giovedì 22 maggio 2014

FIM - Where F stays for FEAST

This is the first time I write on my blog in English language.

I do it because my japanese prog friend Yoshiko Kase was unable to partecipate to FIM because of severe health disease, but she would have really liked to be with all of us. 
Now she's getting well and ... this is is especially for you, dear sweet Yoshiko

Better to write just now, while I still have vivid in my eyes the images and in my ears the voices of these great three days dedicated to the sublime art. 

FIM (Fiera Internazionale della Musica) has reached the second edition and someone said to me it was born as a crazy gamble.
And if the first edition maybe was disavantaged by the location (It was in Villanova d'Albenga), this second one, based in Genova Fair near the sea, seems it has found the correct location and I think that the future editions will reach more sponsors and will be enriched with more important guests and customers!

FIM MUST grow up because of its genious and unique format: it joins together the needs of the musicians and of music lovers.

Sincerely my first intention was to go and see the shows on the GREEN STAGE, the one dedicated to Progressive Rock music.
Massimo Gasperini of Black Widow Records was the Art Director of this section.
Despite of the great number of musicians in his own Label, he selected the most representative ones in the national area, giving to all of us the chance to have a look to great musical performances.

What happened after, wandering among the stands, talking with the musicians, the owners and to the customers, was surprising. I felt really submerged into the music, captured by the power that it has on me.
I have seen musical instruments ethnic, old and new, acoustic and electronic, joined a drum battle playing congas, attended to free clinics, skimmed through thousands of LP, CD and DVD's, recovered images hidden in my memory and rejoined to always strong emotions... eternal ones!

The GREEN STAGE was behind the exit opposite to the main entrance, so you should have to pass through the main hall, full of stands, to reach it.
The amplification set was quite good, the music was clearly diffused and as many could know, it's not so easy on opendoor stages. But there were some difficulties with the sampled sounds. This created problems to the artists using these devices, sometimes quite irrelevant, but more often really noisy.

Among the shows of the FIRST DAY Il Tempio delle Clessidre and Sophya Baccini's Aradia in my opinion took advantage on the others, even though in the show list (as shown on the left) there were also the good Panthera &C., the young Unreal City and the interesting Psycho Praxis.

Il Tempio Delle Clessidre gave us a SHOCKING performance, full of good vibrations,with Francesco Ciapica in fine form, who sung well inspired and with plenty of feeling, covering the whole stage with his natural theatrics, the astonishing beauty keyboardist Elisa Montaldo, who several times cast  a glance to the audience, happy to see they were actively participating to the show singing and dancing with the band, the always enchanting Fabio Gremo, never in the same place on the stage, oscillating perpetually between the powerful and precise Paolo Tixi on the drums and the polished and able Giulio Canepa on guitars.

Even when Fabio's bass string cracked (very rare event, if you think about its thickness), Elisa and Francesco fastly decided to perform 'La Stanza Nascosta', which involves only vocals and keyboards, to give him enough time to replace it. LEGENDARY!

After such a huge amount of emotions, it would have been not so easy to anyone to go up the stage and gain audience attention another time, but Sophya Baccini, the little blondhaired woman  from Naples, did it with her great voice and her stage presence.
With her all women band (except for the good guitar player Chicco Accetta) Sophya catapulted the audience in William Blake's pictorial works, performing songs from her latest work Big Red Dragon.
Through the leader vibrating interpretation, the good keyboardist Marilena Striano, the Stella Manfredi violin virtuosity, the solid rhythm background  by Isa Dido (bass) and Francesca Claps (drums), their mediterranean energy and their music all pervaded by classic, folk and mediterranean references, Sophya Baccini's Aradia filled us with emotion and surprise, reaching the goal to capture another time the attention of the audience, showing us through a certain musical "Stendhal Syndrome", how you can be submerged and captured by paints, when they are true artworks!
Though this performance was affected by technical problems on the sampled sounds, the musicians covered the negative effect with their enthusiasm and professionalism, giving to the audience another hour of great music!

In the SECOND DAY the highest was reached, in my opinion, by La Coscienza di Zeno, Spettri (really a great surprise!) and Lino Vairetti's Osanna, with the only misfortune of Sophya's absence on the song ' 'A Zingara' (due to her raucousness), where she usually sings in counter melody on Lino's voice, provoking shivers up and down the spine to the audience. Without her voice this song loses a lot of its emotional impact.

But the whole lineup was really very interesting  pasing through the folk prog of C.A.P. (Consorzio Acqua Potabile) with Alvaro Fella always full of energy also on a wheelchair (he will be well soon), and Alphataurus, the historical RPI band, among the others.

La Coscienza di Zeno excited the audience through Luca Scherani inspired arpeggio, helped by Stefano Agnini, Alessio Calandriello powerful and wisely tuned singing and Davide Serpico's fine guitar, well supported by Gabriele Guidi Colombi's bass and Andrea Orlando's drumming.

Spettri were previously unknown to me, even if they started in the '70s, so that I gave them less attention at the very start, but it only took a couple of minutes of their groovy and hard sound, well in tune with Ugo Ponticiello's dark and rough voice, to gain my attention. The playlist was very powerful until a soft and sweet melody took place, sung by the guest Elisa Montaldo in her own special way, as ever.

Osanna, sons of my beloved hometown, gave us a high level performance, full of feeling and shudders, ranging in their huge repertory, playing old songs in a modern manner, shifting to a sound more funky oriented with the help of Gennaro Barba's rich drumming and Nello D'Anna great work on bass. I found very interesting Pasquale Capobianco's guitar solos.

The THIRD DAY was also full of interesting artists. Bands that enriched RPI history as La Maschera di Cera, Aldo Tagliapietra (ex- Le Orme) and Locanda delle Fate, and more recent ones as Gran Torino and Prophexy (Guest Richard Sinclair who still has his great warm and friendly voice!), the surprising Ingranaggi della Valle and Universal Totem Orchestra and Not a Good Sign, the most representative crimsonian italian band: complex, full of emotional tension, anxiogenic and with aerial spacings of undoubt beauty.

While Universal Totem Orchestra surprised me with their classical and jazzy inserts and the astonishing Ana Torres Fraile vocalism, who jumps with great talent from operatic to jazz phrasing, Ingranaggi della Valle (I listened before to their first album In Hoc Signo) impressed me because, even if they glean from different musical assets such as Genesis, Gentle Giant, Area, Brand Xthey are so young but already have great character and play as old musicians!

Maschera di Cera were temporarily without Fabio Zuffanti, involved in his solo album tour, proficiently substituted by Guglielmo Mariotti (ex- The Watch). They gave us a very good performance thanks to Alessandro Corvaglia great vocalism and stage presence and the other very good musicians of the band.

Sadly I didn't attend to Gran Torino entire performance for the second time (the first was in Milan some months ago), because I was busy elsewhere, but I know they are a great instrumental progrock band.
In the interview after the performance they said that are planning to insert vocals in the next work. 
Hope they will change their idea because I fear they could lose their personal and well-roundend sound.

Hats off to Not a Good Sign, that performed their Live being disturbed by a little stage behind them where Police songs were played! I have nothing to say about Police band (they were great!), but during the pianissimo, which are present in NAGS music, the beating of 'Message in a Bottle' was awful!
Nevertheless their performance was brilliant, Alessio Calandriello vocalism was perfect and intense, Paolo Botta sound registers were great, Martino Malacrida great talented drumming was perfectly in tune with Alessandro Cassani bass patterns and, above all of them, there was Francesco Zago greatly inspired incisive guitar playing! Great stuff, really!

FIM was to me a brilliant experience, exciting and captivating, and I'm sure I will never miss future editions, especially if they will be located into the Genova Fair.
I felt emotions similar to Veruno September ProgFest, where after all the woodstock-ish atmosphere wins above all!
During FIM I celebrated my 55th birthday and I'm sure it has been one of the best after a long time, because I was in luck to be immersed in my natural habitat (music) and surrounded by dozens of persons for whom I feel admiration and sincere affection.


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