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Primordial w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 22nd October 2018 by Pieni

Primordial, Basalto, Aura
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
21st September 2018
Promoted by Notredame Productions

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One month yesterday and the memories still send shivers down my spine. Primordial’s songs already have that effect on their fans, but something about that night’s performance made them more enthralling. I always thank the promoters for allowing me the chance of shooting these gigs but this time my heartfelt reverence towards Carlos Freitas and Notredame Productions goes deeper, for bringing such show to us.

DSC_0067 copyBut first things first. Post black metal Aura, promoting their debut EP “Hamartia”, which had been released in July. Aggressive, but bearing the somberness of a doom band, the mix works out extremely well, the four musicians really “into it” when on stage. For what I could gather, “Your Eyes Can Sweat My Desire For Catharsis” is their strongest track. An extra note on the bass player’s professionalism, as the piece on the bass that holds the strap broke but he didn’t stop playing; he just put his foot up on one monitor and held the instrument on his knee. I can only imagine the strain on his back and arms while doing it. In the end of the song he fixed it with duct tape, but since their songs are over 6 minutes long, consider my hat tipped.
https://www.facebook.com/oficialauraband/

Then came the 99%-instrumental Basalto. In fact, the first I’d seen them, a few months prior, I’d say they were an instrumental act. But this time, on the first and last track, guitarist António Baptista growled something indecipherable.
The final product is labelled as stoner/doom metal, but it’s achieved with a variety of other elements, such as jazz and blues, making it a lot spicier, more spirited. “Doença (“disease” in Portuguese) is their second album, released in February, and according to them, it represents everything black or dark in Humanity’s intellectuality. Interesting concept.
https://www.facebook.com/basaltostoner/

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In +25 years of attending concerts, I can only remember three concerts that went on for two hours: Iced Earth (the “Horror Show” tour, which coincided with the release of the boxset “Dark Genesis” and so the band decided to play a little bit of their full discography so far, with three different stage sets); Queensrÿche (the “Operation: Mindcrime” 20th anniversary tour where they performed both the album and its sequel in full) and Moonspell (the 20th anniversary of “Irreligious”, where they also played the whole DSC_0272 copy“Wolfheart” and “Extinct” albuns). Primordial was now the fourth, but the first without any special reason for it, apart from “not being like one of these new bands who play for an hour and go home” (quoting Nemtheanga himself). You’ve probably done the math by now: more time to play, less key-songs left out of the set, even if they have to insert new ones out of the latest “Exile Amongst The Ruins”. Plus, if you know how charismatic Nemtheanga is, you know how intense every minute of a Primordial show can be; 120 of them is something just beyond words.
Nemtheanga recalled several times their first show in Portugal, 20 years ago, praising “his friend” José Costa for it, and also mentioned the last time they’ve played at Hard Club (although that gig happened in the original venue, on the other side of the river, but that he didn’t seem to remember). Such sweet nostalgia, brought on not just by the older songs…
From “Nail Their Tongues” to “Empire Falls”, going through “To Hell Or The Hangman” or – my all-time favorite – “The Coffin Ships”, this concert was a roller-coaster ride of emotions that will hardly be forgotten by any of the presents.
https://www.facebook.com/primordialofficial/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

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Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão 2018 – 3rd day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 5th August 2018 by Pieni

The Godiva, Dark Tranquillity, Tarantula, Crisix, The Temple, Revolution Within, Low Torque, Legacy Of Cynthia
Louro, Famalicão (PT)
Promoted by Associação Ecos Culturais do Louro
28th July 2018

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LEGACY18No “alternative metal” band had played yet so Legacy Of Cynthia had the pleasure of doing so, kicking off the third and last day of Laurus with their brilliant “Rats And Rattlesnakes”. Their sound is too exquisite to describe but that exquisiteness is also unique, and it works perfectly live – especially in an open air festival. Their vitality spread out to the crowd, and even when bass player Caesar made a “small” thank-you speech – he himself recognized he was a pain in the ass and that those who’ve been to Legacy Of Cynthia gigs before were surely sick of listening to him – everyone applauded, clearly amused. I admit dancing to “Cabaret”, which wrapped up their set.

https://www.facebook.com/legacy.cynthia/
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Late last year, rockers Low Torque released their third album, “Chapter III: Songs From The Vault”. They’ve brought along some juicy tracks like “Dust Mojo” and “Mutant”, endorsing heavy headbanging and body movement in general. And that’s it, not much else to say – pure rock’n’roll is that straightforward.

https://www.facebook.com/lowtorque/
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It was the first time I’ve seen Revolution Within’s new drummer Rúben Marques (apparently also known as Tozé…) and the kid’s got my personal approval. He also plays in One Step To Fall and their singer Diogo Pardal would join Raça later on to roar “Pull The Trigger”, but that was closer to the end. Way before that the crowd had already gone wild with the band’s other hits and usual violence. In the end, Raça thanked everyone and paid respects to the Abbott fallen heroes: “Dimebag, Vinnie Paul – rest in peace, wherever you are”.

https://www.facebook.com/revolutionwithinband/
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Time to head back to the main stage Porminho and watch The Temple. They were still sound-checking, playing their cover of Mão Morta’s “Budapeste” – which sadly they didn’t perform “for real” afterwards. But then again, their own songs set the crowd on fire, starting up a really peculiar mosh pit that included laughter, capoeira moves and guys on other guys’ shoulders. Its climax was certainly “War Dance”, when singer João and guitarists Marcelo and Tiago joined drummer Rui in a tribal percussionist feat.

https://www.facebook.com/thetempleband/
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Crisix is not your average thrash metal act. The music is thrash through and through: you’ve got the shredding guitars, the long shrills, the strong bass and the powerful beats. But the performance is much more than angry faces and neck-breaking headbanging. They run, they jump, they laugh… Fiesta all the time! In fact, that’s the exact term they use at some point, when they all change instruments and guitarist B.B. Plaza and bassist Dani Ramis take over the microphone. A medley of covers, including Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right (To Party)” and RATM’s “Killing In The Name Of”, put the Barcelona band at the top of Laurus’ most amusing artists. And their own songs, such as “Get Out Of My Head”, “Conspiranoia” or “Ultra Thrash”, made a huge cloud of dust rise up out of the mosh circles.

https://www.facebook.com/CrisixOfficial/

TRTL18Getting Tarantula to play between Crisix and Dark Tranquillity wasn’t the best of options – unless the idea was for the crowd to recharge batteries. Their old school heavy/power metal is legendary around these parts, but even with the crowd echoing loudly the choruses to “Face The Mirror”, “You Can Always Touch The Sky” or “End Of The Rainbow”, something felt amiss. It’s been less than two years since nI’ve last seen them live and they were in pretty good shape. Now it seemed like the spark was gone, or at least dimmed. It was a bit disappointing. And I’ll never understand why, despite someone always screams for “Power Tower”, they still refuse to play it…

https://www.facebook.com/Tarantula.Official/
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There’s this Dark Tranquillity song called “The Mundane And The Magic” (which they’ve played in Laurus, by the way) and I believe “magic” is just the right word to describe what happened when the Swedes got on stage. Their current album “Atoma” was released over a year-and-a-half ago (review here) but as Mikael Stanne said, “it still felt pretty new”; the title-track, “Clearing Skies”, “Force Of Hand” and a couple more were just as rejoiced as old classics like “Monochromatic Stains”, “Therein” or “Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive)”.
The encore started with “State Of Trust” and then Stanne said that it was always a pleasure to come back to Portugal and that we knew they’d keep coming; he’d learnt over the years that we were very passionate, that we weren’t “Lost To Apathy”. And “Misery Crown” was just… well, what I’ve first said: magical.

https://www.facebook.com/dtofficial/

GODIVA18This year’s festival finished with a local band, that came back together after almost a decade-long hiatus (I think it was an actual split-up, but whatever it was, it’s over). The Godiva was the first band I’ve shot with a digital camera, back in 2005, and for me it was enthralling to see this new version of them, all re-vamped and full of life – despite their “deadly” make-up, ha ha. And those who only knew them from the brand new single “Empty Coil”, or didn’t know them at all before this show, seemed to enjoy the old songs such as “Spiral”, “Fallen” or “Oblivion”. A great new era for the band, closing what represents a new era as well for this great festival. See you in 2019, Laurus Nobilis!

https://www.facebook.com/thegodivaband/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão 2018 – 2nd day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2nd August 2018 by Pieni

Web, Mata-Ratos, SepticFlesh, Equaleft, Hills Have Eyes, Nine O Nine, In Vein, Sotz’
Louro, Famalicão (PT)
Promoted by Associação Ecos Culturais do Louro
27th July 2018

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sotzlnmf18The second day started at mid-afternoon, with Sotz’ doing the honors. Here’s a band that’s been improving their performance at every show, and consequently winning over more fans – 4:30 p.m. and a large number of people ready to shout out and mosh around their support. Without any kind of disrespect for previous line-ups, I believe the current one is the most efficient in living up to the aggressive impact the band yearns for their sound.
I’m not sure if the crowd was singing along – Dan Vesca is pretty hard to follow up – but they clearly recognized the tracks off the EP “Tzak’ Sotz’” and the recent single “Baak’”.

www.facebook.com/sotzband/

INVEINLNMF18Another band that’s grown a lot since the first time I’ve seen them a couple of years ago is In Vein. Raising Legends has been doing a hell of a job managing them, getting them to play practically everywhere, to the point where I confess I rolled my eyes when seeing their name on this bill. My sincere apologies – it was well deserved. Songs such as “S.A.T.A.N.”, “Paranoia” or “Infinite Night” fueled the headbanging and the horns in the air – singer António Rocha tried to convince the firemen to join the latter at some point, but they just smiled.

www.facebook.com/invein.band.pt/
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Representing a rockier side of metal, we got Nine O Nine, guitarist Tó Pica’s new band. Introducing their debut “The Time Is Now”, released in February, Louro was filled with the enthralling melodies of “Big Event”, “Beauty Femme” and “Sofia” – dedicated not just to all Sofias but to every woman in the audience. Singer/bassist Sérgio Duarte didn’t want us to get the idea that NON were mellow, so they finished their set with the brisker “The Rush”.

www.facebook.com/NON909/
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The Estrella Galicia stage closed for the moment and the spotlight turned to the main stage, Porminho, with Hills Have Eyes spreading their usual vitality. Fábio Batista’s voice was a bit worn down but he himself was jumping all around, so it made no real difference in the intensity of the music. Plus bassist Luís Silva backed him up, making sure all lines were sung. Splitting their setlist between the two most recent albums, but visiting “Black Book” through “Unneurotic” and the new single “Never Quit”, Fábio thanked the people that probably weren’t much into their sound but still were there, watching them and showing them respect. This and the little speech that always goes along “Anyway It’s Gone”, about music being music, no matter the label, hence they’d never decline an invitation for a “metal festival”.

www.facebook.com/hillshaveeyes/
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From metalcore to groove, Equaleft was the epitome of the “may the force be with you” slogan which their singer Miguel Inglês loves so much. They’ve been recording the successor to “Adapt & Survive” and even if the title or release date weren’t revealed yet, a live promotion is running already: “We Defy”, “Once Upon A Failure”, “Strive”, “Endless” and “Overcoming” made part of the band’s set and were tremendously cherished. Still, the highlight was “the lightsabre song” – the classic “Invigorate” – where Sotz’-Dan Vesca was a spontaneous guest. During the last song, “Maniac”, Miguel crowdsurfed while singing and then rewarded the fans with cookies. As usual.

www.facebook.com/equaleft/
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When promoter Aguiar Silva got on stage to address the audience, I thought he was going to introduce the headliners; it was something much more noble than that. In case you don’t know, SepticFlesh come from Greece, where several wildfires have taken about a hundred lives. Portugal went through a similar tragedy last summer, so more than sympathetic with the situation, we related. Therefor when Aguiar asked not for a minute of silence but half a minute of applause for the souls lost in those fires, Louro trembled. Singer/bassist Spiros Antoniou himself would dedicate “Prometheus” to the same souls – after all, in Greek mythology, Prometheus was a Titan who stole fire from the gods and gave it to the humans. But before that, songs such “Martyr”, “The Vampire Of Nazareth” or “Prototype” had already left the crowd in total rapture. Spiros dislocated his shoulder a few weeks ago, and even if everything’s okay now, he still couldn’t raise his arm/fist as high as he wished to, so he wanted our help to do it for him. We obviously complied. 10-year-old “Anubis” and last year’s “Dark Art” built the encore of a stellar show.

www.facebook.com/septicfleshband/
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Mata-Ratos spent almost a decade without any new material but their life on the road rarely took a break – that being the reason why their original schedule on Saturday was anticipated to Friday (something about a show in Spain). “Banda Sonora do Apocalipse Anunciado” was released in 2016, but needless to say that it was songs from almost 20 years ago – “A Minha Sogra É Um Boi”, “Amor Eterno” or “CCM” – that brought out the inner punk in all of us. Singer Miguel Newton still paces the stage through and through like a lion in a cage, but I’ve managed to frame him more clearly – he’s either slowed down a bit with age or I’m just getting more skilled.

www.facebook.com/infamesmr/
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Back to the Estrella Galicia stage to watch the final band: only Web to have such a numerous and loud crowd at 2 in the morning. They’ve been somewhat away from the stages, writing the successor to “Everything Ends”, but unlike Equaleft, nothing new was revealed – well, except for the intro, that was a new one. And guitarist Filipe Ferreira’s posture! Web is the band I’ve seen the most in these +20 years of attending metal concerts and this was the first time Filipe made me wonder if they got sponsored by some energy drink. “Vendetta” was the last live song of the night, before António Freitas assumed the role of DJ.

www.facebook.com/web.bandofficial/

Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão 2018 – 1st day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 31st July 2018 by Pieni

Infraktor, Cruz de Ferro, Booby Trap, Atreides
Louro, Famalicão (PT)
Promoted by Associação Ecos Culturais do Louro
26th July 2018

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Fourth edition of Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão, first one fully dedicated to metal in all its varieties. Those first three editions we’ve covered the first day only, which was the heaviest one. Now we’re proud to bring you coverage of the whole fest.

001Last year the organization had already set a second stage for big bands still climbing the popularity ladder (calling them “smaller bands” wouldn’t be fair or accurate at all). This year that stage was a bit larger and endorsed, hence named after, the Spanish beer Estrella Galicia – Galicia being the community where the first band Atreides came from as well. The opening day served as a warm-up, with only the Estrella Galicia stage active and four acts on the bill, so the melodic heavy metal of Atreides started echoing around eight-thirty in the evening. The crowd wasn’t big, true, but I confess it was much bigger than I’d expected – and also more responsive towards a band clearly unknown to them, despite their two studio albums. Songs like “Frágiles” or “Laberintos” caused quite an impression – including in some little kids who were tagging along their parents but having a ball on their own.

www.facebook.com/atreidesgrupo/

btlnmf18Things got a bit more hardcore with Booby Trap’s crossover. The most veteran band on that day’s bill got a more aggressive feedback, just like their sound, but still they tried to convince the people in the back to get closer to the stage and join the party – unsuccessful, not even after guitarist Wild Bull provoked them by calling them something like “pussies”. Anyway, “Survive”, “Overloaded”, “Drunkenstein” (my favorite) or Motörhead’s “Ace Of Spades” (which they covered long before Lemmy’s death) kept the audience pretty hyped.

www.facebook.com/boobytrap.pt/

CFLNMF18Cruz de Ferro is Portuguese for “iron cross”, so that alone gives you an idea what kind of metal they play and what they sing about – yep, traditional heavy metal about Portuguese battles and history in general. They had a handful of devoted fans in the front row, raising their fists and singing along loudly. To those, singer/guitarist Ricardo Pombo exclusively dedicated “Ritual da Cruz” (ritual of the cross), apologizing to the rest of the people attending the festival. But since they’ve played for the very first time a new song called “Soldado Desconhecido” (unknown soldier) – in memory of all Portuguese soldiers who lost their lives in the second Great War – I guess no one minded to be left out of the aforementioned dedicatory.

www.facebook.com/cruzdeferro666/

INFLNMF18But it was Infraktor’s “ferocious metal” that got the most out of the crowd, proving the promoters right when they chose such a young band to headline the first day. Well, young as Infraktor, who released their debut album “Exhaust” early this year – the members are all old-school ambassadors of the national underground, as I’ve told you when I reviewed said debut (here).
From “Blood Of The Weak” to “Ferocious Intent”, this was the night’s most intense performance – both on and off stage. Some people were singing along the choruses, but in order to everyone give use to their vocal chords, Pantera’s “Strength Beyond Strength” wrapped up the show, as someone in the crowd “guessed”. Singer Hugo Silva joked, asking him if he had peeked at the setlist, but knowing that he’d just attended some previous Infraktor concert.

www.facebook.com/infraktor.metal/

DJ Nattu taking over in the end wasn’t the best idea, but apart from that, my heartfelt congratulations to everyone involved in putting together this event. And this was just the first day.

Photos & text: Renata “Pieni” Lino

Escape The Fate – I Am Human

Posted in Alternative, CD, Rock with tags , , , on 26th May 2018 by Pieni

Escape The Fate
“I Am Human”
Alternative Rock
Released: 30th March 2018
Via Eleven Seven Music

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Escape The Fate have conquered a few million fans over the past decade with their modern alternative rock. That’s still the best way to describe their sound, although with “I Am Human” it has lost a bit of its original edge. One could say it’s heading towards a more mainstream direction, but let’s face it – they’ve always been down that road. But now there’s a refinement to it, a maturity that gives texture to all the catchiness and class to the briskness. Some of the guitar work has even hints of the eighties, the solos in “I Will Make It Up To You” and “Beautifully Tragic” being the most notorious.

On the other hand, we have more “up-to-date” tunes, such as “Empire”, featuring this decade’s trend of blending the most spirited anger with the most fetching melody. Speaking of melodies, the mandatory ballad comes in the form of “Bleed For Me”. Not exactly extraordinary, but it serves its purpose of touching your heart.

Touching are also the lyrics of “If Only”, contradicting the chirpy acoustic chords provided. The kind of song you associate with Summer camps, even if these usually don’t bear so much regret. “Let Me Be”, however, is lighthearted enough to make you want to dance to its rhythm and sing-along cheerfully.

The title-track is quite seductive, but my personal favorite is “Do You Love Me” – the bass in this album is so overlooked that it’s refreshing to feel its vibrancy in this song.

All in all is a pretty pleasant record. Its new path didn’t take such a dramatic detour – especially when you’re able to recognize the step forward it represents in song-writing – but indeed some of the most hardcore fans of the band may be disappointed. At the sane time, “I Am Human” is prone to gain them a handful of new ones.

3,5/5

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Insomnium + Tribulation – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 28th April 2018 by Pieni

Insomnium, Tribulation
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
9th April 2018
Promoted by Prime Artists

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“Winter’s Gate” is the name of Insomnium’s latest album and therefore the name of the tour – even if the release is one-year-and-a-half old. Plus, given the cold wave that’s been washing over Europe when Spring was supposed to be settling in, “Winter’s Gate” sounds pretty fitting.
Monday night, the crisp weather, the 2-band bill instead of the usual 3, the ticket price somewhat higher than normal… I confess I was expecting a poor crowd in terms of numbers. Well sometimes it feels good to be wrong and see that, after all these years, your hometown can still positively surprise you.
DSC_0054 copyWhat I didn’t like to be wrong about was the duration of Tribulation’s gig. Sure, I knew this wasn’t a co-headlining tour, but since there was no other band on the bill, I was hoping for a little more than 45 minutes – especially when they have a new album to promote as well. “Down Below” was released in January and only a third of its fantastic tracks were performed – “Lady Death”, “Nightbound” and “The Lament”. Of course we wanted to hear everything else they’ve played, from their previous works, but we wanted more – hence the 45-minute slot not being enough. I remember the first time Insomnium played here, eight years ago, asking us to buy something at the merch stand in order to “help the little guys”. Here they were this night, not so little anymore, so let’s cross fingers that next time Tribulation come here they’ll be headlining their own show. And that it won’t take that long – even if there’s only 5 years left to complete the 8 since the first time they’ve played in Porto.
The “Down Below” artwork is in shades of red and black but the lights during Tribulation gig were green. And black. Too much black. It was pretty hard to capture those enthralling movements of Jonathan and the devilish faces of Adam; but then again, no still image can truly show what one experiences at a Tribulation gig.

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www.facebook.com/Tribulationofficial/

DSC_0448 copyThe darkness came back in full when the Police Academy theme echoed – Insomnium’s intro – but then went on. And on and on. There were only glimpses of a weak light during the whole performance of “Winter’s Gate” (in case you don’t know, the new album has just one 40-minute-long track, divided in 6 parts, although the second, “The Golden Wolf”, is subdivided in two). If the idea was to illustrate the long winter nights they have in Finland, congratulations, you’ve made it! Wasn’t the spirited vibrancy of their performance – and the matching feedback from the crowd – and it would’ve been pretty depressing.
After Insomnium closed their winter’s gate, “The Primeval Dark” lived up to the exact opposite of its name and the room lit up like a summer day. By then I had retreated to enjoy songs like “Mortal Share”, “Weather The Storm” or “The Promethean Song” in the far back – so no bright pics, sorry.
The photographer in me left the venue frustrated, but the music lover had her heart full – and a pleasant smile for the first chords of Moonspell’s “Alma Mater” that preceded the encore “Only One Who Waits”.

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www.facebook.com/insomniumofficial/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

The Godiva return, wrapping up this year’s Laurus Nobilis Music

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 11th March 2018 by Pieni

The two missing names in the Laurus Nobilis Music 2018 bill have been revealed: Atreides and The Godiva. The former hails from Northern Spain and the latter from Famalicão, hometown of the festival itself.

The Godiva were quite popular in the Portuguese underground back in the early 2000s, until they decided to step away for an unknown-period-of-time. The hiatus is now over and they will close this year’s edition of Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão. Here’s the full schedule:

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Metal DJs will entertain the crowd every night for about an hour, after the last band leaves the stage.

https://www.facebook.com/laurusnobilismusic/