First local folk metal act Scythia took to the stage. I observed frontman\guitarist David Khan on the floor mingling with the crowd slowly assembling itself on the floor and in the seats before approaching fellow bandmates and informing them it was time to begin their set. After donning and double checking their respective instruments they began. I personally enjoy this band as they have plently of rythym and catchy tunes. Also enjoyable is David’s use of telling stories on stage that set the way for the next song to come and also keeps the folk element true in addition to the songs lyrical content. David’s guitar work also seemed heavier then the previous 2 times I have seen them. I wonder though if it was due to the Rickshaw’s new sound system. Morgan Zentner,the oboe musician,plays well also doing backing vocals occasionally and is very audible,especially since there is a small mic on her oboe so it definitely helps with hearing her work with all the other instruments. She also maintains a good stage presence windmilling and headbanging during her breaks and David’s heavy riffs. Bassist Terry Savage holds great rythym and occasionally dances small jigs whilst performing which is great to see that he is having fun while entertaining. My only drawback is that I wish I was able to hear Keyboardist Scott Thompson’s parts more in the mix. Celine Derval,on drums,contributes as well to backing vocals and hammers out blistering beats without a hitch. Though the set was short due to having 4 more bands to go,it was still enjoyable and I look forward to seeing Scythia again.
Cleveland,Ohio’s forged in flame were up next. This band very much reminded me of fellow American band Saliva judging by the vocal style and instrument arrangements. I Found the music to be very generic and as a result nothing different from most other bands. They are called metal and rock,however my opinion is that I thought their music could only be categorized as rock and they didn’t seem to play anything heavy enough to be called Metal. I also found that much of the set sounded similar to the previous song,giving the set the unfortunate feel of repetitiveness. I also feel that more guitar and bass volume would have been necessary to give them more heaviness and depth to the set. Vocalist Gary Kane did however acknowledge the crowd and appreciative of the turn out for the show.
Next The Polkadot Cadaver hit the stage from Rockville,Maryland. Doing research on this band,I discovered they are considered to be Avante-Garde Metal which is a very experimental style,employing innovative,large-scale experimentation and unconventional sounds,instruments and vocal style for metal. I found them to be interesting as a result,I thought they sounded like a odd mix of European polka-style dance music and rock. I might not be admittedly a fan of this but nonetheless I thought it was interesting to hear and see. Vocalist todd smith was charismatic and entertaining especially since the band had decided to play a cover of Michael Jackson’s famous tune ‘Billy Jean’. The bands wiki however, said he also plays guitar,but he did not play it this night and instead just chose to focus on vocals apparently. I did notice that drum and bass sound was lacking during the set but might have just been me or may not have needed to be as high for the style of music Cadaver performs, as it is far different then any style of metal im used to. This band did seem to be liked by many in the crowd and had several moving and dancing. Todd did also call for a wall of death which the crowd happily went for. It was a treat to see close up as I had not been that close to a wall of death before.
Next up a band I was looking forward to see as much as korpiklaani themselves,Russia’s Arkona. I was pleased at the bands performance,however,I felt that they relied a lot on backing tracks to enhance their live sound. For example they have one actual band guitarist,Sergei’lazar,however I could hear a second guitar amongst several other instruments in the backing tracks mix. So it make me wonder was the band not able to find a second guitarist or hire a touring guitarist? Neverless I feel the backing tracks are something to get used to in the current music scene as they are very common as much as I would prefer to see actual musicians on stage playing the instruments. Bass could also have used more volume as I feel the back tracks almost drowned bassist Ruslan ‘Kniez’ out unfortunately and it was hard to hear his basslines. But despite this I did really enjoy their set and loved the energy the whole band displayed. I also appreciated ethnic wind instrument player,Vladimir ‘volk’s ability to change instruments frequently and not lose his place or rythym with the rest of the band during his instrument changes. Also commendable is Maria ‘masha scream’ Arhipova’s ability to transition easily from melodic clean vocals to her impressive guttural’s which she is know for being among the best of female metal vocalists to do so readily. So despite the the backing tracks taking much from the actual stage musicians I felt it was a solid set and I would want to see arkona again in the near future. Fun fact : Arkona was formely known as Hyperborea before being changed to Arkona in 2002, Arkona in history was the last Pagan Slavic stronghold destroyed in a crusade led by Bishop Absalon and King Valedmar in 1168.
Now the headliner,finnish drinking folk metallers Korpiklaani graced the stage. They played their fan favs Beer,tequila and vodka among others. This being my first time seeing them I was not disappointed. Excellent stage presence was shown by Singer/Guitarist Jonne and Kalle also on guitars. I believe I was able to hear most instruments clearly except Juho’s accordion may have gotten a bit buried amongst the other instruments,but at least I could hear his work to a point. I have to say I enjoyed the set a lot and soundwise was perfect nearly and clearly the crowd did not seemed bummed after the set. They were also a fun band to see and next time they come around I think I shall catch them.