I was quite excited for this folk metal evening in Zagreb’s Tvornica kulture. Turisas and Trollfest aren’t a common sight in our region. Korpiklaani visit Zagreb every couple of years, but the time I saw them in 2014 is still hazy to me. The only thing I remember from their last show (with Stribog and Arkona) was loosing a tooth in the pit. Fun times! So with one tooth less and a couple of years later, I was stoked for this show.
Trollfest opened the evening. They were founded in 2003 in Oslo, Norway and since then they released five albums and a shitload of singles. As a self-identified True Norwegian Balkan Metal band, they had to proove their worth in the true Balkans. Proven themselves they did! Clad in female clothes, with crowns of baloons they delivered a stelar performance. Their music enveloped the crowd in a chaotic mist. The Croatian crowd was introduced to the wall of hugs, a friendlier version of the wall of death. On one song, Trollfest convinced the crowd to split in two parts. One half of the crowd was sitting on the ground while the other partied. Such compliance isn’t a common sight, and I’m impressed by how they did it. Of all their songs, I was familliar with one, “Toxic”, originally performed by Britney Spears. That didn’t stop me from having a blast.
Next up were Turisas, a Finnish Battle Metal (not to be confused with war metal) band. They were founded in 1997 but changed their name in 1999. Turisas are one of those bands who have everything. A great concept, a worked out look, quality music and a heart felt performance. They did everything right on their show in Zagreb. Still, I felt like something was missing. Not in their playing or interaction with the crowd. Perhaps my experience is tainted by personal opinion, but they seemed too good. The performance as a whole lacks improvisation and well… Fun! They have everything worked out too well. It’s hard to find the perfect balance between doing the show right and doing spontaneous stuff on stage. They played an awesome set, but I’d rather have trollfest climb up on stage again and do their shennanigans for a couple of more minutes.
As the headliner time approached I noticed something pretty obvious. Bear with me, I can be slow sometimes. The venue was half empty. The gallery was closed and the steps harbored only a couple of people. And then it hit me. The ticket was priced at 190-210 kn (22-26€) That is a big blow to the wallet of the local metalhead. To put in perspective of the foreign readers: some three day festivals cost that much around here. Iron Maiden tickets were somewhere around the 40€ mark. Even the last Korpiklaani show a couple of years back was a lot cheaper. No wonder the venue was half empty.
As I pondered the intricacies of concert organisation and ticket value Korpiklaani climbed on stage. They are a well-known band in Zagreb, having performed several times in our town, be it as support or headlinig band. In their 17 years of service, they released 10 albums, and have grown to be one of the most popular folk metal bands around. The small but persistant crowd was boiling when they entered the stage. Despite their songs being mostly in Finnish, the crowd gave their best to sing along. There was moshing, throwing beers around, jumping and everything. An outstanding and positive atmosphere. The singer Jonne seemed a bit more composed than the last time I saw him on stage, and the performance was well organised and everything just sat in the right place. On the encore a guest singer joined the band and performed a song with them. I wasn’t quick enough to remember the name of the female singer, but I noticed the weird looks in the crowd. They weren’t ready for her.
To sum things up, that concert was well worth my time but it lacked a huge crowd to party and be sweaty.