A proper mini-tour, the one involving the close-knit gang Trollfest-Heidevolk-Arkona-Korpiklaani. This time they’re playing SimmCity in Vienna: the venue is not a typical one for metal concerts, but definitely a very good one in terms of sound.
I couldn’t see the first part of Trollfest‘s show due to an interview with Heidevolk, but I manage to get to it just in time to see Jostein “Tollmannen” Austvik‘s eccentric outfit and the tree with interwoven balloons on his head. Remarkable!
From the backstage we can hear the cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic“. When I come back, the hall is packed. The crowd is delirious. Ballons popping everywhere. I manage to convince the security guy and let me in for some pictures. I’m pretty lucky, because it was just time for “Kaptein Kaos“! Jostein takes on his percussions, the other ones are jumping around, while the only Dag “DrekkaDag” Stinerg stays still with his saxophone. He might look serious if only he weren’t wearing makeup like the filthiest suburbs prostitute. The goblin-like voice goes on, singing “Solkskinnsmedizin” and “Helvetes Hunden GARM“, raising from the audience some sort of stadium chant going “Woof! Woof! Woof!”.
A swift set change and Heidevolk come on stage right on time, fourth gig in Vienna for them. Now’s the time to engage the band with a camera in my hands. “Engage” is the right word, because Heidevolk are intense, strong and sharp. They control the stage with prowess. The two male voices fill up the air. The entire hall feeds on this vibe and starts moshing. With “A Wolf in My Heart” they’ve already won.
Perfectly coordinated, they don’t stop fuelling the audience until the very last moment: they jump, move on stage and drink!
A front kick from Rowan and Storm makes way to “Drankgelag“. Koen goes on with a powerful riff.
The gem is certainly “Vulgaris Magistralis” which, just like “Britannia“, makes the particular voice effect stand out. Lars, with tenor-like skills, holds the note forever. Literally everyone answers the barbaric call.
Time for one last salute, with Storm running and filming people’s faces with his phone.
Quite a lot of people are impatient for Arkona. The introductive mantra calls back the latecomers: there’s no time to catch a breath of fresh air, the show is starting again.
Masha is particularly energized tonight: switching from clean to screaming vocals as easily as ever, but with more headbanging and aggressiveness in her voice. Especially in “V pogonie za beloj ten’yu“, one of the darker songs in their production. Wladimir Volk, instead, rules the second, more traditional part, with the songs making the crowd move without caring for each other’s neighbour. “Goi, Rode, goi!” and “Stenka na Stenku” (with its characteristic intro) seems to be the audience’s favourites, but an extended version of “Yarilo” the excitement becomes palpable. Russian or not, we sing, we yell and cheer.
The band, hugging themselves, bow down to us proving that connection between them and the thousands, shining eyes asking for a note, just one more, please!
Time to go from inverted As to nordic forest paintings. Matti “Matson” Johansson makes his entry from among the pines, greeting the audience before taking his seat behind the drums.
Then come the others: violin, accordion, guitar, bass… is everyone there? Obviously, Jonne is missing, greeted right after by a wild scream. The star, the prima donna… and he has every right to act like it! Mic in his hands, he opens his eyes and points to single people in the crowd: he knows he has everyone in his hands!
The other members do their job greatly, especially Sami who shows the accordion’s majestic sounds in “Vaarinpolkka“.
“Wooden Pints” is the absolute hit, with a country-version Tuomas particularly active. And then, the final triad: “Tequila“, “Beer Beer“, “Vodka“. I don’t know where they’re taking the strength to dance from, but there’s no way to stop, especially with three songs in a row like those ones.
Four bands, five hours and counting, an unforgettable evening.
Especially the last beers with Joost from Heidevolk: I really admired the band’s openness toward the fans, whom they met in front of the merch booth.