Friday, June 5, 2015

Ensiferum / Korpiklaani / Trollfest @ Baltimore Soundstage 5/27/2015

Went to see Ensiferum and Korpiklaani (unfortunately Trollfest was also on the bill) at Baltimore Soundstage. I saw a number of people there- Bobbie, Dan, Victoria, Lauri, Yaniv, Sean, Sean D, Nathan and Alie, Christian, Ethan(!), Dorothy, Sarah and Evan, and maybe someone else! I was mainly excited to see Ensiferum since I loved their past live performances, and of course Korpiklaani would be fun!
One More Magic Picture

There were not nearly as many people as I had thought there would be- the last big folk metal show was Eluveitie, and that was sold out! This stronger (IMO) lineup had only about 400 or so people show up. Not bad, and thankfully a bit of space to breathe. Also, as I entered, I noticed posted Set times -Trollfest (7:30-8:15), Korpiklaani (8:30-10:00), Ensiferum (10:20 -12:05). This was going to be a LONG night.

Only a fraction of Ensiferum's merch

Korpi and Trollfest shirts

Merchandise was plentiful, each band had tons of shirts ($25), CDs ($15-20), a couple hoodies ($45). Ensiferum had both "One-Man Army" and "One-Woman" Army shirts. There were also various items like pins ($3), patches($5), hats($15), and some vinyl ($25). I somehow didn't end up with anything, despite the several cool designs.

The Merch
One Merch Army

Merch to War

a good number of Folk

The crowd definitely brought out a wide variety of people- folk enthusiasts, metal heads, vested fans, people in chain mail, others in various leathers, normal people, hipsters, gay people, straight people, whatever people, young fans, and old fans. One girl was in an impossibly short skirt and Tyr bikini top, which I still don't understand how she kept everything in place in the pit. There was also one guy sloppily making out with a busty girl who was dragging HER girlfriend with her too. So much going on!

Trollfest was so bad even my pictures of them suck

bark bark bark

Trollfest was playing when I got there, unfortunately. They had a ton of people on stage - 8 I think plus one small kid who was brought up on stage and given a  tambourine or something. This Norwegian band's mix of folk, cabana music, incomprehensible vocals, alleged humour, and nonsense language was just miserable to hear. I think I was in the minority, based on more than a few people I talked to who really enjoyed them. I don't think there is enough beer in the world to allow me such a state of mind. I also really hate that dog barking song. I kind of felt similar to how people were eating up all the bands at the last Alestorm show, while I only really enjoyed Alestorm, I am not sure exactly why. Maybe I wanted basically ANY OTHER Norwegian band.


Korpiklaani was up next, and the crowd was initially pretty loud...but the energy was definitely a bit different. I really didn't recognize songs until a few in, and even then they were the slower or mid tempo songs (which is fine, but when seeing a booze soaked folk metal band, I think I'd rather hear the more energetic and rowdy songs!). There was some limited reaction, but nowhere near the energy I've seen in the past. The energy was similar to the last show, as I looked back on it- slower and subdued until the last 4 or 5 songs of the set.

In Between Jedi Training

The accordion player Sami Perttula looked like some sort of mad monk with a long ponytail and shaved head on on side, and then a goatee with long braid on the other. Violinist Tuomas Rounakari still looked like an older Luke Skywalker with a beard.

Wooden PINTS?

Korpiklaani played an oddly balanced set, which was several songs from their latest album Noita, and a song from almost every other album (except Tales From the Road). I appreciated that broadness in the satisfyingly long (TWSS) hour and twenty minute set. However, the crowd didn't seem to be into it until the last several songs ("Vodka," etc.) at which point the pit erupted and people came alive! The pit got pretty sweaty and maybe a bit rough during this time. NOW it felt like a Korpiklaani show!

By the time they ended, many people were looking for a Twilight Tavern

Ensiferum stomped to the stage to the "March of War" over the PA into the moshing frenzy of the "Axe of Judgement." The energy seemed more consistent than for Korpiklaani, and everything sounded pretty great. The many samples/synth/backing vocal tracks made me wonder how the non-tracked background vocals REALLY sounded.

Unsung Heroine


Keyboard player Emmi Silvennoinen couldn't make the tour, so Netta Skog (ex-Turisas) on accordion was her substitute. She actually sang some songs on the latest Ensiferum album. She later somehow sang very poorly on their atrocious Priest cover. She was pretty animated and did a snippet of Iron Maiden's "The Trooper" and some sort of disco or polka at another point.

Picture taken From somewhat Afar

Guitarist and frontman Petri Lindroos was doing most of the commanding on stage and looked a bit more battle worn than before. Maybe it was the beard? I also noticed that the drummer Janne Parviainen and the guitarist Markus Toivonen were both balding. That obviously didn't affect their playing, which sounded great. The vocals were a bit rough for the first couple songs, but then they were corrected.

One More Magic Potion

Bassist Sami Hinkka was very vocal with the crowd as well. Near the end, he wanted to know if we wanted to see some "Real Heathen Magic." Of course we roared "YES!" On one side of the stage Petri was holding up a small towel, and behind on a roadie was holding a bass ready. Sami was on the other end, placing a pointed finger at each side of his head, and then charged like a bull. Sami, the matador here deftly dodged, and Sami jumped into his bass. A bit silly, yes.

Into Battle these doods play

Setlist wise, there were a lot from their new one, and at least one from every other album, so a somewhat balanced set with a completely unneeded and poorly executed cover added. I of course would have loved to hear "Twilight Tavern" (my favourite) or "One More Magic Potion," but the inclusion of "Into Battle" was an excellent alternative! Compared to last time at Paganfest, it was a somewhat different set.

You want some Screaming Heavy Metal? YOU WANT SOME JUDAS PRIEST?

At the encore break, Netta came out with a leather cap and sunglasses and was basically Roberta Halford for this song. She went on way too long about a special treat, and having the band get set up. Eventually the different members came out to play different instruments than their standard for this Judas Priest cover a la Hammerfall, who did a similar thing, but it sounded slightly better. I know I've done way better karaoke. This performance was basically an off-key, poorly executed version. Netta's singing on the other Ensiferum songs were so superior, so I was extra surprised when she sounded so bad. Also, as a big Judas Priest fan they really didn't do basically their easiest song justice.

Warriors w/ out a war

The last time at Paganfest America 2013 was pretty amazing. I got in the put way less this time, but still a little bit, enough to get hella sweaty. The pits were a little dangerous, one larger guy was definitely out of of enough to the point he fell down. He was picked up and carried over to the back, near one of the bars, and they gave him water. The idiot got up and somehow got back to the pit for more. After some time, he randomly targeted one guy, and charged him, speared him to the ground  and I was told he started to wail on him. Talk about unacceptable. I'm not sure where the Soundstage staff was at that point, but I was nervous. If he had targeted me, or some other smaller framed person, that could have been really bad.


Overall, it was a pretty great show, especially for the co-headlining sets. I really thought the coheadliners were great, but Trollfest left a bad sound in my ears. If they had swapped them for a better band, I think it would have been way better (but perhaps it was better this way, as I was able to beat a little traffic.

Next Show: RUSH

Trollfest (?-~8:15)
  • Solskinnsmedisin 
  • Helvetes Hunden Garm 

  • Viinamäen Mies 
  • Journey Man 
  • Pilli On Pajusta Tehty 
  • Lempo 
  • Sahti 
  • Ruumiinmultaa 
  • Petoelaimen Kuola 
  • Sumussa hämärän aamun 
  • Vaarinpolkka 
  • Viima 
  • Metsämies 
  • Kultanainen 
  • Minä Näin Vedessä Neidon 
  • Ämmänhauta 
  • Kylästä Keväinen Kehto 
  • Vodka 
  • Rauta 
  • Wooden Pints 
  • Pellonpekko 
  • Juodaan viinaa (Hector cover)

Ensiferum (10:23- 12:08)
  • March of War (tape)
  • Axe of Judgement 
  • Heathen Horde 
  • Into Battle 
  • Little Dreamer (Väinämöinen, Part II) 
  • The Trooper snippet (on accordion)
  • Warrior Without a War 
  • Ahti 
  • Smoking Ruins 
  • Two of Spades 
  • Unsung Heroes 
  • Burning Leaves 
  • One Man Army 
  • Victory Song 

  • Breaking the Law (Judas Priest cover)
  • From Afar 
  • Token of Time 
  • Iron