This was my first proper (i.e. non-acoustic) gig in over 2 years and the lucky band to have broken my hiatus was Sonata Arctica*, who, I must say, are one of the few bands I would ever have deemed worthy of such an honour. Much to my delight, they were gracing London's presence for the first time in 3 years in a lovely little venue in Highbury & Islington called The Relentless Garage and so with such a pleasant combination of wonderful band and wonderful venue, I had no choice to but to fall back into the routine that had once been like breathing to me.
The practice used to be something that was so normal to me, so much so that I would do it without a second thought, but being so out of practice made me notice just how bloody tiring it all is! Seriously, queuing for 10 hours, followed by having to stay upright and be squished against sweaty strangers for another 3-4 hours? Exhausting! Maybe I'm just getting old, but who knows...
Anyway, the first band to play was a band called Neonfly, a metal group hailing from London, UK. From what I can remember, they weren't all that bad, and I have to give them credit for effort. Their performance was filled with lots of energy, the songs were fairly catchy, and overall I'd say they were the better support of the night. I doubt I'll be seeing them again in the future, but from what I've read online, they've got some really good reviews and there's quite bit of hope for the young(ish) band, so I'd say they're worth giving a chance.
The second support band of the night, and seemingly the favourite from what I saw of the merch being donned by the odd attendee, was Pythia, a female-fronted metal band also from London, UK. Them, I didn't like so much. I suppose I have more of an opinion because they are closer to what I would normally listen, i.e., female-fronted, classically inspired metal, and so therefore I have more to compare them to, but even if that wasn't the case, their set was still pretty boring. The singing wasn't great, the performance was quite bland, and overall, they weren't particularly interesting or impressive, to the point where I was counting the minutes until they were done, or at all memorable. Sorry.
And then it was time for the main event... time for the Finnish metallers to shine... time for Sonata Arctica! Woo~! Ah, what can I say? This was my 4th time seeing them live and I must say, even though I was totally lost for about two-thirds of the gig (my own fault for not properly acquainting myself with their 2 most recent albums) I was also thoroughly reminded of why I loved gigs so much in the first place. With this band in particular, what I have loved ever since I first saw them perform in 2007 is their stage presence. The fact that they're genuinely lovely guys really shows through the way they are able to poke fun at themselves and interact with the crowd effectively. They command the stage with charisma and fill their performances with such fun, you can't help but enjoy yourself, and by the end of the night you leave feeling that your money was well spent and wanting more. Personally, I wish that they had played a more varied set, but regardless, I was content for the most part with the show, particularly their performance of 'Tallulah' and crowd favourite, 'FullMoon'.
Overall, I didn't regret going. Sure it was a huge effort, but the best things in life are worth breaking a sweat for, right? And when everything was said and done, the only thing I regretted was not bringing a camera with me to capture the night with.
... but at least I got this! xD
PS.: my first gig review in about 5 years! wowww... hope it wasn't too bad; let me know if i should do more of these in the future, how i could improve, etc., would be very helpful. ^^
*i would have linked their official website, but for some reason when i tried to go on it it crashed my internet, so yeah, just being cautious and linking their facebook page instead