Archive for the Gig Category

Interview with Janne Wirman (Children of Bodom)

Posted in Gig, Interview, Live, Metal with tags , , , , , on 19th March 2017 by mickbirchy

Before their set in Manchester, our writer, Mick Birchall sits with Janne Wirman from Children of Bodom to talk about 20 years of the band and how they kept up in the music industry. Also, touring and the music scene in general.

This year marks 20 years of Children of Bodom. How does it feel to be able to say that you have actually been going that long?

Yes, it’s crazy it really is.  We weren’t really expecting that when we started. Back then we were just kids and we played heavy metal metal. Yeah it’s great it really is. Just the though that we’ve made it this far.

You guys have played all around the world.  Would you say there a difference in audience, depending on where you go?

You be surprised on how little the differences are really. Metal heads are metal heads no matter where you go.  If there are differences then they’d be small things. Such as in Japan, the crowd will probably go completely silent between the songs, it feels a little awkward. However, it is a show of respect. So it’s things like that but when the music is on, it’s on!

Going for 20 years now and with 9 albums.  How do you feel you keep your music sounding new without wearing out the same sound, but also without compromising the core of the band?

That’s becoming a challenge after releasing so many albums and we definitely don’t want to be stuck to a formula or get stuck the mindset of “this worked well, let’s just do that again”. As a band you have to keep creating something new and you have to take a risk with something eventually. I mean there’s only so many bands that can release the same album over and over.

Over the years what is the one song you wish you had written as a band?

I would say Redneck by Lamb of God.

What would be the best band that you have opened for and what’s the best band that’s opened for you?

I’d say the best we’ve opened for is Slayer. We did a couple tour with them and it was just great.  Their level of production and how well the opening bands were treated it was just amazing.

On the other hand we’ve had the pleasure of having so many killer band open the show for us. We had this band recently play with us.  Havok they were really great, we’ve heard them play and every audience they’ve played for people have just loved them.  Also we have Oni with us on this tour. They’re really cool, with a xylophone player. If you’re into the weird stuff then Oni is for you.

What’s your impression of the more gimmicky bands out there.  The ones who will dress up and get into character for a show?

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it. Just don’t paste it over your image, if your band sound sounds fine without gimmicks then don’t paste it over the top of it.  Only do it if it’s natural to the kind of music that you’re trying to create. Also, if you’re going to do it, make it your own thing.  Don’t take another band idea and slap it over your band, try to be original with a concept.

So to end on. What was the hardest thing you had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

We’ve had some obstacles in band. Obviously letting Roope (Latvala) go was a tough decision. We were struggling without him for sometime. When you’ve been in the industry for this long you’ve had up and and downs. At the end of the day, everyone in the band has to believe in the same thing, then between all of you you get through rough times. As long as you have you bandmates there’s very little that they’ll let you do wrong.

 

Interview and words by Mick Birchall

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Children of Bodom w/ Supports – Manchester, UK

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags on 19th March 2017 by mickbirchy

Bands: Oni, Forever Still, Children of Bodom

Location: Manchester Academy, Manchester

Date: 11th March 2017

A rainy night in Manchester and I was off to see Finnish metallers, Children Of Bodom. The last time I saw them was a few years ago in the same venue (The Academy 2). This year marks 20 years of the band, and they were going to celebrate in style with the Manchester crowd with a retro inspired setlist and a fearsome attitude. They also brought along Canadian progressive metal band, Oni and Danish hard rock collective, Forever Still.

I sadly missed Oni’s set as I was interviewing, Janne Wirman from Children of Bodom. It’s a shame as they seemed like a really interesting band with a unique set up. With a Xylosyth player up front. Everyone I spoke to about them after their set was truly buzzing. So I hope to see them quite soon.

Forever Still

I’ve liked this band for a while and I had never seen them live. However, I left this set a little  a underwhelmed. The Danish rockers hit the stage and they were OK. There wasn’t much of a flow to the set. Between the songs it didn’t really feel like they were engaging the audience. Their songs were performed decently enough with a sharp, crisp and polished sound. Front-woman, Maja’s vocals were particularly impressive and there were moments when it felt like they hit their stride. Yet it was only when they got into the songs that I liked off of the album that I started to like the set as a whole. I hope it was just tonight and not a Monica of their standard live performances.

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Children Of Bodom

Now for the reason everyone was there. Children of Bodom fans are a rabid bunch and really enjoy their set. For me, it was pretty good. Maybe I just don’t understand their music. After all my favourite album from them is the one that fans of band don’t like (Relentless, Reckless, Forever). So maybe I wasn’t the best person to talk about this show.

Sayin that though I did enjoy the show for what it was. The live sound was really good, you could hear everyone the of the show and every members sound was coming in clear. Alexi’s voice was pretty good, much better than the last time I saw them. The band was tight and felt completely in sync. The on-stage on chemistry was brilliant and you really get that feeling that they just know how the others are thinking on stage.

The key word to their set was presence. You just feel them on stage. They really don’t hold back. Their energy and intensity is a powerful feeling and makes the night feel that much better for the fans. When you feel the guitar and drums in your gut with the synth twinkling and providing that atmosphere. It’s truly a great feeling. Alexi Laiho is an excellent frontman, he really just get his audience and plays to them and it comes back to his presence. He really owns the stage, even though he doesn’t move around a whole lot, you can can just feel him on that stage. Overall it was a good night of music. I had fun and that’s point at the end of the day.

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Words by Mick Birchall

Photos by Charlotte Wellings

www.charlottewellings.com

Evil Scarecrow w/ Supports – Manchester, UK

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal, Rock on 31st January 2017 by mickbirchy

Evil Scarecrow, Dog Tired, The Empty Page
The Ruby Lounge, Manchester (UK)
27th January 2017

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God, it’s been awhile since I’ve had this much fun.  I’ve woken up with a sore neck and a ringing in my ear.  Yup, it must have been a good one! Evil Scarecrow are one of those bands that just pull in great crowds, regardless of where they are. However, the Manchester audience were on fire.  The Ruby Lounge was packed to the brim with mad hatter metal heads ready for a great show.  

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img_0808The rock n roll trio hit the stage with booming bass and a grungy, garage band style sound.  For the most part they were really enjoyable with an “all guns blazing” attitude they certainly caught my attention. The guitar roared into life as the drum work framed everything out really nicely. The band were really at their best when they were unruly and wild. They had this old style college rock sound that suited me very well and I really enjoyed.  Although the singer did hit some bum notes here and there.  Not enough to make the set weak or anything, but very noticeable with the quieter moments of the set. The simplicity of their songs was their biggest strength.  Nothing overly complicated just all-out rock and roll. I really liked it, Definitely worth checking out.

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The Scottish metallers were up next and boy did I enjoy them.  There’s something to be said for a band that near-deafens you, yet the first thing you do after the set is over is head to the merchandise stand and buy their music. Right from the start the energy and intensity emanating from them was so infectious you couldn’t help but love them. The riffs were consistent, the bass filled out the sound wonderfully, the drums were like gunshots. Just leave it to front-man, Chris Thomson to completely sell the performance, he was immediately captivating and interesting to watch. The band came across as so humble to the Manchester crowd, the glee in their faces when the crowd was screaming on through the performance and asking for more. Dog Tired, looked like they were having a blast which just made the performance so much more enjoyable. I was completely blown away and as I sit here writing this review, their album “It Came From The Sea” is on full blast. Genuinely, one to check out.img_0902

img_0975Evil Scarecrow

img_0971Now, one to the reason everyone came out on a dismal Manchester Friday night. The modern masters of performance metal. In support of the new single “Hurricanado”, the band comes on to The Scorpions classic “Rock You Like A Hurricane (nado)”, pretty sure that’s how it goes…  The Nottingham five piece launch into a mind-meltingly good set with their theatrics integrated to make for, yet another, great set. I think the blend of heavy metal, sci-fi and horror tropes mix really nicely.  Like any popular act they have the familiar staples to chew threw and they did so with expertise and obviously the crowd went into a frenzy for them.  The sold-out crowd created an amazing atmosphere and the participation was wonderful.  The sound was well balanced with every member sounding brilliant.  Truly, nothing compares to an Evil Scarecrow set. The connection they have with their fans is excellent.  Every time you see them you’re guaranteed a great stage show and a great set full of dancing, laughing and fun. One super fun night.

Text by Mick Birchall
Photos by Laura Piggford

Sabaton w/ guests – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 28th January 2017 by Pieni

Sabaton, Accept, Twilight Force
Coliseu, Porto (PT)
20th January 2017
Promoted by Prime Artists

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“The Last Tour” – named after the album “The Last Stand”, not after some early desire of retirement – hit Porto at one of its biggest and renowned venues. A bit bold, as it turned out. True, the last time Sabaton played here, Hard Club sold out its 1000-person capacity, but Coliseu holds six times that number. On the other hand, with the background videowall and all the apparatus, Hard Club’s stage wouldn’t have been big enough.

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dsc_0014-copyThe name Twilight Force hinted of power metal, and the dragon in the backdrop brought a positive certainty, even before the fast, chirpy melodies flooded the halls. A strange mix but they’re from Falun too and Chrileon was even Sabaton’s live backup singer back in the day (and rumor has it that the Spartans in the Sabaton song are played by four of them but I haven’t been able to confirm it) so from a friendship point of view, a fantasy power metal band opening for a militant heavy metal one makes perfect sense.
Chrileon got on stage wielding a sword to the sound of “Battle Of Arcane Might”. I don’t think many people knew them, but their high-spirits were contagious and soon everybody was riding along their “adventurous metal”. Funny blokes too, always teasing each other with a smile on their faces. “Gates Of Glory” was particularly welcomed by the crowd but the whole show left a positive mark.

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www.facebook.com/twilightforce/

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00000196-copyThe “Generation Clash” – song they sadly didn’t play – went wild the moment Christopher Williams stood behind the drums screaming in salute. We have a saying in Portugal that goes something like “old are the rags”, meaning that “old” is a word that shouldn’t be applied to people, and the youthful attitude that Wolf Hoffmann & Co. put on that night could as well be the incarnation of such saying. From recent tracks like “Stampede” and “Stalingrad” to classics such as “Princess Of The Dawn” and the mandatory “Metal Heart” and “Balls To The Wall”, there wasn’t a single moment where “age” meant nothing more than “experience”. The synced headbanging and guitar hero poses, which I usually find so cliche, just felt right this time. I guess it all depends on who’s bringing the cliches to life after all. My heart was full.

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www.facebook.com/accepttheband/

00000426-copyEven though I was happy to see the old schoolers getting off their couches to support Accept, I was sad to see many of them leave and not give a chance to Sabaton. Well, their loss – as usual, the Swedes kicked ass. Even if I appreciated the 2014 gig more, their performance skills are unquestionable.
00000433-copyThey’ve been using their cover of Status Quo “In The Army Now” as intro since the beginning of the tour, so it’s not in memory of the Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt, who died last Christmas Eve. But it was a beautiful coincidence, and nice change – as much as I love Europe’s “The Final Countdown”.
Besides the powerful songs – “Ghost Division”, “Carolus Rex”, “Primo Victoria”, “To Hell And Back”, just to name a few – and their lively presence, their good humor and empathy towards the public are just as popular. When the show was halfway through, a roadie brought a keyboard and Joakim reminded us (well, informed, as some may not know the origins of the band) that he started out as Sabaton’s keyboard player. But when he started playing Van Halen’s “Jump” it became clear he wasn’t going to resume the role that night. Chris Rörland claimed that Tommy Johansson really knew how to play piano and to prove so, the new guitarist played a little of Beethoven’s “Für Elise”. From there, he engaged on their own “The Final Solution”, in a beautiful acoustic version.

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Later on, someone would throw a horned helmet with the Swedish colors that Joakim put on, saying that he probably looked like a “palhaço”. That’s Portuguese for clown, and the whole venue burst out laughing. And in the end, he tied a Portuguese flag on his back, like a cape, super-hero style, wondering if his super power would be being the best football player in the world. Great musicians, great performers and funny – what more could one ask from a metal show?

www.facebook.com/sabaton/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Destruction live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , on 18th January 2017 by izaforestspirit

Gonoreas, Nervosa, Destruction
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
17th January 2017

My first gig of 2017! I opted for some thrash metal this time. Old school German thrash metal to be precise…I have technically seen Destruction live before, a long time ago at a festival in a small town in Spain during my year abroad as a student. Now, a decade later I got the opportunity to see them live again this time in Tampere.

First up was a Swiss heavy/power metal band called Gonoreas. The crowd was still gathering when these guys started their set but it didn’t take them long to agitate the audience and even get a small mosh-pit going. At one point their singer came off the stage and he started wreaking all sorts of havoc, encouraging people to move. It was a good way to start the night. 4/5



I had no idea what to expect from the Brazilian thrash metal trio Nervosa. They are an all-girl band and they really know how to rock. Their style is essentially old-school thrash metal, similar to the headlining act. Brutal, fast and highly entertaining. So brutal it actually reminded me of death metal at times. I definitely need to check out some of their music. 5/5

Thrash metal is one of the best metal sub-genres to see live. Destruction are veterans of the thrash metal scene and they sure know how to put on a great show. I’m not too familiar with their latest album ‘Under Attack’ and so I was glad that they also played some of their older material such as ‘The Butcher Strikes Back’, ‘Nailed to the Cross’ along with a few classics from the start of their career. It was a great performance, even better than the first time that I saw them live. 5/5

In summary this was a great way to spend what would have otherwise been an uneventful Tuesday night. I really enjoyed Nervosa and Destruction are always entertaining to watch. What a great start to the year! Iza Raittila

20 years of “Diva” – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 14th January 2017 by Pieni

Heavenwood, La Chanson Noire
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
30th December 2016
Promoted by Raising Legends

Heavenwood’s debut album “Diva” was released on the 27th of August in 1996. I won’t say it feels like yesterday but it certainly doesn’t feel like 20 years ago either. “They went by quickly”, to quote singer Ernesto Guerra.

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Carlos Monteiro, a.k.a. Charles Sangnoir, and his one-man project La Chanson Noire was invited to open up the night. I was surprised with the choice, but then again, after seeing thrashcore and prog-rock acts playing with Heavenwood before, the “bleak pop” of La Chanson Noire made perfect sense. A piano backed up by some samples and a single voice, playing satirical “cabaret goth” songs. A weird mix, yes, but that’s what makes it interesting. The crowd preferred to stay back, but they were clearly enjoying themselves to songs such as “Familia Chantilly” (chantilly family) or “O Bordel de Lúcifer” (Lucifer’s brothel) – the latter even played by request, although it would surely be played later on.

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www.facebook.com/chansonnoire

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Any proper anniversary show includes the celebratory album performed in full and “Diva” was no different. Hmm… no, that’s not right. I mean, they did play the whole album, in the same order as the studio version, but the feeling they put on it wasn’t like anything I’d ever seen by them. Well, in Vagos it was really close, but let’s face it – nothing like a debut album released 20 years ago to make things a lot more special. It’s funny how I hadn’t heard some of those songs in ages and still knew the lyrics word by word. Ah, the power of good music.

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At some point, Ernesto thanked everybody for their presence and also the past members who helped making that record – Zé, Mário, João and Bruno – and also thr.e one member who departed way too early but is always on their minds, Rui Santos (R.I.P.). Last but not least, roadie and jack-of-all-trades Paulo Magalhães. It felt really good to hear all those names acknowledged out loud, after all these years.

 photo DSC_0644 copy_zps99yi7jb9.jpgAfter the stellar performance of “Diva” the band left the stage to return moments later with “The Arcadia Order”. 2016 also saw the birth of “The Tarot Of The Bohemians” and its songs were the ones the crowd knew the lyrics best, but the enthusiasm was equal, no matter which track/album. Blame Zeus-Sandra couldn’t make her usual appearance at “The High Priestess”, and in no way would I ever discredit her, but Ernesto singing her parts sounded quite exotic and the song got a new dynamic. It was one of those nights when nothing went wrong.

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www.facebook.com/HeavenwoodOfficial

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Inquisition live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , on 20th November 2016 by izaforestspirit

Korgonthurus, Inquisition
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
19th November 2016

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a black metal gig. The last two were in the summer when I saw Baptism and Barathrum live at a festival. I’ve seen a fair few of black metal shows in the past; only a handful of which were memorable in any way. Lately it’s been mostly the local black metal acts such as Horna and Barathrum that tour here, most of whom I’ve seen live before. So a foreign black metal band such as Inquisition is a rare treat since they do not tour Finland very often.

The venue was still filling up when the support act Korgonthurus started their set. I was actually pleasantly surprised as to how melodic they sounded as I was expecting some ultra harsh and raw black metal. Instead, this sounded more like old Horna. Only later did I discover that two of the band members including the singer used to play in Horna for several years. It was a good start to the night and it was definitely much better than I expected. 3.5/5

Inquisition drew in a sizable crowd. Unlike the previous band they started off rather slow, picking up the pace as the show went on. I’m not familiar with their latest albums but I did recognize one of the older songs ‘Dark Mutilation Rites’. It was good to see that they haven’t changed their style over the years. The new material has the same thrash metal tones in the guitar riffs mixed with a dark atmosphere and Dagon’s ghastly-sounding croaky vocals. The drumming was so accurate and perfectly timed that there was no need for any bass. Very impressive performance from this black metal duo. 4/5

Overall this was a good night and I’m glad that I got to see Inquisition live. Korgonthurus turned out to be better than I expected. This was one of the better black metal gigs that I’ve been to and it would be great to watch more shows like this in the future.

Iza Raittila