That evening of the 27th of November was a night we were quite awaiting, but it turned out to look nothing like we were expecting – not in a bad way though! – the first few hours of the show mostly consisted in local discoveries for us.
Early doors, we managed to get in very few minutes before the first band, Across The Divide started. Quite a classic metal core outfit that is also very young. Indeed, the band, as it appears today, was born earlier this year and you can feel it in their performance. Band members don’t seem extremely involved in what they do, but we also believe that there was some kind of pressure on their shoulders that might have affected their performance as openers for the night. Furthermore, they had to struggle with bad sound conditions and a very low instrumental volume, which has also biased all of the bands’ pre stations, which was a major shame. But with that said, even though Across The Divide‘s formula is still extremely simple in their genre, this is a band that can potentially do really good things. With some more work, particularly on clean vocals stage presence and communication with the audience, things can already get better. We’re still keeping them on our radar.
It’s time for the second band of the night to get ready to jump on stage and we take advantage of this pause to observe the venue which is quite a discovery for us, as we’d never been there before. The room is strange, cosy and still intriguing. We heard it was originally used as a cabaret!
Joking aside, it’s time for Merge to take over the stage and here’s when things get serious. We already talked about Merge here and we easily get excited every time we’re about to see them.
Musically speaking, their set is extremely well crafted, smoothly combining old songs (Ecclesiast, Calypso…) with newer songs such as Wolf’s Dagger meticulously. Merge however don’t escape to the terrible sound conditions, which is a major shame, knowing how huge and transcending their music can be. In fact, the instruments sound low and flat during half of the set, but this has taken nothing off the band’s performance that is looking absolutely flowing and energetic. The (small) crowd will even move a little bit more! Experience obviously suits the quintet, especially lead singer Anthony who is such a high voltage character on stage, jumping around, joking, visiting the audience in the ‘pit’ from time to time, even climbing the structures and STILL mastering his powerful singing. Needless to say, the band’s first EP “Trasmission”‘s successor is very much awaited in our camp and Merge are well on their way to bigger things.
New shifting and now No Reason For Living take the duty of awakening more the audience and maintain (or surpass?) the energy that Merge left behind them. We were not expecting anything from this band, first because we didn’t know anything about them, there’s not a lot of substance about them that we could check out before getting there. After all, nothing better than a live performance to see what a band is (potentially) about. Now it’s safe to say that No Reason For Living, originally from the north of France, are quite a good band with a lot of potential. Their compositions are original, well-thought and skillful and they perform it great. They look and sound committed, even though it’s not brilliant yet. What we say here is that despite a great technique and an enjoyable performance, No Reason For Living are still scattered as their set lacked some cohesion. But overall, that was a nice performance and a great surprise for us. We’ll definitely follow their updates in the future!
Despite the blue(ish), slightly wearying lights, we’re still here and ready for what was coming. Novelists were up next and we know they’re one of the most exciting new Parisian bands at the moment as we hear a lot about them, to say the least. Born from the ashes of the popular A Call To Sincerity, Novelists had just released a new song and video called Immedicable, of which success was quite incredible for a band that is only a few months old. It’s safe to say that we were quite curious about them. Our first impressions were great : the band was sounding huge, with an extremely and finely worked sound that felt nothing like a debuting band, just as the performance itself in terms of behavior and stage presence. The songs string together quickly and we can perceive strength and obvious musical experience amongst the band members. One weakness we could notice was sometimes the lack of tuneful clean vocals, but this wasn’t really annoying. However the thing is that after a few songs, we couldn’t really notice standout moments, because everything started sounding the same. Now hopefully this was only an impression, because aside of that, Novelists were impressive and it’s a very good thing that bands like theirs exist in the local French scene. We’re quite looking forward to hearing their first release in order to wind up this first mixed impression.
It’s not before 10pm that the headliners appeared (we were starting to lose hope, to be honest), after apparently major struggles with traffic while on the road to Paris that day. Straight from australia, Dream On, Dreamer were headlining Paris for the first time, ahead of their tour supporting Silverstein that was starting the following day. After quite a successful first French appearance two years before, supporting Memphis May Fire, the australians were much awaited by a bunch of faithful fans. However, it was getting late and in the middle of the week and many people had left the room moments before they started their show. Also, due to the delay, the band had to cut their set short and that was a shame knowing that they were headlining the night. Putting the negative stuff aside, let’s focus on the performance that was rather awesome, especially when you know that the quintet had jumped almost directly from their van to the stage, they didn’t have time to soundcheck and they were exhausted. Something we could feel from time to time, especially in Zachary Britt’s voice, who sometimes seemed out of breath (Hear Me Out), comparing to the usual. But it’s a very positive band, full of willpower that was playing for us, so they naturally gave everything they had to deliver the best performance they could to a patient (and quiet?) crowd. Opening the performance with title track Loveless that immediately leads to the single The World In Front Of Me, Dream On Dreamer played most of their ‘hits’ and successes such as Downfall, Taking Chances, Breaking Free and Neverlove, all lead by charismatic vocalist Marcel Gadacz. Things finish with the meaningful Ambitions and it’s anthemic ‘outro’ that a few fans chanted with emotion. It’s always great to see such talented bands playing brilliant music despite any obstacle (such as poor sound conditions and exhaustion for example) to the people that enjoy their music, wether it’s a 10-people audience or an arena.
Despite being long, this was a good night, with an interesting line up, valiantly put together by the good people at One Heartbeat Productions who thus closed another year of hard work at Le Zebre De Belleville.