Side Effects II – Day 1, 18/3/2023 – The Steams / BLML / Glen / King Isxan / Lokruz


“binding circles stunning one by one…”

On March 18 and 19, 2023 Sound Effect Records gave us a nice live event at Gagarin205, celebrating 21 years since the foundation of the label. Yiannis Andriopoulos is still dedicated to his vision and has achieved so much all these years in and out of Greece, a proof how important is the underground scene because of people like him. With an affordable ticket we had a great chance to enjoy ten bands that are related with Sound Effect Records.

The first day had five great bands, heavy psych rock of Lokruz, Anatolian melodies of King Isxan from Tel Aviv, post rock of Glen from Berlin, garage rock of BLML (aka Blakmail) and the amazing psych rock tunes of The Steams as headliners.

Doors opened a bit after 19:00 when only a few fans were there. Once inside there was the merchandise corner where you could find many goodies from the bands but also several vinyl albums from Sound Effect Records. But we had to pace ourselves for later since at 19:40 the first band was ready to play.

“fighting to make it work…”

Ι had see Lokruz live a few months ago in a small venue (actually a recording studio) where they presented live their great debut album “Lokruz”, after all, they didn’t have many chances to play live since the album was released in 2021 when the pandemic and the measures were conquering social events. To be honest I believed this festival was a great chance for their music to be heard by many more people but when you open for a festival you usually play in only a handful of dedicated fans. But it doesn’t really matter, those who were there early saw a great band performing their work for 45 minutes. Sound was great (Michael’s sweet bass was patting our soul) and each of the five compositions that this power trio offered us took us to some vintage music paths that are based on heavy rock embellished with some space and atmospheric elements. Main responsible for the later was Alessandro (guitar/vocals) while Thanos on drums was a joy to watch. My favorite “Man In Hope” was included in the playlist along with the twelve minute long “My Naked Pride” that is always impressive in and out of the studio. But the time had passed so they choose to finish their show with the groovy “Time Is Over” while the fans were cheering for them…

Lokruz video:

Lokruz setlist:

Big boner / Man in hope / Mama says / My naked pride / Time is over

“getting lost in the East…”

Then at 20:40 King Ishan got on stage, the first non Greek band of the day. They are from Tel Aviv, Israel and they play neo-psychedelic rock. Their choice to kick off their show with taxim leave no wonder that they had something special in their sound. They actually played the first three compositions from their album “Gishra L’anani” and I thought they were going to play it on its entirety (it’s fresh anyway as it was released in 2022) but I was wrong since after those three tracks they managed to include three new ones along with “Purified” from the album. New composition are close to their style but I had the feeling they have added a bit more lyrics now. The weird thing with this band is that they don’t have a bass but two guitars, Dor on one of them along with the vocals and Yuval on the other (he was adding some surf elements too) while Eyal was very steady on drums.

King Isxan video:

King Isxan setlist:

taxim / terroir / disorientation/getting lost / dinka (new) / telech kapara (new) / purified / navad (new)

“cinematic post rock vibes…”

At 21:35 we saw GLEN on stage, a quartet from Berlin that are based on some guitar driven compositions played by Wilhelm Stegmeier on one guitar and Eleni Ampelakiotou on the other (I realized she was greek when she greeted us in greek). Glen managed to fill the air with post rock tunes for forty minutes. They have long instrumental compositions that use some typical patterns but they have great dynamics and they keep you busy without getting tired at all since they build each track slowly while adding some outbursts that give the necessary variety. They started with three compositions from their great album “Pull!” (2021) leaving outside only one track and as in the album I must admit I really got excited with “Korinth”. Then they played two new compositions, at first I thought they were from their debut (which I haven’t heard before their show) but they were from their upcoming album that is about to be released on autumn 2023 and it seems will keep their quality standard once more.

Glen video:

Glen setlist:

lecture / korinth / ahab / polymorphine (new) / strike (new)

“wings of love are cracking in the air…”

At exactly 22:30 (impressive how the festival kept the timeline through out the day) BLML were on stage. Formerly known as Blackmail this bands keeps producing great music many years now and they were a joy to watch once more. This is George Karanikolas’ side project (that most people know from The Last Drive) and I try to see them live as they don’t really give that many gigs as The Last Drive. Without a lot of big words and showing off they focused on their music but unfortunately this time they played only for 38 minutes leaving me with a sense of disappointment as I was I eager to hear more stuff from them. Nikos Ketzeas on bass was a remarkable figure on the right of the stage (the bas was kind of high on mix which was great for a garage rock band) while from the compositions I would highlight “Arizona” when Karanikolas sung with some marakes on hand but also “Kamikaze” from Panopticon album.

BLML video:

BLML setlist:

Godless / kamikaze / haze / blackmail chain / Arizona / showdown / falling to pieces / plasma rocket

“Τούτη η στάχτη που τη σέρνει ο βοριάς…”

It was already 23:30 and the venue was kind of full (although the upper area was closed) so everyone was ready to see the headliners of the day. Those of us that had seen The Steams opening for The Black Angels recently we knew they are in full action and the first immature years seem like ancient history (although their debut album was released just five years ago). What’s more, the band had just returned from a mini tour in North Greece so they were  still in full throttle and ready to offer a great night which they actually did.

“Do you believe in the sorcery of the seasons?…”

The Athenian quartet gave an impressive show with songs coming from two lovely albums (Wild Ferment, Mild Conquest) and they are now in that stage where it doesn’t really matter which song they play as each and every one of them are great. The crazy dancing moves of Andreas that plays guitar at the same time (although he was injured), the steady rhythm section from Άλεξ (bass) and Nikolas (drums) but also the lead figure of Panos behind the microphone competed our attraction and you get only good vibes from this band. As the previous time they decided to start with “The Horror” which has a sweet bass line that seems like a big hug. Then they played “Amdajitr” and everything seems so nice, you see there is some magic sense, almost mystical in their music and in a strange way this comes out on stage too with a dreamily beautiful way. I love all their songs but there are some small details here and there that not only make the difference every time but in some cases they may cause chills and this happened when Panos started to sing the lyrics from Farantouri’s “leylim ley” before they get into “Harvest”…

The Steams video:

The Steams setlist:

The Horror / Amdajitr (The Odyssey of Young) / Entrance / Binding Circles / Black Sand / Perfect Storms from Afar / The Harvest / Lament / Fjordian Blue / The Pattern (new song) / Ever Lasting / Ephemeral Joys / The Crown (encore)

® text/photos/video: Konstantinos Mindcrimek Vlachos