SONATA ARCTICA at Parkteatret (Oslo, Norway)
Special Guests: EDGE OF PARADISE – TEMPLE BALLS
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
by Jorge Patacas
After their acoustic tour that landed in Oslo last March, the Finnish power metallers Sonata Arctica returned to the Tiger City, this time with an electric set as part of their European leg of the tour in support of their latest album “Talviyö” (Finnish word for “Winter Night”).
Doors opened at 19 hs. and half an hour later, the first opening band took the stage. What a great feeling it is to discover a good band in their live show. That was the case for me with the Finnish quintet Temple Balls who play Hard Rock in the vein of the 80’s Glam scene. They were formed in 2009 and have released two albums, latest one is called “Untamed”, from which they played some songs that night including “Ball and Chain” and “Distorted Emotions” which undoubtedly would have been radio hits if we were living in the 80’s. They have catchy tunes, good riffs and the right attitude to conquer audiences. Let’s keep an eye on them!
The other band opening for Sonata Arctica on this tour is Edge of Paradise. The Los Angeles-based outfit has played in Europe only once at the Femme Festival in the Netherlands back in 2017, so this was their first show ever in Norway and the second of their European tour. Personally, I have followed this band since the beginning and saw how they evolved at all levels over the last eight years. Their new album called “Universe” is an example of this. It was released by Frontiers Records on November 8th, so we got to hear some of the new songs live, including the catchy singles “Universe”, “Face of Fear”, “Alone” and “Fire”, for which they also made great videos. The charismatic frontwoman Margarita Monet has a powerful and large vocal range, while the other original member, Dave Bates, showcase his skills on the lead guitar, specially on the solos where one can clearly notice his classical influences.
The rest of the current lineup consists of David Ruiz (guitar), Mike Bear (bass) and Jimmy Lee (drums), and they all together had a great performance which concluded with a cover of “Bad”, originally by Michael Jackson. Looking forward to seeing them again soon!
Then it was time for the headliners Sonata Arctica who were going to play for the second time at Parkteatret this year. The band took the stage some minutes after 21:30 hs. getting a great response from the crowd since the first song “A Little Less Understanding” included on their new album “Talviyö”. They focused their set on this one as well as some other songs from recent efforts like “Pariah’s Child” (2014) and “The Ninth Hour” (2016), which are much more progressive, a style that they clearly feel very comfortable with. Of course there have also been excellent communication with the audience and they even made some jokes in between the songs, as they usually do. That’s something their fans really appreciate as a complement to a great performance which this time also featured a few classics towards the end of the setlist. The ballad “Tallulah” was one of the highlights having the audience singing along and the same happened with the Power Metal tunes such as “Black Sheep” and especially the fan favorite “FullMoon”, where the crowd chanted the lyrics with enthusiasm. Tony Kakko (vocals), Elias Viljanen (guitars), Pasi Kauppinen (bass), Henrik Klingenberg (keyboards) and Tommy Portimo (drums) left the stage and returned a few seconds later for the encore. For this they decided to play “Losing My Insanity”, a song by the Finnish vocalist Ari Koivunen that Kakko has written, and then they ended their setlist with “Life” after which they included the “Vodka” song as outro, concluding the show in a funny way.
As a final note, it’s important to mention what Kakko said in his speech between the songs. He referred to the fact that buying merch from the bands is the way to support live music, specially these days, and he’s absolutely right, so let’s keep supporting our scene!