Friday, April 26, 2013

Concert Review - ENSIFERUM

Friday, April 12, 2013
Station 4, St. Paul, MN

I missed all of the other bands on the edition of the Paganfest bill (Tyr, Heidevolk, Trollfest, and Helsott) but fortunately arrived at the venue in plenty of time to see the headliner, Ensiferum. A large crowd of about 400 filled up Station 4, and many fans came attired in their own battle gear and face paint. The band pleased everyone with a 75 minute set that spanned all five of their albums, playing a selection of two or three songs from each.

Click on any of the pictures to see more photos of Ensiferum (20).

Loud cheers erupted as Ensiferum took the stage to a recording of “Symbols”, then exploding into “In My Sword I Trust”. They wasted no time in launching into “Guardians Of Fate” before addressing the crowd and introducing “From Afar” and “Burning Leaves”. “One More Magic Potion” got the crowd clapping and chanting along; the band responded and the evening seemed to pick up some steam. A lengthy version of “Lai Lai Hei” midway through the set had everyone singing and waving their arms in the air, and the band stormed through a ripping version of “Ahti”. More crowd singing ensued with “Twilight Tavern”, and the galloping “Iron” ended the set. The crowd yelled for the obligatory encore, and the band noodled around a little bit before ending the night for good with “Battle Song”, complete with extended solos and some classical meanderings.

It was a highly entertaining show, one that left everyone satisfied. The band was having fun running around the stage and engaging the crowd, clearly enjoying their status at the top of the folk metal world. The bass player was especially fun to watch; all his dramatic facial expressions and yells reminded me of Derek Smalls from Spinal Tap. Folk metal may not be my favorite style, but the appeal of Ensiferum is undeniable as they bring a lot of skill and fun to their show.

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