SOILWORK – Pakkahuone, Tampere, 29.11.2013

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The appropriately-titled World Infinity Tour has been sending Soilwork from North America, through the summer festivals, over to Australia, and finally bounced them back through Europe to the Nordics, landing in Pakkahuone, Tampere, on November 29th, 2013. In spite of the non-stop touring, these guys were revved up and ready to go for their Finnish crowd.

 

The first opener had canceled for reasons we didn’t catch. That left Norwegian metallers, Keep of Kalessin, as their only opener. Ready to roll right on time, Soilwork followed with the third track from their latest album, The Living Infinite: “This Momentary Bliss.” It was a good start and a good selection from the new material to get things going.

Since beards seem to be growing in popularity these days, it would please the fans of facial hair to note that everyone in Soilwork was sporting some degree of beard. As they played the first few songs, you could note that the music was reverberating off the stone walls of the venue, and the sound was sharp and clear. Vocalist Björn “Speed” Strid called out that, “Your favorite Swedes are back, did you miss us?” to a wild cheer from the crowd. He then declared that it was Friday, there was no work the following day, so everyone might as well party tonight, as they dug into “Overload” from their 2003 album, Figure Number Five.

Throughout the show, there were a lot of fists in the air, and a lot of jumping up and down. With all the people present, and all the energy on stage, the band had their sweat towels out after every song. They kept things lively on stage, making sure that the crowd never got tired. Strid declared, “I believe we’ve got ourselves a party, Tampere,” and that they would play a song from Stabbing the Drama: “Weapon of Vanity.” They followed this by getting the crowd to follow the gestures he was doing on stage.

At some point, Strid decided that he needed to find the captain in the crowd. He picked out a fellow wearing a red shirt, talking on the phone on the bar side of the venue and told him that his job was to get everyone in trouble. Once the captain confirmed his enthusiasm by jumping up and down, they played 2002’s “Follow the Hollow.” It was clearly a song designed for the sole purpose of moshing, as the crowd erupted like a volcano once it got going.

“Let this River Flow” is one of Soilwork’s few slower songs, which Strid dedicated to the ladies in the crowd. It seemed to get a bit of an emotional response from everyone, however. There were a lot of hands waving back and forth, and a few lit-up cell phones in the air. During the chorus of, “no regrets, no compromises,” the whole crowd seemed to be singing along. Afterwards, Strid said that they’d have to change their name to ‘Spoilwork,’ because the crowd was being so good to them. He jokingly suggested that they should do a 2 week tour in Tampere.

The last song, he declared, was from their latest album – the double one. He repeated this fact several times, making sure that everyone knew that the 2013 release had two discs. The last song they played before they left the stage was “Rise Above the Sentiment,” a new track that I’m not honestly all that stoked on. When they returned after the pause, Strid began to barter with the crowd, asking for some Finnish licorice in exchange for more songs. The crowd got him up to three songs plus “Smoke on the Water” in exchange for a minimum of 20 kg delivered to him in Sweden.

Before the encore began, Strid noticed the gate separating the bar side of the venue from the rest of the place. He asked if the gate separated the drunk from the sober people, and then picked a secondary captain from the sober side to compete with the drunkies in the bar for the last couple of tracks. Someone threw something on stage, but he complained that it wasn’t moomin liquorice and pretended to be sad for a moment.

This was the second-last show from their World Infinity Tour and Strid mentioned that a lot of times there can be silence between songs at shows, but Finland doesn’t seem to ever have that problem. The crowd’s ongoing cheering seems to do wonders for a band’s vigor and in exchange, the crowd gets a better show for it. The last few songs from the encore were “Late for the Kill, Early for the Slaughter” and “Rejection Role,” before they ended the night with a loud performance of “Stabbing the Drama.”

The stage show was nothing earth-shattering, but was definitely good. Strid reminded me a bit of Joakim Brodén from Sabaton – a solid-looking metal guy, but with lots of smiles and positivity. Everyone had good energy and in particular, the bassist was very goofy, gesturing, wiggling his bum, and grinning the whole time. However, it was nothing you wouldn’t see at any other metal gig. It was a solid performance, though there was a bit of buzz about the choice of song selection after it was over. I will reiterate once more though, how nice it is to see a band who doesn’t take metal too seriously and who is willing to be on stage and have fun.

After everything was said and done, they thanked everyone for coming out and promised to come down to the merch booth to sign some autographs after the show, which I’ve found is a rather rare thing and was pleased to see a band willing to take some time from their post-show revelry to spend a bit of time with their fans.

 

Overall, it was a good time. If you like their music, you’ll like their loud and heavy shows. You always run a risk of getting sucked into the moshpit, and their performance is tight. However, they aren’t a band who stands out particularly well from the others live. Some of the other Swedish metal bands have a little extra magic to their shows that these guys somehow lack. But nevertheless, they’re still a fun show. Just don’t expect anything earth-shattering from them.

Setlist:
1. This Momentary Bliss
2. Overload
3. Weapon of Vanity
4. Follow the Hollow
5. Distortion Sleep
6. Let this River Flow
7. Long Live the Misanthrope
8. Tongue
9. Nerve
10. The Chainheart Machine
11. The Living Infinite I
12. Rise Above the Sentiment

Encore:
13. Late for the Kill, Early for the Slaughter
14. Rejection Role
15. Stabbing the Drama

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