Heidenfest 2011 - Review

image - see following caption
Trollfest live@Heidenfest 2011
Photo: Andrea Chirulescu / studiorock.ro

This October I decided to add a new band to the list of the 'bands I traveled to see abroad' and this time it's about the nutcases known by the name of Trollfest. They are a part of this year's Heidenfest, together with Finntroll, Turisas, Alestorm, Arkona, Wintersun, Dronenreich and Skalmold. The lineup sounds pretty cool for a weekend party, so I found myself attending the first two shows of the tour, the one in Giessen and the one at Postbahnhof in Berlin. Both located in Germany, in case you wonder.

The weekends shows are the ones having a complete lineup, hence the concerts start rather early since we're treated with about 7 of them (and only 5 during weekdays). I was a bit lost among all the German speakers around me, but luckily the Trolls are really cool people to hang around with and have some few good laughter moments at their stories and pranks. Or take them with you to a mall so that you can buy food and then throw half of what you bought at the entrance in the hall. But at least Morten and Erik (or dr. Kjønnsfleis and TrollBANK by their trollish names) got each a kinder surprise. So everyone was happy in the end.

I was even happier when the performances started. It's always cool to see how crowds in different countries behave. And the Germans love to be alive at the concerts, thus making it very easy for Trollfest to get the audience to react after the very first riffs. Afterall, the band comes on stage looking as trollish as possible: the guitar players, mr Seidel and dr. Leif Kjønnsfleis, plus the bass player, PsychoTroll, are wearing fur vests, wear camouflage paint on their faces and even on their front teeth. Then there's an accordion player and a saxophone player in the background, not looking too elegant either. On top of that, you have a singer that shows up costumed as a beer bottle. The costume vanishes after the first song, but still, they do make quite an entrance. Then they make a crazy show by singing about beer, ducks, dogs, beer, Jägermeister, more beer and hmm, probably Trolls. The craziness is reaching its peak when the crowd is doing the classical circle pit, instead of the more classic mosh pit. For one of the concerts I tried to film this and it was really entertaining to see that one guy actually picked up his girl, put her on his shoulders and started running around in circles like that. IT's hard to explain the good mood the simply floats around in the air.

At the time I write this, I don't remember the exact running order, but I know that the initial mood set by Trollfest was really useful for the shows to come. Especially for Dornenreich when things got more dramatic and serious and you could still just wear a smile remembering the action during previous concerts. Arkona was also more serious and dramatic, but Masha's charismatic presence and voice melted everyone's heart and made them cheer loud on Russian inspired folk tunes. Another female vocals fronted band (even if she shared the spot with a guy), Todtgelichter, was the 'white sensation' of the evening, since, well, they were all dressed in white and painted in white in places where they are not naturally that white. But I don't recall being too impressed by the overall performance nor music, so I can't comment on anything else than their color.

I managed to miss Alestorm both times and only saw Wintersun, Turisas and Finntroll once, since at the second concert I left rather quick. Simply because I went to another concert held in Berlin that day, this time Symphony X with support from another Norwegian band, Pagan's Mind. Who had some special singers, since their original singer couldn't make it to that show. So Berlin was quite an experience for me, concert wise.

image - see following caption
Trollfest live@Heidenfest 2011
Photo: Andrea Chirulescu / studiorock.ro

The Finnish trio from Heidenfest was a perfect ending to a Trollfest concert. They all bring out some black or pagan metal with battle cries and folk influences, each in their own style, yet, somehow belonging to the same place. Of course, Turisas are the one who by no means would allow you to stand still for more than 3 seconds, while Wintersun's drummer steals most of their show. For me at least, since the rest of what's happening on stage gets rather irrelevant compared to what the dude is doing. For Finntroll and Turisas it's quite spectacular to witness the songs that are legends by now, when everyone knows the chorus and sings and screams it out loud.

I think Heidenfest found a top combination with this mix of bands, and if they will go on with such events, I wish they would be at least as inspired as for their 2011 edition.