CHILDREN OF BODOM - Celebrating Decades Of Decibels & Drunkenness

November 24, 2017, a year ago

Mark Gromen

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Last week was HIM, this week, it's COB. The Finns might never have been conquering marauders, like their Scandinavians neighbors, but since the demise of Nokia, heavy metal seems to be the country's leading export. Sort of an appropriate symbiosis, having Alexi Laiho & Co. in town on what is the busiest night in the bar industry (Thanksgiving Eve)! The object of this tour is to play deep cuts from the initial four albums. The hits are still included ("Hate Me", "Everytime I Die", "Downfall". "Needled 24/7", etc.) but whereas on past treks material from the most recent release would fill the gaps, this time around, it's rarely (if ever) aired material from the formative years. Nice! 

Lebron James begins each game throwing powder into the air, it’s his signature. Well, COB founder/guitarist/singer Alexi Laiho has a similar ritual: spraying a misty plume of water, from his mouth, above his head. And we're off! Straight into "Deadnight Warrior". As usual, the diminutive shredder is hunkered down, in a bunker of wedge monitors surrounding him. Often with legs splayed, or with left foot atop one of the aforementioned wedges, the early part of the show is all about speed. A resulting mosh pit swirls on the floor below the over-21 balcony/bar area. What happened to bassist Henri "Henkk "Blacksmith" Seppälä, having shorn his locks to a near military grade haircut. Wisely, tour t-shirts were just $25, a relative bargain these days.

Frenetic, blue lit "Needled 24/7" is punctuated by a storm of strobes (an effect in great supply tonight). A tease of keys from Janne Wirman as Laiho asks "You guys ready for some old shit," as introduces a copper lit and strobe enhanced "Lake Bodom". Regardless of the song, once he's moved a bit (only rarely visiting the widths of the stage), it's right back to his center stage perch/fortified sanctuary. "Warheart" sees Alexi demonstrating his vertical playing technique, for the first time this evening, propping the fin tailed ESP on his left thigh, as he solos madly. The guitar is crystal clear in the mix. It ends with the crowd clapping along, which elicits a "Bodom" chant, once the music dies.

The classic Psycho-shower-scene inspired keyboard notes open "Hate Me", which closes with a gun blast sound effect. The latter half of the show, apart from surprise choice "The Nail" in the encore, contains some of the best known songs. The neo-classical guitar opening to "Red Light In My Eyes, Part 2" (appropriately colored stage lighting) jumps from the speakers. Laiho admitting beforehand that it's never been played here (USA). Didn't remember the mid-section dip in intensity though. The stage briefly empties, turns blue and the band jams to "Downfall". Laiho visits Wirman's keyboards for a bit of a duel (the keyboardist using but one hand, his other arm slung over the guitarist's shoulder). With syncopated headbanging onstage and clapping from the crowd, mid-tempo plodding "Everytime I Die" receives a huge response.

Their signature tune is a bit of high speed, old school metal. The tinkling of ivories starts a green tinged "Bed Of Razors", with its undercurrent of lilting Irish jig. Wouldn't have guessed guitar workout "Kissing The Shadows" (second Shadows song tonight, to go along with a pair of Bodom tracks) would be part of the running order, let alone closing the proper set tonight. They weren't kidding when they said "deep" cuts! A recorded voiceover calls the band back to the stage for the initially punky "The Nail", featuring Wirman's fleet fingers and pulsing overhead strobes. Tonight's finale, the high pitched, race-to-the-finish riff ride "Towards Dead End", sees a return of those eerie aqua/green lights, almost like viewing the band through night vision goggles. 

Hopefully the band rediscovering some of these forgotten/ "more obscure" entries will have some bleed through to the next tour. More bands need to peruse their back catalog and dust off a couple lost classics. Hats off to Bodom for giving fans something different.

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