“Close your eyes and it’s past / Story of my life…”
Summer of 2022 tried to bring back what we lost for two and a half years so it was no surprise there were so many concerts and festivals taking place in all the possible venues and big stadiums. But for some of us the big surprise came from the beloved field of Terra Vibe. It was there at Rockwave festival and became the place where we would see for the first time ever in Greece the emblematic punk rockers SOCIAL DISTORTION. They gave an amazing performance and they must ask themselves too why it took them so long. Along with them some other great bands, the amazing beligian band AMENRA but also the greek bands ALLOCHIRIA, KROTALIAS and HALF GRAMME OF SOMA.
“Smelling the perfume of progress and thought…”
The doors of the festival opened at 17:15 and the 200 brave fans tried to find a cooler corner to avoid the burning sun but at 17:45 the first band was ready to kick off. It’s a shame that stoner is so popular in Greece but still some bands don’t get the attention they deserve although they are from the top league. Heavy rock by HALF GRAMME OF SOMA is the ideal music if you are into heavy rock and, oh god, the desert at the USA/Mexican border may be too far away but we can always enjoy them under the burning sun of Malakasa (37km out of Athens).
All this of course had no particular significance for the band, because when they are on stage they seem to enjoy it no matter what, they won’t hold their breath about how many are there to see them, they only care about their groove, “groove is black” as they say but they are so damn great… Of course, after a while they were near sunstroke and the singer seemed to suffer although he tried to make a joke out of it «how nice, warm and boiling up here …» In any case their compositions were great, one by one and they managed to play in 35 minutes old songs but also some new ones (we only knew “much & cheese” because they released a video single recently).
setlist Half Gramme Of Soma:
wounds / gloomy eggplant / magnetar / muck & cheese / high heels / doofie
“να παίζει ξανά και ξανά σαν ξεκούρδιστη νότα…”
Next band on stage was KROTALIAS(which means rattlesnake), a Greek punk rock band that also had to fight against the sun. They use the word sun very often in many of their songs but that didn’t seem to easy the pain and their singer was grateful enough with those that came early to see them because “otherwise we would have died over here for nothing dudes”.
They were close to the general festival feeling because the punk rock was enjoyable enough thanks to their rhythm guitar and the steady drumming that kept us in a punk dance mood for 40 minutes. They had the groove but ok, it was way to early to keep the fans in full charge under the sun. This explains why we cant have a huge festival in Greece with many stages and bands playing all day, it would be hell for bands and audience. But apart from that Krotalias were great and we even enjoyed their new stuff from the upcoming album.
για μια θέση στον ήλιο / χωρίς θεό και αφέντη / μετά τη βροχή / δαίμονας / με τις καλύτερες προθέσεις / καταδίκη / όσο ανατέλλει ο ήλιος / ο τελευταίος άνθρωπος / περίστροφο / κύματα / όταν σβήσουν τα φώτα
“rage in scattered souls struck by lying hopes…”
It was the time to visit the bar again, the only way to avoid dehydration. At 19:20 we saw ALLOCHIRIA on the stage. This great Athenian bamd had a difficult task though because they were the first extreme band that day and some people just wanted pure rock n roll but I think they managed to impress those who really like music and they are always eager to enjoy new stuff. Yes, it is true that I also prefer them in small venues (like AN club or Temple) and not outside under the greek blue sky but they are so great that they managed to create the same feeling like they always do.
And since it is probably not known that this is the best post metal band in Greece I have to say how dedicated they seem on stage as they were performing their compositions. Irene was great with her vocal outbursts and many were surprised that she didn’t put her back to the audience as much as she used to do in the past. Without their catchy video clips playing at the background (some visuals that give something extra to their usual shows when they play indoors) this time they let their music get into us and they proved once more how great they are from the fact that they didn’t hesitate to play five new tracks along with some old stuff.
still life (new) / archetypal attraction to circular things / ocean (new) / counting fives / 9 (new) / K. / we have nothing (new) / darklight (new)
“With wounds adorned, we stand in line…”
It was 20:30 when time had come to see the mighty AMENRA. Allochiria had already show the way for those of us that are into the extreme underground genres but the good thing with places like Terra Vibe is that you can actually go back and relax with a beer under the trees if extreme is not your thing. But how can you really relax when these amazing Belgian guys play like there’s no tomorrow. As always they were impressive, especially after the first 30 minutes when (at last!) it was dark all over and their music was hitting our hearts easier. They offered us their dark and heavy music that looks like a mental black hole that drowns you inside and there is no escape. Their music is nt easy, definitely non popular but it is 100% true, a true testimony of the soul from each member that seem to live and believe what they play and transfer to us. So, it was no surprise that 70 minutes have passed quickly and yes, I enjoyed them as much as at Gagarin or Piraeus Academy venues the previous years. “Let no foot mark my ground” they say on the amazing “Razoreater” and the fans -when they didn’t stare at them in astonishment- they gave the warmest applause because this is real art, and underground is full of it, way far from expensive shows of commercial bands.
“And I think about my loves…”
After the necessary break the stage was ready for the headliners at 22:30. Suddenly “Guns of Brixton” was playing and everyone gets excited, SOCIAL DISTORTION hit the stage and they offer us rock n roll energy shots, one after the other. This is an emblematic band that have been around for more than 40 years, but in Greece we had to see our hair getting grey first before seeing them, but better late than never! It doesn’t really matter, the band from California is here, in front of us, and each song is really a joy for us, it doesn’t really matter if they are new or old, the fans are trying to keep up with the fast pace Mike Ness was going through their numerous great songs, from fast songs to a slow break with the cover of “Wicked Game” (Chris Isaac) and then my personal favorite “Prison Βound” («Oh, I’m prison bound / I may never know any other way»), then Mike stops to explain how things have changed and some old lyrics may see awkward in our days and they play “99 to Life” and then he asked us to sing all together “Dear Lover” and ok, it makes no sense to keep telling you each song of this great party because yes, this was a celebration, a punk rock celebration because this music is the best music as long as you listen to it no matter how sad you feel inside.
And then we had the encore and we heard “Don’t Drag Me Down” and the fans lit up a flare and then of course the “Story Of My Life” (but of course) and all the bodies coordinated like in a huge tribal dance. And Mike asked for a photo with us because («they won’t believe us back home») and ok, I am pretty sure they will return soon. In case you didn’t get it yet, this was the best summer gig for me… “Reach for the sky ‘cause tomorrow may never come…”
“Reach for the sky ‘cause tomorrow may never come…”
Video SOCIAL DISTORTION:
Road Zombie, Bad Luck, Reach for the Sky, Bye Bye Baby,ψI Wasn’t Born to Follow, Mommy’s Little Monster, Sick Boys, Wicked Game, Machine Gun Blues, Prison Bound, Gotta Know the Rules, California (Hustle and Flow), Tonight, 99 to Life, Dear Lover
Encore: Don’t Drag Me Down, Born to Kill, Story of My Life, Ring of Fire
® report/video: Konstantinos Mindcrimek Vlachos
® photos: Yiannis Dolas / Konstantinos Mindcrimek Vlachos