Third edition for the Obscure Fest, annual dark-gothic appointment in Naples. This year the venue has changed, and the new club Rising South I must admit it’s quite good: a wide concert room, nice stage, an acoustic that lets you understand what the bands are doing. The only problem is that you could think you in a tropical jungle because after an hour, when the club is full, you start sweating and feel like fainting due to the humid heat. The Festival includes not only concerts but also bodypainting, performances, videos, pictures and paintings, while the three djs DEMON, NOX and ANDY fill the air with good music between the bands’ exhibitions and after the show, till dawn. The concert bill included also LE VENE DI LUCRETIA but with silly excuses they decided not to come at the very last moment, really a bad promotion for a new band just growing.
Dances are opened by REALGAR, a Neapolitan duo: Claudia Florio (ex-singer of LUPERCALIA) and Roberto Marino (played guitar for some time with ARGINE) give life to a mix of neoclassic and electronic atmospheres, an intense sound that enchants all the listeners. On the electronic beats Roberto Marino plays keyboard and flute, while Claudia sings with a deep and powerful voice. References to QNTAL and DEAD CAN DANCE are obliged, but the band knows hot to make their music original, and I must admit that Claudia sings even better than in her previous appearances: more spontaneous, the singing fuse in a better way with music and she seems to be more involved, really giving her best. REALGAR play the songs from their demo, quite interesting (in particular I like "Finis"), and a new unreleased song that follows the direction of the previous tracks but emphasizing the electronic aspect, and I found it really wonderful. I’ll wait for their debut CD, I hope they’ll release soon because it’s a great quality ensemble.
After a little time to resolve technical issues, on stage come the Neapolitan TOTENWAGEN. This is a strange band for this happening, because they don’t seem to be "obscure" and make a strong contrast after the ethereal duo that has just played. The band, with an album released in these months, is made by members of THE SPERMS, and it’s a crazy ensemble that plays an harsh rock’n’roll with strong MOTORHEAD references, but you can find also various influences from RAMONES to LYDIA LUNCH. Distorted bass, drums and keyboards (no guitar) support a rough voice singing in German, Neapolitan and English. Aggressive, provocative, intense, they make the public shake and dance. "Che donna 666" (joking with the Italian language) is the most vulgar of their songs and is a confirmation that their Deutsch-Neapolitanische Rock 'n' Roll has the power to break into pieces the walls of this club.
NASTRO is a new band from Rome which got some attention for having supported the American group BLACK ICE. At first they shock a bit with their strange aesthetics, something reminds me of the 80 white rap bands like BEASTIE BOYS, but when they start playing they shock even more because of their very particular musical proposal. Really crazy, they play something like No-Wave or Art Rock, but trying to definite their style it’s absolutely hard. Very good music, a fanatical vocal approach and really well playing musicians, that is what emerges of this uncommon band. In the last song they reach their top, with the singer using a floor tom as timpano, while the guitarist gives his guitar to the public to play, even though the effects used are so heavy that anything you do on the instrument results in a square and rich noise. The only thing that makes me sad is that NASTRO hasn’t released any demo until now I could buy!
SCARLET AND THE SPOOKY SPIDERS come from Livorno, Italy. They’re a deathrock-horrorpunk band and as the other bands in this genre their aesthetics is particular and cured in details. The singer is like TIAMAT’s Johan Edlund in his LUCYFIRE experience: dressed up to nine with a cowboy hat. Their music is the right style to put the public on fire: rough and "in your face", they have energy and a powerful approach, with simple riffs and dirty melodies. Songs are really involving even though I don’t remember a single song after having listened, and they maybe seem too similar the one to the other. Anyway, the public appreciates a lot because they surely deserve to be listened, and I obviously bought their MCD "Pop Up Your Eyes and... Thrill!".
RICCARDO PRENCIPE’S CORDE OBLIQUE is another Neapolitan band dedited to neoclassic music with strong ethnic influences. They are on stage with a new singer and a different drummer and the result is very good. I thought that the decision of placing them after a deathrock band would have resulted as a flop, but I was completely wrong: even though they play acoustically, the powerful drumming and the rhythmical and energetic music makes them appreciated and the public is numerous and enjoys a lot. The presence on stage of Luigi Rubino (piano) and Edo Notarloberti (violin), both members of ASHRAM (Edo also in ARGINE and many other bands) adds a wonderful ensemble to the guitar of Riccardo Prencipe (ex-LUPERCALIA), who plays like a Spanish Flamenco, vigorous and always passionate.
The Slovak THE LAST DAYS OF JESUS are the last band of the bill. They come with a crazy attitude, in particular the singer acts as a madman in accordance to the music, that is a deathrock-psychobilly with influences from SIEKIERA to RAMONES to ALIEN SEX FIEND (for many reasons I’d ideally compare them to this last, for the disturbing and out of lines attitude). Their exhibition is really what we need to end this wonderful night, and they drain all the energy left in our veins. They make also a bis, the cover of RAMONES "Pet Semetery", more aggressive than the original. A great exhibition that is the cheese on the cake for a wonderful night, placing Naples as one of the most important cities in Italy (together with Milan and Rome) for the obscure/dark scene. I’m already looking forward the next edition, and if you live in Southern Italy or you’re going to be here next year, don’t forget to come and you’ll be satisfied.