Candlemass, Gagarin 205 Club, Athens 03 October 2009
Hearing that the trinity of Candlemass/Grand Magus and Memory Garden would visit us, really filled my day with doom and gloom, a couple of months ago...but no more than when i heard rumors that the show might have to be cancelled because of the upcoming elections... hehe !
Same old, same old, the elections are now over, hurrah, good ol' little Greece is still #%@@#ed , no matter what.
Arriving at the venue, slightly delayed because of all the political supporters that were mobbing and congesting the streets around, apparently heading to some stupid pre-election gathering, i only entered as Memory Garden were finishing their set. Weird thing that a gig in Greece would be so punctual too... I m not trying to come up with excuses, about that, i am just remarking, about the keeping of the timetable. Wow !
The turn-out was not very good initial, in fact - Gagarin (the venue) looked dismally empty and even though as the night progressed,the lower deck filled up to capacity, still, one could move around easily. Fact of the matter, is that the concert under-performed and it seems to be a sad constant for gigs in Greece, that organizers are almost always in the red or loosing money, because, the gigs will become less and further apart, at this rate !
Anyhow, pondering all these i went and greeted a few friends who were bopping around and went onwards to the photopit, to try and get some pics of Grand Magus. Jb's trio took the stage and for about 40 or so minutes proceeded to blast out a stonery doom, that wasn't bad at all. In fact most of the crowd, seemed to enjoy it - so the band was recieved largely well. I have to say that my knowledge of the band is inconsistent, so i had to ask friends for a couple of songs that i didn't know, but i have to admit that they were decent and very honst, about their craft. JB's sleeveless Rainbow rising Tshirt, added a nice touch too.... hehe...
More or less and you 'll have to forgive me if i m not 100 % accurate, they played : "Like The Oar Strikes The Water", "Blood Oath", "Lodbrok", "Wolf's Return" which J, explained was about the hunting of wolves in Sweden, "The Shadow Knows", "Ulvaskall", "Iron Will" a firm audience favorite, " "I Am The North", "Baptised In Fire" and "Kingslayer". Not bad !
After that and while I wondered around aimlessly trying to cool me down with a couple of pints and after some small talk and plugging of something that i m preparing, I once more ventured to the front for the Candlemass set.
A large sized banner with the artwork from the last album was spewn across the stage and 2 cameramen, were along us, photographers, in the photo pit. A quick check also revealed another two on the sides of the stage and one close to the drummer. Also turning around i think i caught a glimpse of a further two cameras on the balcony level. You see, after the live ep tracks on "Lucifer Rising", the Swedes decided to do an entire live album in good ole Greece !
I have to say, the crowd, wasn't dissapointing at all and it justified their choice as the punters didn't stop singing along from beggining till the end.
The well known intro "March Funebre", saw some 5 shadows, emerging from the gloom and delivering DOOM to the anticipating crowd which exhalted them, without end.
"Mirror Mirror" was the opener, and it made us shiver, while a non stop "Samarithan" really showed that the Swedes had some mighty good things in store for us. "At The Gallow’s End" so early on in the set, made people really go nuts... What a way to open the show, eh ?!
A more recent "If I Ever Die", mingled well with the older songs as did it's succesor, the mighty "Hammer Of Doom"! Some people started whispering something about a monk, but whatever, i don't mind almost any of the incarnations of Candlemass and in 2009, with a band like "Death Magic Doom", Candlemass proove that they are ALIVE in ATHENS and WELL ! "Dark Are The Veils Of Death" came as a bit of a nice surprise and "Demons Gate" left many gasping for breath. Just then and as the band was about to rip into the "Emperor Of The Void" from the "KOTGI" album, Jan's snare drum skin decided to leave the building, along with some "Gremlins" and gave away so the entire band tried to entertain the crowd, with some akward jokes and small talk... i have to say, that they shouldn't give up their dayjobs or music careers for a crack at comedy... hehe. Anyhow, a few minutes passed, and the band returned and did, do "Emperor" which went down a storm. "Man Of Shadows" followed and also the recend and most excellent "Bleeding Baroness". Which had one and all singing along ! "Tears" was quite unexpected, but a tune from the "Tales..." album is always welcome. The band concluded the normal part of the show with a very nice rendition of the "Sorcerer’s Pledge" with the crowd, carrying the song, til lthe end.
The band took a short bow, to catch their breaths, and I in turn did the same and retreated a bit towards the back. It was only a few minutes until they took the stage once more to perform the "Demon Of The Deep" from the latest album and their weird take on Rainbow's "Kill The King"
which they do competently, but where Lowe, ommits to sing the rest of the chorus past the first line, which really feels and sounds akward to say the least. Joe Lynn Turner, with over the Rainbow, i must say delivers it, flawlessly ! (ey H ? Don't you agree ? And also talking to a hungry man about Tzatziki is a cardinal sin - i hadn't anything to eat all day - and it was torture - Thank to antonis for the cookie after the show - i needed that sugar ! Haha )
Then the band took their bows once more, and even though the setlist didn't have any more songs they came back once more, after the crowd's fierce and popular demand to deliver us a final blow in the shape and form of "Solitude"!
This entire gig, was almost flawless ! I feel sorry for those not in attendance ! Screw the elections ! Vote for Candlemass !
Both the crowd and the band seemed really happy at the end and indeed this was a night to remember, on many levels. Afterwards Lief and Rob were kind enough to talk to fans and sign autographs and take pictures, which is always nice !!!
I m now really looking forward to the release of this Audio/Visual document and also really looking forward to their Keep it True performance this coming April !
Long live the fathers of Doom and Gloom !
By the Daredevil
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