30.04.2008. TURISAS - NORTHER Tour Report, March 13th to 27th 2008 VIDEO INTERVIEW of NORTHER Listen to audio here
This Spring, ShutterBLAST was invited to London to cover the Turisas/Norther tour for a major European print magazine. With much pleasure we would like to share some of our adventures all over Europe with this incredible package...
For NORTHER VIDEO INTERVIEW go to the VIDEOS section.
(Click on all THUMBNAILS for full size galleries)
Thursday, March 13th – London, Electric Ballroom
Camden, city within The City, is home to the London Underground Scene and offers many wonders to metal, gothic and industrial shoppers. On this March eve, Camden is hosting not one, but 2 shows in almost adjacent venues London Underworld with Ektomorf and Stuck Mojo, and Electric Ballroom, just across the road, with Turisas and Norther. The temptation is too great and ShutterBLAST and friends step into the Underworld for a few minutes to say hello to the friends who are there, after paying a visit to the cult Sushi restaurant around the corner.
Nevertheless, after paying our respects to our long time friends on the Ektomorf crew, we return to the very crowded Electric Ballroom to find Turisas and Norther caught in a myriad of interviews and record label activities. Deciding that a band's press duties come first, we head towards the audience to gather photos of fans getting pretty in war paint and blood, in the style of Turisas. As Alestorm begins to warm the crowd up with some very Scottish pirate metal, Norther get ready to rock. And rock they do... Long time partners Norther deliver a flawless show, including many pieces of the new disc 'N' and some old classics as well to a pre-conquered audience.
We had never seen Turisas live, and honestly, thought that they might be a little too over the top with their costumes and gimmicks. Much to our surprise, they were anything but cheesy. And although less evil but no less pagan than Moonsorrow, Turisas put on a great show with similar body paint as the above mentioned Fins.
Friday, March 14th – Brighton, Concorde 2
Brighton, along with Blackpool (which we visited on our latest trip to the UK) is the gay capital of the UK. What does this mean? That you can find open minded people, nice shops and a great atmosphere here. Our British friends drove with us to the seaside and took us through the second hand clothes shops and several little boutiques before heading to the Brighton Pier, to meet up with Turisas and Norther who were eager to start betting on plush animals, slot machine and bibi guns.
The party then headed for the venue, which lay right on the seaside, and prepared for assault. As Alestorm were playing their last show of the tour, members of Turisas wore the robes that we bought the same afternoon in the second hand shops of Brighton, during Alestorm's tune 'Wenches'. After Norther completed their set and Turisas was over half way through theirs, several members of Norther plus our friends headed down the beach to town to indulge in world-famous Fish and Chips from where the Fish and Chips magic actually originates. Upon return, we do have to mention the dog shit episode... In other words, Kristian Ranta, who assumes guitar duties for Norther, stepped into the dung heap of a dinosaur on the way back to the venue. The size and stench of the goo forced him to part ways with that pair of shoes, much to the amusement of Jukka, the band's bassist, our friends, and ourself.
Saturday, March 15th – London, Total Rock Radio
As Turisas and Co. drove their way to Holland on the refrigerator that served for a bus, we returned to the land of the free and the home of the brave: Soho. In the epicenter of all London Rock Activity, our Londoner hostess extraordinaire invited us to co-host the Saturday afternoon Metal Show 'Caught in a Mosh'. The 3 hour show was hosted by our lovely Louise, Ratch, Bat and ourself. Since it was the 'Turisas weekend', the setlist of the day just had to begin with Turisas's hit 'To Holmgard and Beyond'. Somehow this song title always reminds me of Toy Story's Buzz Lightyear shouting 'To Infinity and Beyond', but that's sort of beside the point. After playing several activist/hardcore songs, program DJ-ette Louise then plays many a folk Finnish tune before broadcasting a seriously obscene quantity of Norther tracks.
As planned, we then called up Norther's bassist Jukka for a live phone interview. A 10 minute chat then followed, on the UK gigs and various tour mishaps, before the show proceeded into insane discussions about Finnish toilets and a number of other no less important themes.
At the end of our 3 hours of alloted time, we then rushed to Camden with a handful of friends to watch a pub show. For some reason, the following details are slightly blurry...
Sunday, March 16th – London, Bar Fly
No weekend in London is complete without a trip to the center of Camden Lock, where the lovely toffy and other sinful delights dwell. What can one do when faced with the temptation of New Rock boots, custom made gothic clothes and the urge to make photos of everything? Weep. Because there never is enough time or money for all that. Thankfully, there still is, again, sushi, to soothe the bitterness of – in the words of Bill Bailey – 'not being able to possess them all'.
Passing the remains of the freshly burned down sections of Camden Market, we head towards BarFly, a minuscule venue hosting the Manchester based band Profane. The singer looks like a hardcore dancer, but produces a mixture of progressive and doom metal... A singular combination that actually works.
Monday, March 17th – Hamburg, Color Arena
After a long, painful and expensive hassle to get to Heathrow airport, we finally manage to sit and wait in the lounges of the airport where there is nothing else to do but spend the remaining British Pounds that we have in our pockets. Not being able to sleep in the aircraft, and after charging our telephone in the toilet of the airport since our charger was stolen in the Brighton backstage, we head in the snow(!!) to meet up with the Turisas crew who happen to have a day off, in the center of malice and sin of Germany: Reeperbahn.
And what is more incredible than walking the streets of the city and bumping into Norther's former manager who happens to be the manager for Nightwish? The answer is: getting 30 names on the Nightwish guest list for the show the same evening in Color Arena, where we naturally head straight after dinner.
Tuesday, March 18th – Hamburg, Marx
Located right across the street from the Hamburg main train station and biggest Saturn electronics shop, lies the Marx, which is a spin off of the bigger venue 'Markthalle'. Tonight it hosts Turisas and Norther on the small side, and An Café, a Japanese Anime-band, members of which are a cross between transsexuals and japanese action figures in the bigger hall. The audience consists solely of hysterical 14 year old school girls and boys who look like girls, who produce as many decibels as the whistle of a bullet train. For a moment, Turisas feared that this flock of enraged pre-teen banshees was headed to their show, and sighed in relief when 'only' animal skin and/or chain mail wearing role players showed up. Somehow, I still don't understand how that's any better...
Straight after the show, we rushed to a nearby hotel to count a few sheep before heading to the ICE ICE baby bullet train to Berlin, for a work meeting, while Turisas and Norther headed to Kalrsruhe.
Thursday, March 20th – Munich, Metropolis
Metropolis and Backstage can nowadays be considered ShutterBLAST's second home. These two venues indeed see the likes of us several times a week and we feel just as at home in these walls as a fish in a Camden sushi. Shortly after the end of the sound check, we park our French photomobile behind the venue and proceed into examining the sound check of the local opener of the day: Ingrimm. They are wearing chain mail, use a 6 string bass, a bagpipe and a hurdy-gurdy, and totally rip off the style of In Extremo. I don't recall many details as I'm socializing with my friend Satan and his wife. It's Satan's birthday today, and while Norther is on stage, Pete asks the audience to cheer for Satan's birthday before dedicating the song 'Death Unlimited' to him as a gift.
Friday, March 21st – Winterthur, Salzhaus
Theoretically within driving distance of Munich, we leave around 14h to the next venue on the tour: Winterthur. Since I've been living in Munich, I have always had the bad habit of using the GPS in the company Mercedes and have never bothered reading a map or directions. And in days like this, I honestly wish I had gone through the trouble. What kind of an idiot thinks that 3 hours are enough to reach the next venue, when you leave on the most crowded weekend in Easter vacation, during a damned snow storm, with no map and expecting the Swiss borders to be a no-brainer? Me. Stuck 2 hours in Lindau, then 2 more on the Austrian/Swiss border, hoping to make it in time for the show and feeling the adrenaline slowly but surely making my hands sweat.
But French yogurt-cup-sized cars are, as we all know, built for snow and speed so thanks to our great skill and foresight, we actually slam the backstage door open 20 minutes before the actual 'doors' time. To make matters much better still, the lights in the venue are nothing less than shitty, and on a practical note, I realize that I deliberately did NOT book a hotel for myself since I believed in the 'theory of a 3 hour drive back to Munich'. Well, naturally, Thor was having enough of me and sent swarms of snow to Switzerland, leaving me with a car but no shelter after the show. Once more, Odin bless the lovely lady working at the venue who was kind enough to offer me her manger. The Goddess of War will always be in thy debt oh lovely broad of the kitchen!
Friday, March 28th – Lichtenfels, Ragnarök Festival
After a small break from the tour, we head North, through Nürnberg, the American Army station of Bamberg and into the small town Lichtenfels, Bavaria. I had already come to this venue over a year ago when I was on the Amon Amarth/Wintersun tour for the Burning Fall festival, but the 'Land' administration nevertheless decided to play some tricks on me by totally rebuilding the highway leading to the town since last year. Note to self: buy yourself a GPS, genius.
Being late (surprised?) and totally whacked out, I rush through the artist parking lot and nearly run over Norther's keyboard player Tuomas. Quite a lucky coincidence, since I'm on the wrong side of the venue to claim my pass. Thanks to Turisas's help, I head to the over crowded backstage/press area... Through a sea of already drunk, stinky and loud RPG players, my favorite. While still on the highway, I had received a phone call from Norther that I should step on the gas pedal considering that their stage time had been preponed by 3 hours. Nice. Somehow I found a loophole in the time-space continuum and through a quantum vortex made it to the photo pit right on time for the show.
Note to the readers. It is NOT possible to WORK in a photo pit when you have 15 fanzine people standing RIGHT in front of you with their arms in the air, trying desperately to take snapshots of the show with pocket cameras, or worse: cell phones. These people have no idea what they are doing. My rider also excludes from the photo pit people who wear spikes, big backpacks and do not wear deodorant. And I only eat the blue skittles, thank you.
Back to the music. Am I the only one who thinks that it's very strange to have booked Norther on a festival where only Neanderthals, Vikings, Pagans, Celts and other forms of weird-instrument-playing nitwits play? Nevertheless, Turisas co-headline this festival's first evening together with Primordial, playing in front of roughly 5000 drunk Germans, while Alestorm is meant to deadline. I don't know what happened but something must have gone wrong with those Easy Jet tickets, because the band never actually showed up.
After a nice 40 minute video interview with Norther's mainmen Lindroos, Ranta and Koskinen, Turisas and Norther drive off to the next festival of this sort, we return to the venue to socialize with fellow writers from various German and Canadian magazines, and also cover the second day of the festival. The second day is, by the way, saved by our Canadian friends who are the highlight of the weekend. More Vikings, more warriors, more fur, more chain mail, more beards and more drinking horns, until we nearly pass out in the car on the way home after almost two weeks of having just as much fun as we did on the last Norther Summer Tour. Battered but happy, we return home with approximately 2500 photos to sort. It just never ends.
VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH NORTHER
40 Minutes with Petri LINDROOS, Kristian RANTA and Jukka KOSKINEN.
Thank you to: TURISAS, NORTHER, and the crew, Louise, Naomi, Troy, Susan.