Live Report - Tyr/Moonsorrow/Korpiklaani gig in Peabody's, Cleveland, August 31, 2012
No label
Fun and somber (sometimes) metal

Release year: 0
Reviewed by Alex

Ever since some of my family members moved away and another friend of mine got out of Cleveland, going to metal gigs became a more lonely experience. Not that my life is carefree and not demanding enough that I could go to many of them. But then when some of my favorite bands come through a place nearby, I try to go the length. Tyr is one such band and their latest The Lay of Thrym spent enough time in my player to be the album of 2011. Having Moonsorrow and Korpiklaani on the same ticket was an excellent sum total not to ignore.

My older kid almost threw a monkey wrench into the plans by coming down with some virus and calling me from school to go and pick her up. Luckily, by the time the evening neared I have been graciously excused by my wife and could get rolling on my 2 hr drive to Cleveland Peabody's. On the way there I have refreshed myself one more time on The Lay of Thrym and a few Korpiklaani songs, but seeing that I was leaving late and just before Labor Day the cops are usually sweeping the roads I was getting to Cleveland rather late. As a result, I have missed Estonians Metsatoll (I guess I will have to buy their CD now to make up for this mea culpa).

When I got to Peabody's Tyr was already setting up. As I was walking in, Heri Joensen was showcasing his nice deep clean voice testing the mic. After an intro from the title track from The Lay of Thrym, the band ripped directly into Flames of the Free and Shadow of the Swastika non-stop. It was clear that A) Peabody's has much better sound than Detroit's Blondie's where I saw Tyr a couple of years ago and B) Tyr guys were significantly more "on" this time around. The vocals were actually heard, solos were nailed, Terji Skibenaes was a lot less wasted (while still showcasing his fine tattoo body art and a new hairdo), Gunnar Thomsen was his usual happy smiling prancing self, and the new material was connecting with the crowd big time. Hall of Freedom followed, the band milking the latest album for all its worth. It would not have been Tyr's concert without an ethnic folk song, so Sinklars Visa (from Land) and something else I missed the title of followed, and the people swayed and clapped and sung without really comprehending the lyrics. The main riff of Sinclars Visa and Heir explaining the story line were plenty enough though. Heri's complaint about him getting hot on stage (and it was a very warm day indeed) was a pretext for the band to further slow down and play Evening Star (did I mention milking The Lay of Thrym for all its worth?). Some in the crowd were sentimental enough to pull out cigarette lighters. Slowdown was not what was the majority was looking for, however, and the mosh pit kept chanting “Heathen Hammer” throughout. Since the band wears those around their necks, as Heri quipped, they had to acquiesce (willingly I might add) and proceeded to rip into Hold the Heathen Hammer High followed By the Sword in My Hand. Not a huge fan of By the Light of the Northern Star album I wonder if these two hits from the album will be the only ones the band ever plays, but can see how these power riff based tracks whip the mosh pit into frenzy and Tyr were masters of the crowd manipulation at that point. Even if my kids yell "I will decimate and decapitate" on their car rides, then metal fans flock to lyrics like that like flies on butter. The title track from The Lay of Thrym closed in a roaring and that song simply ruled.

Moonsorrow followed and presented totally different aesthetic. Their bodies and faces were smeared in fluorescent glow paint, they stood there bringing somber attitude to the proceedings, constantly pushing forward their shamanistic wall-of-sound blackened Finnish folk metal. It must be a bitch to choose to play 4 or 5 songs, when your average cut lasts double digits in minutes, but Moonsorrow managed to cover a lot of ground even going way back to an early part of their career. Ville was ripping on vocals and while not sure what to expect going in I promised myself to re-listen to all of Moonsorrow discography in my possession after the show, which is pretty much everything except their latest Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa, which I bought then and there. Moonsorrow is one hard working distinct underrated band, which exactly what I told guitarist Janne Perttila when I spoke with him afterwards.

While Korpiklaani undertook a major stage reconstruction I managed also to speak to Tyr guys, but Terji took on some liquor already and Gunnar was enjoying himself in a company of a pair of local ladies who may not have known much about metal, but knew how to show the Faroese some good time. Just as I was wishing Heri good luck Korpiklaani opened up. Jonne Jarvela had one hand in a cast, which prevented him from playing guitar but that didn't prevent him from being a jokester and a showman that he is. Two years ago I had my Finnish friend with me at the show, so he yelled things to Jonne in Finnish and the dude responded in kind. Well, he was responding in kind to a thousand screaming fans this time around, playing Kunnia, Rauta and Metsalle from the newest Manala and getting people to dance to Ievan Polkka. It is interesting to point out that Korpiklaani probably had the most interesting mix of fans at the show. The girls who didn't look metal to me, but were probably brought in by their boyfriends, enjoyed the melodies. The old dudes who probably only know Korpiklaani in the metal realm proudly wore their T-shirts and were ready to mix it up in the mosh pit. Having explored the new album a bit, the band went on and on pleasing the crowd to the fullest. Gunnar from Tyr, with a pair of those Cleveland girls hanging off of him, joined right in on the festivities, spraying beer out of their glasses on the fringes of the crowd where I was standing. Happiness and cheery attitude prevailed, as it always does at the Korpiklaani show, even though the Finns often play some more somber and serious introspective songs. The crowd, however, demanded (and received) Vodka and Happy Little Boozer. It was interesting to hear that Korpiklaani played a lot of songs which I term as The Best of Korpiklaani, as even though the band is a lot of fun I can only take it to a certain point always going to specific cuts from their many albums, instead of listening to those albums as a whole. This time they played Viima, which I really like off Tervaskanto, and that pleased me to no end.

Exhausted I left Peabody's knowing that another 2 hr track awaited me on the way back, but satisfied to see a quality performance from the three bands whose music I respect. If you can catch this show in your part of North America, don't hesitate to attend. Fun is guaranteed, and comes standard when Korpiklaani is at the top of the ticket.

Killing Songs :
Alex quoted
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