Dubbed as the Finnish folk metal mafia tour-although the term mafia seems pretty far fetched here-Korpiklaani and Moonsorrow join forces as they tour around Europe showing the rest of the continent some of the best metal that Finland has to offer. Tonight the tour makes a stop at the 1865 in Southampton, a city known for a vibrant metal scene. Although the place isn’t as packed as one might have expected, you can feel the enthusiasm and excitement in the air as the crowd waits for the night to begin.
First up are progressive black metal outlet Moonsorrow who offer a rather theatrical set. The band begin their set with the sound of an orchestral pagan style instrumental piece before marching on stage covered in blood and corpse paint. With all of this alongside the moody atmospherical lighting, these guys definitely set the scene. Moonsorrow’s sound really sparks a fire in the crowd causing circle pits, fists pumping, sweat flowing and of course mass head banging. While they’re definitely not a sing along band, considering all their songs are in Finnish, the band still manage to have their thumb wrapped around the audience for the majority of the set. However, with most of their songs having a duration of over 10 minutes it’s pretty hard to tell when one song finishes and another one begins and that can become pretty tiresome. Overall, Moonsorrow delivered a solid set musically but regards to how entertaining it was things got a little stale over time.
Korpiklaani are a band known to have a party atmosphere when it comes the their live shows and tonight they really prove this. While most of their songs are still in English the up lifting beats and anthem like chorus’s really gets the crowd going. Somehow the band even manage to get the crowd in a circle bit during slow songs like ‘Lempo.’ Korpiklaani are great to watch live because their songs have fast beats and happy melodies and that really gets you dancing, particularly during songs like ‘Viinamean Mies’ and ‘Pilli On Pajusta Tehty.’ The band show their strong musicianship as each member gives off the same amount of enthusiasm, especially their accordion players and violinist who run around the stage effortlessly performing each song pristinely. Lead vocalist, Jonne Jarvela, may not be the best at crowd interaction but his activeness on stage along with the party beer hall style music does all that for him. As expected the band end their lively set with drinking anthem, ‘Vodka’ and during this performance there’s a coincidental smell of this fine spirit in the air. Furthermore, there’s not one person pumping their fists in the air and singing along to the vibrant chorus. It was a great and memorable way to end the show.
Overall, while Moonsorrow weren’t the most exciting live band they still provided the crowd with a quality set musically and the theatrics made their presence this evening memorable. Korpiklaani, however, were by far the best band of the night as they provided the best atmosphere and the crowd’s reaction to their set says it all.
Words by Megan McMillan