Scars On Broadway @ La Maroquinerie
July 3, 2008 - Paris, France
By Alexandra Leveque & Thomas Tieleman
Scars On Broadway
Photos by Alexandra Leveque - Written By Thomas Tieleman
Scars On Broadway
When legendary bands split up or go on hiatus, like System of a Down did in 2006, there's always a feeling of sadness. But you can also look at it from a positive viewpoint and be happy that they did the right thing, leaving behind a legend by stopping at their best instead of milking it till the end (KoRn, anyone?).
Lots of people were curious about what would come after System of a Down and if it could stand up against the older work. The first album of Serj Tankian (Elect the Dead, 2007) sounded a lot like System of a Down, just more melodic and pop-oriented, but also more “ADHD rock” and crazy in other places. One good successor down, more to come, we were hoping.
Then came Daron Malakian (guitar and vocals) and John Dolmayan's (drums) project Scars on Broadway which had been in the pipeline since the recording of SoaD's last two albums.
The first single of the album, “They Say”, appeared on their websites and sounded a lot like System of a Down as well, maybe more song-oriented, direct, and thus catchy. The metal had changed into (classic) rock. The very Joey-Santiago-from-the-Pixies-style guitar solo makes this the perfect catchy rock song. Only the clip featuring the pope, a beating heart and lots of vehicles getting destroyed stands in the way of a massive hit, but I'm sure there will be an edited version.
Only a handful of hardcore fans had heard some of the songs before the concert. I had tried my luck online but nothing more than some grainy video with useless audio had come up. It was said the album would be more keyboard-oriented than SoaD and the 80's electro that was played before the concert confirmed this. I never saw so much photographers at a gig, especially in a little venue like La Maroquinerie. You could cut the curiosity in the air.
The crowd went pretty crazy from the moment they came up till the end but didn't forget to do what it came for: check out the new band.
Daron Malakian, hardly 1m60, big sunglasses, hobo hat, long hair and beard, took the central stage. His Gibson SG in hand, which didn't get tuned during the full 45 mins of the show (luckily it kept up), no pedals at his feet: he was there to sing, strum, riff and solo, that was clear.
The tall George Clooney look-alike Franky Perez was his wing-man on guitar, He's the one to watch on stage. Wearing the same type of hat as Daron but with his length, tattoos and muscles it made him look more like Zorro in Mad Max world. Lots of pedals at his boots that were used to add colour and sometimes spacey trippy sounds like in Enemy and Cute Machines. He also sang excellent backups on most of the songs.
Even though the two guitarists had to be in front of their mics most of the time Franky gave us a lot of his signature pose (one leg forward, the other one as far to the back as possible). It kind of looked like something out of Gladiator or 300. He even gave us a funny moment when he got angry at a roadie because his part of the stage was slippery, cleaned it up with a towel and managed to nearly fall on Daron's (dry) side of the stage a second later.
Some nice guitar dueling between the two of them like in the Irish jig part at the beginning of Enemy and Malakian's standard gestures that go with the lyrics of each song confirmed that all was good in guitarist land.
Danny Shamoun on keyboards had quite a big part in most of the songs. His main sound is more organ-like than classic synth so there's no electro on the horizon apart from the bumping beats and spacey melody in Chemicals who make the song even more hyper. He was dancing and singing all the way, so no static keyboard player here.
The solid John Dolmayan on drums, in SoaD motionless apart from the frantic arms, was moving his whole body here. Did he enjoy being in a new project? Was it the smaller venues again? Either way, he is as humble and nice off stage as he's pounding those drums hard onstage.
On the right of him the Canadian born Dominic Cifarelli on bass who surprised us with his excellent French after-show. He plays and swings around his Jazz Bass like a madman... A stylish madman who takes care of the bass foundation under SoB.
Like the Pixies and SoaD's last two albums, SoB likes it quick and to the point (13 songs in 45 minutes). But no complaints about that, especially not from our legs.
Scars on Broadway's self-titled debut album will be available worldwide July 29th.