you could juggle between getting a beer from the hall or something else from the outside kiosk. From this point of view, it's a pity that the organizers haven't considered to offer more than water, juice or beer... I despised the idea of going outside in order to get a decent drink and than to return to the concert hall... or to palm o bottle in my pockets and pass through the security - absent - filter from the entrance. Taking one by one the inner building stairs, on a quite bombastic Metal background, I could observe through the sash square of a nearby chamber the two flags prepared for the next day's voting, and they've brought a grin on my face: quite a resonance there must be between Metal and the ballot box! Patriotism is all-in for us! And so, I've found myself upstairs, on the lobby full on black looking dudes, obviously almost all of them wearing black T-shirts. What else did I find there? Plenty of trampers, modest ones and Newrock all together, with thorns and all kinds of glace accessories, bracelets, piercing, tattoos, winnowing tressy back-haired individuals, wearing motor-like leathery, bla, bla... I've even observed a striking make-up and bespectacled hubby (yeah, I know wearing glasses it's trendy now) with knee high boots and a beautiful corselet ... what to say, a true Viking...or Pagan, or Heathen, or Folk metalhead... lucky enough that there weren't any thunders around, cause with so much wires and metal all together on his human body, and in lack of any helmet he could barely reach the end of the night. On the same lobby I've seen some stands exhibiting Metal accessories, meaning CDs, vinyl, cassettes, T-shirts thanks to Titus/Bestial and Coro/Axa Valaha. Ahh, there was also ARKONA's drummer with some CDs presenting two versions of his band's material: digipack and normal, for 350 RON, respectively 27 RON. But I have to admit it's pretty hard to make a conversation with him, as didn't speack Romanian at all, solely Russian, and his English was completely forbidden for all the rest of us....therefore, the only common path for communicating to each other was counting the money.

AVATAR was performing when I've entered the concert hall. Their few fans were showing support on the front seats, the sound was fine. I was somehow confused by the transitions from Death/Black Metal and Power scented sequences towards the melodic ones, with Metalcore elements, but fans' satisfaction seemed to be enough for the band, and nothing else was important. In my opinion the band didn't have an overall outstanding impact on the audience, which for my surprise wasn't in majority from Moldavian lands, but came from all around the country: Brasov, Sibiu, Hunedoara, Constanta, Teleorman, Cluj Napoca, Baia Mare, Bucuresti, Galati, Timisoara, Suceava, Vaslui, Mures...

BUCOVINA followed AVATAR on the stage, and they've got an excellent reaction from the public (a matter of course in the end, as they were at-home). All those filling the lobby earlier, now came into the hall, the most of them tried to get in front to proper head-banging, and Luparu & Crivat & Misu & the new (quite timid) bassist started their show bombastically. They've performed the tracks from their last album, all sounding quite fine, they've done the expected bis and even repeated the melodic pieces, the Folk ones (a la Phoenix with Semnal M) that truly made a delicious experience for the audience ... plus they've once again played the new track, the one inspired from the local folklore, named “Straja" as far as I remember... It was a good show, not excelling in virtuosity or sound quality, but the imagery was fine indeed. The impact on the public was also great as it sang for several minutes along BUCOVINA. As far as I'm concerned, the far too radical and forcible grade-crossing from Black towards Folk and from the aggressive voice to the normal one is unnatural...But, the melodic line succeeds into contouring the sound frame that tends to reach distinction...

Therefore, the prelude took place, I've even seen for a couple of seconds two incredible kids on the stage (one of 9 years old, and at the age of 11), adorning fair-haired brothers, wearing black T-shirts illustrating angry band figures, coming from Sibiu (if my memory doesn't play tricks on me) to see the bands performing tonight. Outbounded Metal indeed...

And ARKONA made its appearance! A band coming from daddy Stalins's lands in order to enchant us for an hour and a half with a tremendous Epic Folk Metal experience! It's true all right, this Pagan fronted current is an the wave and many Eastern bands try to find an original expression throughout it, but, in the end, they solely grant the continuance of Northern' approach, yet with a more melodic and exotic touch, by the inclusion of certain traditional elements (fife, accordion...), feminine voices... Well, that's the way to catch on and we should follow it! Some of us at least...
Delirium certainly embraced the audience! General riot took place, every single one was headbanging, filming, taking pictures, holding the rhythm within, applauding, screaming... as for the vocalist, she is a finely hairpin and delicate creature that appeared on the stage with her shoulders veiled with a bear/wolf fur and completely electrified the audience with her incredibly mighty and crystal clear voice, both melodic and violent! You simply couldn't stay sited when experiencing such a rhythmic and Epic sound, despite the false keyboard (meaning a pseudo playback, as the CD was the solution)! The sonorities enliven by the traditional instruments, truly atmospheric, were perfectly entwining with the resolute, energetic and sore guitar riffs. No doubt there! ARKONA was the band of the evening, the most cherished one!!! I was terribly annoyed by the use of a background CD! I came to see a live performance, not to listen to a CD. And that's what happened in the end! When considering such a complex and multidimensional sound as ARKONA's, how can you imagine a show put together by two guitars, one voice plus a battery? To me, it produced the same sensation that I've experienced with ORPHANED LAND one year ago at Satu Mare. Anyway, the drummer is fabulous, quite fabulous! I have no idea what the hell were they saying to the public as all their words were in Puskin's language, but my sense was that they were pretty glacial, haven't rushed into interacting... the dollish vocalist was running and springing on the stage in a childish way, then entered an angry and profound mood, and afterwards started to bounce again, than the running ... she was somehow playing hopscotch on a Metalcore background... they've done their show, including the awaited bis and basta, the end. A pleasant experience for me, that's for sure! I felicitate myself for buying their last album, especially as the imagery is quite smart.

Waiting took place, all kind of instrumental settings began to proceed and afterwards the Finnish MOONSORROW entered the scene. And trust me, what I've seen were five professional Finns!!!! One of the most outraging live guitars that I've experienced in the last years! Incredibly serious, friendly, modest, but extremely dedicated, Ville & Co proven me what true performing means, even when talking about tracks longer that 20 minutes, all played in an exceptional manner! Pity that the voice was dusked by the sonorizing, the keyboard has been enhanced and unbalanced with a tremendous battery and three over Heavy guitars... Very energetic, continuously moving to each other, filling the entire scene, changing places at almost every significant riff... MOONSORROW mesmerized me. I've also been back stage, seeing them from the other side in their whole splendor and I can say for sure that the five of them exist through music, they love their music! I haven't seen so much determination in a long time! The audience was both ecstatic and catatonic, as you simply couldn't escape the fascination of watching them perform! The expected bis took place, then the band played more than was awaited, another encore yearned by the public, but the five red face and body drown guys ended their repertoire. They've played for two hours continuously!!!! I've seen them afterwards: sweat, exhausted, overwrought, but satisfied. I don't know if the public's dementia was the cause, or the simple fact that they've tailed another excellent show, this very time on our lands. It's possible that the ones that have slightly listened to MOONSORROW would have perceived the sound as confusing, linear and weary. Nevermind, not everyone accedes to technical comprehension! Melodiousness is far more quested, appreciated and, why not, sold.

Same as ARKONA, MOONSORROW's backstage was saturated in fans, desperate for photographs, autographs, questions waiting for their answers. I had the chance to detailed chat with some of the bands' members and I was surprised by their maturity, open-mindedness, the mutual appreciation for all the bands trying to make a difference on this Metal scene, but also by their general musical knowledge.
During the morning time I've seen them at the hotel, tamely, discrete and quiet, as they've took breakfast in the most natural and simplest possible way, and afterwards probably returned to the Tales from the Thousand Lakes. Congratulations Ville, you are exquisite!

Long after midnight DAKON, coming right from Chisinau, entered the scene. The most of the public has already left, remaining solely those familiar to this extremely aggressive and technical Death Metal, reminding me of Dave Vincent's rhythms or evenly of NILE, even if they are more recent to the scene! With a trio formula, representing two killing guitars and a very rapid but less technical battery, in the absence of a bass, but with an extreme voice, the band pleasantly impressed me with their virtuosity. Coro assured me that two weeks from now their first album will be released, by Axa Valaha, so you'll hear from me too in what concerns this very band.

The ones from OPEN FIRE have also entered the stage afterwards, but the struggle with the backstage divagations stopped me from seeing them too. Incredibly or unbelievably, this evening brought me more fun than I can't remember experiencing anything aIike in long years! I've laughed with MOONSORROW, with ARKONA too (each in his own language, and the dollish creature almost felt asleep on her chair), but also along a very cheerful gang, proving that the organizers (Minel and Helgea) are truly humorous figures. And, in order to get truly heavy, 120 kg heavy I mean, I had to cope with the experience of consuming a handmade iron drink, produced by the GOD-father himself, meaning Costel Lapusneanu's father... If he's the godfather indeed or not, that turned into an irrelevant detail. The fact is that the bands' members were desperately trying to miss becoming the bottle's target, but they've failed from time to time. Having the friendly and perky Castor aside simply meant you couldn't escape the created atmosphere. I've seen his Dacian tattoos, his unending long-hair, his beard reaching the chest, the Burebistian belly and his superrockist wife, yet deep in love with Roman castles (so that Gerula must inside out on his grave) and, of course, the brother Gelu, the same inspired, young and unmarried one that I long know. I've also got amused by the yellow beer merchandising T-shirt wear by Marius/HATHOR, that seemed to illustrate CARCASS somewhere ... you can imagine, he brought it right from Galati, to see a fine festival .... Him or his T-shirt.
I didn't understand why GOD couldn't perform on that night (in fact I do not want to open a ridiculous issue), especially as they were in Romania and were about to return to their home, in Portugal, 2-3 days later.

Still, there are serious promises for the next Metal edition held in Iasi, so I'll stop here. A renewed location, perfect for a Rock festival, with clean and separate toilets, with a correctly conceived infrastructure, both for the spectators and the performers or press, with security men and invisible bodyguards, having special location for smokers; there was a sincere, civilized, open public, no trendy attitudes and programmed behaviours, no violent boozes or crock persiflage, solely true Metal desire and the joy of an unforgettable evening! If you can imagine, when I've reached home my clothes weren't stinking of smoke! It was fun...

I've seen three excellent live performances this year: LAIBACH (of a rapturing beauty, the most profi and expressive one), MY DYING BRIDE (the most intense) and MOONSORROW (the utter virtuous one).