Bad Habits @ ARTEMEIS Festival

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The only reason for me to go watch this festival was Bad Habits. I didn’t know any of the other bands and artists, but checking out their names on the bill I got the impression that Bad Habits were going to come out first as the lineup was written like that: Athina Kontodima, Maria Bethani, Lou, Anemi, Bad Habits. Also, contacting the band – since because of the pandemic you have to reserve your seat beforehand via phone, or e-mail- they told me that they were going to hit the stage at 8:30. “At about 8:30 to 9:00 but for we tell everybody to be there at 8:20 for better or for worse”. In fact the show started at approximately 9:00, but Bad Habits were taking the stage last…

After so many months of confinement it’s quite reasonable to be excited and be impatient to go to a gig, even under those circumstances where you have to be seated. Youngsters Bad Habits didn’t disappoint. On their second live performance they showed some promising elements of hard rock grandeur with their songs, their playing and especially live performance that actually didn’t have anything inferior compared to more experienced bands with more live shows under their belts. Maybe, at some points their energy was a bit too much and created some bewilderment, but they are still young and have been locked in for ages because of the pandemic, so they can get away with it.

When, finally, it was time for them to hit the stage they slammed on the gas and never looked back. Without pausing in between songs they were throwing one punch after the other with their explosive material landing on the crowd like atom bombs. They were so intense there was no room to breathe, neither could you take your eyes off them, since there was always something happening on stage. The two guitarists Severin and Sellyoursouls (what a name!) were cruising around the stage, lead singer Jo was crawling on the floor whenever she got the chance and Ellie on bass with drummer Apostol were keeping everything the rhythm section tight and neat. So, was it all perfect? Of course not. These guys are in their beginning there will be mistakes, technical issues, you name it, but it’s all part of the game and also part of rock’n’roll, which suggests that your perfection must be flawed!

Unfortunately, this beautiful and high energy performance was pushed into a halt by the festival organisers. “One more song?” in the beginning Bad Habits didn’t pay much attention to that, although some trouble was visible on the horizon. Jo announced that this was the last song. But, when it was over the band wanted to play some more. They wouldn’t let them. I don’t know what was the deal, what was agreed etc, but it was obvious that everything had ran late and it was already 11:30, which means curfew. And the last band, which is supposed to be the headliner had to pay the price. If you think about it the exact opposite applies usually! So, there was some tension, guitars thrown to the floor, shouting, some people from the audience started yelling, but I the end the show was over.

Needless to say that any way you look at it Bad Habits was the band that stole the show. They had their fans who came to see them live, you could tell by the t-shirts and their appearance in general, while they were also cheering. Plus, when the band was about to play everybody who was seating around the bar moved to the seats in front of the stage to watch them. That didn’t happen for any of the other bands that came on earlier. I don’t have any reason to underestimate any of the bands and artists that played in the festival, which was supposed to have a variety and that’s totally understandable and respected. Also, it’s very important and praise worthy to organize a free access concert and give the opportunity to young people to play their music of any genre. That’s a great initiative and we’d be grateful to have more.   

Still, what’s left from all of this is an abrupt end of a great show, a band leaving the stage in chaos unable to finish its performance, unlike the others that were on the bill. I repeat I do not know what was the deal, or the arrangements, but the audience doesn’t have to know anyway. You see the most popular band of the evening being kicked out before the end of its performance and I think that this is something that nobody likes; the band obviously, the audience, but neither the promoter.

I hope that we will have the chance to enjoy Bad Habits again soon and if possible with no restrictions. I am sure they are disappointed about how the whole thing turned out, but from another point of view this is also a “baptism of fire” entering the rock/metal scene. It needs guts, power, and optimism because just like some wise men said: “it’s a long way to the top, if you wanna rock’n’roll”. Yiannis Dolas