If day one was all about connecting with the music and letting it take over our senses… yesterday was all about partying and letting our feet do the work. Being a bit of a post-rock obsessive, I’ll be honest; Friday’s session had already delivered everything I was after. Saturday’s line up was just an extra bonus and I arrived at V-Gen thinking I’d have a couple of drinks and a chat with the bands as background.
The chatting part lasted all of fifteen minutes (during which I managed to get those Eimog signatures, yay), until Dolls for Idols kicked off. Weirdly, I’d never managed to catch these guys live. Every time they had a gig this year, something came up. And every time I missed one of their gigs, the following day I kicked myself while everyone else raved about them online. My idea was to follow the whole thing from my favorite spot at V-Gen (the bar on the side) away from the crowd. My feet had other ideas. By the time the second song came on I was doing my jumping bean impression at the front row and there I stayed till their last song, when everyone pretty much went nuts. Rave & Roll seems to have that effect on people, even when they’re listening to it while driving, which you understand can be a bit awkward. Anyway, it was forty five minutes of awesome moshing and although I got off with my ears ringing my feet were fine. After the Friday saga, I’d wised up and opted to leave the pretty heels at home. With or without them I’m short anyway so might as well get the fun without the pain. Considering it was before midnight, the gig had already gotten off to a roaring start. If there’s one complaint I have about music events in Malta, it’s the way the first band in any kind of line up always gets a raw deal. It’s like most of us find it physically impossible to get our ass out of the house before midnight is long gone. Cinderella would have had a hard time dealing and so do the bands I suppose. People always show up at least an hour later than the time printed on the flyer, which is fine for a party but not for a live performance as it wreaks havoc on the bands’ morale and the organisers’ schedules. A quick conversation with Eimog’s Davide lo Iacono also revealed much puzzlement on this point. In Italy both bands and audience always stick to the time at live concerts, he told me with genuine surprise at the way people kept trickling in on friday long after the first band had finished. Read and learn people, if the Italians can do it so can we. Anyway. //rantover.
Danjeli and Capitol K took over right after Dolls. Ordinarily everyone would have stayed on the dance floor but rounds needed to be bought, lung cancer to be legally acquired outside etc. word soon reached us that The Areola Treat would be on in five, on schedule. This time I plonked myself at the front immediately. You can’t listen to the Areolas and not want to move. And move we did. Yesterday’s Areolas set led to one of the best mosh pits I’ve been to recently. I have a particular soft spot for the Areolas; I just love the way Lisa’s voice works its magic without drowning out the rest of the band members, creating a beautiful mash of vocals, bass, drums and guitar. The highlight from the mosh pit was probably seeing The Clandestines’ Daniel Abdilla jumping on random guy’s back for a heightened moshing experience – while random guy did a very good impression of a kangaroo on E (this last part is pure fictional analogy, in case someone whose sense of humour suffered a premature death lands on this blog). Ah, the energy of the young. It was a you had to be there kinda moment… There were plenty you had to be there moments yesterday actually. The Areolas’ finale was pretty stunning and included an awesome ten minutes when guitar, bass and drum were given free rein to run with it. Well. Run with it might be a bit of an understatement but you get the idea. At one point I was tempted to shout “ok, now you are just showing off”. We lapped it all up, of course.
By the time Discopolis came on I had lost my voice, as always tends to happen at these events. The crowd was still on a high and the band’s blend of indie, disco and electronica really went down well. They gave a great show and I can understand why they are so hotly tipped and why they were picked to play the T Break Stage at T in the Park after barely a few months together. They did an awesome set here too and I can easily see them becoming the next big thing as they are definite crowd-pleasers. But what I kept thinking all the time they were on stage was something else and had more to do with the fact that I love how a lot of our own Maltese bands not only hold their own performing alongside bands like Discopolis but also more than give them a good run for their money. With the right exposure and some luck, it could have just as easily been Dolls for Idols, the Areolas, or Skimmed playing at some big festival. And this is just to name three. Of course, it’s events like the Nil By Mouth sessions that really bring this point home. And that offer our bands the opportunity to showcase their music alongside foreign artists. And for this, respect goes to The Hairy Amp and The Gooboy. Organizing a music event of this calibre brings with it not only the usual logistical nightmares but also an element of risk. These guys had the balls to go for it and to make it a success. They also somehow kept it accessible to everyone by keeping to an incredibly modest ticket fee. A lot of music events are organized on our island nowadays. Sometimes, the prices are ludicrous, even when the artists don’t justify the hefty tag. The Nil By Mouth sessions gave us about seven artists (I’m still in recovery mode so feel free to correct my maths) for fourteen euros. And that, my friends, is how real music lovers do it.
For more videos from the Nil By Mouth sessions check out Ian Micallef’s youtube channel here.