Korpiklaani/Tyr - January 13, 2010 - Peabody's, Cleveland, OH
By: Daniel Barkasi
Boasting quite the diverse lineup, the tour consisting of Korpiklaani, Týr, White Wizzard and Swashbuckle most certainly had all the makings of a wild and amusing night of metal insanity. Think about it: pirates, Norse mythology, classic metal worship and beer-infused mayhem. Sound fun? It most certainly was!
Opening up the show was a local band called Thunder God. Their style of melodic pagan metal was the perfect beginning for the show. Their mature songwriting was very high quality, while lead vocalist Jake belts out a crushing attack akin to Amon Amarth’s Johan Hegg. Recommended listening for sure.
Next up was New Jersey pirate thrashers Swashbuckle. If you’ve never heard of and/or seen this band, saying that you’re missing out is a massive understatement. They’re as fun as humanly possible while providing a brutally insatiable variety of thrash metal. Sporting a plush parrot stuck onto his shoulder, vocalist/bassist Admiral Nobeard powered the trio through a brilliant set through the once-flaming waters of the Cuyahoga. Actually, they were on land and in a small club in the middle of the city, but I am willing to bet that is how they traveled to the land of Cleves! Also, if you haven’t noticed this (or maybe I’m just insane), the resemblance of Admiral Nobeard and fellow Jersey resident Kevin Smith is uncanny. Have to love that!
The stylings of the retro-NWOBHM group White Wizzard followed, and their performance was enjoyable. Pulling from obvious Iron Maiden worship, White Wizzard offered up a taste of tight guitar harmonies and over-the-top lyrical passages. Not original in any way, however, that isn’t really the point. They manage to offer up a fun throwback to some massively influential and amazing music. Nothing I would go out of my way to see, mind you, but not bad at all either.
Second to last on the bill were the mighty Týr, and what a mind-boggling performance to behold! I caught Týr on their previous tour with Suidakra and Alestorm, where they offered up an atmospheric and powerful set that turned many heads. This time, that performance was topped exponentially. Considering the quality of said previous show, this displays how ridiculously talented this band really is. Perhaps the inclusion of songs from their latest release – and definitely one of their best to date – “By the Light of the Northern Star” is what put it over the top. Songs such as the incredibly catchy “Northern Gate” and the sheer power of “Hold the Heathen Hammer High” were highlights of their far, far too brief 45-minute set. I can’t wait to see Týr play a full headline length set. Truly crushing performance by one of the most talented and unique bands going.
Korpiklaani finished the show off with their booze-fueled shenanigans. By far one of the most purely entertaining bands that have ever graced this writer’s senses, Korpiklaani never disappoints. This being my third time seeing the Finnish six-piece, their set was as hard-hitting and exciting as the first time I saw them on the latest inception of the US version of the Paganfest tour. A steady mix of material was played, with a slight leaning towards their latest offering, Karkelo. Lead vocalist/guitarist Jonne Järvelä had clearly had his fair rationing of the sauce, speaking to the crowd in a thickly accented and slurred tone. But hey, this is Korpiklaani! Would we have it any other way? Never! The atmosphere was brilliant, the crowd was into it, and the 90-minute set went by far too fast.
From pirate antics to joyful, rowdy sing-a-longs, this show was indeed an absolute blast. If only more tours encompassed such strong lineups that boasted this amount of pure fun. This was most certainly a great night of music that should be pleasurable to even the pickiest of metal fans.