Apologies again Moshville for any delays in this review. I’ve been a mix of busy, procrastinating and distant in the past 2 weeks since this gig. Working a lot as usual, trying to sort out work issues, potential promotions on the horizon to work towards, Xmas issues, spending time with the family etc., etc., etc.
I almost forgot about this review until I got a much-needed kick up the arse!
Here it is, the Sabaton review. I will start by saying straight-up, this has been one of the best gigs I have ever seen (on par with Destruction, Finntroll, Dimmu Borgir in a club, Bloodstock 2014). It was so much fun and you could tell everyone present in the room was having a good time.
This gig has also meant a lot to me in that it allowed me to spend some much-needed time with my dad who is the bigger Sabaton fan of the two of us. Since I moved out of my parents’ house I don’t spend a lot of time with my family at all, and even when I lived with them I didn’t really spend much time with my dad. So some much-needed father-son bonding was had, and there ain’t no better way than at awesome heavy metal show with beers aplenty!
First up was my favourtie of the lineup, Tyr. I last got the pleasure of watching Tyr for my introduction to Moshville back in October 2013 with Finntroll so I knew what to expect. Naturally they rocked the QMU with their powerful brand of folk metal with progressive tendencies and Scandinavian language flavours. Still promoting material from their last album, the triumphant Valkyrja, they began their set thundering into album opener “Blood of Heroes”. That was certainly enough to get the crowd going. You could feel the electricity in the air outside the venue as the fans were queueing up to get inside. Anticipation for this gig was high enough already that the instant the first power chord was sounded our collective spark would ignite. I sang every chorus at the top of my lungs (quite well I might add) and it only continued from there.
Next song was eternal crowd pleaser “Hold the Heathen Hammer High” from 2009’s By the Light of the Northern Star which always goes down well. If I remember correctly, there was a little bit of a sound hiccup in the mid-section (I think an amp or a foldback monitor cut out or something) but that didn’t deter Tyr, no. They soldiered on in metal warrior fashion with the crowd singing along. The set mostly consisted of more recent Tyr anthems from the two aforementioned albums (such as the more thrashing “Mare of My Night”, the catchy and folky “Trondur I Gotu” which is another favourite of mine, and the epic “Grindavisan”).
The oldest song featured in the setlist being one of my personal favourites Land’s “Sinklars Visa”. Musically the tempo changes are rather ambitious to headbang to yet a portion of the crowd managed it alongside me. I think this song always resonates a little with Scottish Tyr fans being as it’s about a Scottish warrior fighting against the Vikings. On the other hand the folk melodies are just plain awesome and the vocals, especially the gradual build of harmonies through the choruses, are always a joy to listen to. Its a marvel how they can always reproduce such brilliant vocal harmonies live but they do and they do it well.
Tyr ended their rather short set yet brilliant (next time they need to play longer!) with “Lady of the Slain” and the encore of “By the Sword in My Hand”, 2 more epics from the Tyr catalogue.
In short, go and see Tyr and buy their albums. I love this band and their music. It’s always a joy to listen to their music and a great experience live. I guarantee it.
Following Tyr was Korpiklaani. Now my knowledge of Korpiklaani is rather limited however I was aware that they are known for being a great party band. I was a tad underwhelmed to be perfectly honest. There was of course the more hardcore Korpiklaani fans right down at the front of the crowd but the vast majority of the room didn’t seem to be terribly interested in them from my point of view.
The music was pretty cool for what I recall but there wasn’t much reaction from the crowd and as a result I think the sheep mentality coupled with lack of knowledge of the songs affected my enjoyment of Korpiklaani. However it seems the whole room was united in anticipation for one song, myself included – that song being “Vodka”. Now that was a lot of fun! Bouncing around shouting “Vodka!” every two seconds. Hell, I don’t even like vodka much, but I certainly enjoy a good folk metal party tune about any alcoholic beverage!
Afterwards, the crowd returned to a more sedate state. Maybe they were just saving their energy for Sabaton? Who knows? Korpiklaani’s reaction in Glasgow that night was certainly mixed but that’s not to say they’re not a great live band. I think if I was more of a fan instead of liking just liking a handful of songs then I would have enjoyed them more like Tyr. Whether you’re a fan of them or not, check out Korpiklaani live anyway – I’m sure given the right circumstances they would go down a storm.
Speaking of going down a storm, do I even need to mention the headliners? The band everyone was united in immense anticipation for? Of course we’re talking about those Svensk soldiers Sabaton!
Can this band ever go wrong live? Every cut of live footage I’ve seen of them live online has shown an ecstatic crowd. Why would it be any different in Glasgow?
Opening with what seems to be their immortal starting combination of “To March to War” playing through the PA followed by the band exploding onstage with “Ghost Division”, the crowd went wild – myself included. The energy throughout the room never let up throughout the entire set. Storming through anthem after anthem such as “40:1” (which incited a group of Polish fans down the front of the crowd to raise their blazing red and white Rzeczpospolita Polska flag sky high), “Gott mit Uns”, “White Death”, “Primo Victoria” (and its eternal singalong crowd participation) and more (not necessarily in that order, I regret I can’t exactly remember the running order), Sabaton well and truly rocked Glasgow. Like Destruction, I really can’t say more.It may seem like a cop-out but I’d otherwise just constantly be repeating myself over and over again. Sabaton were ‘effin’ awesome!
The set, as highlighted by the namecheck of some of the songs above, was a great mix of Sabaton’s back catalogue old and new. This tour is currently promoting their critically acclaimed album, Heroes, released earlier this year. The set featured some new Sabaton stormers such as opener “Night Witches”, “Soldier of Three Armies” and a notable performance of “Resist and Bite” which featured frontman Joakim Bróden playing an AK-47 shaped guitar (preceded by some classic metal jams of riffs like Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”).
On another note, Bróden needs no introduction as a formidable frontman. He has a never-ending supply of energy and charisma and never fails to channel his joy into the crowd when performing live. This man clearly passionately loves his history, and more so loves his heavy metal and you can see it in his face (even with his trademark aviators on!) and his expressions on stage. In fact there was a moment before the last few songs where he removed the shades for the remainder of the set and proclaimed that Glasgow might have been the best show so far. Now a lot of people might suggest that all the bands say that at every show they play but as my dad pointed out, I think this was genuine. You could tell in all of the band member’s faces when they looked out over the crowd. They all looked happy to be there and enjoyed themselves. If anything, that’s what you want to see in a live performance – if the artist is clearly genuinely having a great time, then the audience will pick up on the good vibes and enjoy themselves too.
I’ve waffled on a little but as I said, I wouldn’t be able to elaborate much more on saying that Sabaton were amazing live and are always a joy to watch. They ended their set triumphantly on their usual; closer “Metal Crue” and left Glasgow well and truly rocked.
Go and see Sabaton. Fan or not, don’t even think about it. You will enjoy the show, guaranteed 100%. Hell, if you weren’t a fan before, I’m certain you’ll be converted. Sabaton simply are awesome. Enough said.
On a side note, I must say that this was one of the best times I’ve ever shared with my dad. We drank, we sang, we rocked out, then we drank some more. It’s awesome having heavy metal parents. Father and son truly bonded. m/