Call me Russ L

Wishing The Night Away

Posted in Music by Russ L on 7 January, 2006

Originally posted on 17/2/5.

Back to work this week. I completely wasted my week off and did nothing, but I still miss it. It seems boring at first (and indeed I moaned), but I get used to it. I adapt to the different pace and find it suits me more. All signs point to laziness.

I’ve had unemployed friends tell me how terrible they find the boredom, and I can’t sympathise. I’ve never been unemployed, but when I only worked part time I used to love the spare time I had. I could just potter around, and I quite like pottering around.


Tuesday night I went to see Nightwish at The Academy. Boy, was I in for a shock – it was packed. When I got my ticket I was surprised enough to see it was being held in the main/big room of The Academy, and so when I arrived there I was absolutely stunned. I know they’re a huge band on the continent, but over here? They must have been in the magazines a lot recently. Presumably Kerrang, given the large number of young ‘uns there (another surprise).

Tristania supported, but I only saw the last half-song . I gather they’re another Euro-goth-metal band, but all I got to hear was a tiny bit of overly polite chugging and nothing else. I know a lot of big venues do the ‘support bands on early, big gap before the headliners’ thing, but The Academy is really, really, notably bad for it. I assume it’s a ploy to make you buy more drinks in your between-time boredom.

Before this, I had always found Nightwish to be (to a certain extent) elusive. I had downloaded a few odd songs and liked them a lot, but I hadn’t got around to hearing an entire album. You can imagine my glee when I received their last opus (‘Once’) for review, and my annoyance when each track on the promo copy faded out in the middle and had some git saying “You are listening to the new Nightwish album, and this song is called…” before fading back in. Ooh, I got the angries. I vented my frustration in the review, and it became the most-read ever on the older version of , but unfortunately it hasn’t made it over to the new site yet and by now I imagine it never will.

So, although I knew enough to like the band, in some ways this gig was my first proper look at/listen to them.

I absolutely loved them. Unsurprisingly, the first thing I’m going to mention is the voice of the (absolutely delectable in real life) Tarja. She is that good, it’s not all in the production. Genuine classicaly-trained range and not a missed note all night, despite her roaming the stage.

Their music is berated by many for being too happy and up-beat, which is almost akin to complaining about a helicopter not having wheels. They’re an enthusiastic, fervent band, and like such they sound. No, they’re not ‘gothic’ in the sense that is generally applied to music. It is to be seen as a problem that they’re not doing something they don’t attempt to do, is it?

They could be called gothic in another, more descriptively useful sense. They might not put talc on their face, pour blackcurrant in their drinks and hate their parents, but their music is made up of strong, bold lines with a lot of ornamentation on the top – a base of big, memorable tunes on which the musicianship and Tarja’s vocals are placed. They have masses of detail to add beauty, rather than to take away from the main powerful structure.

And really good songs. Really really good songs. And that’s what you want. Really.

– Russ L



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