July 6th. The day I stopped being a Sonata Arctica fan, but I became a Children of Bodom fan.
Metalhead Meeting opens with a day I was looking forward to for a while, as it was bringing us Sonata Arctica. That was definitely less than stellar. But it’s ok because I got to see Dirty Shirt up close and they killed it. Last but not least, I wasn’t expecting much from Children of Bodom, as I am not a fan of growling. However, I loved their set. They brought the house down in an incredible display of their powerful music.
The day started with Siska and The Colony. They weren’t helped by their early slot in what was a very warm day.
The party officially started with Dirty Shirt, our own Romanian folk metal band from Maramureș. It was the first time I saw them live and oh boy what I have been missing. I love that they have built an individual sound, and they bring us along. Their whole set was drawing people in and making them dance. They brought their A-game with songs like ¨Dirtylicious¨ or ¨Săraca inima me¨. Of course, “Hoții” came with an attached speech about the thieves politicians that lead us. On stage with them were the girls from 4Tune Quartet, who really brought it, as well. But truly, it was a great mix of tradition and metal, with its unique sound, energy, and stage presence. Dirty Shirt are worth seeing life. And they deserve to be supported for their next album, which will be launched through crowdfunding. Support them here!
Here come Sonata Arctica, a band I have loved so dearly more than ten years ago. While I wasn’t impressed by their latest materials, I was pumped to see them live for the third time. I made my way to the second row, only to be underwhelmed by the poor sound, or rather mixing. It’s something you have to face if you wanna sit in the front, but after a few songs I decided to move to the stands, where the sound was much better. As someone who has listened to their discography multiple times, it would have been hard for me to choose a worse setlist. From their more famous songs, we only got “Full Moon”, with close seconds “Paid in Full” and “The Last Amazing Grays”. But for a festival they were not headlining, you’d expect them to bring out their best of, whether ballads or power metal songs. But songs like “Shitload of Money”, “Cinderblox”, “Losing my Insanity” just fell flat with the audience. I understand that they were promoting their last album with “Life”, “Candle Lawns”, or “Closer To An Animal”.
Even with the not so stellar setlist, I felt them low in energy. They weren’t actively trying to reach out to non-fans, which is the role of a festival. For half of the show, the guitar and bass players did not move. Tony wasn’t doing his usual crazy clown routine in full, either.
I must state that this is my opinion as a long-time fan, who has seen them before and knows what they can do. Many other fans shared my view of disappointment. It’s not that it was a bad show. I did enjoy seeing them and hearing live the songs I know and love. It was just not them at their best. Or second best. However, for someone who didn’t know them that well, it was a good show. They performed, they sang, they were out there.
Children of Bodom need no introduction. They are so great at what they do, which made them beloved. I was skeptical, as I don’t enjoy growls, but I am glad I saw their whole show. From the beginning, they commanded the stage and the public. Their music just filled the air and you knew it was something special. So complex, so lively, so powerful. Their sounds was powerful enough to make a great show on its own, but they were still kicking and screaming and performing. They did it all by the book, impeccable.
The audience responded and cheered for them. One particular cheer left them flabbergasted, as the crowd was chanting “M*ie Dragnea”. Not once, but twice, were the poor guys from CoB left to wonder what people were screaming. A freeing and vindicating moment for the public. A public which was rowdy from beginning to end, for some too much so. Constant crowdsurfing, moshpits, pushing, kicking. I pitied those who stayed in the front rows. From my seats up above in the stalls, I enjoyed the perfect concert.
The energy levels were never down during their show. They were electric and played with such enthusiasm and intensity. You name it, they played it. Want “In Your Face”, “Downfall”, or “Are you Dead Yet”? You got it! Want some “Everytime I die” or “Angels Don’t Kill” with that? Coming right up.
All in all, a good metal day of Metalhead Meeting. One with fun music, with many bands of different styles. And definitely one which belonged in its entirety to Children of Bodom.