Thursday, November 7, 2013

Finntroll/ Blackguard/ Metsatöll/ Yesterdays Saints/ Sekengard @ Empire 11/4/2013

We went to see Finntroll's opening night of their 2013 North American tour ($20). This was also an interesting night because it would be the first time we would see Blackguard in ages, and the debut of local folk metal band Sekengard. We met up with John and Kate, Annie, Mike G, Sarah, Dan P, Robbie, ChrisWolf, Marie, Chris, Heavy Metal Chris, Iri, arch nemesis Ethan, Patricia, Scott, Antonio, Joel, Sean, Jason, Dorothy, Ariel y su Mujer, Jaime, Paul and Christine, LEX, and maybe a couple  more.

The local folk metal band Sekengard came on promptly at 7, which was odd cause the doors were def late. Thankfully they were on time, tho- as first nights of the tours always seem to have something go wrong.  This performance went off without a hitch, which I thought was rare for a new band, their first show, first night of the tour, and the first to go on!  This 6 person band was made up of 2 guitars, a bass, a fiddler, a mandolin/guitar, and drummer. They were awkwardly crowded all in the middle of the stage, looked a bit confined.  However, if they were nervous, they only partially showed it. Some addressing of the crowd and a bit of vocals seemed a bit haphazard and raw, but for a first performance it was pretty great. I only caught the name of one song, and there are no samples on line (yet), so info is a bit vague. For me, the best parts were definitely the polka song and the nice and clear 'solos' the mandolin and the fiddler got/took. There were a few parts where the violin and mandolin were drowned out by the bass and drums, and it was borderline mess, but that's always the problem/risk with folk instruments and metals. In short, a very good debut for a local band (with nearly all original compositions- I think the polka one may have been a  rearrangement of a traditional tune), and we'll be curious as to how things mature and progress.

Finntroll and Metsatoll had a number of shirts (Merch) and Metsatoll had a bunch of CDs. I was considering a CD, but none of the shirts were particularly interesting to me. Blackguard had their same old merch as far as I could tell. Yesterdays Saints had shirts.

Yesterday's Saints sounded a lot more crisp this time than at Cafe 611, so that was very nice. Their clean and harsh vocal clashes reminded me of Nevermore (the guitar wasn't quite at THAT level, but no complaints there). However, the more spread out Empire setup led to a less intense experience than at the smaller space of Cafe 611. That is not to say that they didn't put on an energetic performance, but there was less of the intensity that there was in close quarters with the Cafe. I am still waiting for their new CD!  Their set seemed very short (3 songs, 20 minutes), but that is how it goes sometimes. I think because Aether Realm dropped of this tour ( :( ) things may have gotten a bit jumbled.

Metsatöll took the stage shortly after, which was odd because I was sure Blackguard would be on next. Guess not!  Well they had an interesting set, with songs I may or may not have heard before. I had not had much time to try and get into them before this show, but I think I remember the song about the giant who punches things with one hand and holds a beer in the other. You really remember intros to songs like that.  Their last song was a bit of a strange one, that went into a slow trance inducing chant. And then ended on that note. Oh it was a fine song, just not a good one to end a set on, IMO. If that had that before their last song or even near the middle it would have been a better fit. Their folk instrumentalist also sang pretty great, and his bagpipes and flutes were surprisingly clear for Empire/Jaxx. They had about 40 minutes, but it seemed longer for some reason. I think there was a moment to sing along with one of their or Finntroll's songs, and... the response was not resounding (probably due to the language barrier). As you can tell from my notes, we need a second pass on this Muhu õud I knew they played, just not sure where)

Blackguard was up next, and I think I'd only seen then one time this year so far. They played about an hour, which is the longest I think I've seen them play for, even at their headline shows (more like 45-50 minutes). They had a different member or 2, but they sounded mostly the same. They started off with a song that I could not place. It must have been an older song that I didn't know, or a new song (bad idea), but I am 90% sure it wasn't off Firefight.  They played a more rounded setlist, with old songs, middle songs, and 2 new songs from their upcoming album. This was a change to hearing the same old Firefight and Profugis Mortis songs (still could have stood to heard different ones, but at least it wasn't "The Sword" again). I was up close for most of their set, so I didn't really see how the rest of the crowd dug them or not. They've been touring a lot on Firefight and it will be interesting to see how the next album fares for them. I got in the pit for "Wastelands" and then stumbled about/leaned for the rest of their set. Their first song's sound quality was very rough, but they corrected the mix for the synth intro to "Wastelands" that I picked up on immediately.  

Finntroll took the stage, troll ears and all to some resounding applause. They were a bit of a sight with their partial streaks of blue facepaint, troll ears, various outfits (military jacket on one, leather pants and a tail on another, etc) and big smiles.  The crowd was amped to see them and were pretty mobile for most songs. I really only can recognize a couple Finntroll songs, a friend got the setlist.  They sounded pretty great, their folk metal was punctuated by moments of black metal blastbeats and huumpa or circus sounding organ (monkey-dance inducing music if you ask John). It was a pretty fun set, there was a ton of energy there despite not being super familiar with their songs. There was a bunch of jigging, some moshing, even a wall of death at one point. Some headbanging, and fist pumping, but not too much singing along until "Trollhammaren." The frontman had a couple engrishy moments, but nothing too horrible or hilarious. Well I suppose there was one patron who yelled that the moshing was a 'pussy pit,' which the frontman ran with and it devolved into something about a 'ball' pit as it were. 

Overall, about 1.5 hr set for the opening night- not bad at all. Tons of friends, fun times, so it should have been great!  But I was feeling kinda out of it about at Blackguard, so I don't think I enjoyed Finntroll as much as I should have, and I am typing this as I am recovering from whatever the hell sickness I came down with at the start of the week.

Next Concert: Rock Harvest (oh the metaldrama) featuring Ashes of Ares!

Yesterday's Saints
Blackgaurd II
Finntroll II

Sekengard (7-7:19)
    • Unite the Divided
    • Tiger
    • John Ryan Polka
    • For Sekengard
      Yesterdays Saints ( 7:40-7:58)
        • Origen Adamantius
        •  The Recruitment
        • Cain's Agony
        Metsatöll (8:13 -8:57) (maybe to update as this is a mess)
        • ?
        • ? starts w mouthharp
        • ?'metsatoll/
        • ? chant start
        • ? hey hey ?
        • Muhu õud
        • ?Suruman yahka estrella damned if i know
        • ?heavy w flute
        •  ? harpsicord intro 
        • ? fast start march  slow chants
        ( reports for NY ->

        Kivine maa
        Kui meid sõtta sõrmitie
        Minu kodu
        Muhu õud
        Vaid vaprust
        Saaremaa vägimees

        Blackguard (9:07- 10:09)
        • ?
        • Wastelands
        • Scarlet to Snow
        • In Time
        • This Round's on me
        •  The Dying Season
        • Northern Storm
        • Tephra (over the PA)
        • Firefight
        Finntroll (10:33 -11:58) via setlist
        • Intorr
        • Blodsvept
        • Solsagan
        • Mordminnen
        • Ett folk förbannat
        • Dråp
        • Slaget vid blodsälv
        • En mäktig här
        • Intro
        • Svartberg
        • När Jättar Marschera
        • Under bergets rot
        • Nedgång
        • Skövlarens död
        • Skogsdotter
        • Häxbrygd
        • Jaktens tid

        • Nattfödd
        • Trollhammaren