Toronto Loves a Monsterman! A Lordi Concert Review
I remember being introduced to the band Lordi way back in 2006 sometime near the release of The Arockalypse album. Being a lifelong KISS fan, I loved the whole “monster” vibe and my inner 12-year old threw his fist in the air! I couldn’t wait to go and experience this band live. Well, it took eleven years for these fine looking Finnish rockers to finally land in Canada and unleash some mayhem. Last Wednesday, Decibel Geek Photographer Brian Ronald and myself were on hand when Lordi rolled into Toronto’s Opera House. It was to be a most interesting of evenings.
First to take the stage was the band called Mineta. Described as “Circus Party Punk”, Brian and I had no idea what to expect but when they took the stage the musical description made perfect sense. A Mineta show, as I would soon find out is an intense and ridiculously entertaining attack on all your senses. Musically I totally enjoyed this bizarre mix of reggae, punk and heavy metal. It was like a twisted blend of No Doubt and Marilyn Manson. Super high energy, very melodic and loaded with hooks. Lead singer Bella Muarta is a powder keg of energy onstage and man that girl can SING! So the “Party Punk” portion of the description now covered, it’s time to dig into the “Circus” part of the show. The interesting costumes worn by each band member did indeed bring a circus vibe to the show but it didn’t take too long for the show to spiral into something far more entertaining than a simple rock show.
I would have loved to have seen my face when Bella held up a tangled string of Christmas lights into the air and then proceeded to start stapling them to her bare legs. This, of course, happening mid-song without her missing a beat and with a little blood spilled the Xmas lights were powered on as they continued to play. That my friends was only the beginning and I won’t spoil too much of this “must see band” but there were demon dancers, easter bunnies in bikinis, blood, clowns, stilts, acrobatic acts. It truly was a circus on stage and I am looking forward to catching them again as soon as I can. Lastly be sure to google the definition of the band’s name, specifically the polish one, this is celebrated in one of the more interesting songs within their set.
With the shock of stapled flesh still buzzing my brain, it was time for Montreal’s Bookakee. Another first for myself, they are described on their facebook page as “Progressive Theatrical Melodic Brutal Gore Death Metal” and well that description stands up well after seeing their show. The band took the stage adorning some very elaborate (although not quite Lordi elaborate) costumes and ripped into another theatrical set. Everything in the aforementioned description of their music was there. Progressive? These mofo’s can play their instruments and the brutal blast beats from the drums were often intertwined with some incredibly progressive and intricate guitar work sometimes hinting at some classical influences. Gore? From bloody fetuses, bloody nuns and most importantly a bloody Donkey Kong! (yes from the video game) they indeed had the gore covered. Now to be honest, “death metal” is not really my chosen flavor of metal but I will say that Philippe Langelier is an insane vocalist and I totally respect the skill and ability it takes to deliver that level of performance. I have a few friends I know that will absolutely love Bookakee! Wait, that didn’t come out right LOL!
The house lights went out and suddenly KISS‘s “God Of Thunder” rumbled through the P.A. Now if you’re going to use another band’s song as your intro music you probably couldn’t do much better than this although I might be biased. As the KISS song faded out Skeletor (yes I do indeed mean Skeletor from He-Man) took the stage to announce the arrival of Lordi and the band ripped into “Let’s Go Slaughter He-Man” from their latest Monstereophonic (Theaterror vs. Demonarchy) album. The packed Opera House crowd roared in approval with fists in the air. The sound mix was crystal clear and the costumes were outright insane, my inner 12-year old rocked along as Skeletor returned to proudly present He-Man‘s severed head to Mr. Lordi. I mean, how cool is that?
Lordi, for those uninitiated, mix over the top theatrical “monster” costumes with some incredibly well-written melodic rock songs and have been doing so for twenty-five years! From Finland, they became globally known in 2006 when they won the Eurovision Song Contest for the song “Hard Rock Halleluja”. Touring on their 8th studio album they have finally set foot in North America to spread the monster mayhem and treat fans to the Lordi experience. Although not quite the quantity of fans that Lordi are used to seeing in Europe, the quality of fans out this night was quite refreshing. People to the right and left of me were screaming along to every word of every song, they were no strangers to Lordi‘s catalog.
The nineteen-song setlist was well thought out and rarely lost any steam. “Babez For Breakfast”, “Nailed By The Hammer Of Frankenstein” and “The Riff” kept the fists pounding the air. “Bringing Back The Balls To Rock” got a huge reaction but one of my personal favorites was “Hug You Hardcore” off the latest album. For a further explanation on this song please check out my review of Lordi‘s, Monstereophonic (Theaterror vs. Demonarchy) album. Lyrical content aside, there is something infectious about the riff in this song and live, it totally killed.
Absolutely the best song of the night for me was “Down With The Devil”, another off the latest album. Every so often a song comes out that is damn near perfect and this one is it. Everything about it, from the riffs to the melodic hooks, to the killer vocals and background harmonies, this song is a rock masterpiece. I was ecstatic that they included it into their set. Closing out the set with “Hard Rock Hallejula” and “Devil Is A Loser”, I found myself totally immersed in the Lordi experience. As a KISS fan, I will always appreciate when a band delivers not only a great show musically but step up their game to entertain at a higher level. Lordi delivered that in spades and still had a couple encores in store. The cheeky “Who’s Your Daddy?” was followed by the classic “Would You Love A Monsterman”, which I still find myself singing along to a couple of weeks later, officially closed out the concert. One thing is for sure, I hope we don’t have to wait another 25 years until Lordi are back to hug us all hardcore once again.