“No recording of the band can present to you, the listener, how powerful Djam Karet is in a live setting, but we feel we have gotten really close here”
After the release of the burning gig of Nathan Mahl, this second NEARFest Records release includes the gig Djam Karet did for the 2001 edition of the NEARFest festival. Like the first release, you get what you want here. The complete set without any overdubs or whatever. Just the pure live gig as it was. And like the Nathan Mahl gig this one burns also. The big difference is that Djam Karet is more guitar orientated with the two excellent guitar players Mike Henderson and Galye Elett.
Mike Henderson – 6 & 12 string electric guitars; Chuck Oken Jr. – drums & percussion; Aaron Kenyon – bass; Galye Ellett – electric guitars and keyboards.
Like the set was the album can be divided into three parts. The first one with the “older” compositions “Forbidden by rule” (The Devouring 1997), “The red monk” (Reflections from the firepool 1989) and “Night of the Mexican goatsucker” (The Devouring). Hectic and heavy guitar rock with room for experimentation and improvisation. If you don’t know Djam Karet you will be overwhelmed by this powerful rock and blues (“Night of the Mexican goatsucker”).
The second part of the set was dedicated to the new material which would be released on the albums “New dark age” and “Ascension” in that same year (2001). In “No Man’s Land” (New Dark Age) the guitar has more melody and we hear some keyboards. But the last part of this track is a long burning guitar solo/improvisation. I would characterize the newer material more interesting material for progressive fans. “The hanging tree” (Ascension) is slow and melodic with keyboard work of Galye Ellett and the guitar of Mike Henderson. A little rest point in this hectic CD. “All clear” is more jazz fusion with the humming bass of Aaron Kenyon and swinging drum work of Chuck Oken Jr. The last track of the new material that was played that evening was the beautiful “Web of Medea” (New Dark Age). This is a broody symphonic track with some great melodies. One of my favorite tracks of this album.
The third part of the set consisted out of the two “very old” tracks “Feast of ashes” and “Burning the hard city” (both from Burning the hard city 1991). “Feast of ashes” is more symphonic with a beautiful spacey section which reminds us of Pink Floyd. The titletrack “Burning the hard city” includes again those screaming guitar solos.
Like I said in my review of the Nathan Mahl gig, NEARFest Records made a flying start with those two releases. Burning live gigs of their own festival. The Nathan Mahl gig was more for keyboard lovers and Djam Karet is for the guitar freaks. But both albums are great parts of the documentation of the NEARFest festival (it seems that one of the next releases will be the Glass Hammer gig of 2003!)