Saturday night in the giant metal hub of Chicago, IL can almost guarantee you a great metal concert. Saturday, October 6th, was no different at the Bottom Lounge where the Wintersun, Ne Obliviscaris, and Sarah Longfield show was happening. Finland’s melodic death metal band Wintersun has been on the road with this tour since mid-September, pushing their latest album, ‘The Forest Seasons’, but looked more energetic and lively than ever.
Starting off the night was guitarist Sarah Longfield playing her solo music, you may know her from her Youtube channel, her progressive band The Fine Constant, or her naming in Guitar World’s Top 7 & 8 String Guitarists in the World list. Her setlist was rather short, and very to-the-point. There was no-nonsense, just her accompanied by a bassist and drummer, playing her prog-shred instrumental music. If you listen to some of her albums, including her newest one releasing in November, ‘Disparity’, she does have vocals in some of her songs, but that was not the case live. It was great seeing such amazing talent live, but really, it was an all around low-energy set.
Ne Obliviscaris couldn’t have been any more opposite. Australian extreme/progressive metal band is composed of six members. They were packed in on a relatively small stage but still had an insane amount of energy and put on a great show. These guys played a few tracks from their newest album, ‘Urn’ which I still have yet to listen to (I will work on that!) and a couple of their more expected songs, like “Devour Me, Colossus”. I’ve caught them live before, but unfortunately their “harsh” vocalist was sick and couldn’t perform that night. If you’re unfamiliar with the band they technically have two vocalists, one for the harsh vocals, and one for the clean singing parts (he also plays the violin). It was great seeing the whole lineup live, and I loved how Tim and Xenoyr play off of each other – giving each other the spotlight accordingly. All of the other members really played around with each other too, despite such heavy and hard-hitting music, they often had smiles on their faces, which I absolutely love seeing.
Wintersun though. Wintersun! I wasn’t really sure what to expect, to be honest, I’ve never seen the band live! The band (semi-recently) added a new guitarist, Asim Searah, to take the responsibility of playing guitar live away from vocalist Jari Mäenpää. Drummer Kai Hahto also was replaced on this tour by Heikki Saari. The setlist featured three songs (or “seasons”) from their latest release, ‘The Forest Seasons’, and a number of classic tracks from their earlier releases. The highlights of their set were for sure “Sons of Winter and Stars” and their encore, “Time”. These were clearly crowd favorites and the packed venue went nuts and sang along so loud – it was probably one of the best crowd sing alongs I’ve ever been a part of. And of course – Jari sounded spot on, and I have to say this was probably one of the strongest vocal performances I’ve ever seen.
All in all, it was a crazy night. Unfortunately, the tour is coming to it’s close so if you missed out on this announcement you are SOL. After seeing Wintersun live, I have so much more respect for the band, and find myself going to their music a lot more just to relive the experience again and again. I can’t wait to catch either of these acts again when they return to the states!
Also check out our photo gallery of the show here!