Monday, November 6, 2023

Galactic Empire @ les Étoiles, Paris - November 6th, 2023

Walking into the appropriately titled Les Étoiles, the small Parisian theater that was host to last night's Galactic Empire show, one could be forgiven for thinking they'd been transported to a galaxy far, far away: pressed against the stage and around the bar was motley crew of Jedi, Sith, Droids, Stormtroopers and humanoid creatures which made the venue resemble a certain cantina on the Mos Eisley spaceport of Tatooine. Which is to say the place was a giant Nerd Fest, and it was glorious.

But if the cosplay was indeed most impressive, the reason for this gathering of freaks (and I mean that in the most positive way) was the music. If you like John Williams, Star Wars (or Star Wars-adjacent) music, highly technical Djent-like Prog-Metal, then you owe it to yourself to check out this band. Yes, the light sabers, the costumes, the accoutrements, the pageantry and the general production are a lot of fun, but what matters is that the music. absolutely. slaps. Of course, the famous themes are some of the best pieces of symphonic music ever created, up there with Beethoven, Brahms or Mozart (no, I'm not being hyperbolic)... But their adaptation into crushing Metal tunes makes perfect sense. It feels like they were made to be played with this much unlimited power...

"The Imperial March" felt like a seismic charge detonating in your chest. "The Force Theme" wrapped around you like a warm embrace, lifting you off your feet. As they unleashed "Duel of the Fates," it was like witnessing an epic lightsaber battle unfold before our eyes. The melodies clashed and danced, mirroring the struggle between the light and dark sides of the Force. It was a musical duel for the ages, and we were all caught in its mesmerizing tractor beam. 

And of course, for hardcore fans of the franchise, there were numerous little easter eggs peppered along the set, like how they opened with a metallized rendition of the "20th Century Fox Theme" before launching into their epic version of the "Star Wars Main Theme", one of the most recognizable, grandiose call to arms in cinematic history. Or how they played the themes from the recent TV shows like The Bad Batch, Book of Boba Fest or The Mandalorian, all the while dressed in full-on Star Wars regalia.

Ending with two John Williams scores from non-Star Wars franchises, Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones, the band showed a glimpse of a possible future where the gimmick is loosened somewhat, one that ensures the band can carry on beyond the initial conceit.

In the mean time, all of us nerds in attendance had a fantastic evening where the music surrounded and penetrated us. Like an energy field created by all living things, it bound the audience and the band together. May the Metal be with you!

Experience or re-live the concert by playing the setlist in the embedded Apple Music player below
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