Pit of Hell: Manala North American Tour, Gramercy Theater, NYC

 I happened to be going to New Jersey for my job when I found out about a couple of concerts at the Gramercy Theater in Manhattan while I was going to be there.  I had a choice to make – Korpiklaani or Devin Townsend.  There wasn’t any way I could make it to both.  I obviously chose the Forest Clan on their Manala North American Tour, as I had never seen them before, while I have seen Townsend live (truly an entertaining show).  It really was a tough decision, as if you have seen Devin Townsend, you know that he is a complete madman on stage and a first class entertainer.  For this show I was even able to secure a photo pass, although there were some issues that prevented me from getting the shots I wanted. 

My wife and I arrived at the theater in Manhattan a short time after the show had started and went to the window to secure camera passes and admission.  We found that only I was on the list, not me +1 as requested.  After some discussion with the girl at the boxoffice, we were clearly not going to get both of us in with cameras.  We were in the process of purchasing a ticket for my wife when the girl suddenly said they were sold out.  She handed my money back, but swiftly stamped my wife’s hand as if she had already been admitted.  It was a close call, but she got in.  Her camera, however, was not admitted and we had to check it at the front, a situation neither of us was too happy about.  We decided to go with the flow.

Once inside, we secured a couple of seats while opening band Metsatöll was already playing.  I had never heard a song by the band, but was immediately impressed with their musicianship, sound and extreme bagpipe playing.  Really good stuff and I am going to have to check out more by them.  Although we heard only a few of their songs, I enjoyed what I heard.

Next up was Faroese band Týra group whom I have seen now 4 times.  Their setlist primarily consisted of songs from the last two albums with the oldest being from Land.  Surprisingly they did not play perennial crowd favorite, Hail to the Hammer or the old Irish standard, The Wild Rover.  They did put on an entertaining set, quick paced and far too short for me.  I will say that every time I have seen them has been better than the last, although their set at ProgPower a couple of years ago was great.  This one was probably on par.

Following was Moonsorrow.  I have a couple of their albums, but have not really gotten into them.  I must say I did not love their show, at times the music was doomy and seemed to drag on for far too long.  There were flashes of great stuff, but overall I was not too impressed and can’t say that they made me any more of a fan than I was before.

Finally, Korpiklaani was up.  During the break (all of which were about 15 minutes long – awesome), a really, and I mean really, drunk guy made his way up the stairs, stumbling and pulling himself up by the railing.  I thought he was going to lose it and fall.  When he got to our row, he stopped and just stood there, swaying back and forth.  There were a couple of empty seats next to me, so we stood up to let him in.  It took him a few moments, but seemed to catch on and made his way past us, plopped down in a seat a couple away from me, and promptly passed out with his head tipped back onto the legs of a woman behind him – who got up and moved.  The guy had on a Korpiklaani t-shirt, so that was who he was there to support.  He missed the entire thing.  I don’t understand why someone would get so drunk that they couldn’t even stay alert enough to watch the band they came for.  I just shook my head.

Korpiklanni were simply superb.  They were high energy and played tightly.  They definitely know how to work the crowd and are a fun band to see.  They played a wide range of tunes, 19 songs in all, from their latest album Manala, back to songs from Spirit of the Forest.  I definitely am more of a fan of the band because of this show.  They entertained me completely.

The Manala North American Tour was definitely a good one, with an excellent variety of Metal.  The bands appeard to enjoy performing there and they were almost done with the tour, so by the point their performances were outstanding.  The New York crowd was different than any other Metal show I have attended, being very passionate about the music with a very aggressive pit.  I had a great time despite the problems at the outset.  We recovered our other camera, walked a bit through Manhattan and headed back to NJ with a unique experience under our belts.

I hear the sound in a METAL way.

-Harley

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