Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Korpiklaani with Tyr, Swashbuckle, and White Wizzard [Worcester Palladium, 1/8/2010]

I missed out on Razormaze's kickoff due to being on call, but the shift wrapped up at the end of the week, and I was able to get out to this gig, which has been roundly slated, both before and after, to a degree that it didn't really deserve.

Getting in on time was not really difficult, but it was unnecessarily expensive; this gig got moved from downstairs to upstairs (understandably; though for an upstairs show it was frickin packed, people would have been rattling around in the downstairs, especially since a lot of the people who go to shows like this are not going to be on the floor throughout), but the ticket didn't move down in price at all. $25, even at the door, is too much for a four-band show upstairs at this place, full stop. I still paid it to be able to see Tyr and Korpiklaani from contact range, but my patience for such antics is getting strained.

White Wizzard [5/7]
I think about fitba too much, so on seeing these guys, the first thought was of some unbalanced second-division side that you randomly see in a cup competition: some guys who are too good for where they're playing, and some that you scratch your head and wonder how they got this far. The second thought, of course, though, was "how did an Iron Maiden cover band get on this tour"? As their set went on, they put in more doom and '70s elements, eventually coming around to a better set, but there's a lot of Maiden in their sound still, and while the bassist was outstanding -- as any must be to clone Iron Maiden -- the guitar solos were disturbingly hit-or-miss for a band touring nationally. The liner notes for their record -- apparently a demo repackaging -- indicated that this was a new lineup, so maybe they're shaking out the bugs and will improve in the future. The room's definitely there, but hopefully they'll diversify the sound a little more as well.

Swashbuckle [7/7]
The score's a little iffy; this was more to the level of their killer New England debut than their subjugation of Germany in the summer, but it was still a top-class set and the score isn't supposed to be for perfection. They came (out to "Sharp Dressed Man", perhaps a reference to the beardism now sweeping across the whole band), they saw (the floor open up for multiple Waves of Death), they played headcrunching pirate thrash and invited up crowdsurfers and stagedivers. Was there a barricade down front before? There certainly wasn't this night, and the band and those getting riotous for them took full advantage.

This is, as mentioned, my fourth time seeing this band in five months, and the third month in a row that they have played upstairs at the Palladium in the first week. The risk of overexposue is certainly there, but props to the band for having the fortitude to go out and be road warriors to this degree, even (on this trip) doing the instrumental-tech and backline work for the tour as a whole. You don't really expect a pirate metal band to 'make it' in this day and age, so in that regard, working one's ass off is probably the optimal path to overcome those odds.

Tyr [6/7]
More new stuff and fewer doomballads in this set than the last time around, but even if the sound seemed a little off in places, this was a class performance. This was the first show of the tour, and a bunch of their equipment hadn't made it into Logan correctly, but Tyr gave a strong performance regardless. (It was armor and stuff that didn't make it in, not instruments, which made it that much easier; also New England is accustomed, at this point, to seeing Tyr just playing guitars and stuff with their shirts off.) They closed with a strong cover of "The Wild Rover" that may not play as well in other places -- not only folk fans salting the audience, but also a lot of Dropkicks fans and other plastic paddies, along with a handful of the next step up, plastic Provos like the twit who was yelling stuff about "the 'ra" at the end of this one; that's Boston for you, and you will not find that in many other places.

They mentioned a 9-year-old girl in the audience "tricked into a rock concert" by her parents for her birthday, which was entertaining; the reaction to grouse about "kiddy jig metal" or alternately, to expound on Metalnachwuchs, probably says more about the individual having the reaction than it does about the band, or the kind of parents who name their kid Freya.

Korpiklaani [7/7]
Korpiklaani looked a little uncomfortable at times the last time they were around; whether it was the more intimate setting, a full tour's worth of experience with American audiences, or less pressure not having to follow Primordial and Moonsorrow, this was a nonfactor on this outing. We got a nice long set of free-flowing humppaa metal, interrupted only briefly by crowd antics, that by the end slid down the slope to boozy DIY anarchy. The band was initially disturbed by the crowdsurfers -- not without cause, because five members on the stagefront makes the upstairs stage a hell of a lot more crowded than, say, Swashbuckle's two -- but after securing the mic stands properly, got into the game, passing out their free beers (often shaken up) into the crowd for drinking and spraying purposes. What did anyone expect from a band that starts with "Wodka" and closes out with "Beer Beer"? Certainly not solicitude of the security, who went onto high alert at the thought of alcohol being handed out in frangible glass bottles to random people in the pit. Nobody hurt or arrested, at least that I could see, so all good in the end.

As I was going out, I happened to overhear someone complaining that Korpiklaani was too loud, making them not as good as Tyr. It was very difficult to keep from mercilessly ripping into them: you went to what kind of concert and are complaining that bands are too loud? If this attitude is more generally shared, then and only then is the getoffmylawn griping about what kind of people this kind of metal attracts valid. Seriously, you go to a metal show and complain that the bands are too loud? Loud is kind of what this music aims for, if you have a problem don't stand next the damn speakers, idiot.

I did stand next the damn speakers, and my ears were ok. At least as far as I can tell. Unfortunately, I had to miss Summoning Hate last night, but the possibility is still on for Goreality tonight, and then the Palladium gig at the weekend -- unless it's upstairs, uninspiring, and too fucking expensive.

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