System Of A Down Commemorate The Armenian Genocide In Los Angeles

System of a Down
April 6, 2015
The Forum- Los Angeles, CA

       To kick off the 100 year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, LA based hard rockers, and outspoken activists, System of a Down have embarked on their Wake Up The Souls Tour. The tour began in their hometown of Los Angeles, at a SOLD OUT Forum on April 6, 2015, their first of just two US dates (the second US show being in Detroit). The tour is scheduled to offer a free concert in Republic Square in Yerevan, Armenia on April 23, 2015, just one day before what is known as Genocide Remembrance Day, and the band’s very first ever show in Armenia.SOAD site_-15
With a packed house full of loyal fans of all ages, System of a Down was scheduled to perform a 2-hour set beginning at 8:45 sharp. After minutes of fans chanting for the band to go on stage, the lights and music finally dimmed and a screen came down from the top of the stage. An animated video was played with Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine doing a voice-over, talking about Genocide. This was a great way to begin the show, being that the fans should be educated as to what many of the song lyrics are about, and about the horrible tragedy of Armenians and other ethnicities around the world. Fittingly, the 33 song set began with none other than Holy Mountains. As mosh pits broke out and Armenian flags were swayed throughout the 17,500 person arena, everyone sang along with lead singer Serj Tankian as he belted the emotional lyrics, “LIAR! KILLER! DEMON! Back to the river Aras!” having to do with the Armenian Genocide.
The set was quick, the band hardly having any time to catch their breath. They breezed through fan favorites including, BYOB, Radio/Video, Soldier Side, Hypnotize and many more, with Daron Malakian adding extra Armenian guitar flare for all the Armenians in attendance in between songs. They ended with Deer Dance, and then there was an intermission. Once again the stage was dark and the screen from above was lowered down. The video which began the show continued, explaining more of the events and talking about Hitler and the Holocaust as well. The fan’s all stood quietly and watched and absorbed the information. Not long after, the band was back on stage, beginning with their second song that shows the band’s firm commitment for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, P.L.U.C.K. The band performed 10 more songs which included Lonely Day, Question and Spiders. Malakian on guitar and vocals took time out to talk about what he did the day before, for Easter Sunday. He told the crowd that his grandmother would have been SOAD site_-7109 years old already, which means she was just 9 years old during the Genocide. He continued by saying how much he loves and misses her and went on to dedicate Lost in Hollywood to “One of the most influential people in my life.” The crowd erupted into cheers as the band went into the hit. Following Mr. Jack, the band exited the stage one last time as the video screen was dropped again. This time, rather than showing cartoons, black and white photos were shown as well. The video wasn’t just talking about the Armenian Genocide anymore, they were talking about all genocides and all killings that have happened in the history of the world. It was truly enlightening to many people in attendance and a reminder for those who already knew about these tragedies. With the set coming to a close, the band finished off with War, Chic N Stu which hasn’t been performed live in many years, Cigaro, Toxicity and the set ender, Sugar.
System of a Down performed a flawless 33 song set. Not only did they perform and exceed all expectations, but they educated the thousands in attendance on Genocides around the world, focusing specifically on the Armenian Genocide. The band members, all being Armenian with many Armenian family members and friends in attendance, made sure to show their roots by singing several songs in Armenian throughout the night. System of a Down is a band like no other; they haven’t released any new songs or albums since 2005, yet they continue to stay relevant and sell out arenas around the globe. They don’t need pyrotechnics or crazy visuals on screens behind them to put on a great show. All they need are their signature persian rugs beneath them and their logo behind them and they will be ready to rock the house, anywhere at any time. System of a Down has several shows coming up and I suggest grabbing some tickets before they sell out. Even if they are already sold out, find a way to see this band. You never know when they will be coming back!
Review by: Nicole Lemberg