How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Soulfly (also Incite) - Rock Cafe, Tallinn, Estonia (20.03.09)
|Event:||Soulfly: European Tour|
Soulfly - Rock Café, Tallinn, Estonia, 20.03.2009 by Ivor (25)
To be quite honest I didn't particularly feel like going to the Soulfly gig on that Friday. The problem was that I had just spent three days doing fieldwork for my university in a small village in northern Estonia and it had been an extremely tiring experience (if you've done science, you'll know what I mean). In a word, having not been in a mood for additional "fieldwork", I was seriously considering abandoning any plans for drinking, rocking out or engaging in general dickery. However, acting on a sudden impulse of "why the fuck not?" as scientists often do, I opted to pay Rock Cafe a visit.
Fatigue from "working" wasn't the only thing holding me back though. I have always considered Soulfly a second rate band, a strange metal derelict assembled from the crumbs from Cavalera's tabletop. Sure, they have some great songs, but for the most part Soulfly is as complex as flint and tinder. None the less, as every convicted arsonist surely knows, flint and tinder are more than adequate a kit for starting a firestorm. And boy did Soulfly ever!
I hadn't really planned on getting sucked into the pit that night (can you see a pattern here?), but as the intro to "Blood, Fire, War, Hate" kicked in, I felt something tug at my heartstrings - that "something" that has a nasty habit of getting me into trouble. Here I must be grateful to the one good thing about the Estonian modesty - despite Rock Cafe having been sold out, scrambling to get closer to the stage was not a problem. In a matter of minutes I had sealed my fate, kicking and screaming as "Prophecy" was laid upon us. As the rest of the night would prove time and time again, in Soulfly's case, what sounds simple on the disc feels pretty fucking amazing live.
I reckon it may have been Incite that had worked me up for Soulfly, having pretty much nailed the whole warm-up band concept. Incite wasn't mind-bogglingly awesome nor original, but the band did seem to possess an igniting flare and managed to create a suitable atmosphere for Soulfly - a feat made even more remarkable due to the band's singer having looked like Sean Bean (you can't look like Sean Bean. These are the rules).
Sean Bean (unverified) and Incite on stage.
As the chaos deepened over the next hour and a half I became to regret my dress code, which I had chosen with the cold weather outside in mind (fuck you winter), meaning that just after a couple of songs I was literally (or not so literally) drowning inside my jacket. Also, it didn't help that Soulfly had included "Refuse/Resist" and "Roots" in their setlist. Neither did the start-stop toccata of "Unleash" or "Jump the Fuck Up". The only time the crowd could draw a breath was when Max pulled a lucky fan on stage from the pit and handed him a drum stick for a tribal medley. If that guy wasn't pitching a tent before, he definitely was then. Or so I like to imagine. Or rather not.
Not pictured: aggressive tent-pitching.
Crowd interaction must have been a factor in making Soulfly's gig so memorable. Not that there had been that much of it, but the entire event was clothed in an aura of promptness. Perhaps it was the effortlessness of the band and their obvious enjoyment of what they were doing that turned a gig into one of the sorts you wish would never end. Fun is contagious, and when Max finally made the sign for the Wall of Death, the crowd eagerly complied, although admittedly the resulting phenomenon is in hindsight best described as "a Wall of Mild Discomfort." However, the relatively small scale of the moshpit (I cannot be sure of its size - I had someone's elbow buried in my skull most of the time) did not change the fact that Soulfly positively and completely fucked everybody's shit up who was bold enough to enter their Kill Zone.
Did they like our Wall of Mild Discomfort? Honestly, I can't tell.
Coincidentally the Brazil national football team is playing Estonia later this year. But unlike with the upcoming match, this time I was actually happy that the Brazilians kicked our asses. Surely enough, Cavalera & Co did administer a decent beating on the assembled crowds. Despite Max having used water to disperse the violent crowds, people stood their ground - and paid the price. As several bruises and a bloody lip later testified, the moshpit had indeed been fun. On that note I'd like to recommend you to abandon any preconceptions you may have about Soulfly and to get in there and earn those scars.
Red. Just like all that blood I spilled. All 0.05 milligrams of it.
There was just one tiny detail about the gig that I can't seem to shake off - as became painfully obvious during Incite's performance, not all Estonians understand the concept of a "circle pit." So here's a tip for all the kids out there - you run circles inside the crowd, not around the crowd.
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