And The Show Must Go On, Ensiferum & Kalmah at Club Red

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Ensiferum at Club Red in Mesa, Arizona on December 01, 2019

Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: 13th Floor Entertainment
Venue: Club Red
Date: Sunday December 1st, 2019
Tour:  Path To Victory Tour

From the start, this show was a nightmare from the sound issues to the lighting.  I will start with lighting, always one of my issues.  I understand that the first band, Adavant was a local band and does not deserve good lighting, but total blue light on the band the entire set!  It was very hard to photograph and from the audience perspective it made the band members look like they really need some sun.  The next band, Aenimus was lit a little better with yellow lights, but it made them look like they had liver issues.  Then we get to Abigail Williams, totally backlit by red lights.  I talked to one of their people after the show and this was on purpose, so OK I will forgive this.  At least for the next 2 bands, Kalmah and Ensiferum, the lighting got better.  Personally, I believe that all bands deserve to be well lit for the fans.  We really want to see them and in the case of some band members, love to see their strange facial expressions.  OK, off my soapbox.

Then let’s talk about the sound issues.  From the start, Adavant were having stage monitor issues and at times different members of the band overpowered the others.  For the most part I could barely hear Charlotte sing and she has a fantastic voice that should not be missed.  The same problem occurred during Aenimus with some members overpowering others.  By the time Abigail Williams got on stage, I figured that they had the sound issues figured out, but again the lead singer could not be heard clearly over the instruments.  Then came the biggest mess up of the night, Kalmah’s sound setup.  Throughout their set they had multiple times their instruments and voices cracked and buzzed.  There was constantly a person running around the stage changing out wires and equipment.  It got so bad that about half way through their set they finally gave up and left.  But finally, when Ensiferum got on stage they fixed the sound and Ensiferum’s performance went off without a problem.

Overall, it was still a great concert.  The audience really loved it and from the different mosh pits that occurred during the show I am sure there would have been some really sore people the next day.  If you get a chance to see Ensiferum and Kalmah perform, I would go again in a heartbeat.  They are outstanding bands and well worth it.  Hopefully next time I see Kalmah, their sound issues will be gone and I can hear their full set.  From the part I heard they are amazing.  Also the sound issue is not a Club Red issue.  I saw a show there the night before and the sound (and lighting) were good.



Ensiferum

Ensiferum at Club Red in Mesa, Arizona on December 01, 2019

Ensiferum is a folk / melodic death metal band from Helsinki, Finland.  The current band members are founding member Markus Toivonen on guitar, guitarist Petri Lindroos, bass player Sami Hinkka and drummer Janne Parviainen.  Taking over singing duties are both Sami Hinkka and Petri Lindroos.  They played here at Club Red back in January but their set this time was different.  They only played 6 songs from the January show and those were their hits.

They started their set with the “Blood is the Price of Glory” which is a very fast song.  The audience immediately started their equally fast mosh pit.  They continued with “One More Magic Potion” also from their 2007 album, Victory Songs.  The rest of the set was a couple of songs from each of their albums include my personal favorite, “For Those About to Fight for Metal” and “Way of The Warrior” from their newest album, Two Paths.  They came back for a 2-song encore of “Hero in a Dream” and “Lai Lai Hei” from their first 2 albums.

This was my second time to see Ensiferum and it was well worth it.  I really like this band and the musicians are extremely good.  If you get the chance to see them, it is definitely a great show to see and hear.  You can check them out and find out where they will be touring next at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Ensiferum/ .

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved


Ensiferum Setlist:                                      (Album)
Blood is the Price of Glory                         (Victory Songs)
One More Magic Potion                              (Victory Songs)
Token of Time                                               (Ensiferum)
From Afar                                                      (From Afar)
Smoking Ruins                                              (From Afar)
Two of Spades                                               (One Man Army)
Heathen Horde                                             (One Man Army)
For Those About to Fight for Metal          (Two Paths)
Way of the Warrior                                      (Two Paths)
Burning Leaves                                             (Unsung Heroes)
In My Sword I Trust                                     (Unsung Heroes)
Ahti                                                                  (Victory Songs)
Victory Song                                                   (Victory Songs)
Encore:
Hero in a Dream                                            (Ensiferum)
Lai Lai Hei                                                       (Iron)



Kalmah

Kalmah at Club Red in Mesa, Arizona with Ensiferum on December 01, 2019

This was my introduction to Kalmah.  They are a melodic swamp metal (their term) band from Pudasjärvi, Finland.  They are fronted by lead singer and guitarist Pekka Kokko, with guitarist Antti Kokko, bass player Timo Lehtinen, drummer Janne Kusmin, keyboardist Veli-Matti Kananen.

They started their set with one of their most popular songs, “Swamphell”.  Pekka and Antti laid down some classic guitar power cords and Pekka’s gravelly voice helped set the mood.  By the second song, they started experiencing sound issues.  You could tell it was really upsetting Pekka because his voice was buzzing and cracking and the guitars were cutting in and out.  But as true troopers, by carried on as best they could.  But finally, when Pekka lost his mic and the guitars cut out and the sound engineer could not fix the issue, they had to quit.  You could tell that the band was upset and really wanted to complete their set for the fans, but couldn’t.

I am sorry that I did not get the setlist, but the end of their set was very fast and they started to strip the stage before I could get it.  If you are interested you can look on Setlist.com to see want they played at other venues on this tour.

I am really looking forward to seeing Kalmah the next time they come to the greater Phoenix area.  From the partial set they did play, they were tremendous.  Their raw power and musicianship was awesome.  Even with the sound issues they attempted to continue until the lead singer lost everything.  It was such a shame because the audience was definitely into the music.  Please come back and wow us with a complete set and show us your full brilliance.

To find out where Kalmah will be performing next check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kalmahofficial/ .

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved



Abigail Williams

Abigail Williams at Club Red in Mesa, Arizona with Ensiferum on December 01, 2019

This is now the 3rd band that I have seen lately that has performed completely silhouetted by light.  In this case the Abigail Williams wore hoodies and had red lights from the rear of the stage bath the stage.  So, from the audience perspective, we could not see their faces.

Abigail Williams is an American extreme metal band, originally from Phoenix, Arizona, but now based in Olympia, Washington.  The current touring members are lead singer and guitarist Ken “Sorceron” Bergeron, bass player Bryan O’ Sullivan and drummer Bryce Butler.

Abigail Williams formed in 2004 in Phoenix, Arizona but disbanded in 2007 for a short period of time.  Only Ken “Soceron” Bergeron from the original band remains.  They have released a number of albums since reforming in 2008 but this tour they are performing song from their newest album, Walk Beyond the Dark.

Since they were the middle band, they did not get a long setlist.  They only played 4 songs, but each of the songs was longer.  At first, I was upset about the backlighting, but after hearing Abigail Williams I was won over.  They are a marvelous band.  They claim to be death metal, but I believe they lean more toward melonic metal sound.  I was not expecting much since they were not a headliner, but they were excellent.  Sorceron’s gravelly voice bellowed out the lyrics while the band power drove the music in waves over the audience.  When the crowd was not moshing, they were swaying in rhythm with the music.  There was a lot of headbanging and hair spinning.  I always look to the audience to see how they react to a bands performance to determine how good they were.  I can honestly say that they seemed to enjoy Abigail Williams as much as I did.

Looks like Abigail Williams will be back at Club Red on April 17th, 2020 with the Devastation On The Nation Tour.  Please come and check them out.  Also if you like their music, please help them out by going to https://blood-music.bandcamp.com/album/walk-beyond-the-dark and donating for the new album.

You can check out Abigail Williams on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/abigailwilliamsofficial/ .

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved


Abigail Williams Setlist:           (Album)
I Will Depart                                  (Walk Beyond the Dark)
Sun and Moon                               (Walk Beyond the Dark)
Ever So Bold                                   (Walk Beyond the Dark)
Black Waves                                   (Walk Beyond the Dark)



Ænimus

Alex Green, lead singer and front man for Aenimus at Club Red in Mesa, Arizona with Ensiferum

Ænimusis a progressive extreme metal band based out of San Francisco, CA and recently signed with Nuclear Blast Records.  Their latest album is Dreamcatcher and this tour is in support of this album.  Ænimusis is fronted by dynamic lead singer Alex Green with bass player Seth Stone (also provides vocals), guitarist Greg Paulson and drummer Cody Pulliam.  Alex is really energetic and at time looks spastic and a madman as he gyrated across the stage.

Ænimusis has just signed with record label Nuclear Blast and produced their new album Dreamcatcher.  Tonight’s performance was almost exclusively from this new album.  They started the show with “Between Iron and Silver” and the crowd went wild and the most pit was wicked.

At the end of the set, Alex told the crowd that we were all family and he would be back at the merchandise table and would take photos with anyone that stopped by.  Well he was true to his word.  I saw Alex taking numerous photos with people even if they did not purchase anything.  I also saw him talking to everyone and he was extremely personable and totally different then his stage persona.

You can follow and find out more about Ænimus at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Aenimus/ and at their new record label, Nuclear Blast: https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html .

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved


Ænimus Setlist:                          (Album)
Between Iron And Silver           (Dreamcatcher)
Day Zero                                        (Dreamcatcher)
Eternal                                           (Dreamcatcher)
Masterpiece                                  (Transcend Reality)
Before The Eons                           (Dreamcatcher)
The Dark Triad                             (Dreamcatcher)



Adavänt

Charlotte “The Alluring”, lead singer for Adavant at Club Red, Mesa, Arizona with Ensiferum

First up was Adavänt, a local epic folk metal band that hails from Chandler, Arizona.  The current line-up consists of keyboardist Andy “The Cunning”, lead singer Charlotte “The Alluring”, guitarist Corey “The Vigorous”, drummer Javad “The Fearless”, guitarist Justin “The Fierce”, and bass player and lead singer Nathan “The Ravenous”.

I have to be up front with you, Adavänt is one of my favorite local metal bands.  I have seen them a number of times and their performance get better each time I have seen them.  Given the small stage area they had to work on, they did an amazing job.  It would be interesting to see them perform on a full stage on see how they move around the stage interacting with each other and the audience.  If you love metal music please attempt to see them.  They are a new band with only 1 cd currently out.

You can follow and find more information about Adavänt on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AdavantOfficial/ .

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved

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