Dream Evil / Korpiklaani
5 November 2006
Camden Underworld, London
The shivering queue outside the Underworld could have certainly benefited from a bonfire on Guy Fawkes Night. Problems with the band`s flights meant a late venue arrival and sound check, but the venue was quickly filled once ready, giving Korpiklaani a very packed and expectant crowd.
There`s no need for an intro tape when you have Juho Kauppinen and his accordion on hand to perform that duty. The response as the band filed onto the stage rivalled that of some headliners I`ve seen here and the beaming faces of Korpiklaani indicated that they were not disappointed with the reception the UK has long awaited to give them.
Journey Man kicked things off with Hittavainen`s violin leading the melody, but it`s Happy Little Boozer that really gets the crowd singing. Tulikokko sees my most dreaded instrument, the bagpipes, brought out, though I have to admit they worked very well.
Unlike Turisas or Finntroll, Korpiklaani`s performance is much more straight laced. Not to say that songs such as Let`s Drink or the rousing set closer Beer Beer are particularly serious, but there`s little clowning around. Frontman Jonne Järvelä handles guitar as well as vocals and come across like a Folk Metal James Hetfield, back in the days when he had long hair.
Judging from the enthusiastic faces of the band and the fact that the crowd had quickly forgotten their lengthy queue in the cold, Korpiklaani`s live UK debut could only be judged a rousing success and I`ll be surprised if we don`t see them back in the near future.
Korpiklaani set list:
Journey Man / Happy Little Boozer / Korpiklaani / Tulikokko / Wooden Pints / Cottages & Saunas / Let's Drink / Hunting Song / Beer Beer
A high mark had thus been set for Dream Evil to follow, but for a band that don`t seem to play live too often, they were certainly up to the challenge. Opening with three cuts from new album United, the title track brought such a rousing sing-along for a new song that following it Niklas Isfeldt asked who`d bought the album and who`d downloaded it. Following the very catchy Blind Evil, Isfeldt proclaimed that Dream Evil are famous for their serious lyrics, though he couldn`t claim credit for Detroit Rock City. The latest composition in that vein followed with Fire! Battle! In Metal!
Quite a brave move to start with so many new songs, but the crowd were lapping it up and then dragged into the familiar territories of In Flames You Burn and Crusaders Anthem. The latter in particular had the crowd singing along though it was clearly apparent from the depth of the backing vocals that some tapes were employed, but they weren`t over bearing. Isfeldt`s lead vocal itself was immense. Hitting all the high notes, Isfeldt, who had grown his hair out a bit since I‘d last seen the band, doesn`t seem to have got is due respect, but his performance tonight had me wondering whether he was a dark horse for a role with Candlemass.
Back From The Dead seems like a bit of a filler on the new album, but things picked up again with the stomping Higher On Fire. It`s been some time since Gus G left the band and Mark Black seems very comfortable in the lead guitar role, employing a harmony pedal at times whilst Fredrik Nordström concentrated on the rhythm work.
The band`s set seemed to concentrate mainly on the new album and Dragonslayer debut, steering clear of a lot of material that Snowy Shaw had a major hand. Maybe coincidental but not unnoticed. Pat Power, who has taken Shaw`s drum stool, really got a chance to shine on Heavy Metal In The Night, which concluded with Power stood up behind his kit. Certainly a hard hitter, Power lived up to his name and was perhaps more regimented that the sometimes freeform drumming of Shaw.
Let Me Out is simple and direct but has proved to be one of my personal favourites on the United album, its verse prompting my Candlemass thoughts about Isfeldt`s vocals. Unfortunately, as the band kick into what was announced as the final song, The Chosen Ones, time is running late due to the delayed start and last trains mean departing quickly. Apparently the band returned for a storming encore including The Book of Heavy Metal & Chasing The Dragon. Dream Evil seem to have made the Camden Underworld their second home, where they are always warmly welcomed. Once again they delivered the goods in fine metal style.
Dream Evil set list:
United / Blind Evil / Fire! Battle! In Metal! / In Flames You Burn / Crusaders Anthem / Back From The Dead / Higher On Fire / The Prophecy / Made Of Metal / Heavy Metal In The Night / Let Me Out / The Chosen Ones / The Book of Heavy Metal / Chasing The Dragon / ?