Paganfest America Part V - Summit Music Hall, Denver, USA - 15 May 2014

Event: Paganfest America - Part V
Written by: D.T. Metal
Published: 20.05.2014

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Paganfest America - Part V - San Francisco, CA 11th May 2014 by 8bitglitch (84)
Paganfest North America - the pilgrimage was once again upon us. With Korpiklaani and Turisas alike, the tour had some recycled headliners , but adding Chthonic, Varg and Winterhymn to the bill made this year's event a tad bit heavier than usual.


Photo Disclaimer: While this report was from the Denver gig, all of the pictures were taken by Justin over at 8bitglitch.com when Paganfest invaded San Fransisco, CA a couple days prior.





This year's headliner Korpiklaani


Doors were pushed forward in Denver, CO because there was confusion on adding a (already confirmed) local opener to this already long list of bands. It all worked out in the end and Colorado's Dreadnought was playing shortly after people came into the Summit Music Hall. Due to a very tight schedule for the touring bands their set wasn't all that long, but by the time Dreadnought played their last song a sizable amount of people filled the room and they left the stage under much applause and cheering.




Winterhymn was the first band of the official Paganfest line-up. I never heard of them but was actually impressed with their performance; folk metal Cincinnati style and the audience liked it as well. Standing six members strong on stage they not only played the (folk) part, but somewhat looked it as well with loincloth, fur and fuzzy boots.





Winterhymn has two females in the band, one playing the keyboard while the other did wonders with her fiddle and was all over the place. Her playing reminded me somewhat of Olli's (Turisas) when she played some of the leads, very nice. While I was not familiar with their discography at the show, I did check out some of their songs the next day and I believe they played "Alesong" and ended their set with "Stand Your Ground". The response from the audience to their set was great and I hope we will get to see them again in Colorado.




Next up was Varg, a band I was really looking forward to checking out. They toured with Eluveite and Wintersun in the States before, but that tour did not come to Colorado.



Varg



A huge backdrop in the colors of the German flag and a growling wolf's head in between the band's logo was elevated behind the drum kit while two smaller banners (with the same wolf and colors) flanked either side of the stage. Due to the birth of his child their regular guitarist was not partaking in this tour, so the band decided to switch their bassist over to guitar, and have the bass lines pumped in electronically. Worked out pretty good in my opinion. Varg came on stage and right from the get-go they meant business and opened with "Wir Sind Die Wölfe". For me, seeing them live for the first time, this was a rather fitting song off their 2011 album Wolfskult, after the big controversy they went through. Google it, I won't get into details here, but with lyrics such as "von vielen gehasst, von vielen geliebt, so heiß diskutiert und in aller Munde", that song, even though the audience didn't understand their German singing, it was very fitting. Moving on.

Varg continued with "Schwertzeit" and while the mosh-pit was going strong already, once the band played "Naglfar" it was even more violent. Freki was acting as the "director" of the pit, pumping his fists up in the air while motioning "circle-pit". That song has a nice black metal vibe to it and the audience really got into it. With "Was Nicht Darf" off their latest (2012) album Guten Tag the band gave the moshers time to breathe before going all ape-shit again when they played the title track, "Guten Tag".

Freki gave the audience some German lessons as well with teaching them "Prost" (cheers) and "Guten Tag" (hello). The Denver folks caught on really quick and while he was screaming "cheers" or "hello" the entire room shouted the German words back to him.






Varg ended their (way too short) set with "Rotkäppchen" and asked the females to crowdsurf during the song. I only saw one brave the task but there might have been others who didn't make it to the front. After their performance the band was taking pictures and signing the fans' stuff well into the next band's set. For me, and just because I am German, Varg was THE standout band of the evening.




Taiwan's Chthonic was the odd-man-out on this Paganfest bill, but make no mistake, they kicked some major ass and had some of the wildest mosh-pits of the day.



Chthonic


I had seen them before when they toured with Arch Enemy in the States and instead of watching the entire gig, I opted for dinner instead. No worries, the Summit Music Hall has food on site, so while I didn't see the entire stage from where I was sitting, I did see most of it. And what I saw was, once again, really good.

Freddy is one hell of a frontman and got the audience going right away with "Oceanquake" and by the time Chthonic played "Next Republic" off their 2013 release Bú-Tik, nobody cared that they didn't necessarily fit the pagan/folk moniker. Stellar performance all around and the lovely Mrs. Doris kicked some major ass on her bass guitar as well with her black hair swirling in unison with the beats. Since this was the first time they toured in support of Bú-Tik here in the States, I assume they will do another tour and then I will make sure not to miss one minute of their set.








And then it was time for the somewhat co-headliner to take the stage. I actually had an interview scheduled with Turisas earlier in the day but the stars did not align; sucks since I had some rather interesting questions lined up in regards to their latest album Turisas2013.



Turisas


One by one, the band took their positions on the stage with Mathias "Warlord" being the last to step in front of the thunderous cheering crowd. I was sad not to see Robert (Engstrand) behind the keyboard, but the new guy did an outstanding job.

Turisas started their set with "Ten More Miles", a song from their latest album and went straight into the triumphant tune "Take The Day!" with the crowd cheering "hey, hey, hey" during the intro. Once the trumpets from "Rex Regi Rebellis" came through the speakers, everyone knew what to expect - good old battle metal; the fans sure had fun during that song, but nothing compared to when the band played "One More". This song is just too fun not to sing along to.

By the time Turisas finished playing "No Good Story Ever Starts With Drinking Tea", a short, sweet but rather fast song off their new release, it was very apparent that the heat in the room combined with the altitude in Denver took their toll on the band. I have no clue how their red and black facepaint stayed on them. Jussi looked like a wet dog and if Olli didn't have his hair in a high-up ponytail I bet he would have looked the same.





While the opinions on Turisas's new album vary greatly, I think they put a nice sampling of the new material into their set, but of course the older songs got way more crowd response. Wrapping things up, they played "Stand Up And Fight" and of course the ever so popular "Rasputin" cover. It was a great show and the audience demanded more and more even while the band was bowing in unity to signal that they are done.

Setlist: Ten More Miles, Take the Day!, To Holmgard And Beyond, Rex Regi Rebellis, For Your Own Good, One More, Battle Metal, No Good Story Ever Starts With Drinking Tea, We Ride Together, Stand Up And Fight, Rasputin




Korpiklaani - is there really a better and more energetic band out there who could headline Paganfest? Hard to tell, but nevertheless, Jonne and crew were spot on that night.



Korpiklaani


Apparently this was the tour of new band members, since Korpiklaani also sported a new one; Sami Perttula on the accordion. Dude looks pretty rad with a shaved head and a long ass ponytail starting somewhere in the middle of his head.

They came out strong with "Tuonelan Tuvilla" off their 2012 (and latest) release Manala and never looked back. EVERYBODY had a great time, band and crowd alike, with lots of smiles, cheering, dancing and some moshing. The Finns do bring the party, each and every time and I can't wait to see them rocking the boat on the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise early next year.

Jonne was all over the place and I don't know which one of the members had more fun on stage. I would say it was a toss between bassist Jarkko and guitarist Cane - those two, holy crap did they have fun onstage. Off stage as well and if any of you followed the band on their Facebook page you know what I mean. There was a "picture of the day" with "Kauno and Jauno" - priceless.






While most of their songs are either folk'ish or happy go lucky, no gig would be complete without playing "Vodka" and the audience went berserk when Korpiklaani finally played it about halfway through their set. Unfortunately, they didn't play "Tequila" but "Rauta" got a great response in lieu of another "drink" song. Seriously, and while I really don't know all the names of their songs, the setlist was great.

All good things have to come to an end and what an ending it was. I don't think there was anybody in the venue who did not either clap, cheer or have their metal horns up high when it was all said and done. This was a Paganfest which will be remembered for quite some time.


 



Written on 20.05.2014 by
D.T. Metal
Editor-in-Chief

Professional concertgoer ... dangerously armed with a camera!
More articles by D.T. Metal ››




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Cynic Metalhead - 20.05.2014 at 18:15  
Great article.

Got to check out new bands too.
Bad English - 20.05.2014 at 18:43  
Good one

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