I don’t usually see a favourite band play live very often so that I can appreciate and understand better all the changes that have happened to it in the meantime. This is exactly the approach I had with both Diary of Dreams and Red Sun Revival but the release of two memorable albums by both bands, made it imperative for me to attend this gig.

Red Sun Revival reveal their identity!

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I arrived at The Garage just at the moment when Red Sun Revival appeared on stage. They had already announced an early start and early finish and were on stage exactly at 7pm. This early start seemed to have put some people off and so they missed a big part of the band’s set. It would be an understatement to say that I was positively surprised with the band’s overall performance. The last time I saw Red Sun Revival was at the O2 Academy Islington where they were supporting And Also The Trees, together with Eden House and before that at the (sadly) recently closed Purple Turtle of Camden. At that gig there was an element of uncertainty and holding back from all the musicians as far as the delivery of their songs was concerned, but it seemed that with the release ofIdentitiesthe band has turned a page.

Red Sun Revival have built up confidence in their music over the last few years (and not unjustifiably) and this was strongly reflected during this gig. Where in the past one could see signs of nervousness on stage, these have now been completely eradicated. They have performed their songs in a way that now makes a29 statement and I have personally found that the album ‘Identities’ has actually sent a strong message. No matter how many times I listen to this album and no matter how I approach it, I cannot bypass the symbolism of the title because I think that through this the band delineated its identity by clearly defining and strengthening the musical identities of its members. The album was nicely performed and we would have loved to see the videos that this band has released as the backdrop. Matt Helm the talented guitarist of the band who has beenRSR_guitar offering astonishing solos especially inIdentitiesdid not join the rest of the band on stage. Tom Stevenson who successfully replaced him “within a month’s notice” as the band informed us, made the absence of Matt less evident throughout the gig and especially in the delivery of the amazing solo in Mistakes. The positioning of the musicians on stage was one more noticeable element, as in the last gig I attended, Christina Emery was standing towards the back of the stage, whereas now she was at the front of the stage alongside Rob and Panos, making her prominent role on the sound of the band more evident. 26The melodies in the violin were given volume this time and their sensitive and ‘coloured’ delivery by Christina highlighted and revealed them as key aspects of the band’s sound and allowed us to appreciate them fully! Rhythms in drums were courtesy of the skilled Simon Rippin who has extensively toured with the band and has recently become a permanent member of Red Sun Revival.

During this gig there was a nice atmosphere on stage as the band was much more communicative with the audience compared with the period after the release of their debut album. 30This was channeled to and appreciated by the audience who seemed more relaxed, danced to the songs and enjoyed the show. The sound could have been better engineered from the people responsible for it, as it was excessively loud, (the absorption by the audience did not lessen the discomfort at all), it was getting unpleasant even at the very back of the space and in some cases, the loudness was overshadowing the melodies (and sometimes the vocals)making the result blurry and “muddy”. 1The set list included, Echoes, The Reckoning, Fade in Time, In Your Name, The Awakening alongside the older My Child and Running From The Dawn. The older songs helped to make the difference in the music of the two albums the band has released more evident. Of course our favourite song ‘Mistakes’ (and as Rob Leydon said, his favourite as well) could not have been omitted from the set list and we enjoyed listening to its live version!

28Rob Leydon and Christina Emery presented different characters (compared to the past) on stage, evidently more confident and more steady in their overall performance. Rob was performing in a way that was now highlighting the melodic aspect of his voice, which is a distinct quality not often encountered in singers of gothic bands. As opposed to previous gigs I have attended, this time the songs were not stronger than the performer, instead it was their delivery that highlighted and revealed their essence. This is a big deal for a band and congratulations are due to Red Sun Revival! Christina and Panos (bass) seemed to be much more relaxed on stage enjoying the gig and playing the violin and the bass with confidence in the music.

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Diary of Dreams Wieder im Licht

This is all that happened just until Diary of Dreams came on stage creating a sort of musical riot as they started with Sinferno, the first song of their latest amazing album Grau Im Licht’, followed by Malum and setting the tone of the gig. DOD_6At times it seemed that the only option was to surrender to the dynamism of the music and the band’s energy and forget about paying attention to the details! I have seen Diary of Dreams perform live close to 10 times during the past decade. I have seen them appearing on stage with memorable make ups during the live shows that followed the release of ‘Freak Perfume’ and ‘Panik Manifesto’. I have seen them in big DOD_5festivals such as the WGT and smaller ones (i.e. Seelenschmerz), as well as outside festivals. I have seen Diary of Dreams being more reflective and musical and I have also seen them with so much energy that the gig felt like a sonic protest. I haven’t quite seen them perform with so much energy as they had during this gig, outside festivals and big venues and I haven’t seen them in such a good mood on stage for quite some time. It was at the much smaller Purple Turtle of Camden that I last saw them perform live in London and during that gig the audience did not engage with the band in the way they did at TheDOD_7 Garage. By the time MenschFeind, Psycho-Logic’ and ‘Choir Hotel’ were performed with a renewed and even upscaled energy, my favourite ‘Butterfly Dance’, was delivered probably in the best way I have seen it being performed in years!

DOD_8The Garage was now almost full and the energy was reaching unexpected highs. I saw people who would usually stay at the back of the space, not being able to resist the band’s explosive energy coming to the front rows. If anybody’s attention was diverted, it was only momentarily until the next song started. Adrian Hates’ stirring up gestures seemed to excite the audience even more! DOD_10The sound quality was exceptional and contributed to the enveloping atmosphere as there seemed to be a perfect balance between clarity and loudness without compromising on the depth. None of the instruments was obscured and all the melodies within the songs were highlighted.

There was better communication between the musicians as they shared the excitement that was given back by the audience. Gaun:A and Flex were playing the guitars side by side as if they were 13trying to ‘contain’ the electric currents sent by the melodies in their guitars. They both provided backing vocals frequently during the show, as Dejan was providing the rhythmic base through the drums at the back. Where should we start describing Adrian Hates’ appearance! This is a powerful and imposing performer, yet when DOD_3these qualities are complemented by the ability to really engage and stir up the audience (especially London’s audience) and establish such a warm communication during a show, then the result is perfect. His movements and the strength that he showed throughout the gig, seemed to magnetize absolutely everyone in the audience in a way that very few bands have actually achieved. Gaun: A was manipulating synth sounds at the beginning of the show DOD_2before he quickly found his place at the front of the stage. I was really happy to see the band offering such a show and even though I love the music of Diary of Dreams I honestly didn’t expect to be absorbed by the performance so much. This gig reminded me of the explosiveness of this band 10 years ago.

DOD_4The set list focused more on the more raucous and dynamic songs of the band’s discography and not so much on the slow in rhythms and more melodic ones. Adrian Hates even played the guitar in Ikarus which is something that he has ‘’…never done on stage…’’ as he admitted to us. It was an honour Mr Hates, thank you very much! DOD_11Each song was received with increased excitement by the audience who appreciated its performance with a warm and enduring applause. We also listened to  Grau Im Licht’, the Dogs of War, A Dark Embrace, ‘Endless Nights before ‘Undividable’, the last song of the main set list. Naturally, nobody was willing to accept that this gig was coming to an end so everyone requested an encore convincingly and strongly enough. Diary of Dreams performed The Plague, ‘King of Nowhere before finishing the show with ‘Kindrom’.

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Sometimes we leave from a gig, already thinking about the next one and the next day the impact of this gig starts to fade away. None of these things happened after we left with a smile of fulfilment from this gig. Two great bands, offered three hours of dynamic music and a performance in which the audience’s emotional feedback was as strong and positive as the energy which musicians emitted from stage. We had had the 25th WGT in front of us, so we considered this gig to be a warm-up for the forthcoming festival. It was a great gig on its own and an even better one under the context of an upcoming big festival!

You can see more photos from this gig by following this link: http://blaue-rosen.com/diary-of-dreams-red-sun-revival-live-at-the-garage-2016/

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