Flying home for Apocalyptica and Vamps

It’s got to be said, last night was probably one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. It’s most certainly up there. Wow.
It was really strange, a few weeks back I was talking with the wonderful Gemma about Apocalyptica and I was half joking about flying to England to see them again with her. Somehow that joke ended up becoming real!

With Eicca

The show itself was in Wolverhampton’s Wulfrun Hall, a  venue I’d never been to before but has hosted quite a good variation of musicians over the years. I have to say, I didn’t really rate the venue itself. It was okay but the security staff were a bit, well, acerbic. I mean, understandably, in the wake of the tragedy in France they had to search us all thoroughly but, to give you some idea, the woman who was supposed to be searching me got so confused by the fact I had a little camera and was so busy telling me off for having it that she actually forgot to search beyond the camera that was on top of my handbag. She then went to check, after telling me off, and turns out that my little baby camera was allowed anyway. This seemed to be the basic interaction between security and visitors – if in doubt be strident. Actually, when meeting the band a couple of other girls and I were joking that the whole process was how we’d imagine it if we were convicts going into prison. It’s a shame because there are plenty of venues that have brilliant security who are able to be friendly along with it!

Right, that’s enough moaning for me!

Before the show, I met Apocalyptica which was completely and utterly surreal. These gentlemen were incredibly important to Tiny Me, just starting to play the cello herself and really into the rock and metal genres. They were one of my earliest inspirations and have therefore been rather significant over many years. Of course, I didn’t manage to tell them that, and nor did I plan to! Instead I stood awkwardly and lost all social skills. Seriously, I know I’m generally shy but I think this is the closest I’ve ever been to “Starstruck”. That aside, they were all complete and utter gentlemen, in the truest sense of the word. They were happy to just generally converse and actually spent quite a lot of time talking both about the band and random other things. I mean, Perttu asked me to tell him the vague geography of where we were in England…. for someone who just flew over herself, that was hard!

With Paavo

The rest of the audience slowly filtered in and I was joined by my darling Gemma and Dan, a lovely chap who had come out to Amsterdam the week before. And it was time for the music.

Did I mention that the band supporting Apocalyptica, Vamps, was a band I used to listen to a lot when I was a bit younger and fronted by one of my favourite singers from my early teens? No? Well, you can imagine how surreal this entire line up was then!

I get the feeling that, other than the large Japanese group who had come over to see them, I was one of the only people in the audience who knew Vamps at all and I think the band were aware of their inability to get the audience on side which is a real shame. They’re a great group but just not what people were used to, I think. Anyway, I’m over the moon that I got to see them and would really like to see them again, actually. Considering I never thought I’d get to see them at all, last night was really wonderful. I also have to mention how Dan (assisted by the gorgeous Gemma, of course) helped to make my night by not only catching  Ju-ken’s pick but by actually giving it to me. Seriously, it seemed that everything was lined up to make Teenage Me exceptionally happy.

In-Denial-About-The-Fact-She’s-An-Adult Me was pretty much pleased as punch too.

With Mikko

And then was the main act, in the shape of Apocalyptica. I really do not know how to describe their shows and especially not having attempted to do it already just a few short weeks ago when I was lucky enough to see them in Amsterdam.

This band has such an energy on stage. They are all amazing, amazing musicians but all of whom bring something totally different to the stage experience. Paavo is probably the one who interacts most directly with the audience and does not fail to get them to interact with the music. Mikko also tends to take on this role but, I have to admit, I dislike the stage/drum riser set up as I quite often just didn’t watch Mikko as he faded into the background too much. Perttu is, well, ‘energetic’ on stage, shall we say, diplomatically. I mean, the hole in the back of his cello probably sums up the way he tends to behave, as did the moment when he started to play in an exceptionally suggestive fashion. I’ve said it before but I still feel it, Eicca grounds the group on stage and is one of the key figures for creating the atmospheric (and probably musical!) harmony.

With Perttu

Of course, there’s also the touring vocalist, Franky Perez who has completely won me over. His vocals are strong but sensitive and his stage performance is high impact, full of energy. He balances interacting with the crowd with interacting with the band and, or so it seems, thoroughly enjoys his time on stage. I get the feeling that he’s just around for the Shadowmaker tour but I really do hope he stays.

There were some technical difficulties but they didn’t really detract from the show and were dealt with in such a professional manner. Apparently they were caused by the UK plug system being different from the European one: “We’re used to putting our things into different holes”. Oops.

Anyway, with the evening over, Gemma, Dan and I escaped the press of people. They bought themselves shirts and I realised that I had only brought euros because I’m a prat and couldn’t. I headed home and spent the entire night super ill (yay) and had to rearrange today’s flight to tomorrow. Not sure if I’m going to be up to it tomorrow but no choice. On second thoughts, now I’m having to pay a lot for flight changes, maybe it’s a good thing I couldn’t spend all my money  on merchandise!!

The photos included in this post were kindly taken by a couple of people, Zoe and Jenny, as the whole camera confusion caused a few issues and they had a camera phone (which caused no confusion because there is no logic in this world) and hence they saved me!

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