Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Paganfest America 2014: Korpiklaani/ Turisas/ Chthonic/ Varg/ Winterhymn/ Yesterday's Saints @ Empire 4/25/2014

I went to see Paganfest America 2014, featuring coheadling Korpiklaani and Turisas. I am missing M3 Day 1 (2014) for this goddamn triple booked weekend (Paganfest, M3, local show). Last Year's Paganfest  was amazing, but this year's lineup was a bit ... "I've already seen those guys and they are kind of the same again" I saw Nathan with a J, Kris, Sean, Milla, Renae, Sarah, Ethan, Joel, Lex and Tom, and there.

Overall there were probably 300+ people there- not a bad showing at all for the biggest Folk Metal event of the year. I think the next day's date in Baltimore stole some of the crowd. M3 was also this week, so some folks also had a difficult choice, as both days coincided with each other. Still, not a bad turnout, especially with the horrible rain around the show start time.  There were 3 TINY kids there, like 2 or 3 with huge headphones...

Merchandise,  they were still setting up when we got in, so I had to go back later. Chthonic had their latest CD, a couple lame (IMO) shirts. Varg had a few shirts, some CDs ($10, maybe I should have grabbed one). Paganfest dates shirt ($25). Turisas also had IMO lame shirts (esp the 'Stop Hammer Time' one). Korpiklaani had shirts, a flag, their latest CD.  I found the merch to be pretty disappointing, I was hoping for a decent Cthonic shirt.

re: Varg Bikini top

Yesterday's Saints was on first, and these guys only got to play a few songs. They sounded about as good as last time (link), and got a decent reaction- especially the wall of death (! a little early) for the 2nd song!  They played similar setlist as the last time. I think the short set combined with the rain kind of made me not get in the mood for them just yet. 

Winterhymn had a number of people on the stage, loincloth man on guitar, cute girl on some sort of violin, Bassist/vocalist with paint n fur, a drummer, another guitarist, and another cuter girl on keys.  WHEW.  Their sound wasn't too badly mixed, something I always fear about Folk instruments- being drowned out by drums and/or guitars.  The violin was audible mostly, but I think the keys were a bit low. Their songs were alright, but I wasn't grabbed by any of them. I will need to check their studio stuff out. However, I think they unfortunately took too long setting up (first night of the tour woes) and also played a shorter set than anticipated. They played a song near the end of their set, expecting to have one more, but then were kind of ...told their time was up. I think they had taken about 10 minutes extra, so that robbed us of some songs. I wonder if they had a full set in Baltimore or not.

German folk metal Varg unveiled a pretty sweet looking backdrop with a wolf (wtf is this, folk metal Sonata Arctica?) and I got kind of excited for them. We had missed them (well ok we heard like one song) back when they toured with WINTERSUN, so I was curious as to what they would sound like (some ppl didn't listen very much  to their studio stuff yet!).  They took the stage to some pretty loud applause and hoots. Their messy red and black facepaint reminded me of a poor man's Turisas (who were also on this bill!). There must be some driving reason behind this, and I may have to peek about a bit more... it just seems rather 'copycat.'  They sounded fine, but I again wasn't gripped by any of their songs.  I think if you were into them, they would be great- from my friend who was convinced they were 'el mejor' of the day, she was very impressed.  I think they were at the merch booth after. I dunno why I didn't get a photo with them afterwards. (note: I was told I should remind people Varg means  "wolf"... so take THAT Sonata Arctica)    

I think it was around this point that I spotted the singer from Korpiklaani and Larry (or his brother) got photos with him. He was hobbling around last time too!

Chthonic- Taiwanese death metal that I was the most pumped about for this date- was up next.  I think I last saw them in 2011 with Arch Enemy. The crowd was pretty thick by then, and they also had a pretty great crowd reaction. I think they were the heaviest of the night, but not the most unintelligible (that award goes to Korpiklaani).  They got me kind of amped, but they played a lot of new stuff that I unfortunately was not up on. So their best song IMO was "Takao," with their Asian instruments \m/.   I think I enjoyed their set the most, despite the gripes about me being a bit unprepared.  I did get a pic with Dorothy, their bassist, afterwards. I am not sure why I didn't get the rest of the band, like last time.  I wish their merch was more agreeable, because I wanted to make sure they come back to the states.  Note: they did NOT mention their collaboration w/ Baby Metal

Doris and me 

My love/hate relationship with the red and black painted Turisas continued next. Their backdrop was unveiled to a HUGE cheer, and an even bigger one when they took the stage.  They were easily the best sounding of the night, especially their very distinctive singer.  Everything sounded very close to the album.  I think they still sounded Turisasthin, but def the clearest of the evening.  That is, they are supposed to be metal, but they sound like they have a very weak guitar/drums. If that makes any sense.  Their set seemed similar to the last time, headling.  They did pull out RRR, which they allegedly haven't played for a while- at least the first Paganfest.  My problem with them I guess is still that people get IMO way too amped over their kind of underwhelming (tho slightly epic) sound.  Not that they aren't good live, because they are decent.  I just wasn't really excited about anything until fan favourite "Rasputin" and I am pretty sure I started pushing Lex and co. around. I think they played a couple new songs, but not a lot, so that was a bit strange, considering the new album that came out recently.

Korpiklaani was headling tonight, and they got on stage kind of late.  Surprisingly things were pretty on time, a far cry from the other first night of Paganfest, where everything was so late.  Their set was odd to me, because they kind of played less 'happy' and more 'darker' songs.  For Paganfest, things usually are a bit lighter.  Speaking of lighter, I suppose Chthonic was a bit more heavy/dark than anyone else, but that didn't bother me. I think the fact that the last Korpiklaani show was so hyper and 'happy,' this setlist was a bit of a departure.  Their sound was a little muddy, IMO, and that combined with the "what song is this" factor was a bit detracting from them.  I didn't really get into their set until the last part.  It was my buddy Nathan with a J's first time seeing them, and he had a blast- so maybe other people who hadn't seen them recently would have a different thought.  

Overall, it was a good night, but it was not as amazing as last year's Paganfest, which was def one of the best shows last year.  I was def missing M3 (WINGER) and this double shot of headliners was a little underwhelming. It's not that I don't like Turisas or Korpiklaani, but I guess I was not too pumped about seeing them after what seemed like not too much time.  It wasn't a bad show by any means, but I just wasn't that into it. I do think that the more folk metally fans (some of which were going to the next night's SAME show in Baltimore as well!) loved it, as the pits were pretty constant (my other complaint about "how are you folk pitting to this song that is too slow/etc.")    



(note I need to find my YS and WH notes)
Yesterday's Saints (6:15- )
  • ?
  • ?
  • Cain's Agony

Winterhymn ()
  • Wolf's Head
  • Dragon Bowl
  • Ale Song                     

Varg (7:45-8:17)
  • (Unknown)
  • (Unknown)
  • (Unknown)
  • Was Nicht Darf 
  • Guten Tag 
  • Rotk├Ąppchen 

Chthonic (8:41-9:12)

  • (Unknown)
  • (Unknown)
  • Next Republic 
  • (Unknown)
  • Defenders of B├║-tik Palace 
  • Takao 

(missing songs may be Oceanquake, supreme pain for tyrant, sunset's fire)

Turisas (9:37-10:48)

  • Ten More Miles 
  • Take the Day! 
  • To Holmgard and Beyond 
  • Battle Metal 
  • No Good Story Ever Starts With Drinking Tea 
  • Rex Regi Rebellis 
  • Miklagard Overture 
  • Together We Ride

  • Stand Up and Fight 
  • Rasputin  (Boney M. cover)

Korpiklaani (11:20-12:29)
  • Tuonelan tuvilla 
  • Ruumiinmultaa 
  • (Unknown)
  • (Unknown)
  • (Unknown)
  • (Unknown)
  • (Unknown)
  • (instrumental)
  • (Unknown)
  • (Unknown) (started with a violin)
  • Uni 
  • Vodka 
  • Ievan polkka 
  • Rauta 
  • Wooden Pints 

  • Happy Little Boozer 
want another opinion?
updated: added wolfnote