Concert Review – Children of Bodom 1 Apr 11
First the venue - Norwich UEA (University of East Anglia) is a great place to check out a show. The maximum capacity is around 1,500. There is really no bad place to stand; anywhere in the auditorium is a good view. One thing I like about it is that the pit floor area is lowered and surrounded by about 4 steps leading up to a higher main floor area. This gives those in the pit an opportunity to do as they wish and those that do not want to get into the pit can stand on the steps or main platform and see above everyone. The viewing opportunity at Norwich UEA is maximized. The sound quality is also very good, which is important at a metal show.
First band Machinae Supremacy – This band started as soon as I walked in the door. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I never heard this band before or heard of them. So this was a the first time I laid ears on this band. I thought they were pretty good. To me, they had kind of Soilwork feel to them except the singer didn’t growl at any time. He had a clean voice. When he said they were from Sweden I wasn’t surprised at all. They had that rock-beat melodic-metal style popular from Scandinavian bands. It was at this point I realized this whole night of metal mayhem was made up of a quad-bill of Swedish/Finish bands.
Next up Ensiferum - I was excited to see this band since I only just got into them several months ago thanks to like-minded bloggers. I like the feel and sound of this folk-metal Finish band. If you know anything about Finish metal and folk infused metal then you have a jump-start on Ensiferum. They played real well and dressed their part…Finish-type kilts, bare chested…except for the female keyboardist. She had normal female metal attire. For a while I didn’t know Ensisferum was opening so this was a huge bonus. It’s always great to have opening acts you really want to see. Twilight Tavern was outstanding live!
Next up Amon Amarth - This is the main reason I wanted to get to this show. Amon Amarth is so good live it’s just too hard to pass up. After seeing them in 2009 on the Twilight of the Thunder Gods tour I vowed to see them as much as I could. Tonight was a special treat. According to Johan himself he said we were the very first to hear new material from Surtur Rising live. This gig was the first on their leg of the tour with Children of Bodom. Amon Amarth is only playing UK dates opening for Children of Bodom before moving on to the States. So it felt special to be the first to hear three of Surtur Rising’s tracks live. They hammered them out pretty well. Amon Amarth did not dig too deep in the files. I think the oldest songs they played were Runes to My Memory and Pursuit of Vikings (which I will be posting a video on YouTube soon). Some other favorites they played were Twilight, Live For The Kill, and Guardians of Asgaard.
Headliner – Children of Bodom - This was my second time seeing Children of Bodom, but the first time as a headliner. They had a nice stage set up, fancy lighting bits, and plenty of room to move around. This was a pretty nice set up for a fairly small show. I mean 1K+ people is pretty good, but some work definitely went into this show and as a fan I appreciate that. Bodom came out and crushed it. As a fan, I was surprised that I really don’t know their music as well as I thought. They played plenty of new stuff, which I am still getting to know, and plenty of old stuff, but older stuff before I first got into Bodom when they released Are You Dead Yet? So there were a quite fair numbers of songs I wasn’t familiar with. They put on a great show none-the-less. It was cool watching Alexi play. He is über talented, but when you see him in videos he is headbanging and flinging hair everywhere. Live, he is really concentrating on his playing almost to the point I wondered if he saw crowd movement. Either way, there is no denying that the dude can seriously play, but that is the price for playing technical music, you really have to pay attention to what you are doing.
Lastly – The Fans - I have had nothing bad to say about British Metal Fans except a certain percentage in the pit need to shower. There are some stinky shirtless blokes in there. Anyway, this is the first time I have ever seen a crowd orchestrate their own wall of death. None of that was prompted by any band. The crowd took matters into their own hands and did probably 5-6 walls of death during Bodom’s set. Kudos for whoever was in the pit that coordinated all that. I wasn’t part of that because I am old in mosh-pit years. It was fun to watch though cause some folks just didn’t get understand what was about to happen.
All four bands brought something to the table. I recommend all of them especially Amon Amarth. They seem to have fun up on stage and actually seem really humbled when the crowd screams for them. I like that attitude. If you have a chance to catch this tour please do. Americans will get an Evening with Amon Amath in the very near future. They will be playing two sets…Surtur Rising, then a set of older material. It promises to be super fantastic.