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posts about z-7.

last wednesday, i was with a friend at another concert in the z-7. according to orphaned land‘s singer kobi farhi, this concert was part of the first (european?) oriental metal tour ever. the tour features four bands: the french hardcore/punk/metal band artweg, the tunesian progressive metal band myrath, the algerian/french melodic death metal band arkan as well as the israelian progressive death metal band orphaned land.
the opening band, artweg, wasn’t my personal favorite, mostly because i’m not that much into hardcore. nonetheless, they delivered a very good stage show. the second band was myrath from tunesia (according to encyclopaedia metallum, the first tunesian (metal?) band to be signed on a label). they are playing very progressive metal, and influences from bands like symphony x and dream theater are very audible, but also their oriental influences. this band is really fantastic, and made me buy their two albums which were available on the merch stand ;-) after myrath, arkan entered the stage. during the first song, there were only screamed male vocals, which i didn’t liked too much, but as soon as their female singer entered the stage and the vocal quality increased a lot :-) from that point on, i really enjoyed their music. i ended up buying one of their albums as well… finally, orphaned land entered the stage. i’ve been waiting for some years to finally see them live, and i have to say that it was totally worth it. (no need to buy albums here, since i already have them all ;-) )
one thing i felt really bad about was that the concert was very poorly attended. there were maybe little over 50 attendees, in a hall which fits many hundreds. this was really a shame, as the concert was – at least for me – probably the best one this year. i really hope the bands are more lucky at their other gigs!

monday evening i was in pratteln, attending a concert of blackfield (art rock) and north atlantic oscillation (post-prog, electronic). it was a very nice concert. i haven’t seen north atlantic oscillation before, but i was positively surprised, and afterwards bought their latest album. blackfield was good as always. they played quite long, and played all my favorite songs from the old albums, as well as songs from their new albums. i think they played every song i presented at musikwiese, with cloudy now being the last song played.
i was really happy that i stayed until the end, even though that meant arriving only at 1 am in zürich and having to walk up a hill to eventually find my way into my bed past 1:30… i wonder if it is just me, or if the night connections between pratteln and zürich really got worse over the last years?

a week ago i attended a concert at the z-7. the first time since over two years. this concert featured five bands, starting at 18:30. i took the train to arrive at the hall at 19:00, and the first band was already done. the second was done pretty fast as well, but nonetheless this wasn’t a good start since the last train was leaving around midnight and i had to plan in a certain time to reach the train station. (in addition, the last train ride which doesn’t involve walking at least half an hour through zürich leaves around 23:00.)
anyway. i didn’t like the second band very much (maybe less than the first, if i’d heard more of the first band…) the third band, psychotic waltz, a progressive metal band from california, was pretty nice. i haven’t heard of them, which isn’t that much a surprise since they disbanded around 1998, and only recently came back together. i guess i have to check out more of their music at some point later.
after psychotic waltz, one of my most favorite bands entered the stage: nevermore. this is the second time i ever saw them. they played for one hour, including many songs from one of my favorite albums, dead heart from a dead world. unfortunately they didn’t continue playing for another hour or so :-) i really miss the good old times when concerts had at most two or maybe three bands, and the bands had much more time to play…
finally, symphony x started playing. i’ve already seen them twice, in 2007 and 2008. unfortunately, i could only listen to maybe half their set, since i had to leave for the train… they played a bit stuff from their upcoming album, iconoclast. let’s see how the whole thing will sound…
this concert was really nice… except that i had to leave before it was done. i really hade this trent to throw that many bands together, and i’m saying this at more and more concerts – since it’s happening really often, and is really annoying. something very positive about this concert is that the z-7 is now smokefree! there’s still a bit of smoke coming in from outside, but the air inside is much better than it was two years ago. this way, going to concerts is much more fun!

in the last two weeks, i attended three concerts:

  • the first one was by the norwegian prog black metallers enslaved in the z-7. the concert was really good, even though enslaved could have played longer in my opinion. unfortunately, the place was pretty empty, which is something enslaved does not deserves.
  • the second concert was by the swedish prog death metallers opeth in the rohstofflager, with the ocean and cynic as support. the guys in the ocean apparently have an urge to move around. i’ve had it so often that stupid kids constantly jump you in the back if you’re standing in the front, but so far i never had it that band members constantly jump in front of you from the front. pretty annoying, somehow. anyway. they were ok. after them, cynic entered the stage. i never heard anything from them, but i heard some people praise them a lot, so i was really looking forward to hear them. well, i’m not sure yet how much i like them, i guess i should listen to their music intensively. but at least they sounded pretty cool. well, then, finally, opeth began to play. as usual, they were simply fantastic. here’s the playlist:
    1. heir apparent;
    2. the grand conjuration;
    3. godhead’s lament;
    4. the lotus eater;
    5. hope leaves;
    6. deliverance;
    7. demon of the fall;
    8. the drapery falls (encore).

    it’s nice to finally have heard godhead’s lament live.

  • finally, i saw the german medieval metal band in extremo. the support was the cologne based alternative rock band the black sheep, consisting of four girls, who did a good job opening the gig. then, finally, i was experiencing in extremo. as a lot of famous bands, the concert was also attended by a lot of annoying kids who gave their best to chase people away from good places. anyway, after losing my very good place in the very front, i found a still good one a bit farer away. i don’t know too many albums of in extremo, mainly older stuff, so i didn’t knew at least half of the material, but i still enjoyed it. (they were also the first band i saw who used pyrotechnics.) but there were also lot of songs which i knew, for example vollmond, wind, spielmannsfluch and ave maria.

i think it’s time to take a look at the list of concerts i attended this year and to list the best ones. at these two links, you can find a pretty complete list of the concerts i attended. i decided to divide the top list into two categories: prog and metal.

prog

for the third place, i cannot decide between three concerts, all which took place in pratteln in the z-7, namely, first, the spock’s beard gig on the 16.05.2007, second, the anathema & moondawn gig on the 31.05.2007, and, third, the fish gig on the 27.11.2007. all three gigs have been very good. most memorable was probably spock’s beard keyboardist, playing with both hands and feet, while his poor technician had to hold the keyboard construction together so it wouldn’t fall apart.

the second place goes to the blackfield & pure reason revolution concert, which took place on the 24.02.2007 in pratteln (z-7). i think this was the first concert where i really liked the opener, so much that i bought one of their albums. actually, i had to order it by mail, as the ones they had with them were sold out at the end of their concert (hence, i wasn’t the only one who liked it alot). the main act itself, blackfield, a collaboration between the porcupine tree frontman steven wilson and the israeli rock star aviv geffen, was also really good.

the first place goes to the porcupine tree & anathema concert, which took place on the 12.11.2007 in zürich (volkshaus). despite several people in the audience didn’t like anathema too much (“too boring”), i was pleased to see them again. for me, their music expresses simply too many emotions to be boring, eating up energy until bursting into the listener’s ear. the main act, porcupine tree, one of my favorite bands, was as good as i expected them to be. even though they played a lot from the current album, fear of a blank planet, which i don’t like as much as some of the older ones, they also played many classics. unfortunately, they didn’t played arriving somewhere but not here, which i would really loved to listen to. but, besides that, i still think this is the best prog concert i attended this year.

metal

again, as before, i cannot decide on someone for the third place, but i have two canidates in mind. the first one is the dream theater & symphony x concert, which took place on the 31.10.2007 in winterthur (eulachhallen). the second canidate is the apocalyptica & sturm und drang concert, which took place on the 09.11.2007 in zürich (volkshaus). all these bands are really good, and the shows they delivered were so, too, featuring many small details, as neat decoration. but both of these concerts also have their sides. namely, symphony x played way too short (but then, i’ll see them again next february as headliner), the location was strange (the wardrobe was outside), and dream theater could have played longer, too (i heard the rumor that the local organizer fucked this up by not registering the concert with the authorities, which in turn resulted in the police ordering the concert to be ended earlier). at the apocalyptica concert, i didn’t like the opener sturm und drang too much; they played really good and professional, but it simply wasn’t the kind of music which i really like.

the second place is filled by the amorphis, swallow the sun & insomnium concert, which took place at the 18.11.2007 in pratteln (z-7). (videos from the concert can be found here.) this concert featured three very good finnish bands, one of them, namely swallow the sun, being one of my favorite ones. their shows were good, the selection of songs was, too (i would have loved to hear some more swallow the sun songs, but then, i would probably have only been really pleased if they would have simply played all songs from their three albums, which is slightly unrealistic to expect from a co-headliner). i was headbanging a lot, met some friends, had a lot of fun.

the first place goes to the moonsorrow & swallow the sun concert, which took place at the 09.04.2007 (easter monday) in pratteln (z-7). actually, there was a third band playing as an opener, whose name i forgot. this concert was one of the most incluencal concert for me this year, not only as it introduced me to two bands, namely moonsorrow and swallow the sun, which i now count as two of my most favorite bands. besides that, the atmosphere was simply perfect, and so was the audience. i still remember headbanging with eric (a guy i met on this concert and on another one a bit later, who’s also an opeth fan), even though headbanging right next to the mosh pit can be pretty painful…

today i was on the last concert for this year – at least, the last one planned ahead more than a few days. this was probably also my last visit to the z-7 for this year.
this time, three bands were playing, the main act being ensiferum (which is latin and means as much as sword bearing), a finnish (what else) viking/folk metal band. well, as it is quite common for viking/folk metal bands nowadays, a huge crowd of kids was there. i saw the first ones at zurich main station, it was quite obvious that the drunken (or starting to get drunk) teenagers as the same track dressed in black were heading for the same destination. i haven’t felt so old for a long time…
the concert started with the swedish power metallers insania. as i already wrote once, i don’t like that kind of music too much, but it was ok. in particular, the singer made funny grimaces (though i’m not sure if it was intentional that they were funny). after that, a taiwanese symphonic black metal band called chthonic entered the stage, featuring an erhu (“chinese violin”). i liked that one pretty much, and i could stand the screaming way more than napalm death‘s or cradle of filth‘s screaming, which i pretty much hate, even though it was pretty similar (in my opinion).
finally, ensiferum entered the stage. well, one member (markus) sat down on a chair, and some guy announced that he isn’t feeling well, that they just fetched him from hospital and that they’ll bring him back right after the concert. that’s devotion! the result was that their gig lasted only a bit more than one hour, until markus let announce (one of the tech guys was regularly filling in water for him and handling him the cup, and passed on messages from him to the other band members) that he wasn’t feeling good and so the last song was announced. (the last song’s beginning was accompanied by chthonic‘s erhu player.) after that, they gave an encore, without markus though, and maybe even a second, but i decided to catch the train instead.
well. on the way back i was pretty much annoyed by the fact that apparently most of the night bus passengers have no clue how the thing works. they don’t manage to change bank notes into coins (there’s a machine for that), they don’t manage to buy the right tickets (there are instructions all over the place), they don’t manage to use the right bus entry (you have to enter in the front, and not try to enter at the other doors, and waiting for 30 seconds until figuring out that you can’t get in there), they don’t manage to prepare the regular ticket and the night surcharge to show it to the driver (instead, they start to search their pockets for another 30 seconds). i understand that some people don’t speak or read german and thus have trouble following the instruction, but i think this didn’t applied to most of them. well, but that explains why the night bus is always late, and the amount of time it is late increases at every stop (at least, as long as people are entering). but at least i could watch all this while sitting inside the bus, so i could listen to good music (kari, of course, as also during the train ride; a big contrast to the concert :) )…

today, i attended fish‘s concert in the z-7. fish was one of the founding members of marillion, a british prog band which happens to be two years older than me, but left them in 1988, after marillion released the clutching at straws album in 1987. in the beginning of fish‘s gig, an intro video was shown, displaying all the 20 years from 1987 to 2007 with a famous scene from that year, with a subtitle relating it to fish in some humouros way. except 2000, when a picture of george w. showed up with the subtitle “what the fuck?!”, and 2004, when another picture of george w. showed up with “again? you assholes!” ;-)
well. the concert was really great; fish was in a great mood and told funny stories between the songs. i basically only knew the albums 13th star and clutching at straws before, but they played a couple of songs from these two, or at least i thought i recognized a few…
i originally planned to buy 13th star at the merchandize booth, but they only had a special edition there which had a way too high price for me… well. besides that, i was pretty tired and exhausted, had problems keeping standing, but survived till the end, had to run for the train, which almost killed me (running uphill while it’s freezing and when you’re exhausted and pretty dehydrated is not a good idea), but i caught the train and even managed to walk the way from the main station to my place in zürich (without running though). and now it’s time to grab some sleep.
good night.

(well, a third one this weekend.) today, the finnish acts amorphis, swallow the sun and insomnium were playing in the z-7. the last weeks, i was anxiously waiting for this concert, as swallow the sun is one of my most favorite bands at the moment, as amorphis is also pretty good and i’ve been told that so is insomnium.
well. after arriving and seeing nobody i knew, insomnium started to play. they’re doing melodic death metal, and i really liked them. during their gig, i spotted a couple i’ve already met on arena‘s and threshold’s concerts. it’s always nice not to be alone on a concert :)
then, after a short break, swallow the sun‘s gig started. the one i really looked forward to. starting with the first three minutes of gloom, beauty and despair as an intro, they started with a great tour through their whole discography. the complete playlist:

  1. intro (first three minutes of gloom, beauty and despair);
  2. hope;
  3. descending winters;
  4. don’t fall asleep (horror, pt. 2);
  5. out of this gloomy light (live recording);
  6. the ship;
  7. these hours of despair (live recording);
  8. deadly nightshade;
  9. swallow (horror, pt. 1).

unfortunately, there was no encore. (i hope i’ll see swallow the sun as the headliner once…) to the sounds of the twin peaks score, the stage was rebuild for amorphis (last concert, they used twin peaks music as the intro). well. then amorphis played, the headliner for this evening, and also delivered a great show.
finally, everything was over, we walked back to the train station, arrived in zürich, and from there i had to walk home alone. well, same as yesterday, so i’m pretty much used to it :) now i’m looking forward to see how my neck’ll be feeling like, after so much headbanging… but it was definitely worth it!

well, last night was the first concert in my current schedule: serentiy, machine men, communic and threshold were playing in the z-7 in pratteln. i really enjoyed it. first, serenity, an austrian power prog band was playing. i’ve already seen them at the end of march, playing before sacred steel and morgana lefay, and i still don’t like them too much. it’s not about their technical skills or whatever, i just can’t really stand this symphonic power metal in some cases, and this is one of these cases. and their singer should pose a bit less… ;-) after serenity, a finnish melodic metal act called machine men started to rock off. them, i really enjoyed, and later i even bought one of their albums, circus of fools. after them, the norwegian band communic started playing. i’ve never seen them or heard music from them before and was pretty curious as i read some good things about them. they’re making prog metal and are quite influenced by nevermore, a band i really like. consisting of only three musicians, which is very seldom the case for prog related bands, playing guitars+vocals, bass and drums, they still managed to produce a very intense, beautiful stream of music. if the concert would have endet after them, i would have been perfectly happy (except that they should have played longer in that case). but then, it didn’t. well. they seemed to be very happy with us, their audience, too: after their gig, besides giving us sticks and plectrums, and tor atle, their drummer, even took of one of his cymbals and threw it into the crowd. i’ve never seen that before. unfortunately, it landed somewhere else, so no chance of grabbing it… afterwards i bought their album waves of visual decay, and the stage was prepared for the british prog metal act threshold. threshold seemed to enjoy playing for us, and we enjoyed listening to them, moving to the music, marvelling at their solos, their playing skills. it was simply fantastic. but then, everything’s ending, and after an encore with two very nice songs, i had to leave to catch the last train. curiously, i again met a couple on the way back which i already met after arena’s concert at the end of may; back then, they recommended me to try out ayreon, a project by arjen lucassen which produces fantastic prog operas. again, thanks a lot for this hint, i really like these operas. well, maybe i’ll write something on them later.