Since it was announced, Gimme Shelter Open Air Festival was one of the most anticipated events of September 2023. We would enjoy the Greek stoner metallers Lazy Man’s Load, Nervosa, Timo Tolkki’s Strato and Firewind. Unfortunately, a sudden health problem didn’t let Timo Tolkki come to Athens, Greece, with his band. It was a big disappointment, however, I was sure that the rest of the bands would give their everything for a really nice gig!

A quarter past seven, Lazy Man’s Load entered the stage. I personally had seen this band live one year ago – then, I liked them, now I loved them! More mature and more confident now, the Greeks played their mix of hard rock and heavy metal furiously, and won the audience, who was already at Technopolis, Gazi. They had a very nice sound, they performed excellently, they knew how to stand on the stage and deliver the goods. I am looking forward to their new studio release!

After a show of 45 minutes, Lazy Man’s Load left the stage for Nervosa. It is true that we waited more than thirty minutes for Nervosa to start their show, something tiring enough, but the girls finally hit the stage. Nervosa presented us some of their best songs and played passionately for one hour. I liked their attitude, I liked their commitment, but I wasn’t satisfied with their sound. Their highly technical thrash/death metal requires a very loud and clear sound, something that Nervosa didn’t have. Nevertheless, the all-female extreme metal band was well-prepared for this show and managed to warm-up the audience, who applauded Nervosa. I am sure that Prika Amaral and her company save the best for the future!

Nervosa left the stage and as some minutes passed, everything was ready for Firewind. Gus G and his band appeared on stage triumphantly – the fans went crazy, as the Greek power metal gods took their place in front of us. With pyros and tons of passion and good energy, Firewind started playing their fantastic songs, having an amazing live sound. The setlist was wisely compiled and we had the chance to listen to some of Firewind’s best songs. Gus G was phenomenal on the guitar, Herbie Langhans sounded great behind the microphone and the rhythm section was unbeatable! It was crystal clear that both the band and the audience had an incredibly good time – the band was super-satisfied with the response of the audience, the audience was so much pleased with the marvelous set of the band! For another time, we admired the fantastic guitar playing of Gus G, who expressed his enthusiasm every time he talked to the audience. It was a captivating gig from Firewind, who set the whole Technopolis on fire! The only thing that I didn’t like was the absence of keyboards in Firewind’s sound. The rest was pure magic!

We left the place with a huge smile, having experienced a superb live show from Firewind plus some very good moments from Lazy Man’s Load and Nervosa. This concert will be long remembered, and for sure, we wait for the next events of Gimme Shelter Film Festival, who organized this mini-festival!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos

Pictures by Iro Kalligeri


This summer, Rockwave Festival was back and on the 7th of July, we would have Deep Purple on Terra Vibe stage, after the postponement of their concert due to Covid-19. Of course, Deep Purple wasn’t the only band of the day, since the Rockwave Festival organizers had contacted other bands too – we would also enjoy the Greek Lazy Man’s Load and Rock n’ Roll Children, the Norwegian band Bokassa, As I Lay Dying, Saxon and Deep Purple. Let’s see what happened, shall we?

We arrived in Malakasa at four o’clock in the afternoon and just caught Lazy Man’s Load. This Greek band plays a unique kind of stoner metal, based on the guitar riffs and the groovy rhythm section. Yet, their protagonist is their singer, who manages to combine his excellent vocal performance with the extraordinary looks. I liked their stuff a lot, and the few fans, who were there, gave their warm applause.

The weather was so hot, but that didn’t prevent Rock n’ Roll Children to make their appearance. This Ronnie James Dio tribute band is very well known in Greece, since they combine their love for Dio and his songs with stunning performances. Yiannis Papanikolaou, Manolis Tsigos and the other guys played again some Dio songs with passion and energy, and the result was touching and evocative. We had some fine moments with Rock n’ Roll Children, it was cool to listen to these classic heavy metal songs live, and we thanked the band for giving their full potential.

The tome for Bokassa had come. Bokassa is a Norwegian stoner rock group, which stormed the stage at full throttle. I liked their nice songs, their beautiful energy and their “stoner meets punk” style, so did the fans, who were already there. This band was a surprise for me, as they were frenetic and relentless, playing with their heart, blowing up the speakers and bringing the fans to a euphoria! I have already checked their name and I am already listening to their stuff – I believe that if this band continue with the same conviction, they will have an remarkable career. The power trio gave us a captivating show and left the stage for …

As I Lay Dying! I was very curious to see this American band, not only because they are a historic metalcore band, but also because they are fronted by Tim Lambesis (he was arrested in 2013 after attempting to hire an undercover police officer to murder his wife. He pled guilty in 2014 and was sentenced to serve six years in prison. Lambesis was released on parole in December 2016). This was As I Lay Dying’s first time in Greece for a live show, and I can surely say that all, group and fans, had a really cool time. However, the whole gig would be a lot better, if the band didn’t face some massive sound problems – after a dynamic beginning, Lambesis’ microphone didn’t work and he couldn’t be heard. After 10-15 minutes of an awkward, forced break, As I Lay Dying came back – and they were more powerful than ever. Obviously, what they just experienced, made them stronger and more accurate! We all banged our heads to the riffs and the refrains of the Americans, we had there even a mosh pit, and I can say that fortunately, As I Lay Dying managed to show what they are capable of! You could tell by their energy and their class that As I Lay Dying is a great band, and their first show in Greece ended in a state of triumph! Thank you, guys!

Time passed, and just a little after sun’s dawn, the mighty Saxon hit the stage. I have seen many times Saxon live in concert and I can easily say that the legendary band is still alive and kicking, still fresh and energetic. Biff Byford is a true legend, he led his gang to victory and we had the honor, the opportunity to enjoy a majestic live show of approximately 70 minutes! Saxon was there playing for us all their classic songs, everyone was excited – and I personally had one more good reason to be happy with this live show, as this was the first Saxon live gig that the one guitarist would be the legendary Brian Tatler of Diamond Head! He was excellent like everyone else in the band, it was a historic moment that both sides will carry in our heart! The set list was perfect, the sound was ideal and Saxon entertained us with their joy and their passion. That was a lesson that Saxon taught to everyone on how a rock gig shall be!

It was high time to welcome Deep Purple. To be frank, I wasn’t expected too much from this Deep Purple show, since the last time I saw them live they were almost a disappointment. But no, this time Deep Purple nailed it! Yes, it was a fantastic live concert by a band, who has the wisdom to rock out! First of all, the set list was super, with all the band’s classics (I know, “Child in Time” wasn’t included), and the sound was superb. We are talking about a big production, a big show that was more than satisfactory! All the band members were playing fantastic, including Ian Gillan, whose classy performance touched everybody – he sang so nice and decently, although he is old now, he sang a lot better than their last visit in Athens, Greece, some years ago. I would also like to mention that Simon McBride was excellent as the new guitarist of the band, his playing was phenomenal and we didn’t miss Steve Morse at all! Generally, the show was a present from Deep Purple to their fans, who have always supported the band. It was a captivating Deep Purple night, an evening that was worthy of the band’s fame, a live show that I am sure we won’t ever forget! A really beautiful classic rock concert by a band, who will always stay young!

We left Terra Vibe, with a big smile …!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos

People started showing up outside of An Club for the well-known to the Greek audience band, Comeback kid. Let's see how the night unfolded.

The night started with two very known local bands that count many years on the Greek hardcore scene. Censored Sound was the first band that got on stage. Although the audience was only a small group of people at the moment, the band didn’t seem to be bothered and they gave us a really great performance.

Then we have Eden Demise that after almost ten years of absence they came back strong earlier this year with their new EP “The Great Injustice”. What a better way for a comeback than a wakeup call that’s always topical especially on hardcore culture. Eden Demise showed up on stage and it felt like they had never left. The crowd’s love and support combined with band’s energy, light up the fire to welcome Comeback Kid on stage.

The Canadians showed up to the Greek audience once more, causing a frenzy. The crowd was in tune from the first moment the band stepped on up to the stage, I guess it has to do also with the fact that they have built a strong fanbase here, since they’ve been in our country quite a lot of times. Stage dives started from the first song and people literally jumping off the stage every few seconds until the very end. Even though the concert wasn’t sold out the place was filled by the energy of both sides, the atmosphere was thrilling and the whole show felt like a huge party. If I had to choose the highlights of the night they were without a doubt “Do yourself a favour”, “Wake the dead and “False idols fall” when everyone sang their lungs out, jumping on and off the stage. I really hope we paid them back for their last performance in Gagarin a few years back (where they played for a small group of people), which they referred to as black spot of their time in Greece and we showed them the support that they deserve. I’m glad I was part of this show once again, till we meet again.

At this point I felt also the need to thank Hardtimes Athens from all of us, for their efforts all these years to support the local and global hardcore scene, giving us such great shows.

Aggeliki Papaioannou

Two years ago, Sir Elton John had announced his farewell tour and his retirement, so it was a matter of time for us to buy our tickets for one show of this last Elton John tour. However, plans were overturned, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and our concert was postponed too. Finally, we would see Elton John in Paris, on the 21st of June, 2023. We checked-in to our flight, got to Paris with the feeling of an anxiety and hoped till this concert that it won’t be postponed again!

Eventually, everything went good and got in the Accor Arena around 19.30. The arena, outside and inside, was crowded, we took a quick look to the official merchandise and sat in our seats. Accor Arena is a luxurious, beautiful concert facility, which soon was packed with Elton John fans from Paris and other cities all around the world – this time we would have the chance, the honor and privilege to experience the magic of an Elton John live show!

There wouldn’t be an opening act, and that’s a drawback, but as long as you looked at the stage of the arena, you understood that a great production had been prepared and the show would be fabulous! Yes, the stage had two levels and behind these levels, an enormous screen was set. On the screen you could read the emotive words, “Farewell Yellow Brick Road”, while expecting something really beautiful and extraordinary!

Indeed, what followed was beyond perception! According to the program, Elton John would start at 20.00 o’clock and just some seconds past eight, the legendary musician appeared in front of us, and took his seat behind the piano. I couldn’t believe that Elton John was there - it was a unique experience, which grew bigger, when the great musician started performing! He began with “Bennie and the Jets” and he was absolutely amazing! The mythic star of pop/rock music was playing the piano with ease, sung with a loud, strong, warm voice and had an incredible interaction with the audience. We all were so joyful, as we were witnessing a historic moment of music art. And I was relieved to see Elton John in this very excellent condition, since, I will be frank, I was afraid that he wouldn’t be in a good shape – at this age! He was in a super condition, everyone could understand that. Most of the time he was at his piano, but sometimes he walked to come in contact with his beloved fans. His selection for the songs of the live set was more than right – he and his incredible band (with two drummers and one percussionist!) played most of Elton John’s biggest hits. My favorite moments were “Tiny Dancer”, “Have Mercy on the Criminal” (oh my god, what a nice live version!), “Rocketman”, “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding”, “Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting”, “Your Song” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. He played for two hours and fifteen minutes, a long, dreamy concert that will be unforgettable. Many were crying, other were dancing, everyone was falling for Elton John!

I have seen many live shows and many artists on stage in my life, yet, the majesty of this Elton John show was surpassing and captivating – yes, it is one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to! It wasn’t the sound, the show or the duration, it was the magic, the elegance, the finesse of this super show! Thank you Sir Elton, goodbye!  

Dimitris Zacharopoulos

Weekdays in An Club seem to get a whole new meaning. This week came on strong with Chelsea Grin as headliners for their first time in Greece, but let’s see how it started below.

First band for tonight was Mask of Prospero, a Greek band that was formed in 2014. We could all agree that we’re talking about five excellent musicians and even though the people had just started coming in the club, the atmosphere that the band created was captivating. Their progressive, polyrhythmic sound with melodic vocals and screams too, composed a mesmerizing performance that was perfectly executed. I would love to see them live again, I truly believe this band would fit in many line-ups.

As the time was passing by, people started filling the place and the next band that got on stage was Skybinder, another local band, who got together in 2018. The metalcore band from Athens gave us Parkway Drive vibes stirring up the crowd with their energy. They combined perfectly their influences with their passion and the outcome was fiery on stage. I can say for sure that by now the audience seemed warmed up for what was coming after.

And the time has come for Chelsea Grin. The deathcore band from Utah has finally come for their first time in Greece. The club is full and the temperature is increasing as Chelsea Grin showing up on stage. It was clear from the first moment that the guys were playing for keeps, the crowd was wild and the pits never stop. The atmosphere in the An Club was insane and I can easily say that the crowd played a huge part on that too, I bet we got them as high as they got us. I’m still trying to figure out how it’s possible for Tom to go through the whole set literally screaming, without any breaks or even a drop of water. That’s a true frontman right here, so much respect, of course not only for that but also for his connection with the audience and the powerful performance that gave us.

Aggeliki Papaioannou