So the night of February 10th, 2011 I find myself yet again standing in line at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco, CA. For my own off the wall reasons, I paid the extra bit and went for the meet and greet with (what I thought at the time) the whole of Fintroll and Ensiferum. Initially, the crowd outside was pretty minimal and when I got there about 5:30 there was already a line of about 10 or so people. By the time we got to where they were going to let us in for the meet and greet, it appeared that there were about 20 or so going in for that, and I couldn’t see how many people were in the regular line.
I’ll be the first to admit, I have a rudimentary knowledge of these two bands as far as their music is concerned and I couldn’t pick any of them out of a crowd. The same could be said for the opening acts, I’ve never even heard of Barren Earth or Rotten Sound but I was there to support these bands though and I’m well aware of how some of these shows can turn out (the Tarja one a few years ago was the worst, with only about 100 or so people there). I wanted to do my part to keep these bands coming back to America.
There was a small group of people behind two big boxes full of posters and silver pens. The one on the left had a couple people from Finntroll and the one on the right had four people from Ensiferum. They were all SUPER fucking nice.. I cannot say that enough.. they really were extremely thankful we were all there to see them and they were really friendly. The theme to most of the conversations when I ask them my go-to question “How is America treating you so far?” was followed by many of them complaining about the harsh weather back east and the lack of alcohol. 🙂
Posters signed, cd signed and pics taken and I went over to the merch table. They were selling a drumhead signed by EVERYONE on the tour with little drawings and funny messages and I wanted it really, really bad. Sadly, the $50.00 price tag was out of my range at the time so I settled for a very reasonably priced tour shirt. I strayed over to the other side where they were selling the Barren Earth and Rotten Sound items. I purchased Rob’s Curse of the Red River for Rob and kept my eyes open for anyone who looks like they might be in Barren Earth. As you all well know, I succeeded (slightly) and you can see the fruits of my labour here.
On to the show. Barren Earth was up first. Before I get into my review, it’s (obviously) super loud there and I have ear-plugs in (safety first) so my point of view for the sound is going to be different from someone watching at home. I enjoyed the Barren Earth set. It seemed like they really love this project they’re in and this album they’re supporting. The music was really pretty amazing. I heard Rob mention that the clean vocals were a little rough, but I couldn’t tell. Anyways, here’s a little ditty from them and a couple of my pics of them at the show.
Mikko Kotamäki of Barren Earth
Olli-Pekka Laine & Janne Perttilä of Barren Earth
Next up is Rotten Sound. Again, I know nothing of them, though I’m pretty sure I’m not a fan of Grindcore. I’m just going to say I didn’t enjoy the music. Regardless, here’s a video from them and some pics I took..
Keijo Niinimaa of Rotten Sound
Kristian Toivainen of Rotten Sound
On to Ensiferum (which is the band I really went to see that evening). They were fucking amazing. First off, they come out shirtless, face painted like Braveheart and wearing Kilts (two of them have the Finnish flag as their kilt design). Their show was high energy and they worked the crowd like seasoned vets. It was then when I had realized just how big the crowd was as I was literally being crushed against the front of the stage and I look behind me and see a sea of people. They really came out for this one! I was on a bit of a time restraint and had to be up early for work the next day so I knew I couldn’t stay late.. I was hoping that Ensiferum would be finished at a decent hour and I could catch a few songs from Finntroll. No such luck. They played 12 amazing songs and by the time all was said and done I was covered with sweat and exhausted. I’m too old for this shit. I did, however, get my hands on a setlist… score! You can see it below. 🙂 I made my way out of the crowd, which dispersed quickly (as people hit the merch tables, restrooms and smoking area) and I looked around for anyone from Barren Earth. No dice there. So I departed the great show, regretting that I had to miss Fintroll but I definitely didn’t feel like I missed out on anything, thanks to Ensiferum.
Enjoy their awesomeness below with (you guessed it) a video and some of my pics of the show..
Petri Lindroos of Ensiferum
Markus Toivonen of Ensiferum
Sami Hinkka of Ensiferum
Markus Toivonen & Sami Hinkka of Ensiferum
Me with members of Ensiferum
…and here’s my setlist from the show. 🙂