Shakra/Lunatica/The Order, z7 Switzerland, 19.10.2007
|Event:||Shakra + Lunatica|
Shakra, Lunatica, The Order, 19.10.2007, z7 Switzerland
The last concert I had been to was in July, which means: three long months of not being to any concert at all! Either there wasn't anything worth going to, or if there was I couldn't go. All the more reason for me to be looking forwards to this gig. I don't think I needed much more persuasion though. Shakra and Lunatica are two of the most popular bands in the Swiss metal scene. And they aren't without reason…
The last time I had seen Shakra live was almost two years ago, when they were supporting Hammerfall and Stratovarius. As for Lunatica, I had already seen them live almost a year ago at the End Of Dayz festival at the z7 (End Of Dayz review, day 2) at the time they were my top favourite band from the whole festival, not to forget that I am a very big fan of their 2006 release "The Edge Of Infinity". I had also seen the supporting band The Order at the same festival (End Of Dayz review, day 1); they left me completely unimpressed though.
First up was the supporting Swiss heavy metal combo The Order. Like I had already said I had seen them live at the End Of Dayz festival where they left me rather bored. Respectively I wasn't really looking forwards to these guys at all and just hoped that they wouldn't play all too long. However I must admit that they really surprised me. They were definitely far better than they were last time. Maybe they just had a bad day, or perhaps they hadn't played live for quite a while last time, but whatever the reason these guys' stage presence was improved at least tenfold now! On the other hand however, it couldn't have been much worse than last time.
Musically-speaking the band was quite good. With solid drumming and bass-playing and some nice guitar lines with short soli in between. The vocals were solid too, not outstanding but good. There really isn't much more to say about this band. They played nice heavy metal and put on an OK show, but not more than that. It was good enough for a supporting band I suppose, but even though they were much better than the last time I saw them, it still wasn't something to write home about. Nice enough for half an hour, but not much more than that, luckily they didn't get much more either and after one encore the show went on with Lunatica.
The band really isn't bad, and if you're into this kind of music you might want to give them a listen. But for me, while I am not into this type of music they just didn't do it live. The songs weren't catchy enough and the stage presence didn't carry me along enough either. In the end even though they are good musically, I was mainly just waiting for Lunatica and Shakra's performances to begin.
Before the guys and the lady of Lunatica came on stage we heard the intro of their "Edge Of Infinity" album. A nice intro but in my humble opinion it was a bit too long, seen how overly eager I was for this show. From the very first song on they sounded superb. Everything sounded exactly like it should and the whole atmosphere was great. The band managed to make the music sound very powerful and very beautiful at the same time. Andrea's voice was as good as ever too. She was also backed up by bassist MG on the song "The Spell", where he took on the male vocal parts.
They played quite a number of tracks from their 2004 album "Fables & Dreams", amongst others the opener of the album, "Avalon", which deserves special mention for being a really awesome live song apparently. One song I personally missed though was "EmOcean", one of my favourite tracks from "Edge Of Infinity". Many of us were singing along, especially to their hit-single "Who You Are", which most people in the hall seemed to know pretty well, while some others were just watching the band in awe. Unfortunately though the show was over a short time after it started. Or so it seemed to me. In any case Lunatica's playing time was definitely too short. I can't wait for the next time I'll see this band live.
Like I already said I am a big fan of their latest album, but live their power metal with some small doses of pop and rock music mixed in sounds even better. I think the best adjectives to describe their music with would be 'majestic' and 'beautiful'. Even though they didn't have enough time to play in my opinion; they made the best out of it.
I remember that I once had a conversation about Shakra with someone. In the end we agreed with each other that even though Shakra is a good band, they are still only on the supporting-band level and that while they should be supporting the bigger bands of the metal scene, they don't really deserve their own tours and big shows yet. If I remember correctly that was a bit less than two years ago, right after we saw them supporting Hammerfall and Stratovarius. While this statement may have been true at that time, they definitely proved it wrong this time around!
Shakra play something on the border between hard rock and heavy metal. Very solid music with some really awesome and catchy guitar riffs and very good hard rock-type vocals. I like Shakra's 2003 release "Rising" very much. But I have to admit that I never bothered with listening into their 2005 release "Fall" and I've only heard their newest release "Infected" a couple of times as well. I was worried that it would be a drawback that I didn't know a lot of songs they'd play that well. But in the end I had no reason to worry after all. Quite a lot of the songs they played had such easy refrains, that it was actually possible to sing along, while hearing the song for the first time!
Shakra played an extremely balanced set with a couple of tracks from all three of their latest albums, I'm not sure if they played anything from their older albums on which they had a different vocalist though. They also played a couple of ballads amongst their hard rock hits. Then again their playing time was long enough to allow this. I think they must have been playing for close to two hours. They saved the song I had been waiting most for, "Rising High", until the very last. As the second song of the second encore to be exact.
The whole crowd was firmly in Shakra's grip. We were singing and clapping and chanting the whole time throughout the show. Their vocalist, Mark Fox, also prompted us to a sing-along at one point, and to shout as loud as possible at many others. This wasn't that easy though, considering that their show was about two hours long, that we were singing along the whole time (and many of us had already sang along a lot to Lunatica) and how often the band asked us to shout. I am convinced that there was almost no one in the crowd who was not hoarse after a while, still the band kept pushing us on, and we replied.
There were also a few pyro effects throughout the show. Some firework right at the very beginning of the show, after which the band started their set half a second later, and again later on in the show. What was even better though was that there were a lot of bowls scattered on the stage and the speakers which were all lit on fire towards the end of the show. I should also add that they were all lit simultaneously as the band started with the song "Playing With Fire".
Despite having a show of this length, I didn't get tired of the band at all; however I was all the more physically tired after it. I might even say that this was one of the most demanding shows I've been to since a long time. Shakra just kept on pushing us and most of the hall participated enthusiastically. Actually I have only seldomly seen such participation at a concert. Like I said earlier, Shakra have passed the supporting-band status by far. The whole atmosphere of the show and the awesome performance of the band made this night a fantastic concert experience. And I really wouldn't have expected it, but I clearly have to admit that I enjoyed their show even more than the one of Lunatica! As for them, they aren't the only band of tonight that I definitely have to see live again.
In the end this concert was a really great experience. After the average supporting band came Lunatica, which put on an extremely enjoyable show, albeit a too short one and then Shakra, who totally blew me away throughout their whole (long) playing time. All of this in the relatively full z7, where both young and old had come together for this concert. The lighting was superb, as to be expected of the z7. And also the general temperature was much more enjoyable than I still had in mind from other visits to this venue. It was very nice this time, only in the end it heated up a little when the fires on the stage lit up, but then it was still very tolerable.
Those who were there know what I'm talking about when I say that this was a great concert, those who weren't definitely missed out on something.
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