Streaming concerts are starting to cause dilemmas among fans, as it becomes impossible to keep up with what band is organizing one and many bands are organizing these concerts at the same time, but when Finnish doom metal legends of SWALLOW THE SUN announced their acoustic stream on 7 May 2020, we instantly cleared out our schedule to check out their performance at Sonic Pump Studios.
We tuned in to the concert right on time and immediately noticed the great set up in the studio. The band had opted for a homey atmosphere, with some props and warm lighting, creating a surprisingly intimate feeling across the chatbox. Four out of six band members were present: Mikko Kotamäki (vocals), Juho Räihä (guitar), Juuso Raatikainen (bass), and Jaani Peuhu (keyboards).
Keikalla.fi had already managed to deliver a great acoustic show by Kotipelto, Liimatainen, and Skog, with incredible sound quality and as soon as the band opened with “The Heart of a Cold White Land,” it was clear this show also had a top-notch production. While closing my eyes, it almost felt as if the band was playing right in front of me (with a little bit imagination) and it made me forget the aspect of the computer screen in between us. Followed by a beautiful acoustic rendition of “Firelights,” the band showed us what they had in store for us. It’s no surprise that most of the setlist was taken from the acoustic part of “Songs from the North,” with some tracks from their latest studio effort “When a Shadow is Forced into the Light.” I had never been able to witness SWALLOW THE SUN‘s acoustic shows, but I was truly mesmerized by their performance – the slow, doomy riffs and rhythms paved the way for the beautiful melodies and Mikko Kotämäki‘s deep voice, which at times reminded me a lot of Nick Cave.
As the setlist continued, the band took time in between songs to reply to fans’ questions, comments, and so on, providing a little bit of comic relief in between the heavyhearted songs. All together, the band played 11 tracks, of which the closing duo took us by surprise since they were covers. The first of these was “Your Decision” by grunge act ALICE IN CHAINS – an interesting choice, but it worked really well, as did the beautiful cover of ANATHEMA‘s “Forgotten Hopes,” which was a blovely way to end the streaming concert.
Fans of the first hour could also invest in a special extra bonus track “Falling World,” which was recorded before the event started and could be purchased as a little extra. Altogether, all elements of the stream were outstanding. Quality in sound, video, and the fact that the band is able to interact in a different and more unique way with their audience, makes these streaming concerts an overall positive experience and a great alternative to live shows.
- The Heart of a Cold White Land
- Pray for the Winds to Come
- Songs from the North
- Autumn Fire
- Stone Wings
- Before the Summer Dies
- Here on the Black Earth
- Your Decision (Alice In Chains cover)
- Forgotten Hopes (Anathema cover)