We were slacking and missed the first band, assuming that the first & second bands would not be great shakes anyways. I was really glad, however, that we caught the 2nd band, Eluveitie. They were really energetic live and it gave the stuff of which I'd previously listened to studio samples more depth. They had less of the aggression than the other bands (that still leaves plenty of room for aggression, believe me) and more woodwinds. Which is exactly what I want in a metal band. There's a really good review here from the London show with much, much better pictures. (Ladies who like men in kilts, please to be attending Paganfest.)
The third band, Tyr, didn't impress me (or indeed my compatriots) as much, and I really thought the drummer was rough - turns out he was a replacement - so that makes more sense now. Still made for a kind of boring set. I mean, sure, Hail to the Hammer and all that, fist pumping action, but the songs didn't have as much in the way of melodic interest & dynamics and the rhythms were completely straightforward. I am relieved to see they have a FAQ question about whether they are a racist band. They are not. I'll have to give a re-listen to their studio stuff and see how I feel about it.
Next up was Turisas. Now we did not know what we were in for with this one. This was a completely awesome set with excellent showmanship and kick ass sound. And there was dancing. Now, at Jaxx, unless you are right up on the band you can't see shit. I could sometimes see the heads of some of the guys in the band. And... the girl! Turns out both Eluveitie and Turisas have female band members I couldn't see. They orchestrated a sing-off between two parts of the crowd which was throat-mutilatingly fun. And even I, who is desperately afraid of mosh pits, wished I were not desperately afraid of mosh pits for a moment so I could thrash around and get close to the stage. "To Holmgarde and Beyond" is a fantastic track which they nailed live.
There was so much hair. There were so many horns thrown, non-ironically for once. It was a great night. I wish I could catch them in Raleigh or Allentown!!! But both of those May shows are in the middle of the week. Sadly due to ludicrous kerfluffle we had to leave before the headlining band, but it was a school night anyways and I was already exhausted and smoky and sweaty. I gotta say it was worth being a delinquent about studying. Anyways if you think you might ever be into this kind of music, these are good discs to pick up.