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Chicago Powerfest and Paganfest

Discussion in 'Shadow Demon' started by Darkspyre, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. Darkspyre

    Darkspyre Member

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    I am heading to Chicago this weekend to visit my sister for a few days and also to go to Chicago Powerfest on May 2&3. Meanwhile Paganfest will be on tour and it just so happens that it is hitting Chicago on May 1, so the promoters of Powerfest have made it offically a three day event. The two main bands I am going for are Suidakra (Powerfest) and Ensiferum (Paganfest). I am also looking forward to seeing Testament and Iced Earth again (with the return of Barlow) at Powerfest.

    The great thing is that Suidakra is joining the Paganfest for six west coast dates starting in Seattle on May 5th, so I'll be back in time to see them again. Actually, all the bands on Paganfest rule so I highly recommend catching one of the shows if they hit your area or at least checking them out.

    http://www.myspace.com/paganfestusa
    www.myspace.com/chicagopowerfest
    http://www.myspace.com/suidakra
     
  2. tbhride

    tbhride I killed Kenny

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    Aaahhhhh!!! so jealous. I have yet to see Iced Earth with Barlow :cry:
     
  3. MaxWolf9

    MaxWolf9 The Unshaven

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    Wait a sec! Barlow's back? Since when? I didn't hear anything about this. I've always preferred his vocals for Iced Earth. Is he back for good, or just temporarily?
     
  4. Darkspyre

    Darkspyre Member

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    The current story is that he is back for good...but you know how the winds change in that band.
     
  5. The Wicked One

    The Wicked One Still menacing

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    you must have been under a rock man.
    its old news now.
    In fact there will be an EP I Walk Among you, whereas Barlow resings Setian Massacre and the Clouding. The new song is I Walk Alone.

    an exclusive Itunes track is A Charge to Keep resung by Barlow. I think it will be out mid june or later.

    Hey demonhelm. You should try to sell copies of the Ep and CD there.
    god forbid i haven't bought the cd yet but I might snag a copy or two for friends.
     
  6. Darkspyre

    Darkspyre Member

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    Well, I'm in Chicago now, and doh--I didn't bring any CDs with me. I guess I didn't expect to sell any.
     
  7. The Wicked One

    The Wicked One Still menacing

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    bah, don't worry ill buy it soon and all but right now every dollar counts
     
  8. DoomsdayZach

    DoomsdayZach The Professor was right

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    Tonight was paganfest right jeff? Any updates? Good, bad, awesome, not?
     
  9. DemonXeno

    DemonXeno One with the ocean

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    dude i know for sure that ensiferum will kick ass on monday night and so will the other bands!
     
  10. Darkspyre

    Darkspyre Member

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    I just got home, and I'm really too tired to give much of a review right now, but Paganfest was awesome and is not to be missed. Suidakra also was excellent. Get ready for bloodshed on Monday.
     
  11. DemonXeno

    DemonXeno One with the ocean

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    fuck yea! cant wait till tonight
     
  12. DoomsdayZach

    DoomsdayZach The Professor was right

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    That was honestly the best show i've ever seen in my life. I don't think I've ever been as drawn into a show and nothing has ever had as much impact on me. It was beyond words.
     
  13. The Wicked One

    The Wicked One Still menacing

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    agreed. Iced Earth and all of Saturday kicked major ass!


    Ion Vein was good too
     
  14. DemonXeno

    DemonXeno One with the ocean

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    i think he was talking about peganfest :rolleyes:
     
  15. The Wicked One

    The Wicked One Still menacing

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    unfortunatly i couldn't see paganfest. and since he was there all the nights then i can say they kicked ass....:bah::lol:
     
  16. DoomsdayZach

    DoomsdayZach The Professor was right

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    I didn't go to Chicago powerfest... since this included paganfest i figured it'd be the best place to put it.

    saw paganfest again in portland the night after and it was just as amazing. Those two shows were beyond words... whole new level of amazing.
     
  17. Darkspyre

    Darkspyre Member

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    I've been busy and just plain too tired to sit down and post my full review of the Chicago and Seattle shows, but I'll get to it soon...maybe even tonight.
     
  18. DemonXeno

    DemonXeno One with the ocean

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    NICE!!! did the set list change at all?
     
  19. DoomsdayZach

    DoomsdayZach The Professor was right

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    The only change i noticed was I *THINK* Turisas opened with a different song. I'm pretty sure they opened with "As Torches Rise" instead of "The Dnieper Rapids", but I couldn't get confirmation from anyone after the fact and it had already been a long night at that point.

    I also caught only the last 3 songs of Ensiferum because i was chatting with Tyr and Eluveitie in the side bar at the Hawthorne Theater. Gunnar (Tyr's Bassist) is probably the coolest dude ever. I was also slightly disappointed to find out that Heri only wears the gigantic Mjolnir onstage and he has a smaller one for "everyday" wear. He was also an incredibly nice dude, very personable and very fucking cool to talk to. It was definitely well worth catching a second show.
     
  20. Darkspyre

    Darkspyre Member

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    Finally I feel like I have a chance to sit down and write a review so here goes. I'm going to recap my vacation in Chicago before the metal bagan so feel free skip to the metal portion if you want.

    I never go anywhere. Well, almost never. The last time I went outside of Washington was when James and I flew to Progpower (3 I think?) in 2002. Before that, the farthest east I had ever been was Idaho when I was 14. Before that, the only other states I had been to were Oregon and California when I was 11 and 12. The only other place I've been was B.C Canada when I was in college. When I take vacations from work I usually stay home and play video games because I'm too poor to go anywhere.

    Last November when I found out Suidakra might be coming to the US to play the Chicago Powerfest I started thinking about going. When it was talked about that Persuader might attend I REALLY started thinking about going. When the Paganfest (tour date) was added the day before, that was a bonus (even though it was coming to Seattle as well) as I am a fan of Ensiferum and was somewhat familiar with the other bands. Testament and Iced Earth were also bonus bands for me since I have seen them before. I had some money saved up that I thought I could actually do it. Since my sister recently moved to Chicago I figured I could visit her and that would further justify my decision to go. Well we all know Persuader never confirmed and Suidakra later was added to Paganfest (west coast), and the rest of the line-up didn't excite me but I decided to go anyway. It was expensive as hell because I went by myself and paid for plane, hotel and rental car for three days, but....fuck it.

    Sunday, April 27th:

    Flew out of Seattle at 6am, transferred flights in Denver, and arrived in Chicago (Midway) about 1:30pm Chicago time. Flying sucks but Frontier Airlines was pretty decent. 6/10

    My sis picked me up in her roommate's car (thanks sister's roommate!). I saw a little of the neighborhood and we just chilled the rest of the day.

    I quickly noticed that EVERYTHING looked like the city in the game "City of Heroes", so I concluded that the developers must have based the city in that game on Chicago. One thing I will say about Chicago is the transportation system is awesome, especially compared to Seattle. Seriously, the city planners there make the city of Seattle look like a bunch of idiots. My review of the Chicago transportation system is a 9/10 compared to Seattle's 1/10.

    April 28th:

    Went to a sketch comedy put on by one of the organizations that has spawned a lot of SNL talents. Can't remember the name. It was hilarious though. I highly recommend it! 7/10

    April 29th:

    Went to Metal Haven, a music store I've heard about that specializes in....yeah. While I was amazed there was a store entirely dedicated to metal I was disappointed to not find several CD's I had hoped to pick up. It seemed like they had newer albums of just about everything covered but were out of stock on older albums. There were some CD's I did find, but they are the ones that are easy to find, and I can just order them later rather than pack them all back home. Despite that, there was definitely a huge selection. I ended up getting the first two Korpiklaani albums and calling it good. 7/10

    Went to a Cubs game. I hate baseball. I played baseball one year when I was about 7. By comparison, I played soccer for several years and basketball for many years. Baseball sucks. However, whatever the name of the stadium is where the Cubs play is awesome. From the almost nosebleed section behind home plate you can see a great view of the cityscape and Lake Michigan behind it. Plus it's funny to see everyone wearing the same hats and to hear all the drunk hecklers that are too far away for the players to hear. Well, for awhile. We left about halfway through the game. 5/10

    April 30th

    Wednesday was a particularly sunny day so it was perfect to just explore around downtown. We didn't do anything in particular, we just walked...a lot. My legs were tired but there were so many cool things to see that I can't even describe.. 8/10

    May 1st

    Took the train to the airport, got my rental car and headed to my hotel in Mokena. The Hertz rental car people fucked up my order and didn't have the onboard navigation system in the Mazda 6 I ordered so they gave me a Chevy Impala. Then the security wouldn't let me out of the gate because the car didn't match my paperwork that the Hertz people gave me. I hated that Impala too. Fuck you Hertz! 1/10

    Sleep Inn. Meh. 6/10


    OK, onto the shows:

    Paganfest:

    I missed the local opener. I was toward the back of the crowd when Eluveitie started. I was somewhat familier with them having added them on myspace several months ago. These guys were awesome. They basically have a Gothenberg sound with traditional folk instruments, and live they had a violinist and a hurdy gurdy player (both women that were headbanging like crazy and didn't care about getting knots in their hair) and a pipe/flute player. Sweet! These guys immediately had me sold and I bought their latest CD with the bonus DVD. I've listened to the album only twice now but I think they are better live than on CD. They were phenomenal. 9/10

    I am somewhat familiar with TYR. I have heard the latest album and several songs from previous albums. I have tried to get into this band but their music just doesn't fully grab me. They are slow and they do not follow typical patterns in phrasing so they are very unpredictable. That said, they are extremely great musicians and great singers. I would be happy to see them again if they are on a bill with another band I want to see, but they are not a band I would go out of my way to see again. 6/10

    I own Turisas' "Battle Metal" album. When I first got it I was really excited about it but I don't really listen to it much any more. When they first came out on stage I thought they looked a little ridiculous. I don't mind bands having a "look" but sometimes the costumes can be a bit overboard. OK, it doesn't really bother me that much...it was just a thought. First of all, they sounded great. The singer was very good and had a lot of charisma. I had a problem with the fact that a lot of the music was a backing track and it was REALLY loud...sometimes overpowering the live instruments. It seemed like more of a theater show to me than a live music performance. I actually became pretty bored. The accordion player was the most amazing aspect though and when I could actually hear her playing I was enthralled. 7/10 because of the accordion.

    Finally, the first band I was eagerly anticipating hit the stage. Ensiferum were wearing kilts with the Finnish flag design on them. Rad! I fully acknowledge my bias towards this band but they were fucking awesome! They had very high energy and were headbanging like crazy and sounded terrific. They seemed happy to be there. I can't really find a fault with their performance. 9/10


    May 2

    Powerfest day 1:

    I honestly didn't care to see any bands other than Iced Earth and after having much of my late afternoon wasted by that which I won't get into, I left to go get dinner and went back to my hotel to watch a movie. I can't remember what the movie was but I think it wasn't too good.

    Anyway...

    At one time Iced Earth was my favorite fucking band. I thought Horror Show had a few good songs but was mediocre overall and was a step down in my opinion. So I had pretty much given up on Iced Earth after Barlow left. The two albums they put out afterward I don't know if I'd even like if Barlow was singing them...who knows?. The fact that Jimmy and Larry T. were gone didn't help my attitude...I mean the band finally becomes somewhat stable for awhile and then within one year everyone except Jon is replaced. I was there for Barlow. Well it was good to see Brent too.

    I know it's been awhile since I saw Barlow last around 2002 but I'll be damned if he didn't sound better. He nailed everything. It was wonderful to hear him sing again. The entire main PA system went out several times and all you could hear was the stage sound but they just kept playing normally. They played a few Ripper era songs and he killed on those as well, as if to prove he is the man (as if he needed to). A couple times the crowd was chanting "Barlow!" and once even chanted "Welcome back!". He seemed very humbled. I honestly can't remember the set-list...I just know it seemed short even though they played for a long time. The newer guys in the band looked bored. I was pretty much just in awe to hear Matt singing again. 9/10


    May 3

    Powerfest day 2:

    Same deal as the previous day...didn't care to catch most of the bands...I was there to see the one band that influenced me to make the trip in the first place. I wasn't able to get as close as I wanted because it was packed up by the stage. I was off to the side of what later became the pit area. Things started off rather rough. Tim (live 2nd guitarist/clean vocals) was sounding rather sloppy and lagging from the rest of the band. I didn't know if he was having problems or he was just having a bad night. It turned out that he couldn't hear himself in his monitors (nor were his vocals audible in the main PA speakers!) and he had issues with a pedal he had picked up at a local guitar store which made his tone sound like a Marshall on the "crunch" channel rather than a high gain distortion. He looked very frustrated but things got better as the set went on. Arkadius was actually singing some of the clean parts which made up for not being able to hear Tim.

    The crowd was slow to get into it until they played the instrumental "Dead Man's Reel", which spawned a mosh pit in the middle. I think that most of the crowd was there for Testament and was of the "Ozzfest" variety and didn't get what Suidakra was doing but they were more than happy to push each other around for the hell of it. From then on the set was pretty solid and I think Suidakra won over a lot of new fans. There were some that were chanting for Testament but fuck those guys. I was a little disappointed in the mix but I really enjoyed singing along and headbanging and Suidakra put on a great performance which couldn't be ruined by a few technical difficulties. 7/10 because of technical difficulties.

    Darkane was not a band I was there to see but enjoyed what I heard. I ended up talking on the phone to a friend from San Francisco about Suidakra's set so I wasn't able to give my full attention to Darkane. They had a modern thrash sound but not like most of the new wave of American thrash bands that are popular (which is a good thing). N/A

    Testament sounded great for the most part. They were very tight and well...they are a consistent band so they sounded just as good as when I have seen them before. The place was packed by this time and I was pretty far back from the stage and wasn't able to see much because of my height disability. For some reason I was just bored though. The one thing that grabbed me the most was Skolnick's soloing. Fucking amazing. He was pretty much the highlight of their set for me. 7/10

    I jetted out of there before midnight while Testament was still playing just so I could check out of my hotel and make sure I had enough time to get to the airport and return my car before flying out at 6 am again.


    May 4

    Flew home...no sleep. At all. Continental airlines sucks. I think I was on the same plane that I flew to Disneyland in when I was a kid. 2/10

    My friend from San Francisco flew in at the same time to come see the Seattle Paganfest show the next day.


    May 5th

    We got to the venue early in the afternoon and was able to meet up with the Suidakra guys and hang outside of the venue for awhile with them. All of them are very cool people. They are very easy going, humble and funny. They signed my DVD and I got some pics with them:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    We then got to watch Suidakra do the soundcheck which was just cool and I got to talk to Arkadius a bit about guitars (namely ESP guitars) since he just recently bought a similar model to the guitar that I play.

    We missed Oakhelm because we went to eat and got stuck behind a train that was stopped on the track for a loooooong time. I have seen them before though and they are worth checking out if you like pagan/folk metal.

    Paganfest rerun:

    Suidakra was ten times better. With a decent mix and stage sound they proved that Saturday was simply a plague of technical difficulties for them. They sounded excellent and most of the crowd was totally into it. They looked like they were having fun themselves. This was definitely the high point of my entire vacation. The sound was great (thanks to the Paganfest soundman) and I was able to be close to the stage and rocking out with a crowd of others that were totally into it as well. A definite 9/10 for this performance.

    I thought Eluveitie also sounded better at Studio 7 in Seattle than at the Pearl Room in Mokena as the mix was a bit better. They were again amazing and further solidified my new found appreciation for this band. TYR did not sound as good and I thought their singing was a bit off this time around. Turisas was pretty much about the same but I enjoyed the intimacy of a smaller venue and the backing tracks weren't mixed in as loud as a few nights prior.. Ensiferum did not seem completely into it. Sami (bassist) disappeared for a few minutes and Petri was yelling at him through the mic. After reading their tour blog it turns out he had the stomach flu and was really sick. Also, the crowd was very tired by the time Ensiferum went on and I think they may have been disappointed in the crowd's enthusiasm. I was tired myself but thoroughly enjoyed them up until the last note. I could barely yell for the encore but it was fucking Ensiferum!

    All in all a good vacation but now I need a vacation from my vacation.
     

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