Korpiklaani, Lagerstein & Gorefield - The Zoo, Brisbane, 21/10/13

Astoundingly good fun...

The Zoo is one of my favourite venues in Brisbane and while I must confess that I wasn't a massive Korpiklaani fan before entering the gig, when I left I was a convert. Due to having eaten a steak the size of a dining table, it took me some time to get to the venue and I only just caught the last few songs of the young and beautiful Gorefield. Such hair! And the gleaming shaved chests surely aroused many an audience member? From what I could tell, Gorefield's brand of metal was getting the crowd enthused despite the floor not being overly packed yet. I did see a Viking though and there was a distinct pirate theme to the night, with many a pair of stripy pants in attendance. I hot-footed it to the bar and began quaffing a few beers to aid digestion in time for Lagerstein.

I'd heard that the pirate members of Lagerstein had been told to keep their behaviour in check as they've been known to go a bit mental in the past. Whether this was true or not, they hit the stage and chugged beers with aplomb and by now the place was filling up nicely. Any band that employs a keytar is OK with me and by my counting there were at least seven blokes on the tiny stage, all having a fun-time despite the tight squeeze among the inflatable palm trees and other swashbuckling paraphenalia. The bass was fat and Lagerstein truly are "pirates of the sky", pleasing the crowd with their madness.

I couldn't stand aloof at the back of the club doing the objective journo thing so I snaked my way through the now packed Zoo and got right in the front. It was hot and sweaty. Some people really whiffed quite badly. But it didn't matter because when Korpiklaani hit the stage it was as if the casts of The Hobbit, Star Wars and Holy Mountain had formed a band and gone on a massive folk-metal bender. I didn't know the tunes and I didn't know what the fuck they were saying but that didn't matter; the music transcended language and within seconds I was jumping around and jigging about to the violins and chunky guitars. I copped elbows in the back of the head. I stomped on someone's toes - but there was no malice to any of it. Indeed, this was a pit of etiquette with metal-heads helping each other up when they slipped on the beer sodden floor or fell from the heaving pit's shifting form. It was frantic without violence, unlike a lot of gigs I've been to where people just want to punch and be punched. Surely I had become a leprachaun from all the jigging about? A squeeze-box made an appearance several times (hardly the most metal of instruments) but it was a perfect fit to the stomping folk tunes that were all underpinned with fat bass, drums and guitar. They played their "thrashiest song" (don't know the name of it) and then they played something "really heavy" (still didn't know the name of it). To my ear it was all heavy and a fucking brilliant gig all round. Luke Skywalker even busted out a fiddle solo. Hearty, hearty fun. SInger Jonne Jarvela was a dread-locked devil urging everyone to higher and higher states of ecstasy, with the crowd duly obliging. I even had a bit of a dance with Gorefield's bassist in the heaving pit. I left the gig soaked in beer, bruised and battered but with a massive grin (and quite a bit of strangers hair) stuck to my face.

A lot of fun and surely the only way to see Korpiklaani's music; live and beefy as fuck. Top marks.