Loud Like Love Historic Open Air in Tbilisi
11 July, 2015
Loud Like Love Historic Open Air in Tbilisi
‘‘What’s it going to be then, eh?’’ That was me and my three friends making up our nonexistent plans for the rest of summer after the long-awaited and the most colorful five days away from the daily grind are over. Open Air Altervision festival has five years of existence under its belt and it surely reminds me of Daenerys’ dragons from Game of Thrones – growing bigger, louder and more powerful in a very short period of time.

This year’s musical
offerings truly did satisfy the majority of music junkies.

Three stages were set up in order to keep up the spirit for five days and nights in a row. While the main stage played host to a mix of pretty significant names (Tiger Lillies, Soap&Skin, Archive, Black Label Society, Beth Hart, and Placebo among them), the golden and silver stages made sure that the festival provided almost non-stop musical appeal to the attending auidience. And call it eclectic, but this year’s musical offerings truly did satisfy the majority of music junkies.

On the first day, preformances by The Tiger Lillies from the UK as well as Akvarium and Zemfira from Russia - the main bands of the evening - were accompanied by a strong wind. But then again, Open Air has never been lucky with the weather. Although the wind damaged some of the technical equipment, the general vibe remained good - it was summer, we were young (youth has no age), and therefore, we did not care. General excitement could not go unnoticed when somewhere from the front rows, the Ukrainian flag was passed to the headliner Zemfira. She preceeded to proudly wave it over her head and tie it to the microphone for the wind to wave it stronger. Highlight of the day was right there, right now. But highlights of the festival were yet to come.

The next day, the London collective Archive and Austrian artist Soap&Skin (Anja Plaschg) set both the stage and each and every listener’s heart on fire. No storms were needed that day; the artists were the absolute stormers themselves. Known for bringing about dark and sinister emotions, the Archive did not fail to leave the audience with profound impressions. However, while Archive was making a blast on the stage, a small group of people was observed sitting in a circle around Soap&Skin, who found her way from the stage and into the very middle of the crowd, to mingle with the fans. My emotions from what I was seeing on the stage were momentarily outweighed by a few my friends having a bit of chit-chat with charming Anja.

Third day’s highlight was another long-awaited act by Black Label Society. A truly artistic performance and very devoted audience made their show an unforgettable experience to many.

The festival’s fourth day has provided us with a new discovery by the name Kill It Kid - a band that managed to keep the crowd energetic and in high spirits even after the headliner’s performance. The headliner was Beth Hart – a talented singer-songwriter from California, U.S. Well, she is a woman I can never listen to. But with her excellent band providing the backing, she really rocked the place with the first few songs. Teenagers singing along to previous century’s beautiful melodies was an unexpected and strange thing to witness.

The final day kicked off with the newcomers and Georgian bands. We spent the entire day worrying about highly likely rain, but instead, we got Placebo. Due to this being the very first concert of the band in Georgia and them being extremely popular among different age groups, the amount of people attending the show somehow scared me. In the beginning of the act, Placebo promised that for each and every one of us they would be Loud Like Love. And they were. So were we. An hour and a half on stage, with their festival line-up and with all the songs that I was not even aware I knew by heart, the band managed to make everyone contagiously emotional. However, Placebo’s commitment to Tbilisi’s audience was a bit predictable when they announced the day before that they would donate the revenue from the concert to the Tbilisi Flood relief effort.

Although wind and rain were uninvited headliners of some of the evenings, they did not shake nor dampen the spirits of the audience. Dry grass did not really let the field turn into a muddy nightmare and under-dressed audience huddling together with blankets on their heads was definitely a warm thing to observe. In terms of general abundance of the necessary facilities, the organisers did a great job to make the festival accessible to everyone. For the first time in the history of Open Air festivals in Georgia, toilets and transportation means were adjusted to the needs of people with disabilities. It seems that they’ve thought through pretty much everything and the flaws that were felt were pretty minor. Among the haze of the unforgettable shows, new musical discoveries, good food and organized entrance or toilet lines, flaws weren’t easy to find to begin with. But if there was a bone to pick with the organisers, it would probably concern warm beer and unwieldy ticket control system that required registration whenever one entered or exited the festival area. All in all, Tbilisi Open Air Altervision 2015 did not fail to provide an ultimately fulfilling experience and definitely fed us enough to form higher expectations for the next summer.

Sopo Mchedlishvili

Related stories:

"We truly had an amazing time!” – Placebo about Tbilisi Open Air

“Tbilisi, Georgia, you are the one!” - Beth Hart’s first comment after performing at Tbilisi Open Air

Zemfira unfurls Ukrainian flag at Tbilisi Open Air festival
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