The 4 of November saw us entering Funaberia from a rain-flooded street in Lodz. Inside, it was so cold that the water drops on our clothes were almost freezing. The number of pople inside at the time of the festival's beginning suggested that after it ends, we'll all be Covenant's close friends, and the performance will have a very private, almost a family-meeting atmosphere. The threat however never became reality, and the night's main act was welcomed by a massive crowd.
First to take the stage were the Germans from Empire In Dust, the music of which is totally unknown to me, and to be honest, their performance did not make me want to get a bit more acquainted with it. It turned out that they have quite a solid fanbase, dancing and singing in front of the stage, rendering the place full at all times. My own feelings about the act - very little charisma in both musicians, apparently shy in their contact with the fans, and both sing absolutely out of key...
Next up was the local Controlled Collapse, which impressed me quite a bit, especially when I compare that performance with their first show I had seen at the Black Flames Festival in Poznan, where I had thought it's just a soundcheck... This time it was really good, the vocalist had enough space to jump and run around - he really felt "at home". His voice failed from time to time, making the harsh vocal a bit softer, but with such a good performance there was nothing to blame the act of.
Agonised by Love... My fourth concert by them, and the vocalist's third hairdo change, H_12's second appearance with them, and the first time I really liked what I saw and heard. The performance was good and energetic. H_12 appeared as a vocalist in "Just Perfect Sin", and as a finishing move they gave us The Horrorist's "Metal Man" in their own version (probably the only song that everyone knows and some even like...) - and it was great. Now, who is going to come to The Horrorist concert on New Year's Eve?
After ABL, another German group climbed the stage, this time called Head-Less. They did well, apart from the fact that during their gig (hard to say whose fault it was) we witnessed terrible technical problems, resulting in two breaks in the performance. The vocalist kept his good mood and sang a capella for a while, proving he's a talented singer and letting us forget about the hardware being resurrected backstage. The crowd reacted for the first time to the "clap!" command, and began to move more and more dynamically. Hard to tell whether this was caused by dance-inducing synth-pop beats or the impossible cold inside - after all, it's better to move than to freeze. The bands supporting Covenant gave very good shows (apart from the first one), but what about the stars?
After a lengthy wait, the countdown to "20Hz" from the "Skyshaper" LP announced the beginning of their set. They entered the stage to a thundering applause from the crowd, which started to push in order to get the best possible places. It was clearly visible that the trio had their share of Polish alcohol before the concert - Eskil was standing straight, but Joakim was losing his gear all the time and Clas roamed the stage, causing total havoc and falling flat in front of the crowd... At that moment we could have felt outraged, taking such behaviour for an absolute lack of respect towards the Polish fans, but that would be useless, as Covenant gave a terrific performance, many of us shall remember as a great experience. Encores came only after a lot of pleading from the fans, but eventually we got a three-piece ending with "One World One Sky" closing the whole gig. During the performance it was obvious that "Northern Light" was the people's favourite album, welcoming all tracks from this release with loud cheering.
Here's the Covenant setlist:
Tour de Force
Invisible and Silent
We Stand Alone
Brave New World
Call the Ships to Port
One World One Sky
The festival was great musically, but the organizational side of things was far below that. Of course, a true fan will come regardless of any transportational difficulties, but many people resigned because of the location. The venue's heating was also absolutely poor... I have spent most of the event wearing mittens. The last, most important thing - do we always have to experience sound problems? Standing not too close to the speakers one could go deaf really easily, while at times I realised that the sound comes only from one side of the stage. Apparently, something must be always wrong... Regardless of that, the whole event was worth coming to. Those who stayed at home have something to regret! The organizers showed that despite all the obstacles it is possible to make a good festival - the people showed that it is possible to arrive at the venue despite three changes and a bad weather, and Covenant proved that it is possible to give a great show after imbibing quite a lot. :)
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