It was a beautiful day in Camden as doors opened for the Equilibrium, Heidevolk and Finsterforst show at The Underworld, and the vibes in the room were already great as the crowd started to grow ahead of the first band’s appearance onstage.
Opening the show was Finsterforst, who had recently released their rather entertaining EP entitled #YØLØ, and they opened with their track Bottle Gods from the aforementioned EP. There was a very fun atmosphere on the stage for the track and it really helped to get the performance off with a bang due to the fast pace and good amount of movement from the band members. Unfortunately, as was the case with the last time I saw them, the set did dip a little bit with their more ‘serious’ songs, which dragged in comparison to the EP tracks, but nevertheless it was a good starting point for the night – and it was pretty amusing to see frontman Oliver come out in a pair of lit-up yellow glasses for the performance of the title track of #YØLØ!
Up next was Heidevolk, and it had been a long six-year wait to see them again – but needless to say, it was absolutely worth the wait because they absolutely dominated the stage! The set was a good mix of old and new songs, with newer songs Winter Woede, Velua and Urth slotting in well amongst old favourites such as Nehalennia, Opstand Der Bataven and Saksenland. The interactions with the crowd were relaxed and easy, with a particularly humorous moment coming when Lars said he had a question for everyone in the room and someone yelling “HAVE YOU GOT TINDER?” back at him, and there was plenty of movement in the room for a good chunk of the performance.
One of the highlights of the set was Vinland (a personal favourite of mine), which saw the crowd instructed to chant the line “hail to Vinland” back to the band when prompted – and chant they did, with practically everyone in the room getting involved! Indeed, as a whole the crowd was very receptive towards the band – and rightly so, given the length of time between their visits to the country! – and the looks on the band’s faces as the crowd umpromptedly sang the introduction to Vulgaris Magistralis were a picture. There’s absolutely no doubt that they went down a storm, and it was clear Heidevolk had given it their all from start to finish.
Headliners Equilibrium took to the stage to a roar of cheers, and the energy, momentum and sheer craziness of the crowd made the strong reaction to Heidevolk look almost lacklustre in response – which was no mean feat in itself, and they absolutely powered into the start of their set. Now, I have to admit that I wasn’t quite sold on their new album, finding it somewhat lacklustre in comparison to their other material, so I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy this set if it leant quite heavily on the new material – but my worries were proved unfounded because the songs translated much better into a live format. Indeed, an early highlight came in the form of new song Heimat, which was a seriously funky performance that had the whole room bouncing about in time to the chorus!
One of the best songs of the set had to be Unbesiegt, however. It’s always an absolute pleasure to witness this track live and it sounded wonderfully emotive as the pan flute introduction filled the room and it just came alive as the full band kicked in and got the song moving! It was the perfect way to wind up the ‘first’ set prior to the encore, as it left everyone eager for more! The encore was a fairly good mix of songs too, but the final song of the evening, Eternal Destination, did feel like the wrong song to close the set as it seemed to lack energy, direction and momentum, and just petered the set away rather than bringing it to a triumphant close.
As a whole, a fantastic night – all three bands put on a great show, so you can’t ask for more than that!