Journalist: Kirsti Heitz
Photographer: Navneet Johal
Published: September 23, 2014
Click HERE to access our interview with Sonata Arctica.
Sonata Arctica w/
September 11, 2014
Presented by: Inertia Entertainment
Metalheads of a special variety crowded the doors of the Mod Club on September 11, 2014. Power metal lovers and symphonic metal addicts filled up the venue much more than could have been expected for a Thursday evening. The bands started on time but the doors did not, as usual with the Mod Club, so fans hustled and jostled their way in towards the operatic metal that is Xandria.
As I just mentioned, since the doors opened essentially when the first band went on, I only got to see a part of Xandria’s set. I must say that their live sound far supersedes their recorded material (which didn’t particularly convince me). From the power ballad “Forevermore” to “Valentine,” Xandria fans sang word for word while onlookers like myself got won over. Xandria has vocals that are a lot more operatic than most leaning more towards the Nightwish-ey sound, but the music itself stands out with it’s own special something. New vocalist Dianne van Giersbergen seemed to do a decent job of replicating the older songs, but her onstage performance seemed lacking.
Delain took the stage next and having seen them open for Kamelot, they delivered exactly what I expected. Guitarist, Timo Somers and bassist Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije headbanged away to tracks, both heavy and slow, encouraging fans to let loose. Even keyboardist Martijn Westerholt was rocking out, stepping it up from Xandria’s more stoic performance. They hit up “The Gathering,” the heavier and heartfelt “Electricity” as well as “April Rain” by popular request, all the while unleashing the new addition to their stage set up, a fog machine so powerful it obscured the band in seconds. Delain finished up their set with “We Are the Others” and a lot of energetic jumping. My only complaint is that someone kept on hitting a mic or switching a cable that made a cringing WHACK noise every once in a while.
The Fins themselves took the stage jumping right into a track off their new album Pariah’s Child (2014), “Wolves Die Young.” Having returned to that good old Sonata Arctica song that we loved from Ecliptica (1999) and Winterheart’s Guild (2003), new fans and old fans alike seemed to enjoy their new material. Vocalist Tony Kakko gives a passionate and entertaining performance, singing every note perfectly and acting out parts of the songs for our amusement. Every song seemed to bring smiles to Sonata fans from “Losing My Insanity,” “Black Sheep” and “Replica” to Sonata anthems like “San Sebastian” and “Full Moon.” Fans swooned and chanted along to “I Have a Right” as we were all transported back to the times we found solace in Sonata’s darker, self consoling theme’s.
A particular favourite, which ironically I started out hating, was “X Marks the Spot” which starts off with a preacher like voice claiming to have found salvation in rock. Kakko mouthed the monologue of the preacher exactly and acted it out, causing more than a few giggles. Sonata Arctica veteran Tommy Portimo killed it the on drums and new bassist Pasi Kauppinen has an adorably awkward performance. I think my all time favourite has to be keyboardist Henrik Klingenberg’s vacant star as he rocked out on his keytar, and mouthed along with the lyrics. If it weren’t for the occasional smile creeping out on his face, I would have thought that he was half asleep. Sonata finished off the night with the classic “Don’t Say a Word” and their version of “Hava Nagila” which switches the words to “Vodka, we need some vodka!”