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Finntroll at Vera, April 29

... I don't remember ever seeing crowdsurfing at Vera. Turns out that Finntroll aren't just big names in the metal subculture, but have actual hero status, complete with loud cheers, hands in the air and a major buzz going through the audience when they walked on stage.
They did a pretty good concert, as well, although they weren't nearly as tight as on the records, especially in the first few numbers. Singer Wilska did a decent job reproducing some of the joik-singing in tracks like "Jaktens Tid", and the signature keyboard sound was there despite the fact that the keyboard player was new.
What didn't translate well to the stage is the tongue-in-cheekness of it all; I suppose that on stage just playing a good metal set is difficult enough, so it was all a bit more straight-faced than on record. But as the gig progressed, the band got tighter, and the guitar sound gained in clarity and depth. On the whole, I'd say it was a good concert but not a great one. The crowd at the sold-out venue loved it though.
The band toured with two support acts. I gave the first one, Amoral, a miss but did catch a few numbers from Naglfar, a decent thrash-metal group. They looked and sounded all right but suffered from the emotional flatness that affects many metal acts; the songs were just made of bits following one another, with no real buildup or mood change. So suddenly there might be a bit where the audience is supposed to go "Hey" in time to the rhythm, but there's no reason why that should happen in that precise part of a song instead of any other.
I liked the crowd. Metal people tend to be friendly and wear interesting things - I was amused by the sight of a girl wearing a tiara. Apart from the tiara and the two young guys in Crusader outfits, the dress style was more restrained than the Gothic style, and a lot more tasteful - for a given value of taste. Many in the crowd had shirts with gruesome imagery or suicidally depressing slogans, which is incongruous if the person wearing the shirt is a fresh-faced, even angelic-looking teenager. Ages ranged from about 13 to mid-fourties, by the way. Americans may be interested to know that alcohol was sold despite the presence of minors - but hopefully not to the minors.
After the concert, Jeroen, Danny, Sidsel and I had a heroic drinking session, which makes the final work on my presentation (I have decided to give it after all) a bit difficult right now.


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