Lordi - LIVE: The Garage, London 2013

Tour Beast Or Not Tour Beast
May 12 (21:30-23:00)
Capacity 650

On the face of it fans had mixed emotions about the return of Lordi to the UK live circuit. They haven't been to London since February 2009 having been unable to add a UK show to the tour for fifth album Babez For Breakfest in 2010, and seeing their 20th anniversary world tour plans in 2012 heavily disrupted by the untimely death of drummer Otus and the departure of keyboard player Awa, which all resulted in a small, but very passionate crowd this time.

Factoring out attendees at their London debut in 2006 at The Forum who were never really fans to begin with but latched on to that year's Eurovision Song Contest victory, the four-year absence has created one group of fans who were desperate to see the band again, and another group who it seems simply forgot about them. Sadly the former weren't large enough in number to keep the originally planned return to The Forum in Kentish Town a viable option, but the hot, loud, and totally committed atmosphere they created at The Garage in Highbury likely surpassed anything that could have gone down at the larger venue.

It goes without saying that a Lordi show on a smaller stage has to, by necessity, be stripped down; lower ceilings and tighter confines mean no pyro and very few gimmicks. At that 2009 Islington Academy show it seemed to affect everyone, band and audience alike, but this time no one cared. Mr. Lordi himself, a surprisingly animated Ox on bass and founding guitarist Amen did the best they possibly could to keep moving and interacting with the front few rows. New members Mana on drums and Hella on keyboards spent most of the time obscured from view by the large shapes of Lordi and Ox, but took their moments in the spotlight (an entertaining drum solo for Mana, and reproducing the creepy child's intro vocals on for Hella) well and showed it hasn't taken them long to grow into the Lordi way of life.

The set was highlighted by crushingly heavy renditions of new songs Schizo Doll, I'm The Best (with Mr. Lordi hilariously being adorned with a tiara and sash), and Something Wicked This Way Comes, plus fan-favourite sing-alongs Devil Is A Loser, Blood Red Sandman, Would You Live A Monsterman? and It Snows In Hell inducing rousing responses, while the more committed fans were treated to Hulking Dynamo, a bonus track from the unreleased first album Bend Over And Pray The Lord that was subsequently left off Get Heavy, as the first song of the encore, and the addition of Girls Go Chopping in the middle of the set, which hasn't been played every night.

It's now important for Lordi to keep the momentum going. While having to downgrade the venue for the London show is a disappointment, they have a universally praised album in To Beast Or Not To Beast, and a renowned live reputation which tonight only enhanced. They need to come back quicker to capitalise on this before memory of them once again fades.

“ hot, loud, and totally committed atmosphere ”

Setlist: We're Not Bad For The Kids (We're Worse) / Bringing Back the Balls to Rock / The Riff / Who's Your Daddy? / Girls Go Chopping / Blood Red Sandman / Schizo Doll / Something Wicked This Way Comes / It Snows in Hell / Drum Solo / Supermonstars (The Anthem of the Phantoms) / I'm the Best / Guitar Solo / They Only Come Out at Night / Devil Is a Loser // Hulking Dynamo / Hard Rock Hallelujah / Sincerely With Love / Would You Love A Monsterman?

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2013, Gigs, Heavy Metal,

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