One Of A Kind
Dressed in white top hat and matching blazer, Serj Tankian looks very much a man in control as he marches onto the O2 stage, broad smile sweeping across his face as he pummels straight into tracks from his latest album, 'Elect The Dead', taking everyone on a rollercoaster ride of intellectually framed wonder wrapped around cascading arrangements and rock based fervour.
Slightly demented and entirely eccentric, Tankian comes across as a cross between Borat and Willy Wonka on crack as he bounds around delivering a performance covering every vocal range known to man, woman and child and continually delivering his politically driven messages home until no one is left in doubt about how mad this man is with governments. With a voice that seems to be able to stretch from a deep baritone to a shrill shriek whilst unflinchingly expelling passion drenched lyrics, Tankian is a mesmerisingly hypnotic showman and unsurprisingly all eyes are upon him as 'Empty Walls' makes an early set appearance, rapidly firing metal doused riffs that whirl and zoom with added fury in their live setting. From this he expels his views about religion and war through the jazz meets metal rant of 'Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition', taking time to slip the Eastern European tinged romp of 'The Unthinking Majesty' in all its disjointed brilliance. Throughout Tankian relentlessly strides around the stage, pausing here and there to break out some cringe worthy bursts of air guitar and unashamedly unleashing dance moves that are usually sported by that embarrassing uncle you try to avoid at family weddings. But this only adds to the wonder of the System Of A Down frontman and whilst his band are on a hiatus, at least some solace can be found in his wide ranging, emotively charged music.
Weirdly captivating, Tankian is unlike anyone else and for that we can all be thankful.