Fuck You Corona, I'm Also Going To A Concert
ROM, Arad - Sur Austru - Live In Arad by RaduP (17)
ROM, Bucharest - Akral Necrosis - "The Greater Absence" Release Party by RaduP (35)
Safe to say that 2020 hasn't been the best year for the live scene. Hell, we don't even know the long-term implications that this will have on the music scene in general, but with so many people either dead, with permanent lung damage, or with no employment or accommodation, thinking about how there are no concerts to attend doesn't feel like that huge of an issue. Thankfully Quantic and Flex, the two venues that hosted the two respective events, managed to avoid bankruptcy so far, which is something I'm not sure I'll be able to say for a lot of other venues and the people running/working for them. For what it's worth, I'm glad there is something out there to attend.
Inspired by someone who cursed at Corona and went to a concert, I decided to do so as well. Though there were a few solo folk/acoustic/indie/standup events happening, there was either nothing in my city (since I am working from home, I no longer stay in my college city) or nothing that interesting. That all changed when Akral Necrosis announced that they will be having a release party concert in Bucharest for their then upcoming album, and they would be having Rancorum and Váthos opening, both of which I was already familiar with. There was one problem though. Later there was another event announced for the exact same Friday, in the same city: Dirty Shirt's 25th anniversary.
Event 1: Akral Necrosis / Rancorum / Váthos
I ended up deciding to go for the Akral Necrosis one for a couple of reasons: it was clear I would be able to take photos, I hadn't seen any of the three bands live despite being interested in them, and I had already seen Dirty Shirt live at least three times, who are also really not the type of band to see live without going in a mosh pit or hora. Thus, it was settled.
The event took place at the "summer garden" part of the venue, with limited tickets and with the tables and improvised barrel-tables all placed in a way to allow a good view of the stage. A fair number of the people present wore their masks, and there was a fair enough social distancing as well, so nothing to complain about epidemiologically. The merch table was "preorder only" and the orders all came sealed and disinfected.
The newest-comers of the bunch were Váthos, who have also released a pretty good record this year, their debut, Underwater. Their post-tinged black metal sound relies a lot on atmosphere and the post touches don't necessarily translate that well live. Thankfully the sound engineering of the venue allowed the transition into a live sound not to suffer that much from the loss of studio precision. Though the obvious sex appeal of the bass player was the most noticeable thing of their live presence, it's clear that they're all great musician who will only get more stage presence with experience.
Rancorum were quite the odd one out in this combination (and this article as a whole), being the only death metal band among black metal ones. And they were also the ones to sound the best from the point of view of how well their sound translated to a live setting, plus having quite the stage presence. Vocalist Liviu Ustinescu (previously of DinUmbră) definitely stole the show, and nothing really sells the old school part of OSDM than the sunglasses + Running Wild shirt combo. Though the riffing was definitely on point, it was the drumming that felt most pummeling.
Akral Necrosis definitely have a larger following than I was expecting, them being the only band of the few where you could hear the crowd shouting requests for songs. The setlist was obviously centered around the new album, The Greater Absence (you can read our review of it here), which I consider their best anyway so I didn't mind. The crowd however seemed to enjoy when the band played a song they admitted they would get in trouble if they released today. The band definitely gathered some live experience and have their stage performance all set, as weird as it is to have just 3/5 wearing corpse paint, but since the other two are either a drummer or someone looking like a Mortal Kombat character, I think they still nailed the look. And the sound. But firstly the look.
Event 2: Sur Austru
I probably would've published this concert review sooner if I didn't realize that Sur Austru would be performing in my city the following weekend. Sensing the opportunity to merge two articles into one without much delay, I embarked unto the second gig.
This one was also an outdoors one, taking place at the "Swimming pool park" location of the usual pub, which also generously served beans with cauldron stew that night. This being closer to home I was lucky enough to meet a lot of familiar people, some coming from my college town, some in the band itself. Yes, that means I am biased towards them, I'm not gonna lie.
This is far from the first time I would see Sur Austru, who might soon enter into double digit territories for number of attended performances. I've seen them at festivals, I've seen them with orchestras, so the only thing missing is some acoustic performance or a DJ set. But not only was I starved enough for some live performances, but they also premiered two new songs from their upcoming record, whose release date wasn't revealed yet, but we can expect it sometime this Autumn. And judging by those two songs I heard, I think there's reason to be excited for it. But then again, I'm the biased one.
Most of the setlist came from their debut album, Meteahna Timpurilor, other than those two songs. I was kinda hoping we would get some late-Negură Bunget songs, but it was great hearing these songs again after a pretty long time. Though it was an outdoor concert, there wasn't really a proper stage, so it felt a bit more "personal" seeing the band on the same level, but that did mean some visibility issues for a lot of people. And having to take photos up front this also meant always being in someone's way. Also previously people filming the performance were an annoyance because you couldn't see because of them, not that they couldn't see because of you. Regardless, the sound was surprisingly good given the conditions, but the beans were even better.
Overall, it was great finally getting to see music in a live setting again. It almost made me not feel my legs hurting and my urge to check my phone. Almost.
If you're, like me, disappointed in the loss of quality of the photos when uploaded to MS, you can find full resolution (but still grainy) pics here and here.
||Written on 04.10.2020 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.|
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