Turisas and Starkill

24/02/14
Tivoli, De Helling, Utrecht (NL)

For the first time in four years, the Finnish metallers of Turisas returned to the Netherlands for a full headline show. They’ve played here as a part of the Heidenfest tour(s) more recently, but that simply does not measure up to a gig of 1.5 hours. The support act was Starkill, a relatively unknown but promising band!

Last year, Chicago-based melodic death metal band Starkill visited the EU for the first time as the support act for Amorphis. They certainly left a good impression then, as people were talking on the web about heading to Utrecht especially for this group. The fact that vocalist and guitarist Parker Jameson already spotted familiar faces in the crowd during their second Dutch gig testifies to that.

The setlist mainly consisted of tracks from Starkill’s debut: Fires of Life. Amongst the songs played were the title track Fires of Life, Sword, Spear, Blood, Fire and Whispers of Heresy. The guys did a flawless job in translating the complex song structures and layered music of this record to a live setting.

During the first notes, the crowd was still a bit frozen. However, Starkill quickly drove away ‘it’s a Monday night’. It of course helps that the music is fast, melodic and generally sounds upbeat. The crowd in Utrecht also got a treat: a new song that has not even been played in the USA yet. Altogether, Starkill made a good impression on the audience in Utrecht and you’ll surely hear more about them in the future.

Despite Starkill’s glorious appearance, it became clear that most fans were here for Turisas. When the band members entered the stage one at a time, people started screaming. The screams turned into high pitched girlie cheers when frontman Nygard joined the others. For a moment there it felt like some boy band would play here, and it became even worse when some people decided to throw two little brown teddy bears on stage (Of all things you can throw on a stage, why a teddy bear?)..

Anyhow, the Finns started with Ten More Miles from their latest effort, Turisas2013. As is often the case with Turisas gigs, it only takes a few moments to turn the entire event into a party. Accompanied by cheerful tunes, the band members incite the audience by singing along, raise their fists to emphasize the epicness of the music, interact with the fans and of course musically play well. Add the charismatic performance skills of Nygard and it seems tough to screw up a show.

Hearing joyful songs as Battle Metal, No Good Story Ever Starts With Drinking Tea, and Miklagard Overture, and golden oldie Rex Regi Rebellis, resulted in the crowd cheering along, starting some small mosh pits and a lot of people even started bouncing up and down. Within no time the air was damp and hung with the sharp smell of sweat. Coming from a non-smoker: Oh, the days when smoking inside was allowed and it filled the air to mask that smell!

As the end of the show drew near, the atmosphere intensified even more. Due to a near collision between Nygard and violin player Vanska, a microphone nearly ended in someone’s face in the front row. The Dutchies being good sports, seized the opportunity and started singing in it. The highlight of the evening was marked by the cover Rasputin, accompanied by a remark of the frontman that our music taste is almost as bad as the music taste of the Germans. When the song started, there was no sign of restraint was left amongst the fans.

All in all, this evening showed that Turisas is still a very welcome guest in the Netherlands. Perhaps it is just an expression of our exceptionally bad taste. ;)

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