The famous Bourbon maker Jim Beam strikes again with its annual rock concerts JIM BEAM ROCKS featuring multiple local bands and an international guest.
The show was set in Marina, Dbaye. In one of the most popular places to party, Jim Beam introduced an extremely professional sound system that delivered a great sound for the audience. I am finally seeing an improvement in the Lebanese scene, sound system wise, regardless of the few technical difficulties that a couple of bands faced.
THE JLP SHOW was the first band to perform. Usually, first bands don’t get much attention, but JLP did make the whole crowd run to the front stage. Their show was fresh, energetic, and very harmonized. JLP’s set consisted of radio song covers and they also did very cool mashups along the way, showing high musicianship among band members.
AMY SMACK DADDY were a treat, and Ingrid Bawab did an incredible show on stage: a combination of super-energy and a great voice. The band played many cover songs from Rock to Reggae to Pop, and got the crowd dancing. The interaction between the band and the fans was remarkable. The band consists of great musicians from within the Lebanese Music scene and they do not need an introduction, they are a golden team.
WonderGaap came up next. Quite a good band, they sounded quite fine with decent drumming and bass playing. They managed to hook up the crowd and keep their audience going, though they should work on their stage presence to leave a bigger impression on the crowd. A more unique sound that can identify the band’s identity could help.
The next band apparently had many fans in the crowd: GENERATION ZEE. The crowd’s loud cheering kept me thinking, how good can they be? As soon as they started playing, I noticed a Nirvana-ish sound. I was disappointed, they definitely need a more unique voice to begin with. The drummer could have given a better show. The vocals were quite impressive, especially given the use of Arabic lyrics which I personally admire and promote as a display of patriotism. Regardless of their few downsides, the crowd loved them at the end of the day to an extent where some guy jumped over at the stage and started dancing around only to be chased by the security guard, which gave the crowd something to laugh and joke about for a part of the night.
Next up was a band that got mixed feelings among the crowd. MADINAT. A band I’d describe to be the Rush of our generation. The crowd though was split into two; some didn’t like them at all, and the others loved them to death. But for me, they were the highlight of the night. As soon as MADINAT began playing, an atmospheric ambient mood was set throughout the crowd. The mostly instrumental tracks they played were outstanding and mind-blowing. At some point in between switching pedals, they faced some difficulties, but that didn’t stop their show, it just made it all better with Anthony Atwe covering over the guitar. The drums were overly outstanding, and the Arabic vocals were also a huge plus. Cheers to every single member of MADINAT.
POSTCARDS is a Lebanese band that toured some parts of the world spreading Lebanon’s name while at that. The introduction was ambient and atmospheric only to be turned face over to a country-ish sound. The vocals were quite low and were a complete turn down after listening to the very progressive Madinat. I blame the organizers for not taking into account that Postcards should’ve played in the beginning. The band wasn’t able to hook up the crowd or engage with it, and the technical difficulties didn’t help them one bit. Postcards is a band I’d like to listen to on my phone in a dark room alone, not in a big concert…
As for the last local band, ADONIS, a lovely and brilliant name carrying great history behind it. ADONIS gave a good show with a couple of issues that could be improved. During their performance, there was an extremely annoying whistle for some reason… I couldn’t pinpoint the source although I think it’s the guitar. ADONIS gave off an indie/oriental sound similar to Mashrou’ Leila’s style. The choice of the songs was not the smartest with some being quite sleepy considering the line up spot (straight before the main headliner of the event) or the ambience of the concert. Saying that, I would watch Adonis again but in different circumstances, as they showed a high musicianship and harmony among the members.
Lastly, the part of the show most of the crowd came for, Ex-Guns N’ Roses GILBY CLARKE. A pure Rock N’ Roll sound. They presented an extremely high standard for Lebanese rock musicians to put up with. Most of the crowd was super engaged and excited, although some of them showed unacceptable and extremely rude behavior by throwing empty plastic bottles at them. Gilby played a mix of originals and covers and definitely some Guns N’ Roses. The sound during Gilby’s show was amazing, with no major issues to point out. Gilby’s performance was flawless, I did enjoy it. It is not every day that we see a Rock And Roll Hall of Famer playing in the land of the Cedars, yet Gilby was too kind to consider us in his tour. The set was pretty amusing, and very fitting with the ambience. The crowd sang along to the covers but not so many knew the original songs of the band, yet they enjoyed them. However, not all of the crowd were satisfied! Some were seen leaving after the first couple of songs, while others stayed but said that they didn’t enjoy the show. While we believe that Gilby did a historical show in Lebanon, we noticed that a part of the Lebanese crowd aspires to watch more commercially known bands and acts.
Overall, Jim Beam Rocks was a good host, although they should reconsider the schedule for which bands should be up first and base it on the style of the music and let it progress with the night. The venue was exceptional, sandy yet amusing. The stage, light, and sound system were by far the most impressive and well spent on. Jim Beam, and for the third year in a row, has given the Lebanese Rock scene the best platform yet. Also, as confirmed by many bands that played JIM BEAM ROCKS, the backstage area gave the local bands the same respect and treatment as the International artist, and by that, the guys behind the festival provided an unprecedented high quality hospitality to our local talents.
It was a great night, and I was happy with the shows regardless of the multiple cons that could be greatly improved.
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