A powerful trio of European metal bands brought the crowd (literally) off their feet Sunday night at the Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park, NY. I went into the venue extremely unfamiliar with all three bands- of course I knew the names and a song or two, but after seeing each band perform I walked out a full fledged fan.
First of all, the crowd was crazy- in the best way possible. In all of my years of concert going, dare I say I have never seen a more passionate crowd than I did at this show. The crowd participation was overwhelming, with seemingly everyone in the audience chanting, clapping and providing nonstop support for each and every band. Among the “Sabaton! Sabaton!” chants, the crowd even cheered for the crew members. Yes, even the stage crew setting up during soundcheck got a “soundcheck guy! soundcheck guy!” chant on more than one occasion- now that is something you don’t see at every show.
Going beyond the passionate fans, the performances were amazing all around. Opening the night was Battle Beast who are on their first ever tour of the US, and I sincerely hope they come back again soon. The lead singer, Noora Louhimo, had not only a powerful voice, but a commanding stage presence. It was impressive to see her jump around as much as she did and still retain a such strong vocal tone throughout her entire performance. In promotion of their new album Bringer of Pain, the band performed predominately songs off this record- “Straight to the Heart”, “Bastard Son of Odin” and “Beyond the Burning Skies” appeared in their 7 song set, with “Black Ninja” being the only song in the entire set not off the new album.
Following Battle Beast was Leaves’ Eyes, who I will admit I was very on the fence about. The whole symphonic metal thing has never really made sense to me, but Leaves’ Eyes put on such a great show; how could I not be a fan? The mixture of operatic vocals from Elina Siirala and gutterals from Alexander Krull on top of a seriously heavy rhythm section really blew me away. Elina Siirala’s voice floats beautifully throughout the performance, while Krull’s brutal vocals and high energy are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum- and somehow they work perfectly together. The band also had a 7 song set and performed tracks like “Edge of Steel” and “Sacred Vow”. The more they played, the heavier and more intense the performance became and it was great to see the crowd become even more interested as their set progressed.
Closing out the night was Sweden’s own Sabaton, who the crowd went absolutely ballistic for. They performed a song entirely in Swedish- and the audience was more than able to sing along. The passionate audience left lead singer Joakim Brodén speechless, and he ultimately described it as a “one in a hundred show”. It was hard to argue with that considering the crowd would not stop chanting for the band to keep playing, and it was heart warming to see the smiles and looks of disbelief on the bands faces after every chant. The band played over 15 songs including “The Art of War”, “The Lost Battalion”, “Screaming Eagles” and ended the night with “To Hell and Back”. This is another extremely talented band, having every solo and rhythm section nearly perfected with a militant type of discipline. Sabaton’s performance was very high energy as the band not only brought their own energy to the stage, but they played off the energy of the crowd as well- which was off the charts.
This tour still has quite a few dates remaining, and I highly suggest you check out a show. If you’re like me and entering the show on the fence, you’ll leave a fan of every band.