Halo European tour 2023 TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht - the Netherlands
This evening started off with a little bit of Firestarter from the Prodigy. Getting us all fired up for this evening, for an incoming transmission from the Finnish Lost Society. Although for many people in the audience it was their first introduction to this band, Tempelores has seen them play various times dating back to almost a decade ago. The guys have changed their style from Thrash fueled to a more nu-metal like style with more melody, but they kept their brutality and they are not afraid to blend in different styles. They seem to be able to fuse in some catchy melodies and upbeat tempo’s that make your head nod. Maybe not to everyone’s taste.
The set is energetic but if that wasn’t the case, front man Samy Elbanna sure knows how to request some demands from the audience to not just stand still but to jump around and enjoy this evening and to get that spark going. They all succeeded in that, because all equally delivered to the energy on stage although they were more hiding behind a drum kid or swinging around with their guitars. The current popular track ‘Awake’ was not missing, some songs from the early days and even a more ballad-ish one where Samy seemed to pour his heart out laying down on the risers on the stage up close to those on the first row. This was a great start to this evening.
After all this energy it was time for a little bit more melancholic moodiness to fill the venue of TivoliVredenburg when the Icelanding men of Sólstafir entered the blue lit stage, ready to take you on a path throughout beautiful soundscapes. What can be said is that they have a very unique and original sound and not just on their albums but live they are equally captivating. If you are new to their sound it is one of those bands where you just need to let yourself get swept away. Lead singer Aðalbjörn “Addi” Tryggvason performs the songs with a lot of passion and right out of his heart it seems. He is very charismatic but does not forget about the others on stage. It is fun to watch how both Svavar and Sæþór seem to zone-in to their own playing. Handling each note with care. They played newer works ‘Akkeri’ and ‘Ör’ where the last one has a more bluesy feel to it and older works ‘Fjara’ and ‘Ótta’. Aðalbjörn found the Dutch applause a little too soft. He more or less said: ‘you guys go nuts when you watch football so give it a little more.
During the last song they played’, ‘Goddess of the ages’, he walked over the stage to one side, walked up the stairs to the balcony to go all around to the other side to take the stairs back down to end up on the other side of the stage. Handing out hands and hugs to different people, surely making their experience one to never forget. But even without that these men seem to impress each time. This atmospheric show came to an end, but the audience seemed to finally live up to that shouting, raving and applauding like the Dutch do when they score a point at football.
A funny thing this evening was a guy next to me saying, after Sólstafir had played, to some friends that he thought that Sólstafir was a cover band. I had to grin because that is such an immense difference from what that guy expected and what he got to hear. But he concluded that even though this was definitely not his type of music he was actually enjoying and quite impressed. He came to see Amorphis play and I think he already got so hyped up that I am sure he had a terrific time.
After a fast change over it was time for the headlining Amorphis. Someone said to me I should mention that Amorphis’ lyrics are based on the Kalevala, for those that need an introduction. They mix their sound with some folklorist elements. They come from Finland and were founded a long way back, in 1990. So with that being said let’s reflect on this show as a part of their European Halo Tour. I recently said to a friend after seeing them live after many years that they have become so good at what they do after these years of experience. The production is top notch in my eyes from sound to light, to them playing and what they deliver. It is so good, but sometimes that unpolished-ness has its charm. But tonight they seemed to have a lot of fun on stage and a bit of room to goof around. And the right type of energy in the air. Which made this a beast of a show. They played a lovely mix of old and new. Older ones like ‘Magic and Mayhem’, ‘Thousand Lakes’ and ‘Into Hiding’ which to me is a perfect song that showcases what Amorphis is. It has those hunting growls but also clean vocals, some catchy guitar melody followed by using their distinctive Hammond sound and it is topped off with a very nice bassline that stands out at this song. So early in the set, I personally was already a happy person in their audience. With some of the songs the audience seemed to remember Addi saying we should cheer and shout a little louder. Which resulted in many people singing along even at times where you couldn’t hear Tomi Joutsen, their vocalist. When walking through the audience with my camera it is so fun to see how everyone is enjoying themselves. Some look ecstatic, others simply nod their head to the rhythm, others have fun in the circle pit or throw their fist in the air. Of course they played tracks from their latest album Halo throughout their set and they ended with the majestic ‘the Bee’ as their encore.
Photo’s by: Elvira Visser