Von Hertzen Brothers - LIVE: G2, Glasgow 2017

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War Is Over UK Tour
September 25 (20:25 - 22:10)
Capacity 300

On the back of the brand new album in War Is Over, Finnish prog band Von Herzen Brothers arrived in Glasgow as part of a short UK tour, with locals The Rising Souls getting the nod as sole support.

The first couple of tracks from The Rising Souls were very early Free in style, with bassist Roy Laing having an Andy Fraser feel throughout. As the set wore on there were elements of Temperance Movement, with lots of soul-influences going on. Vocalist Dave Archibald sounded impressive, when they finished a "new" song, they sounded like a band that could go onto bigger things. They are definitely one to watch.

The Von Hertzen Brothers' set ends up being half comprised of the new album - one of the best they have recorded - which shows their understandable confidence in it. The band are keeping things fresh by changing songs around each night, ultimately leading on this occasion to Glasgow hearing a song that had not been played in many years, and which no-one else got to hear on this leg. The plus being that fans get a show that is just theirs, and those who perhaps go to multiple shows get variety each night, but some fans might get frustrated if they have a favourite song, and it gets played at a different gig.

The three brothers position themselves front in a line, with the drums and keyboards a bit further back, although much respect and banter is thrown their way, especially for keyboardist Robert Engstrand as the Swedish representative in the band. Despite only being roughly half sold, the audience were loud and energetic and made the band feel at home. The band themselves seemed happy at the reaction throughout.

They came onstage to the opening song and title track of the new album, with the first three minutes being backing track. The start sounded a little muddy and took a couple of minutes to clear but when it did the band sounded fantastic. The reaction at the end of this epic song was telling. It led to Mikko von Hertzen making the comments to the rest of the band "Now THAT'S what we were talking about, that! We should play here more often". It was the sound of a much larger crowd than was there, even half full.

Second new song Jerusalem was more impressive live; it seemed to stand out more than it does on the album. The guitar solo in particular was sublime, as Kie von Hertzen has such a lovely sound on some of his solos and this was right up there with the best of them. He also has a very strong deep voice, as he showed on Coming Home during which both he and Mikko started dancing around onstage. On Miracle bassist Jonne von Hertzen joined in the grooving around, and the three brothers seemed to be enjoying performing together, goofing around whilst still keeping it all together. Miracle has a wonderful mix of gentle high pitched vocals and a filthy fuzzy riff which seemed to start from the feet up at times.

One of the highlights was the track which was only played in Glasgow, Kiss A Wish, which comes from their second album. It's a beautiful piece which is almost spiritual (not in a religious sense) and was truly captivating. Mikko welcomed back drummer Sami Kuoppamäki who he explained actually played on the song originally. At points the brothers all stood to the side of the stage to let everyone watch the other guys, in particular pointing over at Robert as he played solos, before blaming any mistakes on his being Swedish.

The sing-along during Sunday Child was also particularly good, with Mikko questioning the crowd's efforts on the first attempt, only for Glasgow to properly deliver on the second attempt (as crowds everywhere always do) leading to appreciation from the other band members. He actually said at one point that they have enough songs now to maybe need to do three nights in Glasgow with a different set list each night. The audience approved. They finished this particular night with an encore of Beyond The Storm, the last song of the new album, and its very fitting ending (just like the album), as the track builds up to a crescendo with the lyrical refrain of "war is over".

An extremely strong performance with a very willing and exuberant crowd. There was also some nice moments of humour (like having already played a song Mikko incorrectly later announced) to keep the evening flowing. With any luck this new album, and these shows they are performing at the moment, will mean that next time round they will have a packed out show. They certainly deserve it.

Setlist: War Is Over / Jerusalem / Coming Home / Miracle / The Arsonist / Frozen Butterflies / Kiss A Wish / Long Lost Sailor / Sunday Child / Flowers And Rust / Gloria / New Day Rising // Beyond The Storm

Written by Tom Cornell
More: 2017, Gigs, Progressive,

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