It’s the first time that I go to the René Magritte Cultural Center in Lessines this Saturday of March. But it’s a great opportunity, because it’s a quality poster that we’re offered tonight, as the icing on the cake, MaYaN, the prestigious side project of Mark Jansen (Epica). The band was playing a few shows in the Netherlands, Germany and here.

First observation, the staff is welcoming and the venue is spacious. We have time to have a drink before the Belgians from King Drama open the evening. This new band, made up of experienced musicians, is giving its first concert today. With its folk-tinged rock, sometimes a little more angry, the band brings a fresh wind to the current scene. The melodies are sweet and catchy and the choruses easily stay in mind. It is Ophélie, on vocals, who mainly manages the stage animation by jumping and dancing. Her voice is supported from time to time by Alain’s voice, also officiating on guitar, which we knew until then in a harder register (About:Blank, Spiritual Jack). Apart from a few small rhythmic blunders, King Drama defended themselves very well for a premiere and made a good impression on the audience. Note also that the band had to make up for the absence of its bass player, who unfortunately was ill.

After a short break, the French from Attraction Theory  come on stage. Although this is also a recent project (2017), it is also carried by musicians who have some past, including Didier Chesnau (Headline) and Constance Amelane (Whyzdom). It can be seen and heard as well. The band offers a modern metal, sometimes hovering, sometimes more aggressive, carried by Constance’s very soft voice. The mix is pleasant and can be listened to with pleasure. I like it very much, even if I have this feeling of “already heard”. But as my friend told me: when it’s so well done, it’s absolutely not disturbing! I especially remember the cover of “To France” that closes the set of Attraction Theory, a song that reminds me very good memories.

The sequel is a bit late, but as it’s still early, it’s not particularly disturbing. It is, indeed, the opportunity to talk more with the friends here and drink beers… Lots of beers! By the way, we are surprisingly few for such a line-up. It makes you wonder if the evil aura of the current virus played a role. Anyway, once MaYaN  comes on stage… Thinking back about that moment, I don’t know what to write. This band has so much energy, the many musicians running around in all directions to the frenetic rhythm of the music. You don’t know where to stare, something’s happening every second, in a different place. After two or three tracks, I laughingly tell one of my fellow photographers that this band is tiring! Not to mention that the lights aren’t super easy to manage either, by the way.

Finally, beyond these small details, for me, it is simply magic that happens before our eyes. The set is simply perfect: scenically, musically, vocally… The sound is amazingly clear! For a few seconds, I even come to wonder if the band isn’t doing some playback. I also admire Laura Macri’s performance as she’s doing the lyrical parts alone tonight, as Marcela Bovio is currently recovering. Her interpretation of “Insano” almost alone on stage is to fall, I have shivers!

Let’s note that the setlist is varied, mixing the different albums of the band, but also proposing some surprising covers: “Follow In The Cry” (After Forever), “Nihilism” (God Dethroned) and “At The Mountains Of Madness” (Orphanage). But these bands are part of the history of MaYaN and the musicians who took part in the project. Finally, for more than an hour, MaYaN delighted me and I think I wasn’t the only one to have taken a superb slap in the face by attending this modern opera in the company of talented artists, happy to be together on stage and in contact with the audience.

After this superb concert, we were able to share a little moment with a few members of the band, always available for fans and smiling. A real pleasure! For the anecdote, I tried to get some information about Epica’s new album, which will be released later this year, but it didn’t work! To sum up, even if you’ve certainly already understood it: it was a very good evening, well organised… And, of course, well toasted!