Dark Bombastic Evening 3

The third edition of Dark Bombastic Evening brought together 12 bands of the European underground stage with fans from every corner of Europe at the Alba Iulia Fortress, and all of these fit like fork and knife for two days in a friendly festival with lots of good music.

After the last two editions which took place in various clubs around the capital city, Dark Bombastic Evening moved behind the walls of the fortress with stage, camping lots, food and drink and all. Said area, which is being administered by the cultural organisation Ryma, also known as Cultural Centre Gate 7, with the support of DonisArt, hosted the event from Friday to Sunday, offering a more than appropriate space for the festival to unfold.

image - see following caption
Photo: Marian Dincă

The destination was to be reached after a long and tiresome journey, but you would quickly meet people from the other end of the country, and hear that there were even more people from abroad, the first of which reached the festival area on Friday afternoon. People were hanging out at the tables, walking around to see what’s what at the merchandise booth, ordering freshly prepared cauldron food, and those brave enough were trying their hand at the climbing wall.

The festival’s participants could also enjoy a particularly interesting graphic exhibition titled “Where Purgatory Ends” by Costin Chioreanu and a photographic exhibition by Ioana Andreea Popescu titled “Vision Redesigned”, both held in an interior part of the fortress.

About 40 tents could be set up in the festival area, in a small yard in the back. The bands were permanently mingled with the fans, hanging out at the tables or taking photos of each other and they watched the other bands’ performances too. The way the festival developed was slightly different from the big concerts back in the capital city. There were no fences in front of the stage, you could take photos with any kind of device whenever you wanted, from the front rows, no restrictions. There was no bustling or shoving; the public listened, applauded, cheered and that was about it.

This is a way a public of a few hundred people acts, but those few hundred were the elect ones, those who knew exactly what’s what and gathered for a special occasion, to listen to their favourite music through diverse sounds.

Dark Bombastic Evening 3 was a novel experience, first of all because of the show put up on stage, the music and the different performances all of this topped off with the right atmosphere. On both Friday and Saturday the concerts took place between 17.00 until near midnight, each of the six scheduled bands playing for around 50 minutes. During the first evening’s concerts no encores were given, the reason being that such was the way of the festival, but on the second evening most bands granted the fans one or two extra songs.

image - see following caption
Vulture Industries performing at Dark Bombastic Evening 3, Alba Iulia, 2011
Photo: Marian Dincă

The concerts started with the French band Les Discrets, who mentioned this was their second show. The vocal and guitarist Fursy Teyssier, Niege from Alcest on bass guitar, Winterhalter on drums and vocalist Audrey Hadorn brought melancholic songs to the stage such as Apres l’ombre and Song for Mountains, the latter of which is from the first Les Discrets album released last year and titled Septembre et Ses Dernières Pensées.

They were followed by Vulture Industries, from Norway, with a more energetic show, in which Bjonar Erevik, the band leader, sang with a passion and expressiveness, collapsing on the stage or climbing the outside speakers, always closer to the public, which he actually recorded during one song. In between the songs there was always a “Noroc!”(Cheers) yelled from the top of his lungs while raising a beer can, to the delight of those present, which went along with the show when Erevik wrapped a noose around his neck and threw the end to the audience asking them to pull. The concert included songs from the first Vulture Industries albums, from Pills of Conformity, Grim Apparitions and A Path of Infamy to The Bolted Door, Race for the Gallows, I Hung My Heart On Harrow Square and The Hangman’s Hatch.

image - see following caption
Draconian performing at Dark Bombastic Evening 3, Alba Iulia, 2011
Photo: Marian Dincă

The Swedes from Draconian came with a doom and gothic metal sound, on two voices – Lisa and Anders Jacobsson. Draconian performed many well known songs such as Death, Come Near Me, The Amaranth, Bloodflower and The Last Hour of Ancient Sunlight, from their most recent album, this summer's A Rose for the Apocalypse.

The Romanian band Dordeduh enjoyed a wild success with the public on Friday evening only to reclaim the stage on Saturday with Sunset in the 12th House, a new project which was presented for the first time at Dark Bombastic Evening. The presence of a Romanian band was a novelty in itself for this festival, even though it reached its third edition.

French bands Alcest and Year Of No Light ended the first night of the festival. Alcest, one of the long awaited bands of this edition, and which had their first official concert in Bucharest last year, were warmly received and made sure to entertain the fans, both Romanians and tourists.

The Year of No Light show was an unusual one, with vibrant music which amplified the action of a silent vampire movie projected on the background, like a trance put on replay.

Sunset in the 12th House, which opened the second concert night on Saturday, had a lot of instrumental songs in their set list but also a cover of the song Black Sun from Dead Can Dance. Loell Duinn from Croatia followed, playing ambient music with Mediterranean and Balkan folkloric touches, a beautiful female voice – Olja Frolo – and traditional instruments. Among other songs, there was one “with a little Romanian”: Carpatia.

image - see following caption
Jerome Reuter of Rome performing at Dark Bombastic Evening 3, Alba Iulia, 2011
Photo: Marian Dincă

A colourful performance was the psychedelic neofolk band Hexvessel, whose members hailing from Finland and the UK put on a captivating show, playing traditional instruments and ritual touches. The Death Knell Tolls, along with Invocation Summoning, Solomon’s Song and I am The Ritual, all from the Dawnberrer album, the band's only record released so far — it came out this year — sounded amazing and when the band tried to say good-bye, they were held on stage by the cheering crowds, so they had to pick up their instruments again and give the people an encore.

The evening went on with rhythms of neofolk and dark cabaret, with the charming Roma Amor, singing for the first time in Romania. Vocalist Euski and Michele Candela on the accordion, along with black and white projected movies entertained the public with stories of little girls and witches and many other things. They sang La Zirinelda, A Cosa Pensi, Night Porter, another song from their upcoming album and, as a finale, their cover of the famous Les Amants de Saint Jean and as an encore, an English interpretation of the song Dans Les Ports d’Amsterdam by Jaques Brel.

The members of Rome, from Luxemburg, made their entry on triumph march notes and were greeted with cheers by the public. The dark folk sound caught the audience’s attention song by song and vocalist Jerome Reuter was simply hypnotic. On the other hand, he was also the one to repeatedly clear the air making the public laugh by making fun of the keyboard man, saying that “you can’t hear him, but at least he looks good” and that he was a “cheap instrumentalist”.

The Greeks from Dirty Granny Tales ended Dark Bombastic Evening 3, on Saturday night, with a complex show and a short story told in a handful of projected ideas and through acoustic sounds full of theatrical drama, with masks and puppets playing on the stage along with them. Reminding the public of Tiger Lillies, one of the artists that influenced them, Dirty Granny Tales held the public’s attention through every minute of the show, which was thoroughly staged. They were also strongly cheered at the end and had to come back for one more song.

Review by Laura Mitran / Mediafax.ro

Translated by Diana Popa

image - see following caption
Dirty Granny Tales performing at Dark Bombastic Evening 3, Alba Iulia, 2011
Photo: Marian Dincă