Live in Lebanon
Label: Rock Ring
Reviewer: Carmina Khairallah - 2012-09-13
Highlights: The Whole Show Was Amazing
In November of 2009, Hail!, the All Star Metal band, offered Lebanon its first real deal regarding Metal concerts, and the event has left many talking up until now. Now, after three years and two changes in members (their current lineup being Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens on vocals, Dave Linsk on guitar, Paul Bostaph on drums and James LoMenzo on bass), Hail! came back to wow the Lebanese Metal scene once again and give them some more of that enthusiasm they need.
One day before their concert, the band came to Mozart Chahine Zouk - a music shop - to grant the local press a short conference during which they could ask the members a few questions. Following the press conference was a ‘Meet and Greet’ of about an hour when the 35 fans who had bought premium tickets could enjoy some quality time with the members of Hail!, shaking their hands, sharing a few words with them, getting an autograph from them and taking a picture with them. (That doesn’t mean photographers and members of the press didn’t take advantage of the opportunity as well, I must say the impression I personally took after meeting the band was that of a very nice bunch of people who know how important their fans are but also that of four people who have fun at any time and place, occasionally burping in microphones and stuff).
Expected at 8 pm, the band entered Mozart Chahine with their manager Mark Abbatista at 9 pm, which wasn’t really a problem considering most members of the press, photographers and fans had just arrived at that time. After a chat with head of Rockring (the organizers of the concert) Roy Naufal, I discovered the band’s plane was 2h30 late, and that a piece of luggage got lost at the airport. The whole thing ended about an hour later; seems the shop’s owner wasn’t very pleased with the ordeal lasting any longer as he repeatedly and explicitly begged everyone to move faster. As everyone was leaving, Tim Owens and Dave Linsk played around with a piano and guitars available at the shop before the band departed as well. (Additional detail: the band sang “Happy birthday” to a young fan!)
Now let’s talk about what you guys actually want to hear about, the actual gig, which happened on Saturday March 31st at Demco Steel… a steel Factory! As Rockring put it, “where Metal meets metal”. The place is actually quite spacious and most probably could have greeted at least some more people than it actually did. Although, I have to say the place was quite hard to find! Many people got lost, maybe more directions on the event’s page would have been useful, but even with these I’m sure an isolated steel factory very close to another one holding the same name in the middle of the night is never truly easy to find.
The opening band EpiSode climbed on stage at 9h30 after a short but quite funny introduction by host Nemr Abou Nassar, whose first appearance in the Metal Scene was his replacing a missing band during the second heat of 2011’s Lebanese Global Battle of the Band with a one man show/riffing session. For those who don’t know them, EpiSode is a trio that adds quite a twist to everything Rock with their two-violin-ed front man Avo Demirdjian (a.k.a Steve Violin (Vai-olin), as Nemr Abou Nassar rightfully put it). Even though the violin really is what makes the band shine, bass and drums had an equally important place in the delightful originals EpiSode offered the crowd. Although, their interaction to the crowd was maybe slightly passive as was the response of the crowd to their music except for some well deserved cheering towards the end, and I have to add that their style was in total inadequacy with that of Hail! Nevertheless, quite the tasteful start to the night.