SUMMER SOLSTICE FESTIVAL
21st June 2003
Under the last rays of a triumphant sun, the castle gates opened and
the first revellers began to trickle into the castle's courtyard. A small stage was being set-up beside
the main door, surrounded by tables and chairs and in another corner of the courtyard a few stalls
proposed records, jewellery, clothes, candles, tarot readings... The castle is now an art gallery, and
for the occasion it hosted an exhibition of copper masks designed by the Italian sculptor Angelo Zanella.
These ancient settings gave a sensation of timeless tranquillity to the proceedings, and helped create an
ideal mood for the celebration of the Summer Solstice...
Parched by the heat, my companions and I decided to take a seat near
the stage to enjoy a few glasses of the local wine. Thus seated, we were able to follow the sound check
of both bands. A pleasant way to start this festive night...
As the sun finally set, Lia Fail, a band totally unknown to me, took
the stage. Combining acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards, a variety of percussions and male and female
voices they played a handful of songs mixing neofolk, heavenly voices and gothic/cold wave influences.
A genre I'm not particularly fond of...
The band played with application, but the lengthy instrument changes
between songs broke the flow of their set that ended on an interesting instrumental piece played on the
percussions and a cover of 'Corpo Ed Anima' with Corrado on vocals. A transition of sorts...
The highlight of the evening was, without any doubt Argine.
I had already seen them on stage in Switzerland, and I was expecting a calm but captivating performance,
ideal for this summer evening. How wrong I was...
Bursting with pent-up energy, they kicked off the concert with a fast
and tense version of 'Vene d'Acero' followed by a blistering 'Corpo Ed Anima'. Surprise! Argine had
decided to play neofolk 'n' roll. An impression highlighted by the antics of the bassist and the
violinist, who postured and jumped around throughout the set. The band maintained this pace for a few
more songs, treating the audience to fiery versions of 'Arm', 'Urla', Eterno Occidente...
For an over an hour played a selection of songs drawn
from their two albums. The taught bass, the flowing, spiralling violin and the tense, clear notes
of the guitar adding an edge to songs full of warmth and emotion.
The band played with their heart and treated the audience to intense, impassioned
renditions of 'Distacco', 'Come Un Servo Da Mantice', 'Dolmen', 'Rifrazioni'... and a new song,
'Von Aschenbach', built around a spiralling violin and a superb combination of Cecilia and Corrado's
Finishing their set with an encore full of energy, they played a
frenzied version of Memorie and two, perhaps three more songs before time put an end to the performance.
A marvellous ending for such an intense performance, played with guts, passion and pleasure...
But this wasn't the end of the festivities, planned to last until dawn...
Inside the castle the darkwave, neofolk, gothic, industrial party, hosted by DJ Nuancenoire and DJ Mask,
had just began. The music spilled out into the courtyard, making it a pleasant place to linger and enjoy
the atmosphere of the place, before embarking on the long road home...