Where do I start? The beginning is probably a pretty good place! I had the great pleasure of last night going to the second show in a 5 show run of Turisas‘ UK tour supporting their brand, spanking new album Turisas 2013. They are being provided with support on the tour by Astrohenge and welsh rockers REVOKER. The venue was the O2 Academy in Islington, which is another medium capacity nice venue with the bonus feature of an upstairs balcony. Nice place to spend an evening.
The night kicked off with Astrohenge. They’re a four piece outfit who describe themselves as playing ‘experimental/post metal’. I’d like to say I liked them and they opened the show with a bang, but I’d be lying. They opened the show with a 40 minute set of sheer confusion, and looking around the crowd I wasn’t the only one thinking that. Astrohenge have no vocalist, and don’t actually interact with the crowd at all – the mic’s didn’t appear to even be on. There was no whipping the crowd into a frenzy, there was a solid set of some technically very competent thrash overlaid with weird keyboards that sometimes worked and often didn’t.
Still, everyone has different taste, so if you like your metal to experimental and VERY trippy go and check them out.
A bit of set changing later the lads from REVOKER hit the stage and did what every good support band should do- whip the crowd into a nice little frenzy and get them ready for the main act. REVOKER are an interesting badn- I managed to catch them after the show for a chat and they informed me that a follow up to their debut album ‘Revenge for the Ruthless‘ is in the offing and after this tour they’ll be heading straight back to the studio. They play a nice mix of thrash with some punchy vocals and lyrics that really do leave you wanting more – I thoroughly enjoyed their set and I’m looking forward to seeing them in a couple of years when they’ve polished their act from ‘support’ to ‘headliner’. I suspect those days aren’t far away if they carry on working- there were a fair number of REVOKER t shirts in the crowd and a big-ish section at the front who were singing along and clearly know the band well.
And then finally the hour was upon us. I’m not going to lie – I was there to see Turisas. Good support acts are a bonus. To see a headline band I love I’ll sit through any amount of support that isn’t to my tastes. I last saw Mathias and co back in 2006 when they were the support act for Lordi and they blew me away that night so I had high expectations….
And boy were they met. Turisas played an absolutely storming set from an epic introduction of howling orchestra overlaid with seagulls to their last rendition of Rasputin ( the place went CRAZY). there was absolutely no let up for nigh on an hour and a half. The set was a nice mix of new material- For your Own Good and Ten More Miles both saw play to a rapturous reaction from the crowd, alongside older material like To Holmgard and Beyond, Stand up And Fight and the eponymous Battle Metal.
Turisas aren’t just a band with a great catalogue of material though- they know how to work a stage and the new line up is so slick it brings tears to your eyes- Mathias as ever works the crowd with finesse- he introduced One More, rhapsodizing that after 8 years someone finally read their rider and gave them Spitfire as a beer instead of something imported from Holland! Of course he then asked us if we knew any British drinking songs and so obligingly everyone gave him a few rounds of ‘Let’s get f***ing w****ered’. Beer continued to be a theme – unusually the boys didn’t close with Battle Metal but played it mid set- apparently the English fans enjoy their beer a bit to much, and if they leave it to be the set closer half the crowds passed out. Although, last night I saw no evidence of that from the crowd- just a lot of red and black faces, and some very energetic fist pumping.
By half way through the set Mathias and Jussi had barely a lick of warpaint left on them and the set finished with Islington O2 being ripped apart to Rasputin– a song I didn’t think we’d hear, after having it on good authority that the track had been dropped from the live set list. I think however a riot may have broken out if it wasn’t played. This is a line up of Turisas that most UK fans won’t have seen and by the Thunderer they’ve got a slick, tight show put together and an obviously strong camaraderie that showcases the best of every members skills and leads to a show that was quite frankly mind-blowing. The crowd went wild – Turisas clearly have a strong following in the UK, and I for one will be first in line to buy my ticket when they return in 2014.