Naxatras are the improbable front-runners of my “Number of times I managed to miss one band’s gig in a single year” list. Their musical opus and, well, tour logistics have been known to me for a while now, including a (from what I’ve heard) a very good show at the cult favorite Mount of Artan Fest last year. And yet, crazy circumstances denied me the presence. Well, it was about damn time I put an end to this particular thing!
The support for this event was a Greek act Half Gramme of Soma. Soma, for the unfamiliar, is the fictional pleasure inducing drug from the book “Brave New World”, so I suppose that’s one way of conveying a message. However, due to severely mad public bus system, or lack thereof, I only managed to show up at the tail-end of their set. Don’t you just love it when you’re stuck at the bus stop for 30 fucking minutes! Arriving in the venue, the closing bits of the set sounded nice and very clean but a more shocking fact was that the place was absolutely full, which is only the 3rd or 4th time I’ve seen it in almost 3 years. I really wish I could have gotten here sooner but oh well..
Now, Naxatras are walking the thin line between stoner and psychedelic rock. Their “hard psychedelic outfit” tagline is somewhat crude but ultimately fitting. Their 3rd album came out this year, to the delight of most which was what they opened up with. From my experience, in this particular genre, or well, combination of genres, it’s not exactly easy to be able to keep your audience on their toes. It’s a trap that young bands easily fall into, crank out one too many stoner riffs and you will come across as generic, whereas fly off too much into the spaciness of the psychedelic and you will sound monotonous for the unprepared. This trio from the brotherly city of Thessaloniki doesn’t seem to swing either way. They are interesting through and through and just as I conclude this, out comes a really heavy power fantasy themed old tune “Sun is Burning”, which just happens to be my favorite as well!
You can, however, in retrospect see how the production on that album was very different. While it is the same sounding band, the difference is very clear and the songs sound much more polished much more polished. “The Great Attractor” from the 2nd album showed just that feeling but it also tied in with my previous statements, as well as the new song “On the Silver Line”. They effortlessly balance the harditude and the spacytude, creating a soothing vibe with very few words. Lyrics, that is.
Delight didn’t stop there, as we are reminded how it all started. The very first song from their very first album “I am the Beyonder” sounds really nice in all its length. They seemed to have added something to it now that they have grown in experience. So, an hour an change later, it was time for an encore. I honestly didn’t see it coming, especially since there’s been a noticeable time gap but here they are, and a really good choice, they played another new song, “You Won’t Be Left Alone”. Surely they snuck in some symbolism in that moment!
I have to admit, it was worth the wait and the hype. It’s not common enough that a young band breaks out as quickly and successfully as these guys. For the closing remark, I’d relay one sentiment that’s been consistent throughout the show, this could have easily been held in a bigger venue where you would have more people AND not feel like sardines in a can. It was nobody’s fault really but the writing is on the wall, a band like this is certainly heading in that direction!