Concert review: Nemesis, The Shatters & AqME (Sens, Burgundy, France)

Even short of two bands, last Saturday’s metal and rock concert in Sens provided quality performances to the hundreds of audience members. 

It was a highly expected concert for many metal fans throughout the region. For one main reason, I would guess – AqME, a famous French alternative metal band. They came to Auxerre, the county’s capital city, in 2015 but their presence in Sens was a rare feat. They played at a little treasure of a venue: La Fabrique, a concert room situated inside the House for the Youth and Culture, also known as “La MJC” in French.

The original line-up included no less than four other starting bands: Dive Your Head, Synapses, Nemesis and the Shatters. The first two withdrew the week before due to miscellaneous reasons. Don’t get me wrong, the line-up was still very teasing.

This concert, officially named Dive Your Fest #4, took place in unusual circumstances. La MJC is an association offering dozens and dozens of sports, art and music classes to the Sens residents. Considered as an institution amidst the relatively weak cultural offer in Sens, it is somewhat comparable to a foundation such as Gateway City Arts in Holyoke, MA. The association’s premises – rented from the city – are however in danger of being taken over by the municipality. The city has already withdrawn considerable financial support. This issue brought national attention because it is perceived by many as an unfair attempt to strip a popular association of its existence. A dancer, who began and found his passion at La MJC, wrote a fervent declaration of support in French newspaper L’Obs.

Concerts in support of the MJC have been organized throughout March and Saturday’s metal concert joined the movement indirectly, despite announced in July 2016. Hosted by La MJC, it was organized by the association Badaboum.

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Holy Nemesis!

A family atmosphere characterizes La MJC, each time I go there. “It’s more of a gathering than a concert,” said one of my friends. Well, friends can be found there, of course. But I came here for music!

Nemesis is a five-member deathcore band, from Montpellier, South of France. They were amazingly loud, I literally felt the bass vibrating in my ribs. Their stage presence was stunning thanks to often coordinated movements. The singer had a beautiful and clear-cut growl.

They had a lot of stamina and did all they could to stimulate the audience. I was disappointed that it all remained relatively quiet. The audience looked appreciative but not that excited. I would learn later that the listeners simply kept their energy for AqME. One feature of La Fabrique is that this venue has a low stage, allowing musicians to step down into the crowd if they want to. The singer of Nemesis took this opportunity to take his energy down to the audience level a few times.

I thought of one word to describe their performance: decadence. In its less common meaning, such as decline, but with a positive connotation. There was something disturbingly delightful in their music.

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The Shatters strengthened the mood

No growl here, but definitely some rock. These four folks are local, they come from the Yonne county in Burgundy. The Shatters performed a nice set full of energy despite sound issues and even though it seemed like the audience was still warming up.

The Shatters have good songs with a heavy sound and clean high-pitched vocals. I appreciated their performance considering they have interesting music, even though I am not a big fan of the singing style. Their lyrics being written in English, the members may need to work more on their English accent but the effort has to be saluted.

Check out their song ‘We Are Still Standing’:

 

 

AqME, climax, apogee… Call it what you want. 

AqME dropped a little bombshell when they announced before the concert on social media that they would officially start their “Sombres Efforts Tour 2017,” a tribute tour 15 years after the release of their first album, with their Sens date. An amazing honor for all the fans!

AqME came to Auxerre in 2015. Check out my review.

The crowd? Oh man, they all surprised me. After a few seconds, I saw real shouts of excitement, mosh pits, people slamming, jumping up and down or simply moving their heads. The place was turned into a hellish sauna and it felt really good. Deep down, I was reassured. Sens would not disappoint AqME.

Vincent, the singer, brings so much energy on stage, I still wonder how he does it. He runs from one end of the stage to the other and constantly interacts with the audience.

At the end of the gig, the band members took their time to thank their fans, the crowd, La MJC and their partners, with emphasis. “Thank you for coming here tonight and not watching TV!”

We sure could do that!

 

Watch AqME’s video for their flagship track on their latest album, Dévisager Dieu.

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