The Winternoise Festival is one of several indoor festivals organized throughout the year and under different mottos in the area of and around Osnabrück in West Germany. In the past it has drawn many visitors due to its exceptional line ups and small ticket prices (usually around 30 euros for a line up of about 8) though organizational matters, playing times till the early morning and many last minute changes in the running order or even line up were becoming a downside. Yet a billing including TURISAS and MOONSORROW was reason enough for our editor Audrey and me to go and besides, not much is going on in January concertwise anyway.
So, after some unexpected trouble with our hotel reservation, we made it to the venue just in time for Russian ARKONA to start their energetic show. Despite the singer’s pregnancy they delivered quite the movement-intensive performance with lots of jumping and running around the stage of the singer. This excitement and energy was equally true for the audience who seemed to have quite the blast and made the band’s far travel worth its while.
I’ve never been too firm in the area of Irish bands so I was quite surprised to see Primordial’s live guitarist Ger swing the axe for five piece MAEL MORDHA as well. With a musical style not far away from the aforementioned Irish pioneers, they also pleased the crowd, which didn’t go as wild though. Singer Rob, dressed in a somewhat folklorish looking tunic, gave a majestic performance with the occasional switch to using whistles. However, it wasn’t the most exciting gig ever.
Neither were THYRFING. I admit I have never been a huge follower of the Swedes but what they presented today was nothing more than an example of a generic, boring gig with an even more boring setlist. Frontman Jens Ryden, previously with Naglfar, tried his best to put on some stage show with lots of posing and theatrical gestures but all his effort and energy was lost to the monotone mid-tempo pagan metal his fellow musicians chose to perform today. Oddly enough, the band even left the stage 15 min early, leaving a more than half hour break before the next gig.
TURISAS finally broke the ice (or shall I say mine). I’ve never seen a bad gig of the Finnish Viking metallers and they are more and more becoming a uniform force on stage, not at least due to their extensive touring over the past year. To my surprise, they have finally taken “As Torches Rise” back into their set and of course the usual “Court of Jarisleif”, during which frontman Mathias always dances with guitarist Jussi, or cover song “Rasputin” are played. It seems to have become a custom that whenever the Finns play within driving distance of Hamburg, there’s a certain amount of fans there that start chanting “Bier her” (engl: give us beer) and TURISAS once again play along (yes, literally) and create a humppa drinking song on the spot. Naturally, this starts Mathias’ obligatory beer talk and indeed today the local beer brand “is so much better than the crap they drink in the States”. So raise your horns everyone, this was by far the highlight of the day!
MOONSORROW were – I seriously have no words for it – totally out of shape today. I’ve never seen the band so uninspired, with such a crappy sound and so many flaws in their playing – oh and a totally “unpartyable” choice of songs. While not only I was wondering what the hell they were playing for the first three songs, which turned out to be just “Tulimyrsky”, they just couldn’t score at all today. “Aurinko ja Kuu” was so out of tune and messed up that many didn’t recognize it all and if the only danceable song of the night is “Pakanajuhla”, you can’t expect much reaction from the fans either. Altogether, Turisas would surely have made the better headliner of the day!