Saturday, May 02, 2009

Korpiklaani with Primordial, Moonsorrow, Blackguard, and Swashbuckle [Worcester Palladium, 5/1/2009]

Behold the power of the internets; the first proper US tour for any of these bands, and the biggest real-metal room in New England between half and three-quarters full. And worth it; this turned out to be a pretty epic show.

Because I wanted to see Swashbuckle again, and at a range that would matter, I left again directly from work and got in shortly after doors. Because the tour organizers decided to backline everybody (a smart decision that more tourmanagers should look into; it saves gas, space, and time, and virtually eliminates the possibility of shit getting stolen since you can just cycle guitars and cymbals in and out of the green room and have everyone drag their own shit out to the vans/buses at the end), this meant about an hour of downtime before the music actually started. This was enough time to do beer and merch and still get way ahead on the rail, where I hung out, shot the shit with various peeps, and chuckled at the illuminated inflatable palm trees.

Swashbuckle [5.5/7]
This may have been their first time back in New England since that infamous show at O'Brien's; they did a mini-tour with Revocation (at least 2/3 of whom were on hand as guestlist/roadies), but I'm not sure it ran this far north. Nevertheless, they got a nice reception as soon as the board got them properly dialed in, despite being by far the thrashiest band on the bill and debatably the heaviest. The new material is pretty good, and I'm looking forward to their Nuclear Blast debut – fuckin A, doods, right on!

Before the band went on, the security was laughing at their inflatable stage set and mocking as though the band was going to be poncy Jack Sparrow disciples. In the break after them, several of the secus who were ripping on them the most had ordered up to the merch stand for shirts. That's how you define a musical tour-de-force – emphasis on force.

Blackguard [5/7]
Les enfants de Bodom must have been taken. These Canadiens were pretty good, and well-matched to the headliners, but their early-Bodom-following style wasn't the most differentiated in the world; Equilibrium's middle-of-the-road sound without their epically expansive compositions. It was good music, overall, but it ran on for a bit longer than might really have been optimal; nevertheless, they pretty much had to play in this spot based on the structure of the rest of the bill, and competitive pressure from the other bands will push them to improve as this tour goes on.

I got a CD from them, but not a shirt; haven't listened yet, but the cover looks like a reference to La Maudite – and if the record's half as good as MPD's song of the same name, it'll nearly be worth the $20 I dropped on it. Srsly, dudes, this is 2009, you're supposed to sell your CDs cheap at shows and pocket the extra the record store would have made.

Moonsorrow [7/7]
There is something seriously going on with Trollhorn/Henri that he keeps not coming to the US with the bands he's in. First Finntroll, now Moonsorrow; the silver lining in this, though, is that Moonsorrow, like Finntroll, appears to be perfectly capable of knocking out an ace set without him. They only played five songs, and even at that, the set only ran about 45 minutes....which is about half as long as a five-song Moonsorrow set might take in the optimal case. Still: amazing, epic music, the crowd thoroughly into it, a good balance of new material and old, blacker, stuff; not the absolutely optimal set, but fuck was it good.

Primordial [7/7]
My first time seeing this band without dirt under my feet: neither as magical as that first outing in the tentstage in '05, nor as straightforwardly powerful and transformative as this summer on the Party Stage, but still, an eminently worthy Primordial set, covering basically the same core of material that they did the last time I saw them.

Empire Falls
The Golden Spiral
As Rome Burns
The Coffin Ships
Gods To The Godless
Heathen Tribes

Six songs, 45 minutes again; it's how this band rolls, and though this was debatably the third best of the three times that I've seen them, it was still so good as to tremendously overpower nearly all of the people who, due to the band having played exactly one show (last year's Heathen Crusade) in the US before this, had never seen them live. Primordial is a transformative band live or on record, and you do not forget the first time you see them.

Korpiklaani [6.5/7]
Korpiklaani had a tough act to follow, but they followed it up as only they can: by sheer obliviousness, the distinct selling point of their particular brand of deer-camp humppaa metal. It was a fun time, but there was certainly also a certain intellectual disjunct; Primordial leaves throwing up shadows of diaspora, genocide, nationalism, post-nationalism, tribalism, and post-corporatocracy, and then a bunch of Finns start bumping the bass and squeezing an accordion. The new material sounded fine, if completely indistinguishable from their old stuff; "Wodka" is going to be an infield favorite on a par with "Beer Beer" and "Happy Little Boozer", for sure. They also had a couple breaks of pure open-bow Finnish humppaa, which maybe nobody else recognized as such, but people dug all the same. Despite the thick language barrier (vice the singer's impenetrable accent), people certainly got into it; as much dancing as moshing, as odd as it looks and seems. Even up here in New England we aint got nothin agin a good ole-fashion barn dance on a Frid'y night, 'long's it's a band we done importered from Finland up on stage a-sawin th'fiddle.

After a good long show made smoother by the large-scale backlining, the venue eventually put the lights back up and things had to be over. This is going to be one of the standout shows of the year when all is said and done, and if you missed it, especially if you haven't seen Primordial before, those who were there are going to be scoffing at you at some point in this conversation.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the rundown here, looking forward to Seattle on 5/14...did Primordial have decent merch for sale?

Son of Munster said...

They had a choice of two normal/dude shirts (one with the "Fighting Man" quote from "Empire Falls" that'll be posted prob tomorrow night, one with the tourdates) plus one girl-shirt using a variation on the golden-dragons motif from Gathering Wilderness, and To The Nameless Dead for $15 if for some reason you don't have it already. Shirts if I recall correctly were all on a $20 price point, and it looks like in Euro sizes.