Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US)

ELUVEITIE / TÝR / METSATÖLL

Date: 15th October, 2014
Venue: House Of Blues Chicago
Ticket: $33.50 / €26
Promoter: n/a


MariaV: ELUVEITIE are still in a rising course in the States, so I wasn’t surprised that this show was booked in House Of Blues in Chicago and, in fact, I was happy about this because the last couple of times we saw ELUVEITIE in the Windy City, the sound quality did not do justice to the band’s multi-instruments music. Add to that two very good supporting bands breathing pretty much the same Folk Metal air and then you have an explosive billing that was not to be missed. Fortunately the evening commute was not that bad, so we entered HOB a few minutes before the Estonians of METSATÖLL had entered the stage.

To my delight METSATÖLL had a strong following that night in HOB and, in fact, there were many Estonians inside the venue because there was quite a reaction the moment Varulven spoke in his native language. By the way, the lyrics are written in the Estonian language but this didn’t seem to be a barrier at all, so it didn’t take a lot to see lots of primitive dancing followed by occasional mosh-pit action. And this is exactly how Folk Metal works; follow the dancing grooves, keep your fist in the air and a beer on the other hand, while having tons of fun. After the Folk-dancer “Küü”, Varulven got his mouth-harp and gave the signal for some chanting along the catchy groove of “Kivine Maa”. You don’t have to really understand the words as long as you got the phonetic result right and that’s how the singing-along the chorus went down that night. METSATÖLL quickly broke any type of obstacles the language might have raised and by the time “Saaremaa Vägimees” had kicked in, House Of Blues had turned into House Of Folk; and according to Varulven this was a love song about... beer. But the Metal balance was quickly restored during “Surmamüür” that saw a nice wall of death occupying the venue’s arena. It was really entertaining how the Estonians’ mixed their music with lots of humor, even though it was kind of tough to clearly understand what Varulven was saying. Anyway, the really tight 40-minutes setlist ended with “Lööme Mesti” on a high note (without KORPIKLAANI’s Jonne on vocals, of course) and lots of moshing; well-done, guys and hope to see you soon back in Chicago.

METSATÖLL setlist:

01. Külmking”
02. “Metsalase Veri”
03. “Must Hunt”
04. “Küü”
05. “Kivine Maa”
06. “Saaremaa Vägimees”
07. “Tõrrede Kõhtudes”
08. “Surmamüür”
09. “Muhu õud”
10. “Lööme Mesti”

METSATÖLL

Metsatöll @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Metsatöll @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Metsatöll @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Metsatöll @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Metsatöll @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Metsatöll @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Metsatöll @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Metsatöll @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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DimK: Once again I was pretty much surprised seeing TÝR being greeted with the same, if not higher, enthusiasm than METSATÖLL. And I am saying this because TÝR’s Folk Metal is not quite the typical one; in general, the band from the Faroe Islands uses slower tempos that still work perfectly when it comes to making the music heavier. This is exactly how their set started with “Blood Of Heroes”; fast riff action in the vein of AMON AMARTH and the most melodic vocal lines courtesy of Heri Joensen. Apparently, TÝR had their own light show, something that worked in favor of their set, having as a backdrop the beautiful cover artwork of the latest LP “Valkyrja”. “We are TÝR from the Faroe Islands and we play Heavy Metal, and sometimes Folk Metal” was the simple yet more precise introduction of the band by Heri. Without pausing, the multiple vocal harmonies of “Tróndur Í Gøtu” got everyone in the frontlines involved, so the Metal fun kept going, taking fully advantage of the momentum gathered around METSATÖLL. Usually I don’t like watching the US version of moshing (that is more like pushing each other like blindfolded bulls) but this time I will tip my hat to the young at average audience for the war-like atmosphere and the dancing in circles, fitting perfectly to TÝR’s epic Folk Metal. I guess you can imagine what happened during “Hold The Heathen Hammer High” that starts with mood-lifting melodies and then explodes with fast lead guitar action that is butter to the bread of all those mosh-dancers. There is absolutely no way to resist singing along those addictive chorus lines and this is what happened, making this one the climax moment of TÝR’s set along with another personal favorite “By The Sword In My Hand”. By the way, I loved the introduction by Heri: “This song talks about when Christianity invaded my country” obviously referring to the bloody ways of bringing people closer to god…

“Are there any Scots here? Of course there are; they are everywhere just like Estonians” joked the band’s frontman and at the same time introduced “Sinklars Vísa” that is based on a Norwegian Folk song about the battle of Kringen. Even though this song is kind of slow, it didn’t hold up the US audience that continued with the same Metal appetite which was soon fully satisfied with the faster “Flames Of The Free” that quoting Heri’s words “talks about something we take for granted; freedom” and then some more with “Lady Of The Slain”. “Shadow Of The Swastika” dropped the curtain to another great set and in hindsight I think if one added just a couple of bands on the same vein, we would be talking about a super successful ‘Paganfest’ US version. I am sure that Heri’s promises about TÝR getting back to the US will be soon getting flesh and bones.

TÝR setlist:

01. “Blood Of Heroes”
02. “Tróndur Í Gøtu”
03. “Mare Of My Night”
04. “Ramund Hin Unge”
05. “Hold The Heathen Hammer High”
06. “Wings Of Time”
07. “Grindavísan”
08. “By The Sword In My Hand
09. “Sinklars Vísa”
10. “Flames Of The Free”
11. “Lady Of The Slain”
12. “Shadow Of The Swastika”

TÝR

Týr @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Týr @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Týr @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Týr @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Týr @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Týr @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Týr @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Týr @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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DimK: Everything was ready to host ELUVEITIE; from the stage to the already sweaty audience that seemed to have lots of gallons left in the fuel tanks (another benefit for having a young audience in a concert). Like I said, I was really excited for ELUVEITIE’s set because, believe it or not, every time I had watched them live (the first time was six years ago) the sound was not as it should. And as the intro of “King” started blasting from the HOB speakers, I was rest assured that this was about to change. Yeah, the band showed up onstage and since we are talking about eight musicians, everyone walked on to pre-defined spots. Sure, having rehearsed where the band members should stand and how to move may sound like a mood-killer but I don’t think many would like to see guys and girls bumping at each other. Plus, a Metal concert is still a show, so there has to be some organization and present a balanced stage, and to this ELUVEITIE get an A+. The two ladies were on the sides of Chrigel Glanzmann leaving lots of space to the guitarists, bassist and all-around player Päde Kistler moving and occasionally runnig around. As when a band is so active onstage, then things get even more active off stage and I am talking about the nice circle pit that was quickly formed. “Chicago, let’s go motherfuckers” screamed Chrigel and then sounded the charge for the flute-lead “Nil”. To my delight (but not to my surprise - after all this was HOB), the sound was loud and, most importantly, clear so every music organ had its place in the mix doing absolutely justice to ELUVEITIE’s rich composition, and this is exactly how the dance-driven “From Darkness” and the Hurdy Gurdy-laden “Thousanfold” came out; after all, it’s not common to have double flute-action in a Metal concert and still have the ability to distinguish who is playing what. So, I bet an arm and a leg that everyone inside HOB that night enjoyed Chrigel’s and Päde’s double fluting during the amazing Folk party of “AnDro”.

After the hair-rising performance of “Sucellos”, it was time for Anna to get the lead, so she addressed the US audience by asking what version should they play for “The Call Of The Mountains”. “We have recorded this one in five languages but I will ask you to choose between English and our native language, Swiss-German”, were Anna’s exact words. At first, there were a couple of hot-heads who rushed to scream English but to my surprise (and again to my delight) the majority of hands were raised to vote for the Swiss-German version. “You do know that you won’t understand a word, right?”, Chrigel rhetorically asked and instead of an answer got a loud cheer, followed by more dancing. “Gray Sublime Archon” kept the Metal flowing with short breaks during which Chrigel did all the talking. “We have a short tradition going on and is called wall of death, so you know how this goes” were his words and immediately the arena was split in two sides, and following the frontman gesture, everyone went bananas under the fast “Inception”, and this was one of the moments you wished someone was filming all this.

Sure, the newest tracks had the lion’s share in ELUVEITIE’s set and honestly I cannot blame them since a lot of water has run under the bridge since “Spirit” came along with some lineup changes. I guess this is a good point to comment on the new violinist Nicole Ansperger who seemed extremely confident and relaxed being onstage with ELUVEITIE, while Rafael Salzmann looked more Metal than the band’s last visit to the States, so everything looked (and was) in place. Anna sat on the driver’s seat for “Vianna” and for the hit “A Rose For Epona” and it’s clear that she has gained more confidence in her singing capabilities (maybe working on the her solo album helped), especially during the latter one.

The groovy and singing along (ok, not exactly singing-along) “Omnos” was put a dancing end to what I like to call regular setlist that saw the band saying an unofficial ‘goodnight’ but no one moved an inch and instead started chanting “One more song”. After a short waiting, the taped intro brought the Gaulish band back onstage and hit us with the massive “Helvetios” and honestly I got goosebumps in the end when everyone screamed Helvetios in perfect synchronicity. “Chicago, it’s time to bring some havoc” announced Chrigel without letting the audience flame go out and if you know this song, then it shouldn’t be a surprise when I’ll tell you that moshing was the main course in the center of HOB while there was some scattered crowd surfing. The curtain was dropped with “Inis Mona” that woke some really nice memories when the Kirder twin brothers were in the band, but no matter the lineup, this one sounded absolutely fantastic with the help of the singing audience, of course. Based on such a performance, I think there is not enough space to complain about leaving “Tegernakô” outside this setlist; after all, we will be seeing ELUVEITIE more in the States and I am sure about it.

ELUVEITIE setlist:

01. “King”
02. “Nil”
03. “From Darkness”
04. “Carry the Torch”
05. “Thousandfold”
06. “AnDro”
07. “Sucellos”
08. “The Call Of The Mountains”
09. “Gray Sublime Archon”
10. “The Nameless”
11. “Inception”
12. “Kingdom Come Undone”
13. “The Silver Sister”
14. “Vianna”
15. “A Rose For Epona”
16. “Neverland”
17. “Omnos”
18. “Helvetios”
19. “Havoc”
20. “Inis Mona”

ELUVEITIE

Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Eluveitie @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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