Event Review - Metal Beach Concert
Label: Freak Show
Reviewer: Carmina Kahirallah - 2012-08-02
Highlights: Most of the show was interesting
On Friday June 8th, Metal Heads and Rockers gathered at Bay 183 for a one of a kind event, the Metal Beach Concert! Reminding some of the old “Summer Fusion” festival, this event offered a chance to enjoy a great beach while rocking to local Rock and Metal bands. It was Stephanie Saliba (known as “Stephanie SaCroix”)’s first time organizing an event, and I have to admit it was pretty risky to try and pull off such a thing as a first timer. Although, it was very enjoyable overall, despite the many technical difficulties everyone has encountered.
First of all, the event was announced to start at 8h30 “sharp”, but it did around 9h30. Not too much of a lapse if you consider that all the sound and lighting arrangements were made on the same day as well as all bands’ sound checks, but there was an after Prom scheduled at the same place at 12h30, which considerably diminished most bands’ stage time.
Transportation was supposed to be available to and from Dora, Tripoli and Zahle.
Personally coming from Dora, I and others experienced the trouble of a canceled ride and having to find buses to and from Jbeil, which, I have to admit, wasn’t very reassuring when you don’t know the region, especially late at night. Also, although access to the beach was permitted, previously agreed upon access to 3 pools was denied by the management, as well as access to the “green area”.
First band to hit the stage was Mindstorm. Their playlist was:
-Die, Die my Darling – Metallica
-Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
-Breaking the Law – Judas Priest
-Gunslinger – Avenged Sevenfold
-Breed – Nirvana
The band informed me that they considered that the organization and timing were bad but the sound was good, they also say that they know their performance was bad, due to humidity changing the tuning and problems with the vocals. What I have to say about Mindstorm is that, with all due respect, they seem to need some more practice. They didn't really respect the songs they covered, the sound was quite bad, the vocals mostly inadequate to the styles covered and the lead guitar barely audible; add to that the inadequate mix of styles (Between Grunge, Thrash, Heavy Metal and an approach to Country). Was the timing better, maybe the sound would have been less noisy and the performance slightly better, but overall, I have to admit it wasn't a very good performance. Most of the crowd didn’t seem to enjoy it and few were actually watching the band from the sand area.
The second band was Demons, a band from Tripoli previously known for their Lamb of God covers. Their playlist was:
-Laid to Rest – Lamb of God
-Humanity Lost Control (original)
-Descending – Lamb of God
-Territory – Sepultura
What the band themselves have to say is that they had fun and it was great but it would have been better with better timing and a better organization from Bay 183’s administration. As for me, what I have to say about Demons is that the sound was still rather bad, but the music itself was fairly good. The covers weren’t fully respected as the drums weren’t exactly that, and the vocals needed a bit more work as the vocalist’s growl was a bit close to random screaming, but the guitar was good although the lead (main melody) was far less audible than the riffing. As for the originals, they are fairly interesting and show a certain potential. It was here that the crowd started showing signs of excitement, head banging for instance, but it was fairly low.
Next band was In Sanity, well known for their professionalism, their great choreography on stage, their accurate Heavy Metal covers and their “spicy” originals. Their playlist was:
-TNT – AC/DC
-Bite Me – In Sanity
-Fight for Life - In Sanity
-Godzilla Train - In Sanity
-The way I am - In Sanity
-God Damn Rock n Roll - In Sanity
I have reviewed In Sanity several times before and there’s nothing more to add about them. After about 10 minutes of tinkering with the sound (something that was absent with both previous bands), it was great, as usual their energy was infectious, the crowd were loving it.
As a bonus, the vocalist Chris “Up” went down to walk among the crowd while singing several times, getting them even more involved. Truly a great Lebanese band, really, I have to admit I found no mistake worth mentioning in their performance, as usual.
It took about 20 minutes of playback music before the night’s main event, Blaakyum, could appear on stage. Known as one of the first Metal bands in Lebanon, Blaakyum were playing the last Lebanese event of their tour that night. Their playlist (preceded by a playback listening of their track Dark Symphony) was:
-Intro (a future song) – Blaakyum
-Battle Roar – Blaakyum
-The Last Stand – Blaakyum
-Cease Fire – Blaakyum
-Am I Black – Blaakyum
-Rip it Off – Blaakyum
Then a medley of cover songs:
-Am I Evil – Metallica
-5 Minutes Alone – Pantera
-For Whom the Bell Tolls – Metallica
-King Nothing – Metallica
Followed by one last original: Journey to Eternity.
Blaakyum’s guitarist Elias Njeim was not present due to personal work, and was replaced by Rabih Deaibess (vocalist Bassem Deaibess’ brother) for the second time in Blaakyum’s tour.
After asking the band about their opinion regarding the event, most of them agree that it was a very enjoyable show with great support from the fans, although they all agree that there were problems in organization, sound and maybe also the lack of pickiness in the lineup, all seeming to be recurrent in Lebanon. Sound wise and performance wise, it wouldn’t be very surprising to say that Blaakyum were great, considering their stage experience. Again, there are no actual mistakes to point out. The crowd seemed ecstatic during their whole performance. The band was even given a special treat, rare in Lebanon, by most fans: a wall of death (although, many have complained that children who’ve entered the pit were being harmful by hitting and throwing sand at other people’s eyes, but thankfully no one was seriously hurt and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves).
Then it was time for System of a Down cover band Highway 69. Their playlist was:
-Prison Song – System of a Down
-BYOB – System of a Down
-Chop Suey – System of a Down
Yes, that was it. Due to time issues, the band only played 3 songs then left, which was as disappointing to them as it was to the crowd who seem to enjoy the highly fun aspect of Highway 69’s performance. On the technical side, their usual bassist Robert Bzdigian was absent and replaced due to an injury (nothing major, thankfully), but the bass wasn’t audible. Other than that, they covered the songs very accurately, and for the little while it lasted, their performance was extremely lively.
Finally it was time for Rubber Band, a new Rock cover band which announced their new vocalist Stephanie Maalouf proudly as she is the girl who sang with Portuguese band Moonspell at Beirut Rock Festival 2011. The band’s playlist was:
-Highway to Hell AC/DC
-Sweet Child o’ Mine – Guns n’ Roses
-Rock n’ Roll – Led Zeppelin
-Along with a few originals.
Again, a very short playlist due to lack of time. At that point, the crowd was fairly annoyed as they had started to be asked to leave to make place for the after prom taking place after the event, so it was hard to judge their reaction. As for the band itself, well there’s nothing much to say about them. They played the rock classics that they’ve chosen fairly accurately, but the sound was rather bad, and I have to admit the vocalist’s voice did not suit the style.
Apart from that, the lighting was not too onerous but still fairly good, and it was possible to hear the music even when at the limit of the allowed water area, so you could actually enjoy the bands while swimming. As for the attendance, although it wasn’t noticeable, 327 people excluding the musicians and staff were present. The whole thing ended at 12h30
As I have already pointed out, it was a great event despite everything, and had the organization been corrected it would have been one for the records. Thank you very much Stephanie Saliba, we appreciate your hard work and dedication, looking forward to hearing more from you in a scene that desperately needs passion such as yours.