5/5/16

MUSIC: Symphony X + Myrath + Melted Space at KNUST Hamburg: surrealistic hammering progressive metallic disco








The story of how I ended up getting caught in this gig one Thursday night is certainly very short and mundane and can't even categorize as a story precisely because of its shortness and mundaness. It's like buying yourself a new pyjama; the fact that it just happens once a year doesn't mean anybody cares about it. Infrequency doesn't equal remarkableness, you know. 
So it goes like this: one day I was with Selim and he had this nice box set of classic blues and asked me "hey, there's this dope (Selim doesn't come from the suburbs of some mainly African-American populated city in Michigan, so he'd never use the word "dope", but just to give the narrative a ghetto feel, spice things up) band from Tunisia playing here soon, would you like to go see them? There are not that many successful Tunisian bands, you know!" and I said "Sure!", in hopes that he would offer to borrow me (I, on the other hand, am very much upper Midwestern) that nice classic blues box set, which he never did. The End.
It turned out to be my very first experience in the world of progressive/symphonic rock, so now I can write it down in my Things To Do Before Dying list, then cross it out and pretend I have accomplished something in life. Also it took place at KNUST, a club I had never been into, and they had this Keith Richards Allee plaque at the bar there, which made me feel like I wasn't completely out of my element.















The first opening act was this French symphonic metal band called Melted Space from Troyes, Champagne Ardenne (as everybody knows, the true cradle of symphonic metal) that just had too many fucking people on stage. Seriously, I mean, Ian Stewart was kicked out of the Rolling Stones for less; these guys were eight up there, eight!!! And I know eight must be the number of the beast and Iron Maiden and all that crap, but come on, they couldn't even move!

They had this terrific pale skinned lady soprano who answered to the name of Delauney Clémentine, though, with such an outstanding bone structure that would make any Tim Burton's dream. I was really captivated by her, and also by the appallingly archetypical mane shaking of her older and blonder fellow singer; he totally looked like the definition of paying-the-cost-to-be-the-metalhead-boss, and provided me with excellent gif material.


















Then it was Myrath's turn, the guys we were there for, most successful Tunisian band since the invention of couscous. Technically they were supposed to be the second supporting act, but they definitely should have been headlining the thing, because these lads just plainly killed it. In addition, the singer, Zaher Zorgati, is kinda hot and has a hot name too, so you've got the whole package there.

But he's not just a pretty face, don't get me wrong; the man can sing his guts off, as you might have seen in the video above, and the cante jondo resemblance of his moaning made me feel even more at home (that's what eight centuries of Al-Andalus does to you). The combination of hip-length jebbas and skinny leather pants was just the most accurate outfit reflection of their music; unexpected, fascinatingly unusual and magically harmonious, probably because they don't force the two worlds, hard rock and traditional Tunisian music, to clash, but let them live together within a healthy distance. The combination is too mystifying to at least not give it a try, I mean, come on! Maluf and progressive metal! It's like fried Oreos, sounds too good to taste bad!

















And finally the headliners, Symphony X, band from New Jersey that could be defined as "what Salieri was to Mozart, they are to Megadeth" (symphonic pun intended). I was a bit pissed off at them because around the beginning of their set, a guy came and told me to stop taking pictures with the camera, that it looked too professional (thanks?). Anyway, I honestly enjoyed their show, it all seemed and sounded like extremely up tempo 1980s house disco; the colourful, epileptic lights, the mannerisms of the players, the back-combed hair styles... I also fell for all the romantically doomed stories behind the songs that the lead singer, Russell Allen, shared with the crowd, his tragic views on the outsider state of the metal music world these days and the masks (see video above) he pulled off at some points during the concert.

In the end it was all worth it and we had a blast, because and in spite of the fact that nobody gave me the blues.



All pictures and videos taken on 17th March 2016 at KNUST Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.


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