December 25, 2012

CLASH OF THE TITANS: RED BULL SOUNDCLASH / THE LONG-EXPECTED NIGHT

CLASH OF THE TITANS / THE LONG-EXPECTED NIGHT

Finally we have experienced that night! Oh, what a night it was! From now on, the regular concerts will be very monotonous, tasteless for us! Soundclash was like no other music event I've ever seen. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The paragraph below from the Red Bull web site describes what Red Bull Soundclash is:

Red Bull Soundclash is a unique live musical experience that brings two bands with different sounds, styles and influences together under one roof to compete for the devotion of a room full of fans. With the bands set up on opposite stages, each group takes it in turn to improvise around a groove and then wait as the opposing band has to answer. Which band will call the tune? Which band will lift the crowd? Which band will be the ultimate winner?

I was wondering what kind of clash it would be between maNga and Athena since the first newspaper article about the Soundclash was appeared. Last week's NTV interview with both bands gave us some hints about what would happen that night, but nothing exclusive. There would be surprises and really good music from both bands, that's for sure. But what I didn't expect was some interesting and unexpected choreographed shows and the cute verbal duels between the lead singers of both bands. We liked these cute interactions between the bands as much as the performances.

Red Bull Soundclash was a first for Turkey, but I hope it won't be the last! There aren't many rock bands, courageous enough to accept such an offer in our country, so we have to congratulate both bands for accepting such an offer without blinking an eye.

Now I'll do my best to share my excitement of that night. Of course it won't be like being there in person, but if I could give you some idea how brilliant the concert was, I would be happy. Here is how it all went down.

CLASH OF THE TITANS

We reach the gate of the Soundclash arena around 18:45. It's very cold, but we won't have to wait in the open air long, because the gates will be opened around 19:30. There is a TV crew, interviewing with the young group of girls and boys in front of me about how they feel about the Soundclash. The girl says that they are very excited because this is a new concept.


The Soundclash Gate

Around 19:20, after strict controls, we are allowed inside the arena. First thing we do is to locate maNga stage. Two separate stages set up at the far ends of the arena. One is illuminated with blue spotlights and this belongs to maNga; the other one is lit by red spotlights and this is the Athena stage. I don't know why, but somehow I like maNga stage to be in blue. :)
The Blue Stage of maNga
The Red Stage of Athena 

We settle in front of the blue stage. We're up front and very very close to the stage. This is the first time in a long time that I'll watch a concert this close. There are obsessive fans around us, such as a girl who takes pics with maNga boys at every concert, or another girl who always takes Cem's water from him at concerts. :)
The Soundclash Arena

I even come across coincidentally one of my Twitter followers! :) I tweet some pics from the arena to my Twitter followers, as I promised them. I know a lot of people who can't come to the concert follow my tweets tonight. I'll be one of the live Twitter correspondents of the Soundclash to the world. :)

Towards 21:00, there is a little stir on stage. We see maNga boys at the backstage, waiting to come onto the stage. Ozgur is jumping up and down. The others are looking cool. My friend says that she saw Nathalie, too. The host of the event is cute TV talent, Alp Kirsan.

At 21:15, maNga come onto the stage. We have no interest in the Athena stage at all. MaNga's performance is all we care about. Soundclash is starting!
maNga on stage

Yagmur has a transparent tshirt and tight-fitting trousers with rhinestone-studded parts on it. Ozgur is in a vest with rhinestone-studded shoulder straps. Efe and Cem are wearing regular tshirts. Ferman is in his favorite black sleeveless undershirt that everybody loved and he had a funny beanie (probably QUE's) on his new bald head.
maNga's Frontline

Soundclash has some rules. We know them. First of all, there will be warm-up for each group, where they perform their 3 songs by turns to present themselves. In the warm-up, maNga performs their usual opening song "Rezalet Cikarasim Var", and then "Bir Kadin Cizeceksin" which was released this very day 8 years ago; and "Evdeki Ses". They are in pretty good shape as usual.

Athena's warm-up songs included "Aşk Kafasi", "Sen de Yap!", "Arsız Gönül". I'm not familiar with the latest Athena songs very much, so I can't review their warm-up songs. But during their warm-up, maNga boys watch them from their stage.

maNga watching Athena's warm-up

Step 1 : The Cover

Each band is to do its own previously rehearsed version of a song selected in advance.

The first round of the night will be "The Cover" and the real show begins. We were very curious about which song will be selected as "The Cover" before the Soundclash. MaNga and Athena were so careful and meticulous not to give any hint even mistakenly about the Cover Song during the NTV interview, but Red Bull TR website revealed the cover song one day before the Soundclash and spoiled all the surprise for us. Yes, now we know what the cover song is like and we have done our homework. It's Chemical Brothers' "Galvanize".

Round 1 / The Cover / maNga Galvanize

It's a rap song with an attractive well-known intro. We aren't worried, because Ferman is very good at rap songs. But we didn't expect such a stage show at all! This is a choreographed show with all the dancers and costumes etc. Probably their first show ever since Eurovision 2010 for maNga. This must be the thing that Ferman called "surprise at the beginning". The dancers look like the sand creatures with glowing eyes in the Star Wars movies. And Ferman comes onto the stage in overalls with a rhinestone-studded hoodie and he's holding a leash of a dancer crawling like a dog! Ferman's performance is very harsh. And then we have 2 burlesque showgirls on the stage as well. They're maybe Nathalie's friends and maybe this is even Nathalie's own choreography. :) This is nothing what I have expected from the Cover at all. But it looks very cool on stage. The audience loved the show very much.
Ferman and the showgirls on "Galvanize"
Athena's belly dancers on "Galvanize"

On the far stage, Athena is ready for their own version of "Galvanize". In the meantime, I tweet and let my Twitter friends know about the warm-up and the Cover, so I can't pay attention to Athena's performance on stage as much as I want. But towards the end of the song, there is a noise from the audience and I raise my head from my cell phone and look up at the big screen on the right side of me. Wow! There are 3 belly dancers on Athena stage!! Athena was like trying to say "We have girls, too! How about that?". :) The crowd liked the belly dancers as well, because a burst of applause arises from the crowd in the arena. Athena knows how to play to the crowd as usual.
Ferman in a duel of words with Athena's Gökhan

In the meantime, there are a very cute verbal duel between the two lead singers of the both bands across the arena and this is very fun to watch. Ferman says that the belly dancers really surprised him and he didn't expect them at all. Gokhan, Athena's lead singer asks Ferman, "Did you like it?" :) Gokhan continues his banter, "you know why it happened!". Ferman doesn't know and he asks,"why?" but Gokhan, intentionally or unintentionally doesn't answer the question and Ferman doesn't pursue it. Gokhan was about to explain why they brought the belly dancers up, but we won't be able to know that any more!

Step 2 : The Takeover

Each band starts one of their own songs and then stops mid track and lets the other band finish.

The next round is The Takeover. The duel of words is continuing. Gokhan says, "The real thing is starting right now! Let's see how we take over your song! That song which you're about to play will be ours!". Ferman shoots back, "You're firing us up big time!". We are really anxious about which song they will hand over to Athena!

And the song that I'm in love with, Cevapsiz Sorular, its album version's familiar intro with piano begins to flow. There is an enthusiastic applause from the crowd. We missed this version, because we have listened only to the acoustic version of it since last year. So we're all ears! I admit this is a surprise for me. I haven't expected it at all to be a takeover song. Will it be a fast takeover, or slow like the original? We don't know it yet. Ferman's duel with words is continuing: "We're playing this song for Athena!". And then he points his hand to us, "...and for you, too!". Ferman is singing in a relaxed fashion. The accompaniment of the audience is excellent as always. And then Yagmur extends his hand to the other stage and Athena's taking the song over. ..but how??! The music is in reggae form! Just the Athena style! But a little slow. Everybody's surprised! This is a real surprise now! I haven't thought that this song could be performed in reggae form. It's a very good experimental effort from Athena and they transform the song into a mixture of a ballad and reggae. Ferman can't stand still and goes with the reggae rhythm and dancing all over the stage!

Efe writes something on a paper, he shows it first to Ferman and then to the camera at the back. I'm not sure what was on the paper but it looks like "Athena...". We'll surely see it on TV!
Round 2 Takeover - Devralma 1
maNga Cevapsız Sorular + Athena Serseri Mayın

When Gokhan sings "Cevapsiz Sorular", the full accompaniment of the audience was again perfect. After the song is completed, Gokhan says, "I'd like to admit something: This song is one of the best Turkish songs ever. Thank you so much, guys, for sharing it with us!". That's right, Cevapsiz Sorular is now a classic, mother of all the romantic and sad break-up songs! This must be something that maNga is proud of.
Ferman in verbal duel with Gökhan & performs Cevapsız Sorular

It's Ferman's turn to duel: "Gokhan, you played it differently so much so that from now on, how can I sing it without remembering this version?" :) Yes, that's gonna be tough! Gokhan jokes again, "That's how we'll sing it from now on!" and asks for permission to sing this version in their concerts. Ferman extends his arms forward laughing and says "you have it!" :)

Now it's Athena's turn for the takeover. They choose their well-known song "Serseri Mayin" (Floating Mine). After an exhilarating performance from Athena, maNga takes over the song with Yagmur's brilliant electro guitar riffs and Ferman's harsh voice. MaNga's frontline get the crowd energized more and more. On the last chorus, Ferman makes the pitch of his voice lower than the rest of the song and says to us "sway your hands from right to left or from left to right...now that's what we call trance!". And then again his voice gets louder and harsher and the song is abruptly over! Wow! What a takeover it is!
Round 2 Takeover - Devralma 2 maNga - Athena Dursun Zaman

Both bands have to do this twice, so it's maNga's turn again. This time the song will be the wonderful "Dursun Zaman". A part of the song will always be missing without Göksel's original unique accompaniment, so the unforgettable intro begins with Yagmur and Cem's guitar solos instead of Göksel's voice. And then Ferman starts to sing it. After the first chorus, Yagmur forwards the song to the red stage extending his hand.

This time, we hear the intro from Hakan's guitar and it is a very good maNga cover from Athena. It's eerily the same version! The same tempo, the same guitar riffs, maybe a little something extra from Gökhan's unique style of singing. I really like it! So do Yagmur and Ferman, I think. Because Yagmur salutes Athena with a little bow across the arena and Ferman stands still like a statue without blinking an eye! It was an emotional moment that gives goosebumps!
Round 2 Takeover - Devralma 2
Athena'dan maNga'ya Bazil 1.Kısım Athena
 Round 2 Takeover - Devralma 2
Athena'dan maNga'ya Bazil 2.Kısım Athena
 
The next song from Athena to maNga is "Korsanlar Krali Bazil" (The King of the Pirates, Bazil) , one of the hardest songs of Athena from 1993. MaNga's takeover was excellent again. When it is over, Ferman says "What a bizarrely fantastic song it is!". Gökhan's comment is "It was like a bulldozer!". Ferman asks permission to play the song at their concerts from now on. Gökhan says, "Let's trade them!".

The lead singers banters with the audience this time. Gökhan asks us "Are you tired? We have just started!". Ferman starts, "The audience is a little...", but leaves it off unfinished. Hmm...what are we?

Now it's the time for the round 3: The Clash.

Step 3 : The Clash

Each band is to take one of their own tunes and transforms it into a different genre.

The bands have to play their 3 songs in different styles. The genres are acoustic, electronica and metal. Three genres which maNga is not stranger at all. I am curious about Athena's interpretation.
Round 3 The Clash / 1.Genre Acoustic /
Athena - Kayip with maNga standing by

Athena starts with an acoustic version of one of their hard songs: "Kayıp" (Missing). But this time it's a very soft and romantic song. I love it. This is the first time they perform it in acoustic form. During their performance, I take video of their performance on the big screen. On maNga stage, the set up of maNga acoustic song continues. I'm curious about which song they will perform in acoustic form. Not Cevapsiz Sorular this time of course. I'd like them to perform a first-time acoustic version of one of the older songs. Two additional instrumentalists come onto the stage. A female violinist and a female cellist. When I see them, I realize which song it will be! And this is somewhat a little disappointment for me.
Ferman having a chat with fans during Athena's acoustic performance of "Kayıp"
 
I notice a stir around me and I have a look at the maNga stage and wow! Ferman is right in front of us and he is asking very seriously "How are we doing? Are we any good?". And we all give him our thumbs up! A girl shouts to him, "I'm thirsty!" and Ferman gives her one of the Cem's pet bottles. :) The girl explains us that she gets Cem's water in every concert, but this time it was Ferman's hand to give her Cem's water! Some fans are obsessive, yes. :) The male fans want his wrist watch from him, but he ignores them! I remember Avcilar concert in October where Ferman lost his hat. So he is right to ignore them.

He goes back to the stage leaving us. He just has a brief chat with the female instrumentalists and gives a hug to Yagmur, I don't know why. But it is cute! I love their friendship!
Round 3 The Clash /
1.Genre Acoustic / maNga Fly To Stay Alive

Now it's time for maNga acoustic! They are used to acoustic performances. On the frontline, there are 3 high chairs for Yagmur, Ferman and Cem. And the touching guitar solo of "Fly To Stay Alive" starts! It's a fine acoustic performance of the song as usual, but why can't we hear the violin and the cello?

The second genre is electronica. Athena performs their 2010 song "Kalb-i". I have no idea what kind of song it was before this, so I can't comment on this new version. I'm anxious about seeing it on TV broadcast on Dec 28. In the meantime, I'm busy with tweeting my comments on the first rounds to my Twitter friends.
Round 3 The Clash - Carpışma /
2.Genre Electronic / maNga We Could be The Same

In fact, we're curious about which maNga song will be transformed into electronica. Ferman is getting ready to use the keyboard right by the microphone from the very beginning of the concert. He asks several times, "Are we gonna jump?". And a music we can't recognize until we hear Ferman starts like a remix. I have seen Ferman playing keyboard for the first time. He can play it. And the song is no other than famous ESC 2010's runner-up "We Could Be The Same". :) But this time it's a disco version of it. On the chorus part, we accompany him as usual: "Foooor all this tiiiiime!". The crowd get carried away with the song!

The third genre is metal. Athena's choice for metal is their 2002 song "Öpücük" (Kiss). I can't say how much this song transformed into metal, but it sounds pretty hard across the arena. :)
Round 3 The Clash Metal maNga Beni Benimle Birak 1.Kısım
Round 3 The Clash Metal maNga Beni Benimle Birak 2.Kısım
 
On the other hand, maNga's 3rd song for metal starts with a unrecognizable arrangement. When Ferman starts to sing, we realize it's "Beni Benimle Bırak". In this new metal form, they can easily put it into their new album as a new song! :) It's quite hard in metal.

After this, Gökhan and Ferman duels in words again. Gökhan jokes that in fact they're not so friendly; since we, the audience is here, they're keeping calm. But after the concert they're gonna slug it out outside! :)

Ferman responds jokingly: "If possible, let's not see one another at the backstage! The greenrooms are so close to each other! Please make room between them if you can!" :) I love them bantering!

Now it's time for the most exciting and most anticipated round of all: The Wildcard.

Step 4 : The Wildcard

This final round allows each band to bring a "surprise" guest on stage.

Yes, they're allowed to bring a special guest and it'll be a complete surprise!

MaNga starts again. Before the song starts, Ferman jokes with Gökhan again, "Gökhan, after this performance we'll still be friends, right?". Gökhan, "What are you talking about? Our friendship is eternal!" :)

We don't have any clues at all as to who might be the guest stars tonight. This is a complete secret! I don't expect anyone extremely famous, but it never occurred to me that the guests would be this surprising!
Round 4 / The Wildcard - Joker /
maNga - Alisirim Gozlerimi Kapamaya 1.Kısım
Round 4 / The Wildcard - Joker /
maNga - Alisirim Gozlerimi Kapamaya 1.Kısım

MaNga's song is not a surprise at all. It's their usual closing song of all their concerts. The magnificent "Alışırım Gözlerimi Kapamaya" with that fantastic drum show at the end. The surprise will be when the guest joins them on the stage. Their famous drums with lights inside are already on stage. But something bothers Ferman. He starts, "Oh, this song is ...." and then says something to Cem. What? We don't know what bothers him. He wrestles with his in-ears for a while as usual. :) The song is a complete success again, with the drum show and all, but where is the guest? I'm thinking about something to do with drums and percussion. And I remember the only name I can think of : Percussion master Burhan Öçal. If it's him, he will definitely surprise all of us! We're waiting for the big moment!
maNga - Cem Bergamalı Drum Show

And...what?! A group of 5 Ramadan drummers make a dash onto the stage! Just as I half guessed anyway! Their chief has a long hair like an American Indian and his name is Cem Bergamalı. We found out his name afterwards from the host Alp Kırşan. I think I've heard his name before but how? maNga boys and the guest drummers start an extra spectacular drum show and make the crowd frenzied with enjoyment! We watch this rhythmic drum show fascinatedly! When they finish, an enthusiastic burst of applause arises from the crowd. And then as usual they throw their rods to the crowd. Efe's rod flies over my head and it is grabbed by a boy behind me. After one of the Cem's rods is grabbed by a fan at the right side of me, my friend shouts at Cem, "Throw that at me, please!!!". And then an something incredible happens and as if Cem heard my friend and locked on target, he gently throws the rod in our direction and...and...my friend grabs it incredibly!! Wow! I say "that's too much!" and we hug each other out of joy!
Athena and the Mehter
Athena's "Holigan" Performance feat.Mehter
Round 4 Joker / Athena - Holigan feat.Mehter (in front of the far maNga stage)

Now it's time for Athena's last round! While we were enjoying the prolonged drum show of maNga, we totally forgot Athena! We turn around and look at the Athena stage, our eyebrows are raised and our mouths drop open! Because Mehter, Ottoman Ceremonial Military Band had been set up on the stage in full regalia. A roar of astonishment comes from the crowd. Nobody expected to see them on the stage at all, I'm sure. And with the "Hasdur!" ("Get Ready" or "Attention") of the band chief, the most stirring song ever written by Athena "Holigan" starts! Who can resist this song? Noone! Everybody including maNga fans start jumping up and down all of a sudden! After the intro, we hear the zournas of The Mehter. Athena acts very smart. With this soccer march, they know how to capture the attention of the crowd. It's their job to compose sporting marches. They prove one more time that they know what they do. We are the Turks! We can't resist the belly dancers and the Mehter music! The song stimulates the national sentiments of the crowd and the whole arena burst into a thunderous applause. With this performance, Athena takes the spotlight away from maNga.
Athena + maNga Brotherhood on stage

After "Holigan" is over, we notice that maNga also go onto the Athena stage. Tonight the winner is the music and the friendship! The two bands capture the hearts of the crowd one more time with the final speeches from both lead singers full of friendship and brotherhood. At the end, "maNga Bow" transforms into a "Athena+maNga Bow" and ends this unforgettable night of good creative music!
Athena+maNga Bow

The people listened to real pure music tonight. We heard the songs of our favorite bands in the forms that we've never heard before and can never hear again. Now the regular concerts will be tasteless for me and for many people who were here tonight. I realized one more time that we, Turks love the concerts we can dance wildly.

I had fun tonight! I was right in front of the maNga stage and I could manage to take HD videos of all the performances of maNga. I have used up 5 memory cards and 2 extra batteries. I have lots of raw materials to share with the world again!

Cem's rod

And we have a little souvenir from tonight: Cem's rod! My friend will take it home with her of course, but I can at least take a photo of it in my hand!

Soundclash was a first for Turkey. We don't want it to be the last. This concert opened our horizon to new ideas and concepts in music which is very interesting and we liked it. Let's see which bands will clash in next year's Soundclash. We'll be looking forward to it.

Before going to bed, I notice that a little tweet arrived all the way from Colombia! The Colombian maNga fan says, "you have done a great job tonight! Thanks from Colombia!". Yes, it's a small world!




PS. The Soundclash partial concert will be on Dream TV at 21:00 on Dec 28, 2012. You can watch it online as well : http://www.dreamtv.com.tr/canli-yayin/

And then the whole Soundclash concert will be broadcasted on TMB TV very soon. The date hasn't been fixed yet. You can watch it online, too : http://tmb.tv/izle.aspx






4 comments:

  1. Amazing story Inci and thanks so very much for sharing this with us, the translation and personal thoughts and feelings. Now I’m really jealous I couldn’t be there ;) Kisses, Wendy xxx

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