Summer Fusion 2015
Band: Summer Fusion
Author: Carmina Khairallah - 2015-09-17
Saturday, August 28th marked an important event in the history of Lebanon’s Rock and Metal scene: the first installment of Rockring’s iconic Summer Fusion since 2010. It was also Rockring’s first event since 2011, and thus a sign of much needed renewal in the scene.
Summer Fusion is a day long beach Rock concert peppered with a few Metal bands and set at the Mocean beach resort in Al Kaslik, Lebanon. Pool access was granted since 11 AM. The concert began at 3:20, the first bands performing relatively soft music that suited the lingering regular beachgoers followed by a crescendo in heaviness and intensity as the sun set. Here is a brief review of each performance:
With Anthony Abdel Massih on guitar, she sang calm covers of a few popular songs such as STING’s "Desert Rose". Both guitar and vocals’ were enjoyable but the sound was slightly muffled and bassy. Ms. Kiame’s stage performance was a bit awkward as she kept pacing in her place when she wasn’t singing but her vocal presence was powerful. Few people were standing in the grassy area in front of the stage at the time.
Definitely one of the strong points of the day. They performed amped up covers of famous Rock songs as well as BOB MARLEY’s "No Woman No Cry". The music and vocals were on point and the band’s performance was highly energetic and engaging. Many more gathered in front of the stage at that point, and most of them were dancing.
Rocked up covers of Pop songs such as ADELE’s "Rolling in the Deep". Each band member was relatively good on their own but the band severely lacked chemistry. There were a few guitar tuning issues and the vocalist, although having a good voice, was slightly off pitch at some points. Most people were either in the pool or sitting down.
They were the winners by the judge’s choice in the Battle of the Bands 2014 with Virgin Radio Lebanon. A very fast paced Rock act that brought back the energy to the crowd. Their sound was dirty as would be that of a garage band; it seemed intentional as it suited their music but it was a bit noisy overall. The only issue with their performance was the shaky transitions between songs.
An Indie Rock act with obvious potential that came off as exceptionally average. The band’s music, sound, performance and stage presence were all good but the palpable lack of energy made them something you’d be more likely to listen to in the background. The crowd was disseminated and its members were either sitting or standing still.
JACK HADDAD AND THE LUCKY STRIKES
A Rock band performing both covers and yet unreleased original material. All members were musically skilled and experienced and their performance was very enjoyable, although it still lacked a little on the energy front. Most of the crowd was sitting but they were more numerous and enthusiastic at this point.
The ideal band to set the crowd’s energy back on track. Their original tracks, outfits and performance had exactly the right amount of Reggae attitude to them, down to the vocalist’s accent. The sound was great and the band members were highly professional – apparently the drummer had trouble with a pedal mid performance, but the band’s on point improvisation made it unnoticeable.
A highly energetic Dub/Reggae trio that kept the good vibes coming with their dance worthy original tracks. Most of the crowd was standing and everyone was highly receptive to the band’s spotless sound and performance.
The iconic local Rock band did play their original tracks, but when it came down to covers they switched it up to Metal. The crowd had grown at that point (as it was past 8 PM and the entrance fee now included two drinks) and all of them ran in front of the stage when the band started playing RAMMSTEIN’s "Du Hast". As of now, I will stop mentioning technicalities as everything was on point.
One of the country’s only Progressive Metal bands. They performed both original tracks and DREAM THEATER covers. The technicalities were very well orchestrated considering the relative complexity of the tracks at hand. Their performance was mostly ensured by their vocalist, who was energetic but whose interaction with the crowd was slightly awkward. The crowd was responsive but calm.
BLOOD INK / ELEMENT 26
A mashup of two iconic local Metal bands who haven’t graced the stage in years. They performed Metal covers by bands including LAMB OF GOD, who were ELEMENT 26’s specialty, as well as original tracks from both bands. The band’s performance was impeccable and the crowd went wild. This was probably the energetic peak of the evening.
The oldest still active Metal band of the country and it was its first performance since their appearance at Wacken Open Air, which resulted in them obtaining the 3rd place in the festival’s Battle of the Bands. Their all original performance was on point and the crowd was responsive with some even singing along. Bonus points for the very ominous-looking outfits, the Lebanese flag on the monitor and the band's new logo on the amps.
IN SANITY Q
A Rock/Metal band like no other. Their all original tracks included elements from everything and anything (yes, even heavy doses of circus music) and their theatrical performance done with limited means (mainly a doctor’s coat and a few balloons) were sure to bring a smile. The few remaining in the crowd weren’t very responsive, though.
The Rock/Metal band was a nice way to chill down and close off the night with their original tracks and STEVEN WILSON cover. Their performance was highly enjoyable and their energy was infectious, but most of the crowd had left at that point.
Overall a few things were a bit off. For starters, the sound check was still going on when people started arriving, and it ended barely before the show started. As for the waiting time between bands when the show did start, it was very acceptable during the day but became quite long around night time. There was some nice Rock/Metal playback music going on during the breaks which helped the crowd make the best out of them, but towards the end the very loud Arabic music from a nearby venue was kind of distracting. And last but not least, THE WHITE STRIPES’ “Seven Nation Army” was performed by not one, not two, but three bands, two of which reggaed it up. Seriously, guys, when most of the bands are performing famous Rock songs, please check each other’s playlists. It’s not even funny…
Despite the few setbacks, though, the event was very enjoyable, from the lazy noon vibes at the pool to the midnight blast of an ending. Rockring came back strong and right on time, too. The local Rock and Metal scene could definitely use a pick-me-up and who else than the pros to provide it. For those wondering what’s coming next, that’d be the next installment of the Global Battle of the Bands – the first one in Lebanon in 4 years – in March of next year. So to all Lebanese bands, now’s your chance to head over to Rock Ring website and sign up.
Thank you to Rockring, to Mocean Kaslik and to all the bands and crew for the great time, you’ve all left us craving some more.
Photos by Anthony Ghazel