Eluveitie, Korpiklaani, and Gone in April – October 5th, 2019 – The Cabooze
Last night was unbelievably cool. I don’t know how else to start this review. There are so many things about this show that are all vying to be the top, the best or the first thing out of my fingertips that they’re causing a traffic jam in my brain. We will start with the fact that I never expected The Cabooze to be near capacity for this show. There were close to (if not just over) 900 people in attendance, but the really odd thing is not terribly many people filtered in after the opening band (Gone in April). This means that this is one of the few shows I’ve caught this year that the entire audience was there for the full experience all night. That’s probably the best way to describe the show last night as more of an experience than a concert.
Gone in April –
A lot of opening bands take the stage with a “Hi, we’re here to play music you don’t want to hear while the band you’re really here to see is getting ready” type of attitude. Not Gone in April. They made sure you knew from the first song that they were very much part of this show. The first thing that one unfamiliar with the band would notice would be vocalist Julie Belanger Roy’s beautiful flowing blue hair, victorian era red coat and violin at her side. She commanded the stage and and the audience. While Julie is certainly “the hook”, the attention grabber, you’ll find very quickly that there is an equal distribution of talent in this band. Vocalist Aaron Rogers gruff grinding growls grabs you somewhere in your soul and carries you along for the ride. Marc-Andre Gingras was brilliant on guitars with memorable riffs and solos that might make you think there was an extra set of hands somewhere. Bassist Steve DiGorgio carried the undertones like a champ and really tied things together. This whole band is a series of offsets that really finds balance within itself. From Aaron’s crushing vocals being offset with Julie’s vocals that grab you like your favorite story, the punch you in the face guitar riffs are nicely balanced out with the violin. You would think that it would be very easy for this type of arrangement to each go their own direction and sound like complete garbage, but these guys made it work. Well thought out arrangements where each instrument complimented itself and each other. They did a great job. You might think that I was leaving out drummer Yanic Belcier. I was just saving the best for last. I was truly impressed with this guy’s style. If you take the speed and precision of All that Remains drummer Jason Costa and Soilwork’s drummer Henry Ranta’s ability to not just carry the rhythm but actually turn his kit into an instrument to be played, you end up with Yanic Belcier. The speed, the precision and the uncanny ability to add to the songs was something to watch. All in all, an impressive band to watch. Not your typical opening band. They only set the stage for what was coming next though.
If you’ve never heard of Korpiklaani, you’ve missed out on 20 years of some of the most innovative Folk Metal/Celtic Metal this whole planet has to offer. With lead singer Jonne Jarvela’s thick Finnish accent, you’d think the stage was invaded by viking pirates from the 17th century. This was one hell of a set that encouraged drunken debauchery and respect for all around you. Strange combination for a metal show which is usually depicted in drunken anarchy and destruction. From the first draw of Tuomas Rounakari’s bow, you know you’re in for a riotous good time. Everything was there in this set you’d expect. Tons of energy, lots of crowd participation, a performance that was just that, the band giving you absolutely everything they had which was way more than you thought you were coming to see. I haven’t seen them in a large venue before, however, they fit an arena sized show into a 1200 max capacity venue. I’d imagine you’d get the same show, the same intensity and drive to perform if Korpiklaani was in front of a crowd of 1000 or 100,000. One thing that was amazingly absent was the presence of a mosh pit. This doesn’t mean that Korpiklaani’s music doesn’t take control of your body and force you to move in spastic ways, but there really wasn’t a need for one at this show. Enjoy the night, party with your friends and be thoroughly entertained was the overriding theme. “We are all friends here, buy that man a beer and he’ll buy you one too” is the overall feeling you get from being at a Korpiklaani show. A unique experience that every metal fan should have at least once in their life.
Holy smokes… You want something different? You want to see a performance that could go south if one little thing is out of sync, but somehow it doesn’t? You want to see a wide array of instruments you’ve never heard paired with metal? Then you want to see Eluveitie. I am far from an instrumental encyclopedia, but in their repertoire was: drum kit, guitar and bass (standard fare), as well as: violin, harp, mandolin, flutes, pipes, piccolos, a hurdy gurdy, and probably one or two that I can’t name or missed completely. There were 8 performers in total on The Cabooze’s tiny stage. They did a great job of arranging themselves so that it looked and felt like there was way more room up there than there was. Eluveitie is a Swiss band that comes to you with a folkey, lore based type of metal that makes you think that if there were distortion pedals in the 1600s, this type of music wouldn’t sound unique at all. Fortunately, that wasn’t the historical case and we get Eluveitie standing on their own with a breed and blend of music that is all their own. Some bands clearly struggle getting 4 people to sync up and perform a song that sounds like what it was meant to sound like. 8 seems a near impossibility, but they pulled it off. A set of very talented musicians who clearly had a spot in each song earmarked for the instruments involved.
Review and photos Paul Allen