The Ninth Hour World Tour 2017 – Europe leg 2 –
Thunderstone – special guest
Striker – support act
Kulturbolaget, Malmo, Sweden
7/4 – 2017
Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall
Together with Striker and Thunderstone the Finnish act Sonata Arctica is out on the roads in Europe and the three finishing shows took place in Sweden. Keyboardplayer Klingenberg told the press that on the previous tour, the band did went a little under the radar and that the band now was going to perform at all places they didn’t last time. The show in Malmo took place at Kulturbolaget and as I was standing outside the club earlier during the day my phone sent out newsflashes that terror had struck the Swedish capital Stockholm. Apparently a crazy fundamentalist had highjacked a truck and drove it straight into the biggest main street in Stockholm and initially killed 4 people injuring 15 others. It felt somewhat surreal to standing and waiting for a metal band when terror had struck innocent people. The Swedish prime minister soon stated it was an act of terror by a lonely man and Sweden was, and in some way still is, in shock by the cruel deed. A manifestation of love and acceptance was held the day after in Stockholm and even though this horrendous attack on Sweden took place, it felt nice to gather with people and show love and compassion and to state that terror has no place in Sweden – or in any other countries for that matter.
The album THE NINTH HOUR follows up PARIAH’S CHILD from 2014 that included the first appearance by the new bass player Pasi Kauppinen. I had no idea what to expect from either Striker or Thunderstone, the only thing I knew about Striker is that they are Canadian. Already at 7.30 the first band were going to be on stage and since I was a bit late Striker had already began their show.
No photo pit was available this night which made it a little hard to take pictures, however there were no problems doing that during the first show because there were only a few people standing close to the stage. The band didn’t care about the small amount of people watching and gave their all on stage and no tiredness was shown even though this show was one of the last ones. When singer Dan Cleary wasn’t at the middle of the stage, guitarists Brown and Fallon took his place and all of the three did the best they could to get the crowd going. The band consists of:
Dan Cleary – lead vocals
John Simon Fallon – guitar (session member)
Tim Brown – guitar
Adam Brown – drums
William Wallace – bass
Cleary said the band comes from Canada and that it was the first time they had performed in Sweden and that it was fun to see that people had come to see them play. It’s not often the first band had great lights going on but Striker actually did. No one stood in the dark. Cleary was a great singer and the bands 80’s heavy metal worked for me but I’m not sure they were the right choice as opening act for Sonata Arctica. Besides Cleary, I have to mention also Brown and Fallon because they were really great. It seemed like the audience liked the band and they clapped their hands after each song, Striker got me curious of their music and not many bands does that for me. Next up was a new song the band dedicated to Lemmy which in the bands opinion was the ultimate rocker. The song was called “Born To Loose” and sounded great. Cleary said the band was going to stand in the merchandise stand at the end of the show, the last songs out were “Too Late” and “Fight For Your Life” and in the last song Cleary had the crowd sing the chorus twice.
Striker had 30 minutes in the spotlight this night and it was well spent set of minutes. I was really impressed by the band and their music and all of the members were great musicians. Striker can go really far in the future and I’m definitely going to follow their way to the top.
Out For Blood
Born To Loose
Fight For Your Life
Thunderstone comes from Finland and started out back in 2000. The band participated in the Finnish outtakes to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007 and landed a second place spot in the final. In 2016 the band released APOCALYPSE AGAIN and today the band is signed to AFM Records. I don’t know much about the band I have to say and the things I know I read about. The change of gear went pretty fast and it took only about 15 minutes to get the stage ready and at 8.25 it was time for the band to take on the Malmo crowd.
The members, dressed in shirt and black suits entered the stage during the intro music and fired off “Veterans Of Apocalypse” as the first song. “Tool Of The Devil” continued the show and Thunderstone’s melodic heavy/power metal suited the headline acts music better than Striker’s did. Singer Rantanen thanked for the applauds saying it was getting hot on stage. We are Thunderstone from Finland and here is “The Path”. It was mainly singer Rantanen that walked around connecting with the people in the club from the stage. The line-up is:
Pasi Rantanen – lead vocals
Nino Laurenne – guitar
Titus Hjelm – bass
Jukka Karinen – keyboards
Atte Palokangas – drums
“Break The Emotion” followed after which Hjelm took the mic and thanked the crowd in Swedish. He also said it was a sad day in Sweden because of the terror attack earlier during the day, we’re going to play a slow song now so put up your lighters or phones in the air. Thanks for making us feel welcome he said and “Weak” followed. He dedicated the song to our sisters and brothers in Stockholm which felt like a nice and warm gesture.
If the lights were great during the Striker show it worked extremely poor for Thunderstone. Now members stood in the dark and it was strange that it worked so bad now when it was excellent during the prior act. The people in the club seemed to enjoy the bands music and clapped their hands showing their support for the band. The band acted like pros and it was easy to see that they were use to taking on a crowd. If Striker was hungry and eager to go out and cause mayhem on stage, Thunderstone acted more slick and skilled and with more routine, both acts did great but it was clear that Thunderstone had more skills and stagepresence. “Forevermore” and “Through The Pain” followed after which it was time to dig out some older material in
“10 000 Ways” taken from the EVOLUTION 4.0 album from 2007. Rantanen led the fans in the sing a long and seemed to be really happy with the support. The next song was the last song for the night and Rantanen asked if we were ready for Sonata Arctica. “Until We Touch The Burning Sun” was the last song and former singer Rick Altzi (ex- At Vance, Sandalinas, Masterplan, Herman Frank etc) came up and joined the band. Since it was a few years ago he sang the song he was handed some lyric sheets from Rantanen before the song could begin. The two singers had fun together and even though the duet doesn’t leave a mark in history as the best one ever it was fun to see them live in action together. The band hugged Altzi good bye and that ended the 40 minute show.
Thunderstone sure treated the fans with a great show and some great music. Their music is maybe a little too soft and melodic for my taste but I heard a few songs I really liked. Both the band as well as the fans liked the show and Thunderstone was the perfect opening act for Sonata Arctica, and it’s always nice to see a band that haven’t been performing here before.
Veterans Of Apocalypse
Tool Of The Devil
Break The Emotion
Through The Pain
10 000 Ways
Until We Touch The Burning Sun
Time for change of gear again and the crew worked on as fast they could. A big backdrop was placed at the back of the stage along with a long podium with the drums on top of it. In the middle of the stage stood an all white mic stand with the bands logo on it at the bottom and as the stage work preceded people started to gather in front of the stage. The Finnish melodic power metal legends Sonata Arctica have been in the business since 1995 but then under the name Tricky Beans which became Tricky Means and finally Sonata Arctica. The band landed a record deal with Spinefarm Records in 1997 and during 1999 the debut album ECLIPTICA unveiled. The latest album THE NINTH HOUR came at the end of last year and from that three singles in “Closer To An Animal”, “Life” and “We Are What We Are” emerged. On the previous album from 2014 PARIAH’S CHILD new bass player Pasi Kauppinen arrived, today there’s only two remaining original member left in the band. After about 25 minutes was it time for the curtain to drop and the nights headline act walked out on the stage floor.
“Closer To An Animal” opened the show and as soon the band showed up the crowd welcomed them with applauds and cheers. “Life” followed instantly and it was no doubt the band was highly longed for by the Malmoe fanbase. The crowd sang along in the lyrics and from what I know the band haven’t performed at all in Malmoe but in Gothenburg and Stockholm and at Sweden Rock Festival. While Viljanen and Kauppinen mostly stood solid on their spots singer Kakko moved around on stage smiling and connecting with the fans. Klingberg thanked the crowd and asked if the crowd was doing fine and fired off “The Wolves Die Young”. The current line-up in the band is:
Tony Kakko – lead vocals
Tommy Portimo – drums
Henrik Klingberg – keyboard, keytar
Elias Viljanen –guitar
Pasi Kauppinen – bass
”In Black And White” followed right away and not much talking was made in between the songs, they focused on delivering the music instead. Kakko said the next song was dedicated to all the new fans and it was the old song “Tallulah” that came. The song is taken from the 2001 album SILENCE so I guess it has to be counted to the older tunes. The fans sang with Kakko and he worked hard with get the crowd in the mood and both fans and band seemed to be having a great time, however I thought it was a bit strange that Sonata Arctica seemed to have drawn more people to the club than what Children Of Bodom did a few days ago. But maybe the music of Sonata Arctica is easier to digest and is catchier than the CoB tunes. Kakko sat down on one of the boxes placed on stage and said that Sonata Arctica is all about live music and that coming to a live show is the perfect way to forget your problems for a while. Thanks to all that came to the show tonight, are you ready for “Fairytale”? that song was also taken from the new album and already now the band had ran through many new songs. All of the musicians were extremely skilled and it was hard to believe that they had been out on the roads for so long.
“Fullmoon” woke up the crowd and Kakko asked if the fans wanted to clap their hands and sing a long with him in the middle of the song, a long outro finished the song and the crowd raised their hands for the band. Kakko looked genuine happy with the respond the band got from the fans and fired off “Among The Shooting Star” straight away. That was another song taken from THE NINTH HOUR and it felt like the fans welcomed the current songs with the same enthusiasm as with the older ones. The band left the stage but shortly returned to the intro of “No More Silence”. Klingenberg took on a keytar and when Kakko came out he said “Abandoned, Pleased, Brainwashed, Exploited” and the old song really turned the fans on fire. Klingenberg walked around on the stage with his keytar on and now started Kauppinen and Viljanen also to move around. Straight after the song ended another intro was heard and it turned into “We Are What We Are”. I was impressed by how many fans that knew the lyrics to all the new songs the band was playing, that means the fans are really hardcore in their love for the band.
So was it time for Viljanen to throw a guitar solo and out from the speakers a new intro was heard and it was Kakko talking, the members who all walked off the stage when Viljanen did his solo returned and Kakko sat down on the drum podium saying it was time for “The Power Of One” which is a classical piece taken from the 2001 album SILENCE. Kakko thanked the fans for their amazing support and that song ended the show as the members all left the stage.
The 75 minutes of music wasn’t enough for the fans that shouted for encores and after a short while the band returned with Kakko saying – are you still here you crazy people, and laughed. “Misplaced” was the first encore out and just as earlier the fans sang a long with Kakko in the chorus. The song is one of the bands biggest hits and many fans had been waiting to hear that exact song. Beside me stood a guy that didn’t seem to do well at all, he had been falling down earlier and now he fainted and fell once again. Kakko saw the guy and said that he (Kakko) maybe should have paid more attention to the fans condition after all, he had a pretty good view from the stage he said. Luckily the security came and helped the guy out and it all ended well. Kakko thanked the fans for making the show special and said the fans support meant the world to the band. He also said that he hoped the crowd was going to continue go to concerts and listening to music together. We should not give in to the dark forces that surrounds us and thinks we should stay inside giving up our rights to live a normal life and interact with other people. Music makes us forget the bad and tough things in life and it unites us, after all “I Have A Right” to do the things that makes me happy. It was a nice and warm speech by Kakko and I guess he was referring to the terror attack in Stockholm earlier that day. And he was right, no one should make us doubt ourselves and our society and force us to give up on the things we want to do. The dark forces should be fought with any means necessary and going to shows being happy and listening to live music is one of the things we can do to show the bad people they’re never going to win.
The crowd exploded with joy when they heard the song and Kakko invited the fans to sing the chorus with him, the band saved the best songs for last and made the end of the show magical. Klingenberg joined the rest of the guys down on the floor with his keytar. Kakko thanked the fans in Swedish and said that sadly the band only had one more song to play but before we end the show don’t forget to visit the merch stand and buy something before you go home. It’s been a wonderful night in Malmoe Kakko said and now it’s time for “Don’t Say A Word”. Needless to say it was the perfect song to end the show with and everyone in the club sang along with Kakko. Right before the end of the song Kakko stopped the music saying it was time for the usual thing the fans had to do together with the band and the fans all shouted VODKA and clapped their hands, Kakko divided the club into left, right and the middle and had everyone singing. Finally he wanted everyone to raise their hands in the air and everyone at the sides sang at Kakko’s command. A short version of the “Vodka Outro” was played and the fans sang along in it. That ended the show and altogether the band had been on stage for about 100 minutes.
The band took a selfie with the crowd in the background and as soon as they walked off the stage the crew began to tear it down. The band treated the eager fans with an amazing show that included maybe too many new songs for my taste and it wouldn’t have hurt with a few more classical tunes but overall the set list was great. They sure proved why they have managed to stay for so long in the business and why they are one of the best melodic heavy/power metal bands in the world. The band was really tight and showed no sign of being tired in their performance even though the band have toured Europe for two months. This was another brilliant night at Kulturbolaget which should have a big thank you for booking Sonata Arctica.
But even though the show was amazing and that I had a great night together with the band my thoughts soon turned to the victims of the attack in Stockholm when I got out from the club. It was with mixed emotions I went home this night happy that my near and dear ones hadn’t been hurt or injured in the attack but still sad for the families that had members being involved in the crash.
We Are What We Are (intro)
Closer To An Animal
The Wolves Die Young
In Black And White
Among The Shooting Stars
No More Silence (intro)
Abandoned, Pleased, Brainwashed, Exploited
We Are What We Are
The Power Of One
I Have A Right
Don’t Say A Word (w Vodka outro)
Thanks to head of Kulturbolaget Totte Lundgren for help with press/photo pass.
Thanks to the staff and security at the club for keeping the place safe.