Vagos Open Air 2014 – 3rd day

Gojira, Paradise Lost, Vita Imana, The Quartet Of Woah!, MURK, Opus Diabolicum
Quinta do Ega, Vagos (PT)
10th August 2014

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Third and last day of Vagos Open Air 2014. It had rained a bit in the morning, so the dust had settled down. On the other hand, the water mixed with sour beer and other spilt liquids was starting to stink…

First band was Opus Diabolicum. The die-hard Moonspell fans will recognize this name from one of their early songs (from the 20-year-old EP “Under The Moonspell”, in case you’re not familiar with it). The name isn’t a coincidence, since Opus Diabolicum did with Moonspell the same that Apocalyptica did with Metallica – instrumental covers in cellos.
The gig didn’t kick off very well. After just a couple of minutes they had to interrupt due to a problem in the cello on the right (I wish I could tell you the name of the musician, but their Facebook page doesn’t mention names). And since none of the other two addressed to the audience, the silence became a little awkward. But when the cello was back in order, they attacked those strings with “Opium” and the crowd soon forgot the incident, singing the lyrics strongly. I confess I wasn’t expecting such a great feedback and I’m happy I was wrong about it. Of course they played some Moonspell key-hits, and that might have helped – “Vampiria”, “Nocturna”, “Scorpion Flower” – and such any Moonspell gig, they wrapped it up with “Alma Mater” and “Fullmoon Madness”. Neat! (4/5)

Opus Diabolicum official Facebook

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MURK – the “alternative death metal” Portuguese band, not the black metal Italian one – were up next. Never had heard of them before, not even when they were going by the name Sattor, and that started back in 2005. Apart from the EP “Tyrants Of Decay” they’ve released early this year, it seems that they’ve only released another EP (“Seeds Of Perseverance”) as Sattor. One must wonder why a band with just two extended plays out in a less than 10-year-old career was chosen for such a big event as Vagos Open Air. It’s commendable, of course, that Prime Artists support the national underground, but we have so many bands with a bigger discography and a larger fan base (there were some MURK fans present, truth be told) that it just seems unfair the promoters chose this band. it wasn’t a bad concert – the highlight on “Footprint Of God”, apparently – but it wasn’t a spectacular one either, despite their ritualistic gear and makeup. (3/5)

MURK official Facebook

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Now The Quartet Of Woah!, despite being formed just 4 years ago, they’ve been playing non-stop recently and making their name known. Well-known, actually, as their live shows are pretty… lively! I wasn’t expecting that, since I was told they were a stoner band. But unlike most stoner rock bands, they don’t focus on the bluesy and depressive doom side of the genre but on the heavy metal and psychedelic rock instead – hence the high voltage of their shows. It’s all there, though, in a classy mix, but it’s the heaviest and fastest elements they bring to life the most. Gonçalo Kotowicz was unmistakably happy, giving a quick (the time was short) but heartfelt thank you to Vagos. Songs like “U Turn”, “Balance” and the latest “BackwardsFirstliners” brought a sixties/seventies 5-star vibe to the festival. (5/5)

The Quartet Of Woah! official Facebook

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Spanish Vita Imana was another surprise – one that so far gets my gold medal in the category “Top surprises of 2014”. Whoever told me they were a thrash metal band forgot to mention they were also tribal and ‘core, otherwise I’d be more or less warned of the adrenaline discharge I was about to witness. A big emphasis on “more or less”, as I wouldn’t have expected that anyway. Here’s a band who knows what live gigs are all about! Their sound is mosher-friendly by nature, true, but if it wasn’t for Vita Imana’s tornado-wise attitude – especially singer’s Javier Cardoso, whose jumps were quite epic – the response of the crowd wouldn’t have been so explosive. “Gondwana”, “Quizás No Sea Nadie” or “Paranoia” were just a few of the songs that made the circles go crazy. (5/5)

Vita Imana official Facebook

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I guess everybody knows by now that a Paradise Lost gig is either very good or sucks dish water, there’s no middle term. It all depends on Nick Holmes’ mood. Holmes not only was in a great mood, his voice was in the strongest shape ever – this being my 9th Paradise Lost concert in 17 years, trust me, I know what I’m saying.
With a very serious face, Holmes said Paradise Lost have been around since the fifties/forties (told you he was in a good mood) while introducing “Gothic” – the oldest track of that night’s setlist, released in 1991 and not, obviously, in the ‘40s. Don’t know if he’s going through some midlife crisis, but he would later hint on the band’s “antiquity” again by saying that the following song was a hit that had been playing for decades and he expected to continue so. If you’re a hardcore fan of Paradise Lost, you know he meant “As I Die”.
They left the stage after “True Belief” – my all-time favorite, I confess – and someone started screaming for them. Soon a massive “PARADISE LOST, PARADISE LOST!” echoed. They would return for a 3-song encore, Holmes thanking once again (I lost count on how many times he said thank you). After the very last “Say Just Words”, the band took a selfie with a delighted crowd, all horns-up, in the back. Don’t worry about your age, Mr. Holmes. At 43, you’re still able to pull off amazing performances that many 20-year-olds can only achieve in their dreams. (5/5)

Paradise Lost official Facebook

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However, this was Gojira’s night. I believe the Portuguese fans have been asking for the French band since the very first Vagos edition. As for them, they claimed they’d been expecting to play in Portugal for 18 years – meaning since they first were founded, still as Godzilla. Yeah, yeah, I know they all say nice things about the countries/cities they’re visiting for the first time, or haven’t visited in a long while, but in this case I believe, as the Duplantier brothers have Portuguese roots (grandmother) and they’ve visited the country many times before, as tourists. Now that they made it as a band and had such a thunderous reception, I’m pretty sure they’ll do their best to return soon.
The security guys had their hands full – literally – from the very first seconds (yeah, seconds) of “Explosia” to the last ones of “Where Dragons Dwell”. A high-five to all of them for the excellent job they did, not only at helping the kids on the “landing” but also in guiding them into the best path of hands and heads.
Peak moments? All of them! But I can’t stop mentioning the inflatable dolphin that bounced back and forth over the crowd on “Flying Whales”. Cute!
It was hard to accept the gig had come to an end. Joe said what must have been all the pleasantries he knew in Portuguese while everybody screamed “GOJIRA, GOJIRA!” at the top of their lungs. But it was over. And unforgettable. (5/5)

Gojira official Facebook

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Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

More pics in our Facebook page HERE.

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