Opening the night was Cryptic Forest, and whilst they may not have been the most original band out there, it was a very atmospheric set from the group and although the music was nothing new per se, it was still enjoyable all the same. With vocalist LukHass working hard at getting the admittedly-subdued crowd involved by instructing people to clap along and punch the air on occasion, it was a good solid opening from the band.
Up next was Finsterforst, which featured members of Cryptic Forest, and the first thing that grabbed my attention about this band was the fact their accordionist was an absolute live wire – putting on a tremendous show as he moved about with a great amount of passion and energy! Although it did feel like their songs dragged a little at times due to the hefty length of some of them, it was another solid set and both bands set things up nicely for TrollfesT to take to the stage.
Coming on to the introductory track for their new album Kaptein Kaos, the room instantly became alive as TrollfesT launched into the title track itself. There was an insane amount of movement onstage from all members, with it being particularly good that they didn’t remain in one place as members switched places with one another to ensure that everyone in the room got a good view of everyone. In particular, it seemed impossible to tie down Bok’n’Brusetruse (who was playing extra percussion as a substitute for saxophonist DrekkaDag who was injured and couldn’t do the tour) and he was constantly on the move about the stage causing chaos (or should that rather be kaos?)!
It was a fantastic set that was jam-packed with crowd favourites including Brumlebassen, which saw one of the band’s guitarists Mr Seidel briefly crowdsurfing before being launched back onto the stage and landing in a heap before resuming playing from that position, and the band’s infamous cover of Britney Spears’ Toxic where the whole room sang along at the top of their voices.
One of the highlights of the night was the performance of Der Jegermeister, where frontman Trollmannen briefly disappeared offstage to collect a special device with the function of shooting alcohol into audience members mouths and the sight of him shooting vodka into the thirsty gig-goers mouths was indeed a sight to behold. Similarly, another awesome inclusion was Rundt Balet where the crowd was instructed to partake in a circle pit and it got pretty hectic as people ran at each other and moved about with a profuse amount of energy.
The set drew to an end with Helvetes Hunden GARM, one of the staples of their live performances, and Finsterforst/Cryptic Forest invaded the stage as the venue erupted with everyone barking along to the chorus – there was a fun atmosphere as they rounded things up and there was even time for the band to play a second encore with Essenfest – brilliant stuff!
It was a near-perfect set from TrollfesT, the only rather nit-picking problem (and one clearly out of TrollfesT’s control) being the lack of saxophone as it didn’t quite feel the same having those sections played by violin or guitars – however it was absolutely wonderful to see the lines reinterpreted in new ways and the screeching guitar solo in lieu of the sax solo at the end of Kaptein Kaos was just too awesome for words. Quite simply, it was an absolutely mindblowing gig that I will remember for all the right reasons – TrollfesT is a band that knows how to put on an incredible show and certainly did not disappoint.