What the folk!

Folk Metal month in the Pacific Northwest continues as this band is likely the first Folk Metal band you think of.

It’s a nice spring day here in Vancouver Canada and what better way to celebrate it with  Folk metal pioneers  Korpiklaani.   They are at the Rickshaw Theatre tonight with a couple of amazing support acts Illumishade and Visions of Atlantis.

Jonne Järvelä

Finland’s Korpiklaani have been around since 1993 and make their first appearance on the West coast since 2019.  When looking at Setlist.fm, I notice they have been consistently coming around every 2 years or so but I would say the pandemic had a hand in that noteworthy 5 year absence this time around.  They just released their 12th studio album called Rankarumpu and tonight I am sure we will get several songs from it.   This “Backwards Clan” (which is Korpiklaani in Finnish) has 12 albums in the discography (15 if you add 3 more from previous versions of the band).

Founding member Jonne Järvelä is still lead vocalist (and some guitar), Kalle “Cane” Savijärvi (guitar), Jarkko Aaltonen (bass), Sami Perttula (accordion) and two others we haven’t seen in Vancouver are Samuli Mikkonen (drums, since 2019) and Olli Vänskä (Violin, since 2022).

Samuli Mikkonen

Interesting stage props are placed on stage which is perhaps the most jungle-like stage I’ve seen in years with over a dozen fake plants on either side of the drum riser and a rundown picket fence.   Vines wrapped around mic stands.  This is definitely setting up the organic ambiance with some organic Folk Metal.

Jarkko Aaltonen

They start off with a new one called “Kotomaa” or “Homeland” in English as it’s a song that pretty much defines that stage setup with lyrics about the homeland.  This definitely was an upbeat start to the evening along with another violin heavy song with “Wooden Pints”.  This is what sets this band apart from say Alestorm who don’t use an actual violin or accordion, but rely on keyboards or a Keytar.  There is nothing like the real thing and that is what I found evident tonight when it comes to those instruments.

Sami Perttula

Jonne’s vocals are just as vibrant and growly as the last time we saw them in 2019.  Of course he still sports that top hat and along with those dreads gives abit of a steam punk style.  During “Tuli Kokko” the lights go red and Jonne grabs the acoustic for what I think is the most metal song I hear tonight.   I think this is my favorite performance of the set as it sort of has a tribal feel to it.

It’s exciting to watch this band as it always seems to me that the members are jockeying for position on the stage as they go through “Happy Little Boozer”, “Journey Man”, “Aita” and Boney M cover “Gotta Go Home” which was brilliant.  It’s not like the Rickshaw is super small but with 5 members on the stage, it can get pretty crowded with instruments.

Kalle “Cane” Savijärvi

As the night went on, the raucous Rickshaw audience did get a little busier in the pit too.   They don’t waste much time either as they hit more songs like “Pidot”, “Oraakelit” and the new one with “Rankaarumpu”.  Does it matter to these fans that songs are sung in Finnish?  Nope!

Olli Vänskä

IF you were looking for anything off these albums like Kuikija, Ukon Wacka you might of been disappointed in this huge set of 23 songs tonight.  They also did a 5 song encore that concluded with classics like “Beer Beer” and thereafter,” Vodka” which quenched the thirst of the Korpiklaani hardcore.  I would’ve liked to see them perform their version of “Iron Fist” (Motorhead cover) from that Ukon Wacka album.  But outside of that, you know what you are in for at a Korpiklaani show and believe me it’s not the ordinary.  They never fail to entertain with that Folk metal mix formula, as there is no way you come out of this one disappointed.

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