Review: Korpiklaani and Moonsorrow – Classic Grand, Glasgow 24/4/16

It’s been a reasonable couple of months to be a folk metal fan in Glasgow with a good few folk favourites passing through town. Tonight the trend continues with Moonsorrow and Korpiklaani in the Classic Grand.

On the face of it, Moonsorrow is a slightly odd choice for a coheadline partner. Their long dark songs fly directly against Korpiklaani’s shorter upbeat songs, but just as opposites attract and salt works in caramel (or so the world insists), the combination worked.

I did feel that they got the short end of the stick slightly with a stage time of half past six. No one is on at half six, even local support bands are generally closer to seven, and so on the run up to stage time the room was quite empty. Happily the venue soon filled up, and despite a slightly muted (yet enthusiastic for the numbers) reception to begin with, the band would end with a rammed crowd.

Between those two points they delivered around eight of the tightest songs I’ve seen live in recent memory. A standout moment of the set was Ruttolehto incl. Päivättömän päivän kansa (featuring a surprise appearance from Jonne from Korpiklaani), but the true highlight was the preceding song, Jotunheim. Despite it not quite reaching the full nineteen and a half minute album version, it was still a surprise treat.

This was the first time I’ve seen Mooonsorrow and with any luck it won’t be my last. I think they mentioned that this was their first time in Glasgow, though I could be mistaken. Let us hope that we suitably impressed the tour bookers.

Like Moonsorrow, Korpiklaani got a slightly bizarre reception. Viinamaen Mies and Journey Man saw a fairly stoic audience, though a small pit did break out for Journey Man. Then suddenly the damn burst during Pilli On Pajusta Tehty and the crowd went wild. I’ve no idea what happened during the first two songs though I would put my money on full drinks in hand stopped play.

There’s something glorious about seeing a band like Korpiklaani in a city like Glasgow. The audience, most of whom had appreciated the £2 vodka (because what else can you drink at a Korpiklaani show. Apart from Beer. And Tequila), didn’t give a single fuck that most of the lyrics were in Finnish, they were going to sing along anyway. While some songs like Rauta have easy sections, songs like Karhunkaatolaulu aren’t so forgiving. We give it a good shot anyway.

When Ensiferum played Glasgow recently, they had Netta who used to play with Turisas. Tonight Korpiklaani had Oli from Turisas on violin. I can only assume that the next band to play will have Mathias on guest vocals. Having flown in recently to join the tour you could be forgiven for expecting mistakes, or at least a still and focussed stage presence yet the mistakes weren’t there (and if they were I blame the vodka) and he danced about freely.

It was a mixed set with Noita obviously dominating the bill. Yet we got some surprises like Metsamies and the aforementioned and copy/pasted Karhunkaatolaulu from Korven Kuningas and Tervaskanto. If you just looked at the set outright you might think the absence of a lot of songs from Wilderness/Forest would have put a dampener on the evening, but the crowd didn’t care. They lapped up the Manala tracks as readily as they did Wooden Pints (my personal highlight as that was the song that got me into folk metal).

I don’t think I’ll surprise anyone by mentioning the sheer insanity of Vodka live, it goes without saying, but Beer Beer was a close second. Having not played Happy Little Boozer or Beer Beer the last three or four times I’ve seen them, I was more than pleased to close the night with one of my favourite Korpiklaani tunes.With any luck, the festival run will have Boozer!

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