On a quiet September 15th Sunday night, I strolled into Club Soda only to be greeted by the ever-pleasing sea of black t-shirts and hoodies, generic beers, and of course, the giant black band flag decorating the stage background. Now even though I consider myself to be quite the music nerd, I can’t possibly be aware of every single band alive, nor can I be an expert on every metal sub-genre that exists; but I sure as hell am getting there. So, in situations such as this where I am considered a guest visiting a new world, politeness is my best course of action, and I was met with nothing less by nearly every person in the venue. Battle Beast, Sonata Arctica, and Kamelot had rounded up some of the city’s most mature drunken metalheads I’ve noticed in a while. Sometimes you just notice the kind of people a specific sub-genre commands, and that’s part of the game.
I’ve always appreciated seeing any show at Club Soda because of its long shape and many elevated areas providing several viewing spots, where almost everyone in the club can get an unobstructed view of the stage. This proved to come in handy for those of us with lower energy levels for this specific evening, where most of the crowd was either seated on the top floor or standing relatively calm on the floor. However, you wouldn’t have been able to tell it was a Sunday night when Battle Beast arrived on stage. More than often, when buying a ticket to a show, it’s mostly done to see the main band and the openers are just a bonus. This wasn’t the case here, as I noticed almost every person near me mouthing the words or singing along to every song Battle Beast offered them. Vocalist Noora Louhimo belted her best power metal vibes in her awesome eclectic outfit, sporting demonic horns and leather down to the floor. I remember thinking to myself, “She must be the battle beast they’re talking about, holy shit!”
Sonata Arctica had no less effect on the audience. Every person I looked at had their attention fully tied onstage, and every person also knew the words to every song. My second overwhelming thought of the night was “Wow, these guys must listen to this non-stop, all the time,” and I was sure as hell right about that. You couldn’t find a fake fan in the whole club, even if you tried. That’s respectable as fuck. With many kind words from Sonata Arctica of gratitude and the appreciation of live music as a standalone culture, the echoes of a pleased crowd boomed as they played “Life” and saluted their way out.
A unanimous standing ovation happened as Kamelot came into view, grabbing many of the audience out of their seats, waving fists into the air. With flags coming pouring down from the balcony and all-around smiles, I was thrust from my seat and back onto the floor where every person I crossed smiled politely and gestured as if to apologize for being in my way, which they hardly were. This was clearly not a modern-day Metallica show where you get your existence challenged for bumping someone’s shoulder gently while walking by. The band impressed with their overall stage presence, great overuse of bass drum (thank you Alex Landenburg, you are wonderful), skillful vocal performance by Tommy Karevik, slick guitar solos by Thomas Youngblood, and best hair on a keyboardist courtesy of Oliver Palotai.
The fandom of all things Nordic couldn’t be more obvious with all the melodic gothy feels happening throughout the night, and I can guarantee the next one will be just as much of a success with all-around fans of the genre.
Written by Talia Plante
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Mike Milito