Apologies for the lack of photos, there was some bint in the way who ended up filming the entire thing on her iPhone, as well as poor lighting from as close as I could get. You’ll live, I’m a pants photographer anyway.

Sonata Arctica are, without a doubt, pretty god damn gay. In their defence, they had a great run of albums before spooning things slightly with Unia and Days of Grays, both of which have left me cold on record. But enough about that.

First up, we have Triosphere, led by the formidable Ida Haukland and her intimidating bass player arms. Drawing on material from their two albums, the thrashy Onwards and the more prog/power The Road Less Travelled, they have the unfortunate job of opening while people are still entering the venue and yours truly missed half their set, stumbling in just as the  annoyingly brilliant Trinity lights up. Although Ida’s diction isn’t the greatest live, she’s Norwegian so we can let her off and instead compliment her on her giant voice that is note perfect and clear as a bell. A great set, and for my money should’ve been main support.

I was talking to Triosphere for most of Labyrinth. I caught a song or two, but what I saw didn’t really impress me that much, as it there seemed to be a tad too much wankery and the high notes that the singer couldn’t quite hit. Not bad, and certainly went down better than Triosphere overall, but from this perspective it was a mediocre performance.

Sonata’s Days of Grays has been a bug of mine for a while, leaving me thoroughly cold  and it’s lead single and set opener, Flag In The Ground, sounding too much like San Sebastian for it’s own good. While I was resigned to the fact I wouldn’t get my perfect setlist, what was on offer from the latest album impressed me a damn sight more than it did at BOA2010, notably As If The World Wasn’t Ending, a mournful dirge with a passion that has been missing from some of their other contemporary work.  Tony Kakko has become much more talkative on stage, telling stories about cars and pants, which inevitably led to Victoria’s Secret, one of two from the classic Winterheart’s Guild, the other being the suprising but atmospheric The Misery. New boy Elias has been with the band nearly three years, but he seems at home as if he has always been there, playing material old and new with ease as his sublime lead on Replica sounded as good as it does on record.

As the set lay heavy on Days of Grays and an unhealthy amount of Unia, which broke the flow and atmosphere of the show, especially as the older songs got the best reaction. The progressive direction of Unia didn’t go over well during Paid In Full, but the surprising number of ballads from the latest release did a lot to create a very intimate show, something that I don’t see that often these days. Eventually, everything was topped off with Don’t Say A Word from the criminally under-represented Reckoning Night and a good ol’ sing song about vodka.

Sonata Arctica. Pretty damn gay, but with a voice like that, Tony Kakko can sing whatever he likes. Here’s looking to the new album.