A new festival arrives in Mexico City
Sabaton, Babymetal and Lordi - Glasgow, April 2023 Live Review
Sometimes you go to a gig where you are lucky enough to get a great quality support act. Less often than this, you will get two quality support acts. Sabaton on 18th April 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland was one of the latter.
Since winning Eurovision in 2006 with a (then) record amount of votes, Lordi steamrollered their way through Europe on a latex costumed wave of hype and popularity. Naturally, they were never going to be able to maintain this momentum but have still carved out a solid fan base and an impressive number of tours and albums, including the ludicrous seven albums released during the pandemic. Clearly, Mr Lordi does not have Netflix.
It’s a tough job being warm up, especially for a band like Sabaton who have nurtured a loyal core of fans in a sub-genre almost to themselves but Lordi showed their experience and skill by blasting out a fine balance of new and classic tunes in their limited 8 song slot. Mr Lordi’s charisma and humour meant for some fun interactions before they signed off with their signature Euro-conquering goliath, 'Hard Rock Hallelujah.'
From Finnish monster metal to Babymetal who seemingly are unable to be categorised. Rapid guitar work with accompanying drums and ethereal synths juxtapose the beautiful singing of vocalist Su-metal, whilst a dazzling light show with wild, energetic choreographed dance moves draw your attention. Babymetal are an assault on the senses but are an experience and a unique one at that. Crowd pleasers like 'Gimme Chocolate!!!' drew a raucous reaction while songs from the newly released The Other One album such as the outstandingly catchy 'Monochrome' ensured that any language barrier was not up for long. I arrived skeptically intrigued and left a new fan.
I first saw Sabaton playing in a tiny venue in Glasgow several years back, sharing the stage with the excellent Tyr and Korpiklaani and was admittedly not massively into them at the time but was impressed with their energy, undoubted skill and crowd interaction as well as songs that were good, if unfamiliar. Now, they played one of the largest and most prestigious venues in the city with scarcely an empty seat. Sabaton looked every inch comfortable in the grand surroundings, feeding off the energy of a fervent crowd.
Bursting onto stage with 'Ghost Division,' the boys from Sweden pressed the pedal hard to the floor right out of the gates before moving onto 'Bismarck,' the ridiculously-catchy-kinda-recent release. A step back in time with 'Into the Fire' (complete with two WW1 era German flamethrower troops blasting fire over the heads of the crowd, obviously) lead into a Swedish rendition of 'Carolus Rex' before the roof nearly came off the building with 'Blood of Bannockburn,' a special song for the Scottish crowd. Interspersed with songs were the odd interactive moment and chat from Joakim or Pår which kept the entertainment value but gave the band a breather. A poignant moment came during '1916,' a cover of a Motörhead song that, when paired with Joakim’s soaring, soulful vocals can pierce even the stoniest of hearts. Finishing the pre-encore part of the night was 'Christmas Truce,' kicked off by bassist, co-songwriter and founding member Pår Sundström’s heartfelt speech to the crowd, a genuine show of emotion acknowledging how far the band had truly come. Mobile phones were held aloft by thousands of sweating metal heads in a scene that added real ambience to the song before Sabaton left to the sound of traditional chants to draw them back for the predictable encore.
'Primo Victoria' blasted through the halls, causing much bouncing among the faithful, before a catchy singalong version of 'Swedish Pagans' drew the remaining unbroken vocal chords in the audience into the fray. An energetic frantic finish to proceedings with crowd favourite, 'To Hell and Back' brought the evening to a close as Pår returned with a Scotland flag, soaking up the adoration of the people who had given all their energy and passion for the last 90 minutes.
Whether it was crew wearing army uniforms and lab coats, flamethrowers, rifles, cannons, a mini biplane or even a tank, the show was a spectacle and then some and showed Sabaton at the height of their powers. However all of this would be worthless if it weren’t for the chugging guitars, catchy synths and a voice a Broadway musical would be proud of which means that a ticket to a Sabaton show means a ticket to a great night.