Moscow, April 21, 2002
Let me once again repeat the phrase I once quoted, "The smaller part that I managed to understand was marvelous, how great must have been the bigger part that I did not understand!" This is the best way to describe the Ataraxia gig, a very unusual and impressive event. It is quite difficult to evaluate the impressions univocally, but it is absolutely clear that everyone who went to Tochka Club on April 21 had plenty of them. MetalKings.com reporters showed up at the venue right after the doors opened at 8 p.m., and the first thing that impressed us was the flawless accreditation procedure. We only had to tell our names and website and were at once invited in. In general, organization of the show was great, though it was far from a stormy event - goths are unlike metalheads, they do not go slam dancing or stage diving during the performance, and therefore there were no problems with security at all. When we came there were only a few people in the club, but as we sat at the bar drinking, the venue was getting full of goths wearing all kinds of weird and colorful dresses. At first the people were just walking through the hall and bar, but when DJs abandoned relatively calm compositions and started playing more powerful stuff like Tanzwut and Sisters Of Mercy (the immortal "Temple Of Love"!), a true gothic discotheque started in front of the stage. However that was just the beginning, the most interesting part started when the silence fell and Ataraxia members appeared before the public.
I don't think it makes sense to describe Ataraxia's music here, it is very hard to classify anyway. However I must say that despite a more than ascetic set of instruments (an acoustic guitar and a keyboard), the musicians easily reproduced the studio sound and I never felt that something was missing in the soundscape. The impression was a little bit marred by cracking noises coming from the apparatus in which the guitar was plugged, but I got used to it after three or four songs and stopped noticing the distraction. It was more difficult, however, to stop noticing idiotic commentaries made by a couple standing next to me right in the first row - it seemed like the boy and the girl came to a circus to see the clowns, and as the clowns were not there, they started to make a joke out of everything. We had to tell them roughly to reduce the noise now to silence them a little bit.
To tell you the truth, there was a clown on the stage, though it was hardly a clown, rather a mime wearing a mask and bizarre clothes that he would change each time before appearing on the stage. I didn't quite catch the sense of his manipulations, it seems that good knowledge of the band's lyrics (in several European languages) was the minimal requirement for it, but his strange dances served as an integral component of the performance and a perfect addition to the music and vocals of Francesca Napoli.
The vocals deserve special mentioning, for Francesca has a very broad range and impressive technique and puts extremely strong feelings in every song. A comparison with Diamanda Galas is justified, but unlike Diamanda whom I cannot listen at all, Francesca's singing was just beautiful, though she seemed a bit frightened by the audience's loud response. The hall indeed burst into applause after each song (especially after and during the energetic "Totus Floreo"), and the musicians were brought back for two encores at the end of the gig. Ataraxia effectively made a retrospect of its career over the 1.5 hours of the performance, their repertoire ranged from the demo days to the latest album "Mon Soul Desir". In fact, everyone was pleased, except those who showed up to stare, not to listen. Nobody even complained that the performance was short, for it was enough to make an everlasting impression on fans and not wear out those who saw the band for the first time. In one word, a very unusual and beautiful concert.
GothKings… pardon, MetalKings.com
We express our gratitude to Andrew "Coroner" Narkevich and the entire Russian Gothic Project for accreditation.
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