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.
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.
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!
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.
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.