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TurisasThe sense of community at the final stop of Paganfest USA — featuring Ensiferum, Turisas, Tyr, and Eluveitie — was unbelievable. These kinds of bands attract a very specific type of metal fan; perhaps a tad nerdier, weirder and a smidge smarter than the average bunch. After all, anyone who goes to watch a bunch of grown men dressed in fur loin cloths and full body-makeup play European folk songs in metal form can’t take their metal too seriously. But everyone in attendance at the sold out show at New York City’s BB King’s was there to fucking get down. Sadly I didn’t see any viking hats, but everyone had their beer steins raised high and kept them there all night long. There was a palpable feeling of excitement in the room — separate from the very obvious mass drunkenness — and everyone there was enjoying the hell out of these excellent bands in the most primal way. Excited chants of “hey! hey! hey! hey!” along with the beat, and fervent chants of each band’s name in unison were prevalent all night long. In short, the inaugural run of Paganfest was absolutely fucking awesome. This was one of the most fun metal shows of the year by far. After all, isn’t it supposed to be fun?

Highlights of the night for me were Eluveitie and Turisas. Eluveite, whose singer rocked a skullet that rivals Devin Townsend’s, featured a hurdy gurdy player, among other atypically metal instruments like a flute and violin. How the fuck does that thing work? No one could explain it to me. Eluveitie’s songs are so straight-forward and catchy that even someone who had never heard them before could get into the show. I’m hoping for another run so I can bring MetalGF. Turisas came out dressed in full body-makeup, with alternating red and black stripes diagonally covering every exposed area of skin. Their songs were just as jovial and care-free as Eluveitie’s. I’ve never seen an accordion rocked so hard.

By the time Ensiferum came on I was too swashbuckled to give you an accurate account of what went on; but I have vague memories of chugging beer and yelling “hey! hey!” at the top of my lungs, ad nauseam.

A fine fucking night indeed. I can’t wait for Paganfest 2.0 – MetalSucks will be there loud and proud.


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