Archive for the Gig Category

Sick N’ Beautiful + Supports @ Manchester Aatma

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 4th June 2018 by mickbirchy

Sick N’ Beautiful w/ Bad Pollyanna & Novacrow

Venue: Manchester Aatma Date: 02 June 2018

This was an interesting show, to say the least. First of all, I struggled to find the venue. I like to think that I know Manchester pretty well but I had to lap the building a few times to even find it. So that wasn’t the best start. Also since this was one of the last dates of the tour and this date was a last minute addition to the tour, there wasn’t much of a crowd in the venue. Still the bands really brought the energy and intensity, resulting in a fun time regardless. I have recently reviewed the new album from Sick N’ Beautiful and I really liked it. It had so much personality to it, so naturally, I had to check out what a show from them would be like. Also for an added bonus the support came from Liverpool’s mad rockers, Novacrow. Also, one of my favourite bands, Bad Pollyanna. With all that in play I knew I was going to have a good time.

Novacrow


Straight from the get-go these guys brought so much fire. They just went absolutely crazy on the stage. The guitars roared and the bass pulsated as they brought their tunes to life. Unfortunately their drummer was absent but nothing that a cardboard cutout of Danny DeVito and a drum machine couldn’t fix and to be fair it was mixed pretty well into the set. They wouldn’t stand still for one moment and I liked that. Lead vocalist, Kitty was a mad woman, roaming around the venue and screaming with such passion. They were a lot of fun and I was really into it. Every moment they were playing the audience were captivated by their antics. I haven’t seen them in a long time and I have to say they haven’t missed a step for a single moment.

They’re just as fun and enjoyable as ever and they’re clearly having a good time when they play. The only real problem I had with the set is that the balance was out at times. There would just be moments where the distortion was just a little too much and you couldn’t hear the actual music more just noise. However they made up for that with their personalities. They were beaming with big grins as they played great tunes like “Fight The Horde” and ending the set on the ever popular “Fat Frog”. Where the band went into full on crazy mode. Definitely an enjoyable opener and it made me realise that I need to see them more often. They put on a great live I hope more and more people catch on to them.

Bad Pollyanna


I’ve already kinda gave this away but yeah Bad Pollyanna are one of my favourite bands. I could go to see them again and again and never really get bored. They have the really nice balance of rock and electronica. Once again they didn’t disappoint. They blasted full force on the stage and I think a lot of the audience knew who they were as well which added to the show immensely. I loved the set list, each song followed into the next, it all felt like it really flowed well. Songs like “Pull the Trigger” and “Bionic Heart” got the people moving and I was really enjoying myself. The electronic sections really add layers to their live set. It was mixed really well with the live instruments and the vocal performance was sublime. Frontwoman, Olivia Hyde and bassist Nikki Kontinen had some really great moments of vocal harmony as well. The whole set just felt so fluid. “Define Me” was really well received as well, as one of their biggest hits. They just injected so much charisma and energy into their set. Their performance was engrossing. Maybe a little more restrained that Novacrow’s set, but still really fun to watch. It was really hard to take your eyes off of them.

There wasn’t too much in the way of negatives in this set. To be perfectly honest I was enjoying myself too much to really notice. The mark a really good set in my opinion. The only thing I wish is that there was some new material for them to play. As much as I love the two albums they have I wish there was some new music just to spice up the set list a little more. To be fair though that’s not a bad criticism to give, I want more music.  Bad Pollyanna continue to be one of my favourite bands to watch live. Everything they do while on stage is really enjoyable and their songs are very entertaining.

Sick N’ Beautiful


Okay…This was actually really good. Very much worth the wait to see. Sick N’ Beautiful really know how to put on one hell of a show, even the smallest and cramped of spaces. Seriously talk about making the most of the space given to you. They really brought their set list to life in the best of ways. Their music was excellent as they played some of my favourite tunes from the album. Their performance was out of this world with strobe lighting and a very interesting presentation. The sound was pretty damn good as well. The songs were well played.

Unfortunately the crowd had thinned out even more than before so there wasn’t quite as much energy as there was for the openers. I would love to see them play to a much bigger and more energetic crowd because I think a show like that would be quality. They clearly put a lot of time into their stage personas. I really loved them for the short time they were on stage. The setlist was great I really liked “Megalomaniacal” and “All Wanna Go To Heaven”. They just performed really well. I loved that they put their all into the set, I can really respect that. They clearly have a passion for performing and it shone through here. I wish there was more of an atmosphere to the show, but beggars can’t be choosers and I had a great time listening to them.

Mick Birchall

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Vlad in Tears live Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Rock with tags , on 12th May 2018 by izaforestspirit

There are lots of fun events happening in Helsinki this weekend. For example one of my favorite bands is playing two shows. It’s a shame that I can’t make it to any of them…

So I had a look at what was available locally and I came across Vlad in Tears. They’re a Berlin-based Italian Gothic rock band whose music sounds similar to the likes of HIM and The 69 Eyes. I only recently discovered them and I’m probably not alone in thinking that they are somewhat underrated. Assumedly low early ticket sales meant that this event actually became a free show but the venue wasn’t busy at all.

First up was up was the Finnish dark wave band Rain Diary. I quite enjoyed their set. Their music is melodic and good to dance to. So not a bad start to the night. 3.5/5

Next was Psyyke, an old and well established post-punk band who are apparently one of pioneers of the Finnish Goth scene. The crowd wasn’t big this time either, but these guys did their best to keep the audience entertained. There’s not much I can say about their show. It was good, old school post-punk and everyone seemed to be having fun. 4/5

The night’s headliners came on stage with a slight delay. I kind of felt sorry for them having to come all this way to play a free show to a limited audience. This was apparently their first time in Finland. The performance was really good. They played most of their hits including the most recent ‘Sorrow’, ‘Bleed Me Dry’ and ‘The Devil Won’t Take Me Home’. 4/5

Overall, I had a good time. I like Vlad in Tears and I hope that they will visit Finland again at some point. They do deserve a bigger audience.

Iza Raittila

Insomnium + Tribulation – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 28th April 2018 by Pieni

Insomnium, Tribulation
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
9th April 2018
Promoted by Prime Artists

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“Winter’s Gate” is the name of Insomnium’s latest album and therefore the name of the tour – even if the release is one-year-and-a-half old. Plus, given the cold wave that’s been washing over Europe when Spring was supposed to be settling in, “Winter’s Gate” sounds pretty fitting.
Monday night, the crisp weather, the 2-band bill instead of the usual 3, the ticket price somewhat higher than normal… I confess I was expecting a poor crowd in terms of numbers. Well sometimes it feels good to be wrong and see that, after all these years, your hometown can still positively surprise you.
DSC_0054 copyWhat I didn’t like to be wrong about was the duration of Tribulation’s gig. Sure, I knew this wasn’t a co-headlining tour, but since there was no other band on the bill, I was hoping for a little more than 45 minutes – especially when they have a new album to promote as well. “Down Below” was released in January and only a third of its fantastic tracks were performed – “Lady Death”, “Nightbound” and “The Lament”. Of course we wanted to hear everything else they’ve played, from their previous works, but we wanted more – hence the 45-minute slot not being enough. I remember the first time Insomnium played here, eight years ago, asking us to buy something at the merch stand in order to “help the little guys”. Here they were this night, not so little anymore, so let’s cross fingers that next time Tribulation come here they’ll be headlining their own show. And that it won’t take that long – even if there’s only 5 years left to complete the 8 since the first time they’ve played in Porto.
The “Down Below” artwork is in shades of red and black but the lights during Tribulation gig were green. And black. Too much black. It was pretty hard to capture those enthralling movements of Jonathan and the devilish faces of Adam; but then again, no still image can truly show what one experiences at a Tribulation gig.

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www.facebook.com/Tribulationofficial/

DSC_0448 copyThe darkness came back in full when the Police Academy theme echoed – Insomnium’s intro – but then went on. And on and on. There were only glimpses of a weak light during the whole performance of “Winter’s Gate” (in case you don’t know, the new album has just one 40-minute-long track, divided in 6 parts, although the second, “The Golden Wolf”, is subdivided in two). If the idea was to illustrate the long winter nights they have in Finland, congratulations, you’ve made it! Wasn’t the spirited vibrancy of their performance – and the matching feedback from the crowd – and it would’ve been pretty depressing.
After Insomnium closed their winter’s gate, “The Primeval Dark” lived up to the exact opposite of its name and the room lit up like a summer day. By then I had retreated to enjoy songs like “Mortal Share”, “Weather The Storm” or “The Promethean Song” in the far back – so no bright pics, sorry.
The photographer in me left the venue frustrated, but the music lover had her heart full – and a pleasant smile for the first chords of Moonspell’s “Alma Mater” that preceded the encore “Only One Who Waits”.

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www.facebook.com/insomniumofficial/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Vader, Annihilator and Testament live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , on 22nd March 2018 by izaforestspirit

Vader, Annihilator, Testament

Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland

21st March 2018

It’s very rare that I go to a concert where I’m actually more interested in the opening act than the actual headliner. American thrashers Testament were the headlining act but for me it was all about Vader. I’ve been a fan of their music since my early teens and the last time I saw them live was at Hellfest in France back in 2009.

Vader were on first and they put on a hell of a show. They are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their debut ‘The Ultimate Incantation’ so their set included some songs from that album along with some new stuff such as ‘Send Me Back to Hell’ from the latest record. The venue wasn’t quite full yet at this point since they were the opening act but there was more than enough people to get a mosh-pit going. I really enjoyed it. Sadly their show was rather short, only half an hour. I would have loved to hear more. 5/5

I’ve never seen Annihilator live before but I recognized a few of their hit tracks including ‘Welcome to Your Death’, ‘Alison Hell’ and ‘Phantasmagoria’. This time the audience was much larger as was the mosh-pit. It was a highly entertaining show. Annihilator play exactly the kind of thrash metal that I like and I’m now tempted to check out some of their music. 4/5

Then the main headliners Testament took to the stage. Their music can be best summed up as optimized thrash metal, big riffs, complex harmonies and good vocals. I am just not too familiar with their music and didn’t recognize any of the songs so I didn’t really enjoy the show as much as the others. That guitar solo midway through their set was impressive though. Good stuff. 4/5

In summary, it was a really good night of thrash metal. Well mostly thrash metal that is, I tend to class Vader as more of a death metal/death thrash metal act these days. I loved Vader, they were the number one show for me, Annihilator were really good. As for Testament, they have a massive following and they put on a good show but I’m not that much into their music. 4/5

Iza Raittila

 

Therion w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 2nd March 2018 by Pieni

Therion, Imperial Age, Null Positiv, Midnight Eternal
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
21st February 2018
Promoted by Notredame Productions

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In Portugal, scheduling an event for 7 p.m. in the middle of the week isn’t going to work out very well for the opening acts; but with four bands on the bill and an almost two-hour-slot for the headliners, there’s not much the promoter can do. Speaking of, a big thank you to Carlos Freitas and the whole Notredame Productions team for bringing such show to us and for letting Valkyrian Music cover it.

DSC_0077.jpgMidnight Eternal was the first band on stage. Frankly, I’d never heard of them before, but then again, symphonic power metal with a female lyric voice – and occasional male growls – isn’t exactly my cup of tea… Among the few people at the venue by that hour, there were a handful responding enthusiastically to their music – either they knew them already or the band caused quite the first impression on fans of the genre. Yep, they’re good.

Introducing their self-titled debut album, released in 2016, the band from New Jersey – as said by Raine Hilai; you shouldn’t trust everything you read on Facebook, where their page locates them in Manhattan/New York – charmed the small but “loud” (using Raine’s own words) crowd with songs such as the “first song they’ve ever written” “Masquerade Of Lies”, “Signs Of Fire” and the almost-9-minute long “First Time Thrill”.

www.facebook.com/MidnightEternal/

NULLPOSITIV

Female singer as well, but completely different posture, Null Positiv followed suit. That so-German alternative, post-industrial sound which “recognizes the signs of the times”, to quote their own motto. Even if Elli Berlin joined Therion on stage to sing “Din” later on, this was the most “displaced” band on the bill, but given their feisty performance, “diversity is the spice of life” earned a new meaning. “Hass”, “Labyrinth”, “Friss Dich Auf” or “Koma” were just some of the songs that left the crowd – considerably bigger now – pretty hyped, Null Positiv’s impact being the exact opposite to their name.

www.facebook.com/nullpositiv/

IMPERIAL AGE

If the Germans were the furthest from Therion in genre, Russian Imperial Age were the closest, with their symphonic/opera metal. The release of their third album earlier this month outlined their setlist, but they couldn’t go without performing “Anthem Of Valour” or “Aryavarta”. The combination of Aor’s tenor voice with Kiara’s soprano and Corn’s mezzo soprano, spiced up here and there by some growls of Vredes and Belf, filled the venue with a supreme vibrancy, overlaying striking melodies welcomed by everyone.

www.facebook.com/imperialageofficial/

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With such foreplay, it took only the first chords of “Theme Of Antichrist” to drive the crowd to a climax which would last throughout the almost-2-hour long performance of therionhc3Therion. Some highlights of their latest opera – including “Temple Of New Jerusalem”, which Thomas Vikström introduced by asking us to imagine ourselves inside a church, adding right away “boring, I know” – mingled with highlights of their whole career and we’ve witnessed a hell of a show (pun intended regarding “Beloved Antichrist”). Vikström was pretty talkative, as his usual, but the final words had to come out of founding member Christofer Johnsson. He remembered the last time they’d played in Porto, 20 years before – yes, 20! – and asked if any of us had been there. A few had – me included – and so he thanked us for the “old school support”. And he asked us to scream the title of the song that, like then – and almost always – finishes their shows, the imperative “To Mega Therion”.

www.facebook.com/therion/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

True Black Dawn and Behexen live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , on 14th January 2018 by izaforestspirit

Kyy, True Black Dawn, Behexen
Olympia, Tampere, Finland
13th January 2018

My first concert of 2018! It’s been over a year since I’ve been to a black metal gig – not since Tampere Black Mass two years ago. Behexen is one of the big names within in the Finnish black metal scene and this was their first Tampere show in ten years.

Unfortunately I arrived too late to catch the first act, another Finnish black metal band called Kyy. I did however, see all of True Black Dawn’s performance. By then the venue wasn’t just full but officially sold out. Massive queues to bar and the tightly packed hall were just some of the challenges one had to face to catch a glimpse of the bands. I really struggled to get some decent-looking photos. But enough of that, let’s talk about the show…

True Black Dawn are an established black metal act who have been around in various guises since the mid 1990s. I knew them under their old name Black Dawn and only recently did I discover that they released a new album under the new name not so long ago. Music-wise they reminded me of old Marduk, Funeral Mist and most prominently of Enochian Crescent. The last band name shouldn’t come as much of surprise, since up until recently they shared the same singer. Good show but it sounded a little too familiar, almost as if I have heard similar bands before. 3/5

 

Behexen were worth the worth wait. Though not flawless, their performance was memorable. I particularly enjoyed hearing an old classic ‘The Celebration of Christ’s Fall’ and ‘Rakkaudesta Saatanaan’ from the new album. They also played ‘Kiss of The Dark Mother’ but sadly that didn’t sound quite as good as it does on the record. 4/5

In summary, black metal isn’t always the best genre to see live. Some bands are better than others. Out of all the black metal gigs I’ve been to, only a handful have been memorable. I cannot comment about Kyy; True Black Dawn were fairly average live but Behexen put on good show.

Iza Raittila

Moonspell introduce “1755” – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 3rd November 2017 by Pieni

Moonspell
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
1st November 2017
Promoted by Alma Mater Books & Records

1755 II

Today is the release of Moonspell’s so awaited “1755” (review here). Three shows were performed in advance and I attended the last one – the one when the infamous 1755 earthquake completed its 262nd anniversary.

1755 IIIA drawing of Lisbon in ruins – like the video for “In Tremor Dei” – as backdrop, one stand on each side of the stage for the Crystal Mountain Singers, and the new orchestral version of “Em Nome Do Medo” started playing at ten in the evening. Recorded, serving as intro, as the original version would be performed live later on the encore. So the first song to actually be performed was the title-track, Fernando Ribeiro singing it wearing a raven Venetian mask. As the album had been available in streaming format for a couple of days, a good share of the crowd was already singing along; the singles “Todos Os Santos”, “Evento” and “In Tremor Dei” had pretty much the whole house backing up the lyrics, not just the choruses. Moonspell are known for their powerful shows but when the crowd responds accordingly, interacting like they did that night, it’s always an overwhelming thrill.

1755 IVOverwhelming was also the presence of fado singer Paulo Bragança. On my album review I’ve described his voice as “riveting” and that the outcome of his collaboration with Moonspell was “mind blowing”. It’s so much more when you experience it live that there’s no accurate words for it.

1755 VIn a “city and venue that always welcomed them so warmly” (quoting Fernando himself), the tragedy told in this new album turned into rapture; Fernando said he understood that it would take us a while to get used to “1755”, not just for being new but also for being sung in Portuguese, but for what I saw that night no adjustment period is required.

1755 viiFor the cover of “Lanterna Dos Afogados” (by Os Paralamas Do Sucesso), the lights dimmed and Fernando held a lantern – the backup singers as well – enhancing that light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel feeling which the songs bears.

1755 VIThe album is a little less than one hour long, so even with the usual chit-chat – “dial 17 55 if you want more information. By now we know everything there is to know about earthquakes” was quite funny – it was too short for a concert. So they came back to play a 7-hit encore. No matter how many times you listen to those final “Alma Mater” and “FullMoon Madness”, the shiver down your spine is simply mandatory.

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https://www.facebook.com/moonspellband/
https://www.facebook.com/almamaterrecords/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino