As mentioned on various social media, podcasts, and documented on a damn wiki I went to the Sabaton Open Air festival in Falun! It was fantastic.
I wont bore you with the details. I'll just highlight the most interesting bits.
Thursday's highlight was Svartsot. I've listened to them for a few years and enjoyed them. A friend described them as "penny whistle metal" which isn't technically correct but definitely gets across their folky and slightly repetitive theme. Glad I saw them.
On Friday I missed ReinXeed which was a shame but we really enjoyed Týr. I had forgotten they were playing. They pretty much announced that they'll release a new album in 2019 which was great news despite it being Terji's (guitarist) last show. Orden Ogan were really good. We watched them from the beer tent which actually sounded great. They played the songs I knew from them which was just what I wanted.
The Darkness were so good they deserve their own paragraph. I was sceptical. I've never seen them live and I've not listened to much after their second album but WOW. Amazing stage presence. Played all the good shit, some new good shit I hadn't heard. Just fantastic. The last bit involved Justin being carried around on a roadie's shoulders through the audience while soloing. There's video somewhere of me getting very into singing along.
Saturday was the main event. Powerwolf, Battle Beast, and Sabaton. We'd talked to someone from Belgium who told us we'd love Powerwolf and she was totally right. They played on the main stage and drew a large crowd. They played their hits and were engaging with the audience pretty well. They're cheesy.
Battle Beast also need their own paragraph despite being on the second stage. I saw them in Wolverhampton last year in a small room. They were awesome then and were even better this time. Absolutely fucking fantastic. Playing all their hits (all their tracks are hits). Noora Louhimo is a brilliant front woman, Joakim Broden-esque one could say. We ended up right up in the crowd and it was perfect. Loud as hell.
Sabaton were as good as Sabaton always are. Obviously they played the main stage and had lots of pyrotechnics. They played some tracks they've never played before. It was really good. BUT. There's a but. I felt that having seen them 2 times on The Last Stand tour I didn't find it as much of a step change as previous gigs. I'll break it down:
Sheffield 2012, Carolus Rex tour: First time seeing Sabaton. Saw it in Corp, the best venue. Obviously magical.
Birmingham 2016, Heroes tour: Saw them on my own. Memory is a bit hazy but getting right up near the front was excellent. Plus new tracks from Heroes. Alestorm in support was perf.
Dublin 2017, The Last Stand tour: Excellent group of pals to see them with. Didn't expect them to play Union (the best Sabaton song) but they did. Also new tracks from The Last Stand. Excellent.
London 2017, The Last Stand tour: A few days after Dublin. Still riding high. Better staging due to a larger venue. Played Union again.
Falun 2018, The Last Stand tour effectively: Largely the same tracks as previously. Some new unplayed tracks like Unbreakable and a medley of their joke songs (that was awesome). No Union. No new tracks.
So yeah. Not underwhelming but not a step up as the previous shows always had been. Still glad I went and it was entirely worth the trek. I'll still go see them the next time they're near and I'm eagerly awaiting a new album that if my maths is correct should be announced soon.
Additionally to the music, it was Mike's birthday so we played boardgames, had cake, and lots of fun. I found out that Blood Bowl Team Manager is an excellent game from Fantasy Flight. I've ordered it but I'm finding it hard to track down copies of the expansions now FFG have lost the Games Workshop licences.