Review | Summer Fusion 2010
Aug 10th 2010 Jad Jawhari Event Reviews

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Summer Fusion is an annual event that takes place in Mocean Kaslik. It is one of the mostly awaited events of the year, hundreds if not thousands of people attend it to “Break The Cycle” and to watch, mosh and headbang to the best rock/metal bands in Lebanon! The lineup this year was a great one due to its diversity and content, all the bands gave their best and they didn’t fail to rock Mocean! The event was a successful one even though there were some technical difficulties which led to the people’s inability to hear some bands and the event was delayed for about 1.5 hours (it was expected to end at 12 and it ended at 1:30 approx). There was also a surprise performance by Nemer Abou Nassar the Lebanese “metalhead” comedian. Nemer surprised the crowd and for over 30 minutes he made the crowd laugh so hard with his sarcastic and humorous performance.

It’s worth mentioning that for the second year, LebMetal.com were volunteering at the merchandise stand to support the bands releasing their CD’s. This year, we were selling the following:

– Kimaera’s Ebony Veiled (2006), Solitary Impact (2010) and shirts.

– Meen Live CD (limited number which was sold out in an hour!).

– The Hourglass’s Resurrection of the Horrid Dream (2007), To The Land of The Free (2004) and Ancient Hope (2010 EP).

– Alan Azar’s Defective Harmony (2009).

– Oblivions’ Dollared Lady EP (2010).

– Out of print collectors’ Rock Cards for 80’s bands such as Testament, Exodus, Megadeth, Black Sabbath, etc.

– A handful of international bands’ tshirts.

LebMetal.com - Summer Fusion 2010

And for the second year in a row, LebMetal.com had a number of draws in the event, which included this prizes:

Alan Azar CD, Meen CD, Oblivion EP, 2 accessories from Ozz Shop and all 3 Hourglass releases!

After swimming and hanging out for some hours, it was time to start the event, a few people gathered around the stage to watch the opener of the event: Limelight. I was very impressed by this band because they only played originals! It is very rare in our scene nowadays to see a relatively new band playing only originals, their stage performance is also great and there was a lot of chemistry flowing between the band and the audience. This band did a great job at starting Summer Fusion and they were indicators of the other great bands yet to play!

The second band that went on stage was Neverland, the Michael Jackson tribute band. The music they played was flawless, the band is dynamic and they have a lot of talent. They covered songs such as: Smooth Criminal,Thriller, Beat it and other well-known songs! The only thing that failed to make their performance an excellent one was their vocalist, the vocalist is good but she couldn’t get the Michael Jackson voice, now that will not be a problem if they band wasn’t a Michael Jackson “Tribute Band” and I’m not saying that she has a bad voice, on the contrary she has a good one but it’s far from being close to Michael Jackson’s one, however her performance on stage accommodated due to her charismatic persona and the act that she puts on stage.

After Neverland came the famous Bandage, and let me say this band dropped a lot of jaws and they satisfied all the rock and metal heads at Mocean! The band’s lineup is perfect and all the band members are skilled and great at what they do. They covered a lot of rock classics and they also covered a lot of bands that are loved by everyone. Everything was great about them: Their stage performance, their set-list and their communication with the crowd. This band has defied all expectations and they have earned a spot next to the best rock bands, if not the best rock band, in all the history of Lebanon. Thumbs up to Nathalie for her voice is truly astounding, no words can describe how good they were, probably the best band to perform in Summer Fusion.

After that it was time for an “ice-breaker” and who is better than Meen at doing that? This band was the most unique band of the eve, they have catchy songs, hilarious lyrics and a very weird lyrical theme which left everyone laughing and enjoying them. This band only played originals, and they really nailed each and every one of them and they always kept the audience wanting more of them. The songs they played were blues-jazz-rock-classic oriented; no one can really put a label on this band because they borrow elements from a lot of different music genres! It was also nice seeing the crowd singing along with the vocalist and it really seemed that they were enjoying every second of Meen on stage! Meen left the stage to give way to the extremely talented guitar virtuoso Alan Azar.

meen-summer-fusion-2010

Alan Azar, what can I add to what has been said about him? This guitarist is a genius; he plays the guitar so well that you actually “trip” when you watch him play. His guitar solos and tunes have a lot of feeling embedded into them; you can’t but stare in awe at his performance. The band performed songs from Defective Harmony, Alan Azar’s full-length album, and a new song from his new material. Alan never fails to amaze the audience with his music and he always outdoes himself.

Alan Azar was the last band of the “Rock Bands” category for Summer Fusion. After Alan Azar came the awaited Syrian band “Hourglass” fronted by the one and only Sir Black A.K.A Bassem Deabiess. The band plays 80’s Heavy Metal and covers Heavy Metal bands and Thrash Metal bands! I was impressed when they covered Diamond Head, a band that is relatively unknown in Lebanon. Their originals were impressive and they succeeded at capturing the audience’s attention as they managed to keep them excited during the whole performance! I have some beefs about this band though, mainly concerning their performance on stage, I didn’t like how the vocalist and the guitarist were having side conversations when the guitarist was soloing it really sets offs the crowd and the second guitarist, not the founder of the band, seemed to be a little nervous. The band ended their performance with the all-famous Painkiller by Judas Priest which is a crowd favorite of course, they played it well and Bassem managed to mimic some Halford screams and after that they thanked the crowd and Bassem told the fans to keep Metal Alive!

the-hourglass-summer-fusion-2010-6

Next up on stage was Armory! A band formed from members of Oath to Vanquish, though their style is completely different from OTV. The band played cover songs for bands such as Iron Maiden and Megadeth, which are of course highly adored by the crowd. However, there is the thing about Iron Maiden these days is that are being covered a lot and not only that it is actually obvious what the band will be covering! Now some people still enjoy that and the kids that are attending these events recently are surely going to be amazed by these covers since mostly everyone listens to a lot Maiden in his/her early years in Metal, after that a lot realize how Maiden are “milked”. Nevertheless, the band made the crowd go crazy; they were moshing and headbanging like hell. Their performance ended with a surprise, an OTV song played by the OTV members: it was shocking and at the same time mind-breaking to see the trio go up on stage and play amazing death metal.

Armory gave way to Blood Ink a band with a very large fan base here in Lebanon. It will be really hard to review them since the sound was beginning to really deteriorate and it was becoming really annoying to actually hear them clearly. The band played some originals and they covered Lamb of God songs such as Laid to Rest, I didn’t actually get their performance and I was struck with confusion from all the fireworks and the “umbrella” on stage, I didn’t quite understand their usage and what they have to do with their genre but the crowd seemed to like it and they thought it was something spectacular. That is all I can say about them since the sound was really bad and reviewing how they sounded would be ironic in this case.

Oblivion was the last band that I watched and it was starting to get very late at this point. Oblivion is one of the faster rising bands in our scene, they have already released an Ep and they have a lot of originals and a fan base that reaches the hundreds! The sound was somehow completely “dead” on their turn, it was very hard to try to make any sense of it, at times the guitars were louder than the bass and at times the complete opposite. People had to literally “stick to the stage” to hear them and even that attempt was met with failure! It was sad and disappointing to see a band with such caliber not getting what it really deserves. The band played 2 covers, Crazy Train and the Wickerman, and 3 originals including the crowd’s favorite Misc.

oblivion-summer-fusion-2010-6

The final band Venemy got on stage at approximately 1 AM with a 15% attendance as opposed to prior bands but that was understandable due to the delays. They did play a good set of their originals and were applauded by friends and whoever stayed ’till that point of the event. That kinda puts a question mark on bands choosing their spot at the end of an event: how many people will be watching you? The band took it well and enjoyed their performance, but I’m sure they were disappointed, being Break The Cycle’s winners and all, you’d expect everyone to stick around to watch them.

Now as I have said, the event was successful but not THAT successful, people didn’t enjoy the event as much as they did in the past 2 Summer Fusions. A lot of people complained about the sound and a lot complained about the new fans that were moshing with and without the music. I have heard and read a lot of harsh criticism directed towards Roy and towards the organization of the event. It is actually really disappointing to see how people don’t actually go to events and make the best out of it, yes the sound wasn’t that good but it was very acceptable and it was better than any sound in any other local event! Roy and the crew have been working extremely hard to deliver the best they can, even though everyone knows that Metal/Rock events are unwanted. I personally contacted Roy to ask him about the preparations and about what went wrong in the event and these are a few things of what he said:

1- Metal & rock are not very wanted, so basically all the time from 9pm onwards, there were nonstop phone calls to stop or lower the volume but we keep it running.

2- Legally, we have the right till 12, Mocean being a nightplace has a license till 1, but nonetheless, after 12 it becomes harder to keep things running because they start pointing at small details to stop the event, like if an underage is smoking, it suddenly becomes the illegal act that would stop an event, so it’s hard to maintain things running, especially when you have Samaya residents with nonstop calls and a wedding on the other side wanting to stop things as well… So after 12 & since there were only front rows of people left, the sound was leveled to the front arena only to keep things running smoothly (we’re supposed to stop at 12, but the problems caused a 1 hour delay, although there was a 6 hours delay in installing the sound, so it was incredible how we managed to only get a 1 hour delay).That’s more or less the general summary.

3- There were some problems with sound at random times with the amps going off/on because of an electrical issue that came out of nowhere at few times (at 1 point the right line array was totally out, when we played all high-frequency and mid-frequency speakers went off for a few mins, etc), this caused some extra delays to the schedule trying to fix things up.

I hope that you got an overview of the event and that you understood why the sound was bad and why it had to be lowered! We should really thank Rockring for organizing such events, for going in the extreme head and for enduring the piercing sun every day to give the best they can. The cynics should really look at things from a different angle and to widen their scope a bit, it is not nice to bash Rockring without actually knowing what was going on. The event was enjoyable and it was far better than most of the events that have been happening in Lebanon. So I end this review with words of gratitude to Roy and to the whole of Rockring.

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  • Roy Naufal

    thanks for the review,
    straight to the point & concise
    when we played, with our great luck as usual, most the speakers went off due for a couple of songs to an electrical issue so only the subwoofers were still runing – does anyone know how to clone a human ?i would like to be on stage and mixer at the same time

    anyway, you forgot to mention 1 important thing: Nemr Abou Nassar’s “surprise” standup set :p
    there was the Cluckster’s chicken wings 911 challenge which was fun as well, specially when 1 guy couldnt take all the spices and dived in the pool fully dressed lol
    and you guys missed the after party! open barbecue and midnight pool, actually good you did…more food for us (A) :p

    if u guys are interested, we can do a separate article detailing all the preparations bcs i would be interested to have ppl know what goes into preparing a concert, bcs some people take it too much for granted + im sure it would make an interesting article

  • roy naufal

    oh btw, the umbrella thing…well yea, since we’re not so cursed…not only didnt the sound work right, that didnt either…& pyros without the proper sound is of course of no use
    we should probably stick to our own private events in the future

  • Jad Jawhari

    I did mention Nemer’s standup set :p

  • ayman halwani

    the review is pretty good and straight forward, but u also forgot to mention the pool ,the whole time the water was hot and ”mzankha”
    but what can u expect from 1000 metalhead in one pool afterall 😛

  • SerJ

    after that a lot realize how Maiden are “milked” (armory) … well my friends, no one plays maiden like armory, its been like what ? 4/5 years ma tel3o on stage .. some respect !

  • Jad Jawhari

    Serj, ma fee any disrespect, it is very respectful what I said. W I didn’t attack Armory in specific, I am talking about other bands that cover maiden as well.

  • SerJ

    bro, let me give you a tiny exp: lot of bands cover *maiden* here in lebanon, the artist (or the band) plays those songs for the love of the music, they play it for themselves not for the crowd.
    Anw, bottom line. If your a fan of an astist/band, ull enjoy the atmosphere/mood even if its played by a 5 year old kid.

  • Jad Jawhari

    Well you made two claims:

    1- People cover maiden for themselves and not the crowd.

    2- If I’m a fan of an artist/band ill enjoy the atmosphere/mood even if it’s played by a 5 year old.

    First of all I think Armory were great and I liked their performance and I still think Maiden are milked! And no some bands choose the easy way out and play Maiden in order to get the crowd’s attention and to reach “fame” and “stardom” the quickest way possible! A lot of bands also play Painkiller by Judas Priest and they only play THAT song because it is a popular one so logically it would be one of the crowd’s favorite. Not every band really “enjoys” what they play as I said before some choose the easy way out, AGAIN I AM NOT REFERING TO ARMORY.

    I’m a die-hard major Emperor fan, everyone knows that and it is not subject to any discussion. So because of that if a band plays my favorite band Emperor, I would want the band to perfect to songs not only “play” them, this is how you seperate “fan boys” from “real fans”.

  • Patrick

    Nice review Jad, quite accurate indeed. I did notice the ‘over-excitement’ of the crowd during Maiden songs, and can you blame them? 3 years ago we used to hyper up to ‘milked’ bands such as Maiden or Metallica or etc. I guess the ‘older’ attendees got to a point where giving thumbs up for a band requires them to put a show of their own, and the idea of a cover band becomes something ordinary for them. It doesn’t have to do with their performance whatsoever (Armory are quite good at what they do) and I guess the younger audience will go nuts for the Maiden songs while the rest of us will stand there, not unhappy but merely OKAY with the idea due to repetition and so on.

  • SerJ

    OK,do you recognize this situation?
    Saw some 20 & 30 year old dudes enjoying the music, even tho its *Milked* (sorry for using your vocab). Bottom line is, some love it, and some dont!

    no offence meant by that btw… just my point of opinion

  • roy naufal

    different generations will always have different opinions,
    what today u find is overabused, back then was new and great to u,
    today’s generation will feel the same u felt back then
    this is a very subjective matter…now if u had 10bandsin the same generation playing the same stuff, then yes, i would agree, but there’s only about 1, and armory play once every 3-4 yars and they do it better than anyone..let the crowds enjoy this rarity to its best regardless of what others are playing…i also do disagree about the maiden milking, there was a gap of heavy metal bands in the past few years…then recently 1 band started playing some maiden and that’s about it
    in the past maiden playin bands werent so common either
    and when i say a band plays maiden or X, i only refer to the bands that do it well

  • Jad

    Roy is refering to (recently 1 band started playing) :P… ? 😛 btw … after party tawouks, (H) … w serj u forgot to thank me for my stuff !!! 🙁

  • Bassem Deaibess

    I agree with Roy, and I think Good bands covering maiden haven’t showed up since Armory and Communion last played them. I do agree they are a bit overplayed, but it’s not THAT dramatic, and I think due to the fact that there is a young Maiden Tribute band, it gives the impression that they are “milked”. Anyway everyone said their opinion, and there is truth in both points, just enjoy what we have and criticise positively as you are doing now so that things would get better.

    Jad, WHO ever played Pain Killer before?! Actually when it comes to Judas Priest I saw many bands including mine “Communion” only covering Breaking the Law, Touch of Evil, Night Crawler, You Got Another Thing Coming, Electric Eye, and Before the Dawn, I never really saw any band ever played Pain Killer except The Hourglass in Summer Fusion (I did see some fail attempts but I am talking about established bands)

  • Da32oor

    gd review jad w i agree with u abt the iron maiden thing and YES some bands choose to play maiden w metallica just to reach fame!!
    -bloodink: u expect more from a band that usually are the “main act” in their own events…the umbrella thing and the fireworks didnt work at all for me…if u guyz know the songs that they played (unearth, killswitch engage, lamb of god) u would have noticed how many mistakes they did and went of tempo (yet every band makes mistakes its called Live). and their originals are too overdone and ktir showoff u sometimes dt understand what they are playing.

    – oblivion and venemy deserve to play at their max just like any other band in this event…its alwayz been like this in lebanon..u alwayz have bands left out soundwise or time-wise no matter.

    -armory were cool of course u’re gonna expect pple to go nuts on covers like maiden w megadeth so they didnt do the hard part..too bad bands like venemy no one can appreciate what they play its just typical lebanese scene behaviour…u see hundreds of pple moshing on maiden and then when its done puuff everybody is gone.

    -the rock section was pretty cool and alain azar the mist talented musician out there.

  • SerJ

    thanks for the *stuff* jad 😛

  • roy naufal

    da32our, try playing when u can only hear 1 guitar on stage from all the band (at over 140db…i have 1200 watt bass amp on stage blasted at full volume, guess what, i couldnt hear myself)
    anyway, this is most likely our last concert…we will keep ourselves to private little events where we have control over the sound & equipment and are the only band, bcxs i simply cannot be 2 places at the same time as sound engineer
    oblivion and venemy are new bands, that’s why they didn’t have the highlight and they will in the future, u cant expect a new band to suddenly popup as a main act along bands that have been playing for many years; it’s unfortunate they had to play relatively late but it was not smthg within anyone’s hands, the amount of technical problems faced during the event have been the most ever of all our events combined, so im just glad we made it through and generally the event was enjoyable

  • Da32oor

    Roy its the best thing u can do honestly..eno 3a kam chaghleh badak tla7e2 honestly? u shouldnt over do it..sometimes keeping it simple is the best thing to do.
    gd luck to your future events!!
    cheerz

  • roy naufal

    fiye la7e2,but i cant be 2 places at the same time
    anyway,most our issues in this concert were technical and out of our hands (mostly electrical when we played),
    so unfortunately we werent able to properly show off to u ^o)

  • JoE

    Da32our, as Roy said my guitar was too loud on our side of the stage and Simon couldn’t hear anything but noise due to some changes in the settings saved during sound check and god knows how this happened ,ah well that’s our luck as usual…but the fun part is:
    try playing with firecrackers thrown from smaya exploding next to ur head and making your ears whistle all the time:D
    And yes..our originals are complex, but what’s the use of a musician’s talent if he doesn’t show it in his work?

  • Ludwig Chelala

    Thumbs up for Roy and Rockring, you guys deserve the best. Organizing concerts isn’t a game, byeje mit ba3sa mn mit mayle out of no where! especially when you deal with the “two-timer” lebanese people who make a deal with you and end up giving you something else.

    As for the bands, I don’t believe in covering songs, it doesn’t really show a band’s talent, probably it just shows their desperation for getting in the scene, unless they actually “cover” it, i.e. playing it their own unique way, as every band has its unique people with unique sounds.

    And something that has nothing to do with the subject but i would like to share, there is a major problem in the lebanese metal scene, and it is that few musicians/bands support each other! I meet with those guys and they talk crap about the other guys, and the other guys talk crap about those guys claiming that they “suck” or whatever. When are we going to grow out of our differences and support each other and support the music? This mentality will get us no where and will degrade the scene. Same problem faced with the Jazz scene…

  • Roy Naufal

    thanks ludwidg, couldn’t have said it better
    and ur last paragraph is everything that has to do with the subject (except for certain bands/ppl) !

  • Bassem Deaibess

    Ludwig I couldn’t agree more about your points specially the bands lack of support for each other, Specially the new generation… and some of the old ones… let us hope for the best.

    Keep Metal Alive \m/

  • Roy Naufal

    I actually think the new generation bands are better than the older ones because they work more together and support each other more and are more connected

  • SerJ

    ra7 ellak yeha bel 3arabe, asabi3 el 10, mech kellon nafss l shi ~ (lame ex i know)

  • Metazzzz

    hey roy although ur speakers went of and i respect that u shwed that u were more popular by fireworx and ur not that gd of a band u shld have put those foreworks to hourglass and armory

  • roy naufal

    the band is paying for extras from its own money, not organizers…so anyone can put anything they want (oblivion did)
    i freely invite u to our nxt blood ink organized event to properly c the band, we’ve never had any luck with sound since i cant soundengineer while on stage and cant find a proper replacement, as such, that greatly affects our performance in certain cases
    but i assume u wont accept seeing u have to hide ur name in the 1st place

  • We do encourage everyone to write under real Name …

    I hope we wont be forced to delete such comments.

  • roy naufal

    oh btw, http://www.bloodink.com/downloads for some real samples

  • Mario

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    (Y)

  • Ludwig Chelala

    There is support from certain people/bands because they are actual friends, but not all people get a long with each other for different reasons. To achieve a breakthrough, everyone has to support everyone, including those who don’t get along! i don’t mean for them to be “Best Friends” but at least show respect and give some support for what others are trying to do. Personally i like the old scene more, i have found it to be much more exciting, unlike nowadays.
    What i despise the most, is someone stealing other people’s plans and ideas for concerts and fully discrediting the ones who came up with idea in the first place, it happened to us, and we regret sharing our plans with people on the open.
    Good Luck to everyone and every uprising talent and those who are old in the scene to keep pushing forward.
    Those who don’t know what the real meaning of music is, my advice, quit doing what you do cause you’re ruining what all of us have built.