Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sonata Arctica @Empire 12/9/2012

Went to see Sonata Arctica @ Empire (Jaxx), with Arsis and Yesterday's Saints. Milla and I went, and met up with Ulrich and Trigger. We also saw Dorothy, Ruby, her friend Jessie, and that Moonsorrow guy (whew). ($15 from an opening band). There was a good size crowd (and for a rainy Sunday night, too!), as power metal seems to draw some decent crowds.


I had looked at setlists from their European tour and then the first couple nights of their US tour, and was anticipating...not the best things. I estimated I would dig about half the songs.

So things started off odd, as past the time Yesterday's Saints was supposed to go on the PA was still playing. Eventually, one of them got on the mic and informed the crowd that one of their guitars was stolen, and then that they could not play :(  One of the times I get there in time to see them- they can't play. Bummer. Who does that?

So, then Arsis was the first band we got to hear. I saw them open for Firewind last year, and they were very good. However I think they've gone thru a number of lineup changes since then, and I didn't recognize any of the songs they played. I know they did 2 from the new EP  (free to download, it's pretty good) they have out. They sounded better last time, IMO. Something was off, I couldn't quite place it. Maybe it was just that since I couldn't really distinguish most of the songs from each other it was a bit... boring.  For a couple songs, there was a kind of large pit (I think people just wanted to get pits out, cause they usually really can't /shouldn't at power metal shows and/or were kind of intoxicated). Also, the frontman cut his hair :/

Sonata Arctica, whom I last saw a couple of years ago, finally came on a little after 10. I guess I felt a bit nostalgic, cause I def got excited (despite knowing the ups and downs of the setlist). The crowd was pretty pumped and the small reaction Arsis got was multiplied about 30 times. I thought some of the songs they played fro the new album sounded better live... and then others I thought were still rubbish. Highlight was hearing 'The Gun'- an old song from like an EP or bonus track (I think it's from an EP) live.

While sonically most songs sounded fine, the actual melody  (or lack thereof) for many newer songs just didn't move me. It was difficult to hear Black Sheep and get all rowdy, only to be slowed down to 10 miles an hour with the hair band sounding Alone in Heaven (not that that's a really bad thing). Now repeat that about 5 times throughout the night and you have a roller coaster ride that is not exactly a good ride IMO. It's like Dokken playing Lightning Strikes Again, and then following it up with  2 new songs that are not quite good.  

It always irks me how people shout for Wolf and Raven. I don't even know the last time they played that live. And certainly not 2 songs into the set, mr drunkie. BUT if they DID, I would be, by the laws of metal, be FORCED TO ROCK and shove people into a weak ass power metal pit. At the end, they did not have an encore break (yay), but the lights still remained down for 5 or 6 minutes, which prompted me to wonder if we would actually get a bonus song, or if someone is trolling us, OR if someone just forgot to hit the lights.

The crowd seemed divided into somewhat fans on the left, old Sonata fans in the middle 2 or 3 people wide row, and the right side were new Sonata fans. It was interesting to see on several of the new songs the left kinda active, the middle standing defiantly, and then the right pumping fists wildly. That is not to say that all their new songs are bad. That is not the case. I think some of them are good, and other sounded better live. But there are a large number of them that just are... meh.. to me.

Merch- Yesterday's Saints had a table w/ shirts, Arsis had a few shirts (I think they had the best shirts), and their old CD ($10), Sonata had several shirts(30), but nothing amazing IMO, and a hoodie (45). CDs of the last few albums, the live in Finland 2CD/2DVD (I picked this up), and a solo CD from...not sure who I didn't get a good look at it (20 each).

Overall: A Good show, and it fits in the disturbing trend of weakening Sonata Arctica setlists. This is the 5th time I've seen them since 2006, and I don't know if I'm getting old or if they just suck at putting together setlists or what, but I am underwhelmed the past 3 times I've seen them I think. That being said I think I'd go see them live again. As long as it was cheapish :3

Bolded Sonata songs are ones that I wanted to hear/ thought sounded good live ( I think I'm being generous as well)...

Sonata Arctica 1
Sonata Arctica 2
Sonata Arctica 3
Sonata Arctica 4
Sonata Arctica 5

Arsis (9:00- 9:35)
  • (Unknown)
  • (Unknown)
  • (Unknown)
  • (Unknown)
  • (Unknown)(New song of their Lepers Caress EP)
  • Carve My Cross
  • The Face Of My Innocence

Sonata Arctica (10:03 -11:30)

  • Only the Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)
  • Black Sheep
  • Alone In Heaven
  • Shitload of Money
  • The Gun
  • The Day
  • I Have a Right
  • The Last Amazing Grays
  • Last Drop Falls
  • Paid in Full (Preceded by a short Guitar Solo)
  • Losing My Insanity
  • Broken
  • FullMoon (Preceded by a short Keyboard Solo)
  • Replica (Preceded by a short Jingle Bells Interlude)
  • Cinderblox
  • Don't Say a Word ((w/ Vodka Outro))