28.04.2005. FINNTROLL, NAGLFAR, AMORAL Spring Tour 2005
TOUR DIARY: FINNTROLL – NAGLFAR – AMORAL SPRING TOUR 2005 - April 4th – May 7th 2005 - By Audrey Dujardin, proofread by my pinecone-eating friend.
Tour dates April 19th to April 26th...
Date | Itinerary | Distance
April 19th 2005 Lyon-Montpellier 304 kms
April 20th 2005 Montpellier-Barcelona 342 kms
April 21st 2005 Barcelona – Madrid 630 kms
April 22nd 2005 Madrid – Sevilla 532 kms
April 23rd 2005 Sevilla – Alicante 600 kms
April 24th 2005 Alicante – Irun 1093 kms
April 25th 2005 Irun – La Ferrière 504 kms
April 26th 2005 La Ferrière – Belfort 863 kms
April 27th 2005 Belfort – Lyon 338 kms
Total 5 206kms
- Slaget vid Blodsälv
- Fiskarens Fiende
- Jaktens Tid
- Midnattens Widunder
- Skogens Hämnd
- Grottans Barn
- Det Iskalla Trollblodet
- Sianvitun Kuolema
- Ja Sata Kaunista Lampaan Pallia
- Vankilahomon Munasyndi Kyrpä
- Nakkifakiirin Utarehiki
- Tein sen ja teen sen taas
- Huumaava Pykkelibaageli
- Työmiesten Perskourinta
- Sata Persikka Pallia
- Se Liha, se Väliha eiku Väliliha
- Sillon Pulssi, Nussi Sitä
- Of Gorgons Spawned Through Witchcraft
- Wrath of the Fallen
- Emerging from her Weepings
- A Swarm of Plagues
- Horncrowned Majesty
- The Brimstone Gate
- Spoken Words of Venom
- I am Vengeance
- Atrocity Evolution
- Silent Renewal
- Last Round
- Other Flesh
Check out the tour diary...
Tuesday April 19th – Montpellier, Rockstore
I had hitched a ride from Lyon to Montpellier and we were supposed to meet up with the promoters as early as possible, and with the Finntroll tour manager around noon. However, my ride took forever to get down to Montpellier, while stopping at virtually every service station and blasting Japanese power metal through the whole trip.
We got to Montpellier quite late, somewhere around 3 in the afternoon. The promoters were just making room for the tour bus to pull up in front of the venue, and photographers and reporters were beginning to crowd around the bar. But no tour bus. About an hour later, the Jan de Wit bus finally pulled, rather backed into its parking spot, and 3 people emerged: Andreas from Naglfar, who it seems was usually amongst the first people to get up, Joey, the tour manager, and John Goss, the stage manager. Joey went straight to business, and hopped off the vehicle with a quick hello before trooping straight into the venue to enquire about different details with the promoters. One of the main concerns at this point was to get paid for the show in time and with the right conditions, and this need to be discussed. As I left the two of them to their negotiations, I popped my head into my soon-to-be home for a week, only to realize that everyone was still fast asleep in the middle of the afternoon.
Joey likes to have a cell phone SIM card for every country he travels in, it saves him money when touring. Therefore, the two of us went into the first mobile phone shop, to study the thousands of options regarding cell phone cards. And bargained what we could and somehow got some extra credit.
There is one great problem for most band members, when on tour. Maybe greater than not being able to find a warm shower: how do you save all your tour pictures? Buy another memory card? Memory stick? Burn a CD? Decisions, decisions… Figuring out what to do about that seemed to be the main concern of the day.
A little before ‘doors’, I found out about tour lingo. Never say “tour book” say “book of lies”. Never say “tour bus” say “shit on wheels” and never say Joey Severance, say “Rick James”. In fact, everyone, including myself by the time I left, had their own nickname(s).
The backstage area in the Rockstore is composed of a highly acrobatic set of fire stairs leading to two decent rooms with couches, and…. A shower. You think these are small details, because this is France. But soon you learn that in fact, this is a luxury.
Everyone knows that Finns are cold distant people. But after 3 weeks in a henhouse, tolerance to propinquity is a virtue. And even Finns request hugs, just like Americans do. However, the backstage area gets a little crowded when there are swarms of staff and sticky extras on top of the 20 inhabitants of the Jan de Wit palace.
The doors open, and a very “metal” crowd comes in. There even is a guy dressed up in full chain mail and faux animal fur. As Amoral begin their set, several people stand a little startled. Is this new band from Finland really that good? Yes! Yes, it’s very professional, and has a lot of maturity about its stage performance with regards to many older bands… And no apparent difficulty to relate to the audience. For a support act, they did an excellent job. Even Skrymer from Finntroll was there, standing like a scarecrow in the crowd. ‘ I love that guitar part Ben plays, I gotta steal it from him!’ he said. A lot of energy comes out of that performance.
The main decredibilizing element is not to be blamed on the band. But it is true that their physical caliber is no match to that of Finntroll, try to compare the oak to the reed!
Naglfar came on stage. This show was very different from the previous. There was a lot more drama in this act, more leather, more props, more spikes. But who says black metal can’t be fun? Although pure black metal is an acquired taste, Naglfar do have their share of the fans present. And a great ‘four thumbs up” to Kristoffer, who used to be the bass player, and is now the vocalist. It’s not easy being used to one task for years and having to switch over to a whole new environment. You try using chopsticks after being competent with a fork and knife for all your life!
One more changeover… And Finntroll appear. But where’s the black makeup? The Nikki Six face paint? However, the moshing intensity goes fourfold, as the beginning humppa track Kitteldags turns the Rockstore into the Orcstore… You have to imagine a plethora of monsters and golblins having a drunken scandifolkfest, and you’ll get the general idea. The crowd is not moshing, it’s dancing the polka. Just like Flogging Molly only more intense. And the stage must be at least one meter high, which doesn’t prevent stagedivers from performing dangerous tricks. I think that this is universal for Finntroll gigs. No matter where you are in the world, the Spirit of Humppa just wiggles your legs and arms like you are a giant marionnette.
Wednesday, April 20th – Barcelona, Mephisto
Beaches, palm trees and French Manicures
The drive to Barcelona was supposed to be about 3 hours according to mappy.com, and turned out to last most of the night. The main excitement of the day was the proximity of the beach. Most bus dwellers were out and about quite early to take advantage of the beautiful weather and the different activities that Barcelona had to offer. Alexi, the Finntroll keyboardist, was the boldest, as he left the palace behind to have a little tourist expedition. But most other crew and band members just walked around the city and especially the beach. No Southern European can bear swimming in the Mediterranean if the water isn’t at least, say, 19 degrees or so. And believe me, it wasn’t even that warm. But this doesn’t bother bold troll men. They don’t even need to take their clothes off to dive like mermaids head first in the turquoise waters.
Adding to the great weather, and the presence of beaches, there was another luxury in this venue: 2 showers. Not ONE, but TWO. With WARM water. I must sadly state that this was my last warm shower until the end of the tour.
Spanish food tends to scare foreigners, especially French people like myself, because you expect tons of olive oil and fried stuff. And…. You are right. Spanish people enjoy gazpacho (cold soup, tastes like V8 only a little more tangy) and fries soaked in oil. After joking about this for a while, we were told to expect the famous Irun swimming chicken… Wait and see, they said…
In Spain shows start later than in France, and the doors opened somewhere around 10 pm. The stage was comparable in size to that of the Montpellier gig. Quite high, and of a decent size. However, unforeseeable elements made playing a little difficult. Indeed, Mathias, the Naglfar drummer had a terrible cough, and was quite ill. He had slept the whole day, and was having a lot of trouble breathing. Tundra, the Finntroll bassist appeared to have something similar to contractures in his back muscles, and every move was really painful. Beast Dominator the Finntroll drummer suffered from headaches. The best that could have been done was to numb everyone with codeine, and try Arnica massages for painful muscles… But in the end, you could tell no difference. The show went on, and the whole business went unnoticed.
The Barcelona crowd was a lot quieter than the night before in Montpellier, and they only started showing that they were alive when Finntroll began to play.
After the gig, on the bus on the way to Madrid, everyone was either sleeping or chilling in the bus lounge area, and the discussion derived from using massage oil to soothe painful muscles to ways of grooming one’s body. On tour many backrubs are given and received, and a lot of collective hair combing is done. Erkki, the Amoral bass guitarist, decided that he would do something different and go for a French manicure instead.
Thursday, April 21st – Madrid, Ritmo & Compas
When Naglfar meet Rick James.
Madrid was very hot and muggy. As soon as the bus doors opened you could feel the hot heavy air come in. The daily issue was, again, the lack of memory on the digital cameras, so a quest began to try to find the best compromise. It turns out that certain people just wanted to buy memory sticks to save their data on. But there’s another thing about Spain that most Europeans don’t necessarily know: Spanish people close their shops in the middle of the afternoon for several hours. They call it SIESTA. I call it annoying. Because how the heck is one supposed to buy anything if the shops are closed at 4 in the afternoon? Wilska and co were on a hunt for tapas bars, whilst Routa and Skrymer were meeting friends of theirs who resided in Madrid.
After a successful shopping session, some of us returned to the venue. My understanding is that Ritmo & Compas is not only a concert hall, but also a recording studio, music school and music store. So the new fashion for the bus folk was then to purchase 13 Euro killer ear plugs. I needed some time to adapt, to mine because the sound during the show was quite odd with those new earplugs in. But I eventually got used to them.
The venue did have a shower, however cold, but the catering was great. There we met up with Dave Rotten, the promoter, who organized several of the gigs on the tour. He took most of us out to dinner, and we had instructions to bring back take-out portions for those who were too busy or too tired to make it to the restaurant. Later we realized that there was a mix-up in the take out, leaving people empty-bellied. And a chow-less Wilska is a scary Wilska…
The backstage area was contiguous to the stage, and the room got extraordinarily hot with several hundreds of people jumping around in it. The stage was a little smaller and shorter than the day before. As for the Spanish crowd, it was extremely friendly, (and very very sweaty!) and moshed relentlessly. The general atmosphere was really cordial, and everyone was apparently having a good time.
The heat in the room led Naglfar to reconsider the use of certain props such as Kris’s leather trench coat. In fact, that particular outfit wasn’t used much at all after that.
After the gig, the driver needing a certain amount of rest hours, we could only leave at 3 am. But that extra time was spent hanging out with friends, and letting the Naglfar boys catch up to the Dave Chappelle skit. The ‘hold my drink bitch’ ‘cold blooded’ ‘evil midnight darkness’ skit.
Friday, April 22nd – Sevilla, Club Salvation
The surprise gig
The show was supposed to be in Granada, but at the last minute some changes were made, and we ended up going to Sevilla. I only found out in the bus on our way there. The Sevilla venue was in the middle of an industrial zone, and far from the city centre. And the heat was quite something. There really wasn’t much to do besides try to get the gig clothes to dry and sit around. Wilska had brought some sort of portable stereo system, and started playing DJ. Anything from Tenacious D to Finnish rap… Skrymer had bought headphone amp, and other people were just chilling.
The stage was spacious, and there was plenty of room around it. The ceiling was high which allowed for decent air circulation, meaning that the venue wasn’t over heated.
The venue was filling in as Amoral played their set.
The only access from the backstage area to the stage was to walk across this fire-escape type walkway across the whole concert hall. This is good for taking pictures, as you are high above the crowd, and facing the stage.
From what we witnessed, the Spanish crowd didn’t live up to its reputation in terms of pit brutality and plain liveliness. However, the Spanish audience is generally quite fond of leather and metal accessories. This may be why no one wanted to stage dive. For fear of ruining their outfit.
At the end of the show, the crowd disappeared, leaving no one in front of the venue but the bands, sitting around, listening to 'Club Wilska'. (Club Wilska is like sitting in front of the emergency broadcast, feeling like 'What the .....??', only it's music) And only ONE single solitary 14 year old silent Spanish fan was sitting there, looking gleeful and proud. And all of a sudden the Spanish police popped its head in out of curiosity, and assessed that they were outnumbered, so they drove off.
Saturday, April 23rd – Alicante, Club Stereo
Dos Satanas, por favor!
Alicante. To me the most memorable date in my week-long trip. Alicante. The beach, the promenade under the palm trees, the cheap liquor…. The day started disastrously, because the promoter was no where to be found with keys to the venue, and the bus and trailer couldn’t be unloaded. The bus was double parked in the middle of a bus lane, and people didn’t really know what to do. Most of us decided to just take a walk around. Routa met up with some friends of his, and other people just went to the beach, or strolled around town. The day’s issue was pretty much to find a bar that served burgers and/or pina coladas. Everyone was having a good time, almost forgetting about the gig, when the tour manager rounded up the troops and summoned us all to the venue. The promoter had finally made it, and now it was going to be a mess and a hurry to unload everything. And that’s not all. Once we actually saw the stage… A gasp and a long pause followed.
The stage was, if you know what I mean, a punk stage. This equals a stage that was meant for a drum kit and 2 guitars, tops. Here we had to fit a drum kit, a keyboard, 2 guitars, a bass, amps, 6 well fed Finns and a partridge and a pear tree. On a stage the size of a sombrero.
There was a loooooooong pause, and certain people wondered whether or not this was actually going to happen, considering how late it was already, and considering the logistics of the whole thing. The show was supposed to start at 10H30 PM and Finntroll was scheduled to be on stage at 12H40 AM. Well, what can you do, besides try to take it easy and just got though it smoothly. This day was as close to Spinal Tap as you can get.
And to make matters worse, the posters advertising the show in front of the venue and the flyers ALL announced: Metallysee proudly presents FINNSTROLL, AMORAL and NALGFAR. Yup… Wanna go for a nice Finnstroll in the park?
A little expedition decided to head for the Castillo de Santa Barbara, the monument overlooking the city. The other portion of us headed straight for the beach. It turns out that the tourist expedition failed, and that all of Naglfar and half of Finntroll met up at the beach, and then drained the liquor out of most bars along the promenade. The warm air and beautiful weather added to the palm trees and the taste of freshly pressed orange juice screwdrivers and delicious iced pina coladas, margaritas and exotic shooters…. Need I say more…..
The size of the stage seemed to be getting less important than the length of the skirts that Spanish girls were wearing, and even Kris of Naglfar was telling jokes. After all, once at the venue, the great atmosphere took over, along with Kris repeating “Alicante! Alicante! You’re so great! Alicante!”, and somehow, who knows how, all three bands gave an amazing show.
The sound was quite awful, but Naglfar tore up the place. Kris’s jokes were meeting a response in the audience, the atmosphere was festive and joyous, and the bands were having fun. That night, Naglfar owned the place.
Sunday April 24th – Irun, Tunk
Where’s the swimming chicken?
The Alicante-Irun drive was the longest on the whole tour (1093 kms). So long that the bus company had to send us a second driver. With 2 drivers and a quasi non-stop drive, it still took us 15 to 16 hours to get to Irun. This bus ride was more obnoxious than a never ending Nick at Nite marathon. Once at the venue, in the Pyrennees, the rain started pouring down, right when all the unloading had to be done. The promoter took us all to a restaurant in the middle of a noisy shopping center, but fortunately, we avoided the (in)-famous Irun swimming chicken.
The backstage area was very spacious, and there was plenty to eat. The venue was a bar during the day and a concert hall at night. It could only hold a limited number of attendees, but the stage’s width was decent. However, I cannot comment on the show, because right after taking a –cold- shower (the first since Madrid) I got an eye infection and had to be taken to the hospital. A great big thanks to the promoter who was extremely kind, considerate and efficient. Nonetheless, the feedback I got from the bands is that there weren’t many people in the audience, and that those who were there were very quiet and barely moved.
Monday April 25th – La Ferrière, Mat’sa Café
The punk petting zoo.
Back to France, finally. Finally, food that I can eat or at least pronounce. But the venue…. Again…. You must imagine a ramshackle little cardboard-like hut, with a stage that could compete with the one in Alicante. And NO backstage area. The so-called backstage area was in fact the exterior of the venue with plastic chairs and tables, and the now famous ‘La Ferrière petting zoo’. Yes, behind the venue were chickens, geese, rabbits and even a goat.
The place is some kind of anarcho-communist-punk community that bans Coca Cola and serves local brews of beer and moonshine.
The venue was the size of a tool shed, and there is a scary note on the microwave that read: ‘Do NOT turn on the microwave while a show is being played’, meaning that in that event you will presumably blow a fuse and turn the place into total darkness.
The posters and flyers advertising the show here too showed significant mistakes:
‘Metallysee proudly presents:
I wonder how they came up with FINNtroll coming from Norway…
And this venue had to best assortment of fans ever. People with missing teeth, people with Finntroll album covers tattooed on their arms and people dressed up like Gauls before the Roman invasion, with sheepskin and checkered pants…
Much to their own surprise, for Finntroll this was probably the BEST crowd since I tagged along. There were many punks in the pit, and we were very very close together, but the moshing and stagediving was quite something. Everyone went at it, be it the crowd or the crew, and myself, of course. The Finntroll stage manager left his post for a second to join the fun and went for a little crowd surfing trip.
Vendée is not famous for its wine, however foreigners believe it is the blood of Gods. Routa tricked himself into thinking that Villageoise red wine is the Dyonisian delicacy of France, and was taken to Olympus while playing and it caused him to miss several bars. And the tour manager had to slap his fingers a couple times.
The band was so hyped that they decided to throw in a couple extra songs after the encore, Blodnatt and ‘Käkimassaa’ from the Finnish hardcore band Unicef.
Tuesday April 26th – Belfort, La Poudrière
With full throttle, props and corpse paint.
The Belfort venue is situated right underneath the renowned Lion de Belfort, an Eiffel monument adjacent to the fort overseeing the city. Needless to say that the view was great.
Today’s mission was to find some black stage make-up to make the show even grimmer. The Belfort catering was, IMHO definitely the best of the whole week-long trip. Only organic wholesome food, in large quantities, and very nice and caring staff in the venue. And a shower, albeit cold. However, there were technical difficulties: the sound deck had blown all it’s fuses the day before, and there were no spares. The manager and the sound tech had to go into town to buy a whole bunch of new ones. It turns out that the music store salesperson refused to sell them the whole box of fuses because he said that was his last box and he’d be out if he sold the whole thing. This made no sense and was quite insulting, so Joey decided not to buy any at all from the store and tried to find another store that would be less incoherent.
During the Finntroll soundcheck, Joey and I went out to town to buy him more credit for his phone card. But when we got back, there was no more food for us at the venue, as there was a misunderstanding and the promoters had forgotten to include several people in the meal count. After some discussions with the staff and the promoter, it was decided that the people who didn’t get any food would receive cash and go buy some food in town instead.
As were returned from our Italian dinner, the fans were packing into the venue. Some of them had already been waiting in front of the venue sitting in their tuned up ‘metal mobiles’ for several hours before the opening time. There was such as significant crowd that security had to close the doors and do a systematic head count, letting people in with millimetric precision. We had to push our way through angry and drunk fans who probably thought we were just shoving our way to the front of the line and this made them aggressive and dangerously stupid. (I mean, you DO NOT want to get on Wilska’s nerves, no no no…)
Once inside the venue, the corpse paint designing session began. This was the first show since the beginning of the trip where Finntroll was getting on stage with full gear and stage make-up. Actually, if you really paid attention, you could even notice certain extra nekro stage props like Routa’s beard daisy crown and Wilska’s pink bandana…
The Belfort crowd was much livelier than most of the Spanish crowds, and a lot more aggressive. Several people including myself received (accidentally or not) a significant number of painful and unnecessary punches and kicks. Thank Gawd the Spirit of Humppa was there to enable you to abstract from the bruises and the sweat to allow you to actually have fun.
Arriving towards the end of the show, I felt a little pinch in my heart as I realized that this was my last gig on the tour. The bus was swiftly packed and ready to go, and nobody on the crew wanted to just sit on their ass in front of the Belfort venue to sign autographs. Therefore Joey, Marcel (the trusty driver) and the crew decided to make an early move towards Eindhoven.
The last thing I remember of the Finntroll-Naglfar-Amoral Spring Tour 2005 is the Jan de Wit bus driving away with a giant faux-fur thong attached to the back door. That is a memory I will cherish forever.
- 1 bottle of Clairette de Die
- 1 bottle of Cahors red wine
- 1 bottle of Gewürtzraminer
- 1 bottle of Roussillon Rosé
- 1 bottle of Montbazillac
- 1 bottle of Côtes du Rhône
- About 1000 beers or so
- 25 pills of Paracetamol
- 30 congestion pills
- 1 bottle of Arnica massage oil
- 5 boxes of ear plugs
- 2 fuse boxes
- several guitar strings
- 5206 kilometers
- 1 DVD player
- 5 cans of Miau sardines
- 20 packs of potato chips
- 6 gun shaped lighters (bang bang)
- a dozen pairs of shades
- 2 bandanas
- 4 SIM cards
- 4 pairs of flip flops
- 45 screwdrivers (not the tool)
- 2 drivers
- 2 baguette sandwiches per day per person
- 1 French Manicure kit
Read the article in its original context here