It was a truly incredible, one of a kind concert that rocked Beirut and brought together the Lebanese music lovers for peace, love and rock music! The Rasmus, along with 9 of the most talented bands in Lebanon shared the stage at the Jim Beam Rocks Music Festival on Friday night and the results couldn’t have been more harmonious. The local talents included The Wanton Bishops, Who Killed Bruce Lee, Pindoll, Jay Wud, Lazzy Lung, sandmoon, BandAge, Meen – Lebanese Rock and The Coolcumbers alongside the long awaited and highly anticipated rock sensations The Rasmus from Finland. The bands gave their all to make sure the audience had a great time and the crowd was ecstatic with musical pleasure all through the historical night.
The festival started off at sunset at the beautiful La Marina Joseph Khoury Dbayeh, surrounded by the gorgeous Mediterranean, a luxury port full of boats and the sea breeze on a hot night. DJ Chris started off the night as excited rockers were walking in, playing our favorite rock songs from the past decades and getting everyone in the mood for the amazing night about to come! Crowds of rock lovers and happy festival goers filled the grassy space of the concert venue, picking up some bites at the food stands, getting their great Jim Beam drinks from the bars, and checking out some of the stands exhibiting rock souvenirs, jewellery, t-shirts and more.
The anticipation was building high as festival host Dan Harper announced the first act, and the first band finally took to the stage! The Coolcumbers with charming front-man Enzo Sabbagha gave a rocking performance of their alternative rock hits and really set the stage for what was to come. Their unique style added a special flavor to the festival’s atmosphere, building up the night even more.
Up next it was the awesome BandAge. Leading lady Nathalie J interacted with the enthusiastic audience members, and sang an array of great BandAge songs with their signature rock pop and blues sounds. The crowd’s excitement built even more and they fell in love with the songs, the music and the vibes from the band and concert as a whole.
Just after this, the truly one of a kind Meen took to the stage, giving another one of their incredible performances known for their high energy and remarkable interaction with the crowd. Singer Fouad Yammine and the rest of the Meen band members rocked out with the crowd to their crowd-pleasing, hilarious songs, many of which are puns, medleys of well-known commercials and nursery rhymes, and other unique tunes that make them so original, and so well loved.
After the animated performance of Meen, Sandmoon took over with a much more mellow sound. Their indie pop folk songs resonated beautifully with the crowd, and vocalist Sandra Arslanian’s beautiful voice captivated the audience with its tunes and lyrics. Meanwhile the cello-induced melodies added a great flavor to the festival vibes.
Another great performance awaited the guests with the super-talented Lazzy Lung. The energy in the crowd could be felt by everyone as the band members and frontman Allan Chaaraoui performed their powerful indie rock songs. Attendees got closer to the stage and jumped with the energy of the songs, which took them on an incredible musical adventure.
Up next was Pindoll, with the beautiful and always dolled-up mega talent Erin Mikaelian at the mic. This time she wore yellow and black and cooed to the audience in the lovely way that she does. Their amazing performance was unique as always to the rest of the acts, and showcased both musical skill, great audience interaction and an overall unique kind of stage charisma.
Just before the main act of the festival, it was the true rock Lebanese star Jay Wood that captured the audience’s attention. His voice, guitar skills, stage presence and incredible alternative metal sounds are always a crowd-pleasing experience and this time proved him even more so. Jay Wood sang and rocked out with the crowd, who couldn’t be more thrilled at the amazing music and electric performance of the skilled band.
At long last, The Rasmus took to the stage for the concert everyone had been waiting for! They sang their repertoire of incredible songs as part of their world tour, which we were lucky enough to be part of here in Lebanon. Members Lauri Ylönen on vocals, Pauli Rantasalmi on guitar, Eero Heinonen on bass and Aki Hakala with the drums were the stars of the night, filled with talent, energy and giving us the performance Beirut has been waiting for! Lead singer Lauri belted out the songs the audience was so looking forward to, including “In the Shadows”, “First Day of My Life”, “F-F-F-Falling”, “Justify” and “Living in a World Without You”. The audience were singing along, knowing almost all the words to the songs and helping lead singer Lauri build up the musical vibes in La Marina. The performance continued for almost an hour with people jumping up and down and having a blast with these authentic rockers. The Rasmus had a special surprise for Beirut, doing a very special rock version of Lebanese Diva Fayrouz’s “Nasam Aalayna el Hawa”, which made the crowd go absolutely wild. They promised to come back to Beirut and finished their concert on a high note that no one could surpass.
After the international rock stars finished their incredible set of songs, it was the real rock fans of Lebanon that stayed to witness two of the countries most prominent bands, starting with Who Killed Bruce Lee. Their fun, pop-rock sounds filled the arena and the crowd loved the high-energy and charisma of the band, fronted by Wassim Bou Malham. Each of the songs brought more and more cheers as the rockers got more and more excited for each rendition, with their hit song “Pool Party” probably having the entire audience singing along and jumping to the rhythm.
As presenter Dan Harper asked the audience, “Did we save the best for last?” roars of cheering from the fans escorted The Wanton Bishops onto the stage. The incredible energetic stage presence of vocalist and harmonica guru Nader Mansour contrasting with the calm and collected magnetism of guitarist Eddy Ghossein was the perfect ending to the amazing concert and long night of stunning talents. The duo stayed as long as they possibly could on stage to please their fans, performing all their best songs with an energy no one else could have, and afterwards posing for photos with elated fans that they helped jump onto the stage.
We can honestly say that Jim Beam Music Festival rocked Beirut and made history on Friday night. The concert performances were filled with positive energy and good vibes, incredible talent from abroad and locally, and the best rock music we’ve heard in Lebanon yet! Thank you to Jim Beam for the experience, and for the show that inspired life, peace and talent for Lebanon!