On Saturday, July 9th, the Ad Noiseam label celebrated its 10th anniversary in the mountainous region of Faqra in Acousmatik’s Mad Parade III. Now, I’m sure most of you didn’t understand anything from the previous sentence, and that’s ok since what it’s really about is the music, the venue and the people.
Dubstep and Breakcore are two genres of electronic music that have cross-spectrum appeal. I’ve taken the liberty of embedding one of my favorite tracks by Niveau Zero who was in Lebanon in April, and another by Matta who were here in May. As you may have noticed, the genre appeals to both electronic music lovers such as myself, and lovers of metal, reggae and other genres with faithful followers.
On Saturday, it was a 10+ hour celebration of these genres in a setting steeped with both ancient history, and the industry’s own history in Lebanon. A stone’s throw away lie the ruins of an Ancient Roman Temple, and that very same spot is the one where the Mad Parades began marching back in 2008.
The line-up included over a dozen live acts and DJ sets and you can find all the artists and their links here. As for myself, I got to the 1700-meter high venue at around midnight, after most of the live acts and bands had finished their gigs. When it comes to the DJ set, I guess my favorite set of the night was Nicolas Cherveux’s, Ad Noiseam’s founder. He played both the tracks I’ve embedded in this post, sealing his set’s fate as my favorite of the marathon night.
The venue was sublime. After parking your car, you walk about 200 meters to an area with natural rock barriers and paths. The entrance is similar to a narrow door, which you descend through and pass through several high-walled chambers of natural rock formations. Finally, you reach an arena-like piece of flat land, almost perfectly circular and again, flanked by the famously beautiful Faqra boulders.
To add to the magnificence of the natural elements, an elaborate wooden wall with an apparent haphazard configuration encircled the stage and bar. It was, dare I say, Chaotic ;). The oak trees dotting the venue were lit orange and the massive boulders lit a bluish white, as for the wooden installations, LED lights allowed them to shift color with the music and also housed a screen which flashed visuals such as The Dark Knight’s Joker. That, plus a few fog machines created the other-worldly venue.
Since the venue is somewhat far, I was expecting only hardcore dubsteppers to make the effort of going. Much to my surprise, the venue was comfortably packed, and the number of tickets sold was somewhere in the 600s I believe. This is huge, and I was delighted to see so many friends of mine who had come to explore this phenomenon its creators nickname the Mad Parade for the first time. The weather was my ideal kind, not humid and sweaty, just right with the occasional spine-chilling breeze.
One thing a friend pointed out to me was “b7eb jawwon” (I like their “atmosphere”) echoing my opinion that the people present are all music lovers in their own right. Some like instruments, some prefer computers, some keep wicked-awesome dreadlocks, others are trimmed neatly for tomorrow’s shift at the bank. In other words, all kinds of people were there and no one was really the odd-one-out like other music movements make you feel.
The rave went on well after the sun had risen and revealed the cliffs, valleys and ski slopes that surrounded the venue. Hunger was quenched by Frank’s hotdog stands and the bar made sure no one got thirsty. The stamina though, was thanks to the music and crowd, which to the delight of everyone involved, is growing steadily!
People also dotted the rocks, tired from dancing, they chose to sit atop and absorb the sounds from above. The music was also incredibly fun, with funny voice clips in Lebanese, such as one depicting a guy introducing the interior minister in a serious note, which then switches to a heavy bass line and dubstep elements. Another funny clip was an interview with an Israeli official by BORAT! Borat seems to think Hamas created Hommos, and cannot understand why Israel hates Hamas if they created such a healthy and vegetarian food, which also switched into dub in a split of a second.
See you guys SOON in the next Acousmatik System event =)
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