support Metsatöll
author NR date 04/02/13 venue Underworld, London, UK

February 4th seems to have become a gig date for me as this time last year I was in London for Edguy. This year, we are making a turn towards an evening of making a prat of yourself to folk music. It is a sold out show in one of the smallest music venues I have attended, and I wondered how well this will pan out, given that this show would work a lot better at the slightly bigger O2 Islington Academy.


I had waited till the queue had eventually died down so I could make my way inside. When doing so, I could hear Metsatöll had kicked off the show. Having a one hour set due to them being the only support gives me a chance to catch more of their live material since I last saw them along with Celesty supporting Kiuas for the 'Spinefarm Boneshakers 2010' show here at The Underworld.

What I really enjoyed about this band was Lauri Õunapuu's variety of instrumentation, including the torupill (Estonian bagpipes), flutes, zithers and so on - not forgetting his epic minor vocals. When he speaks his voice sounds like something out of Lord Of The Rings. I do not own any of Metsatöll's material so I couldn't tell you what song was played after the other, especially if every single track is in Estonian! But from what I witnessed - track after track the crowd became crushed, loud, roaring with passion, rage and excitement. Some points during the act it seemed to have dragged on but I couldn't complain as the band were tight, even vocalist/guitarist Markus Teeäär looked joyful. It did seem like Lauri took control of what went on - acting as the centre of attention, but I'm sure everyone wouldn't complain about that. I give extra kudos to Lauri for his onstage antics, such as playing his torupill behind his head; it may be no guitar but that was definitely the highlight of the slot for me. I hope these guys get the chance to play at a bigger venue in the London area because Metsatöll sure know how to put on a show.


After a quick trip outside due to extreme heat (damn capacity) and not feeling 100%, it was time for Finnish 6-piece Korpiklaani to hit the tiny stage.

The first thing I had noticed which absolutely surprised me was the lighting. It was actually top notch for once, and it was a shame they had no pit barrier otherwise photos would've been killer. The first track had begun and the crowd were steaming, hungry and ready to party. The crowd surfing had already begun, which I haven't seen in a very long time, especially in a place so small. It was absolutely blazing, and that certainly put a smile on my face. I knew vocalist Jonne Järvelä was a sweet guy, having met him at Bloodstock 2010 along with guitarist Kalle Savijärvi (who was also lovely) and I say this because of the way he interacted with the crowd. It honestly was wonderful to watch him seeing him smile at the crowd's singing and reaction. Judging by his facial expressions, he looked like he was in folk metal heaven.

One of the major downsides to The Underworld venue as a photographer and gig reviewer is the lack of view in a packed gig, which meant that trying to observe the show and stage presence was real difficult! I'm 5'2, can you blame me?! I got to witness a few parts of the show from a decent angle, so all was not lost. One disappointment though was grim-faced bassist Jarkko Aaltonen - I have never seen anyone so miserable onstage in God knows how many years I've been going to gigs. It was ridiculous, good thing that's easy to ignore. Now to state the obvious – “Vodka” and “Happy Little Boozer”. Need I say more? Probably not. It is important to witness stage presence, but judging by the ludicrous crowd and sing-a-longs to every single track, I don't think a lot needs to be said apart from this - Folk-tastic. Oh and how could I possibly forget the dripping condensation from the ceiling... That was beautiful, in a really sweaty, drunken, messed up but totally kickass way.

Comparing this performance to their 2010 appearance at Bloodstock Open Air festival - The 'Klaani boys have done it again. A band well worth seeing for a good ol'drink up and dance. The band are indeed, 'Happy Little Boozers'.


Photography & Review by Nikki Ryan

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