Triosphere - LIVE: Sub89 2011

Sonata Arctica Tour
Reading - March 24
Capacity 600

The new venue Sub89 in Reading certainly seems to have upped its game as a venue for metal music last March, having played host to shows from Watain, Breed 77, Napalm Death and Sylosis. Whilst the mid-South city might not seem like the most obvious place to hold a metal gig, tonight's surprisingly long queue to get in might indicate that there is at least some interest in the area.

Perhaps it's also just a sign of how much of a draw Sonata Arctica are these days. To be perfectly honest, it's slightly mystifying that the Finnish power metal are so popular. Whilst tonight's headliners have at least some grasp of what makes a good tune, their music does seem rather bland and watered down. Even main support band Labyrinth sound more exciting, a generic but certainly capable and enjoyable power metal band from Italy. Still, if it means proving that metal can draw a crowd in Reading, then surely Sonata Arctica can't be all that bad.

The real highlight tonight though is opening band Triosphere. Whilst the band have hit the UK before in support of Jorn (in Dudley, of all places), this is the first time the band have managed to do a full tour of the country. Alas, you'd have been lucky to have caught the band at all on tonight's show, with the band starting their set mere moments before the doors open. The band opened up with Driven from their second album to an almost empty venue, and by the set's end there would still be people lining up to get in.

As might be expected from an opening act, there is a certain stiffness to Triosphere's set, the band not looking entirely comfortable. Singer/bassist Ida in particular comes across as a bit too formal. Unusually she stops to introduce every song, reminding the crowd who the band are for any newcomers. She seemed fully aware that they were on far too early, what with the hall continually filling up during the course of the band's set. She also – rather amusingly – fell for the old blunder of mispronouncing Reading, realizing and apologizing for the mistake afterwards.

As for the band themselves, despite the stiffness they played their short set rather well. There's some fantastic guitar work from both of the band's guitarists, and Ida's voice is just as powerful as it is on record, despite the heavy touring schedule. Although some of the crowd looking rather disinterested near the start, there was a noticeable warming up of the crowd by the time the band reached the end of their set. On the whole, if the crowd didn't seem interested, it was perhaps purely due to the band's early appearance, and simply not being familiar with them.

The real problem though was that this was far too short a set, feeling more like a brief introduction to the band than a real performance. Whilst important songs such as Driven, Human Condition and Onwards were present, there were quite a few notable exceptions that one would think would be on every Triosphere set – the most notable exclusion being Trinity from the band's debut. Triosphere put in a good performance, but the twenty minute slot that they seemed to have was really not enough.

Still, all things considered a decent taster of things to come. The band are due a much better slot in the UK, having gained plenty of fans and interest from this tour. We can only hope they don't take too long to return.

“ a noticeable warming up of the crowd ”

Setlist: Driven / Human Condition / Sunriser / Watcher / Onwards

Written by James Donovan
More: 2011, Female-fronted, Gigs, Power Metal,

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