An Evening of Folk Metal


Our tale begins a few weeks ago, when a boisterous young chap named Ben Alton struck out upon the town in search of beer and merriment.  During his travels, he happened upon the Bottom Lounge and “Dogfloydapalooza”, at which time he made a mental note to check the venue for future events.  Fortituously for our young hero, he discovered that a Finntroll and Moonsorrow show was upcoming in a week’s time.  However, since Dark Lord Day was looming on the horizon, money was tight and he had to go to his beautiful fiance to procure tickets.  Because she loves all things Metal, the show was to become a reality.

Ok.  I have to switch out of 3rd person before I get too obnoxious.  Making this show was going to be a tight fit.  We had long ago promised to go venue vetting with the parents for our wedding location and this was going to very closely coincide with the start time of the show.  I met Susan and our parents over as Osteria Via Stato, for some phenomenal food that truly deserves to be described in greater detail than I can presently go into.  After dinner, we left for our place to get geared up and head out.

We caught a cab with an interesting cab driver, and in a decent mood decided to chat him up a bit.  He seemed in a bit of a pissy mood at the time and mentioned looking forward to returning to his home country, Bosnia, which he described as a beautiful place that happened to have psychopaths pop into power every 15 years or so.  After listening to his thoughts on the world, we arrived at the venue.  He stopped us after we paid to give us a lengthy sermon on the nature of love, and happiness in marriage.  He also dropped some colorful comments about how more parents should spank their children and that we were each given a pass for cheating in the future if it was Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt.  We absorbed his sagely advice as gracefully as we could and got to the show a little late.

We didn’t catch the first band that played that night, but at least arrived before Swallow The Sun took the stage.  I am very happy to have seen their set in full.  They are a phenomenal blackened doom metal band, and made a very strong impression.  The lead singer’s vocals were very versatile, with some pretty intense black metal rasps and death metal growls.  Their song “These Woods Breathe Evil” has been stuck in my head for days now, and is an excellent piece of extreme metal.  They finished their set with the song “Swallow” which culminated in a pretty intense pit, which I was not yet drunk enough to enter.

After about 3 beers and a shot, Moonsorrow took the stage and I was ready to enter the pit.  Moonsorrow is a folk metal band from Finland, as is Finntroll, and their sound was a definite departure from Swallow the Sun’s darker notes.  I jumped into the pit, which was far more intense than I expected.  After colliding with people for a bit, it dawned on me that it was a terrible idea to come from a multi-course Italian dinner, chug a bunch of beer and opt to be a human pinball.  So I had to take a breather for a bit and let my stomach calm down.  That made it hard for me to enjoy Moonsorrows set unfortunately, so I was not left with the best overall impression.

The next band brought down the house.  Finntroll, like many good and bad ideas was the result of a night of fierce drinking.  “What if we combine black metal with old Finnish humppa music?”   And Finntroll is born.  A band who’s lyrics revolve around a finnish troll king and his followers who fight off invading Christians.  I never would have thought that folk music and black metal would go together, but I was wrong.

Finntroll’s performance was fierce and fun.  They sounded absolutely fantastic, and I could not help but throw myself once again into the pit.  I spent a good deal of time in there during their set, as it was hard to not want to move and thrash about while listening to their music.  By the time I left the pit later in the night, I had blood in my beard.  I recall taking a forearm to the teeth and must have cut my lip in the process.  Still no major injuries, so no harm, no foul.  Close to the end of the show as people were getting tired, I grabbed Susan and made a dash through the pit with her to end up right in front of the stage to finish out the show.  After the show, people from the pit went up to each other shaking hands and thanking one another.  There’s something incredibly cool about that.

When you make the decision to get into a pit, especially one that looks particularly violent, you make a mental call that acknowledges the possibility of you getting hurt.  Most of the time you’ll just end up with bruises, but sometimes if you’re unlucky, you’ll get a sprained ankle, cracked rib, chipped tooth, etc.  So you have to accept that these things are a natural risk and most of the time, just unintentional collateral damage from the other moshers.  Because in general, people are in there to just have a good time and let off some steam.  If you fall down, you are usually helped up by everyone else at a dizzying speed.  And although you may be rough in there and fling yourself full force into random strangers, they just might end up shaking your hand and thanking you for the experience at the end of it.

Anyhow, after the show was over, we talked a bit with the keyboardist from Swallow the Sun.  Turns out they’re coming to Reggies with Katatonia in September, so we have another must-see show to attend.  This post could probably stand a good deal of editing, but as I’m pressed for time I’ll have to quote Blaise Pascal who once said, “I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.”  Now I’ll shut up and feed you some Finnish metal.  Enjoy.

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