CONCERT REVIEW: Korpiklaani/Arkona/Polkadot Cadaver

I got to the show too late for Forged in Flame’s set. Sorry, guys. I only caught the last few songs of Polkadot Cadaver, too. Their style is a little too “core” for me to go into detail here. Highlights include the vocalist riding around on some dude’s shoulders during one song, the band covering Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and a slow-motion wall of death. They seem good for their style with well-honed songwriting skill and a definite stage presence, proving to be a good party band.

Arkona is certainly a live band. I’m surprised the small upstairs stage at the Palladium had enough room for them, with all of the jumping and dancing. They made the most of it, especially vocalist Masha Arhipova. A veritable fireball, it was hard to Keep up with her at times bouncing back and forth. The whole time she kept her precision with the vocals, alternating between beautiful, deep clean vocals and aggressive growling. This was Arkona’s last night on the tour, so I’m glad I got the chance to see them. How often does one get to see a guy dancing with his bagpipes at a metal show?

If you had to call just one metal band “the” party band… well, okay, that would be damn near impossible. Korpiklaani would be one of the top contenders, though. The Finnish Folk metallers brought the party back to Worcester yet again. Sadly, they only drew enough of a crowd to perform on the upstairs stage. Even vocalist Jonne Järvelä said that they weren’t there for the money, that they were there to play.

Järvelä and guitarist Cane kept the party going onstage, while bassist Jarkko Aaltonen and accordian player Juho Kauppinen seemed comparatively laid-back. (Sorry, Matson, but it’s hard to see anybody behind the drum kit at that venue!) Kauppinen was off to the side, though, in that part of the upstairs stage that has no lighting, so I couldn’t see half the things he was doing.

Overall, the group was able to communicate the party onstage to the crowd, resulting in plenty of moshing and sloshing. The band didn’t play the oft-requested “Happy Little Boozer,” aside form a few hints of the song to keep the crowd happy. They did get through “Beer Beer,” “Vodka,” and “Tequila” (notice a trend here?). They also threw in a folk-metal cover of “Iron Fist.” Every song was played excellently.

The band could have cut the between-song banter down a bit, in order to keep the show moving. Some of the guys would jam between songs, too. Sometimes it was fun, sometimes it would slow the show down.

Overall, the night certainly was a big party. For many people, this was the last metal concert of the year, taking 2011 out with a bang. Horns up all around.

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