Fear Before The March Of Flames

support The End & Heavy Heavy Low Low
author AG date 20/08/07 venue Batofar, Paris, FRA

I had never been to such a gig. Now it's done. Let me tell you what made it so special. First off, the venue was a boat, a rather small boat featuring a small indoor room where the bands played. I also witnessed Heavy Heavy Low Low playing no more than 15 minutes. But most importantly, I witnessed some of the most incredible performances in my life. Let's kill the suspense: the 3 bands tonight were amazing in their own way, but all played their complex tunes in the most classy way. I woke up the next day with one ear whistling, and my neck raw from hours of headbanging.

Let's get back to the story. Here I am, with a friend I've brought along who doesn't know anything about any of the bands, in this weird boat basement. After a few beers and some waiting, Heavy Heavy Low Low got on stage and started plugging in their instruments. Not many people had arrived yet, and I believe no one came to see them playing. But as soon as they hit the first note, the often-shy French crowd showed some energy. By the time Fear Before The March Of Flames hit the stage, we were approximatively 80 people down in the pit. At that time, we were only around 30. I didn't really like Heavy Heavy Low Low's latest album "Everything's Watched, Everyone's Watching", but it sounded amazing on stage. Fact is, tall singer Robbie was nearly touching the ceiling with his head, but really didn't care as he grabbed the ceiling to hang in the air. The greatest thing, i think, were bass and guitar players Ryan and Andrew, who couldn't keep themselves from jumping, bending, and singing along in a very communicative way. Ryan even played barefoot in shorts. I remember them playing "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", and the musical explosion after the frontman yelled "the days of wine and roses are over".

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Thing is, the flyer said "Fear Before The March Of Flames & The End, with special guests Heavy Heavy Low Low". Maybe they felt like they weren't the center of attention, but the HHLL guys left after 15 intense and infectious minutes of their thrashy and very technical hardcore. Thing is, these guys were very friendly and everyone in the crowd managed to slip a friendly word. Half an hour later, The End were getting ready to play, setting up their complex stage gear, which featured an iPod and some big drum used by the singer. The End were the most communicative act that night. Frontman Aaron Wolff even dared to speak a few words in French. Their style was very different from HHLL and Fear Before, but some people came to see them, including a guy wearing a suit and a tie. Their show was amazingly tight. Even if I wasn't quite familiar with their latest album "Elementary", I could tell those songs were built to be played live. The guitarists showed amazing talent and the singer was perfect. The first few songs led to the start of some moshing down in the pit, especially with the older songs which were more violence-inducing. Aaron was perfect, screaming into the microphone, hitting his keyboard and drumming along tribal rhythms. This was quite a pleasant surprise.

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It was now time for Fear Before The March Of Flames, the band I (and most of the audience) had come to see in the first place. You could feel more tension building up in the pit. When the first chord of "Fashion Tips, Baby" was heard, serious moshing finally began. The guitarists seemed eager to play, but all their thunder seemed to be stolen by frontman David Marion, tall and thin all-singing, all-dancing madman. All of his body seemed to be possessed by the music, he even dared to give the microphone to fans in the front row. This is a pretty hardcore song compared to the material from "The Always Open Mouth", to which the next 30 minutes were dedicated. Playing turn in turn "Lycanthropy", "High As A Horse", "Mouth", "Taking Cassandra To The End Of The World Party" and "The Waiting Makes Me Curious". These songs' hypnotic qualities took on the crowd, which was nothing but a dancing entity. Marion was tripping too, taking some funny stances on stage like some kind of weird handstand during which he kept screaming into the microphone. There was no need for any further communication than song titles, as Marion took pride in looking right at every crowd member with some friendly sign. When the band left, he waved to the first rows, his hand saying "bravo to you guys". Everyone knew they were coming back, and the band hit the stage a second time to play "What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas", the crowd knew that it was over after that, and gave all its energy into this last song. Marion highfived me and the other guys at the front row, gave us some water. And it was over. This was intense, a bit short. A crazy live show all in all.

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Credits to "fil_himself" for the picture.

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