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De Bosuil,Weert, The Netherlands
22 April 2007
Kotipelto, Chris Caffery, Elis, Triosphere

Sometimes moments make you realize that life isn’t that predictable. Respectful, famous artists are not the guarantee that a package will sell out. In the case of Kotipelto there was a promoter who ‘forgot’ to do his job well. Unexpected Weert was the last day of the tour, so the bands were sad, but on the other hand is was the most relaxing gig you can imagine: it wasn’t crowded so there was all the time to make jokes and slow down a bit. The beautiful location in the woods and the sun helped with that.


Their debut album ‘Onwards’ came out February this year. A young band, but with a lot of experience: they toured with Dark Tranquility and recently they will support WASP on their tour. With their Norwegian roots it is no surprise that they sound very heavy and catchy at the same time. Triosphere create a perfect mixture between heavy and power metal. There are some similarities with Dio, and that is a compliment to front woman and bass player Ida Haukland. She has a strong and also raw voice. Also the guitar solos from Marcus Silver are fast and come up very natural. Together with Ørjan Jørgensen on the drums you have a strong couple musicians. They can make the high expectations true: Triosphere brings the energy and power on stage. With such a strong debut and a good stage presentation there is a long future waiting for them. Maybe they are not that original now and than, but they can play some high qualitative metal and that is rare nowadays.
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After bad times, the good ones are more cherished. When front woman Sabine Duenser passed away so suddenly and much too early after a cerebral haemorrhage, nobody thought that Elis would arise again. Now with a new vocalist Sandra Schleret the band has new identity and is it possible to carry on in the beloved memory of Sabine. More on:

It is hard to see Elis without thinking about Sabine. There will be fans who never’ll appreciate what Sandra does, but on the other hand when you listen carefully you will know that Sandra is the best thing what could happen to Elis after that tragedy. Their last album ‘Griefshire’ is a special honour to Sabine. She wrote the concept story about two brothers and their quest to faith and their religious fascism. It is special to hear songs live on stage again. The whole band has found a new energy and that is what you hear on stage as well. Songs like ‘Show Me The Way’ are catchy, easy to sing along and on stage it sounds even more powerful. Especially the drum parts from Max Naescher are live groovier. Elis is always been a band with a raw and heavy structure in compare with other bands in the gothmetal scene. Sandra sounds very convincing and with her clear, warm voice there is no doubt that she can bring it all to a higher level. It is a short set, but halfway there is time to go a bit faster: more aggressive guitars and also some grunts from Tom Saxer on the bass, make the song even darker.

‘Lost Soul’ is a more technical song, and the contrast between Sandra and Tom makes it more attractive to see on stage. Still there is that easy-to-listen-at aspect: Elis knows how to write songs that people will recognize and remember. ‘Der Letzte Tag’ is a special song in many ways: it reminds me of Sabine, but also is harder to perform because it is in German. Than it is much harder to translate the emotions and meaning in the song to the audience. Sandra managed to do that very well: she looks the audience in the eyes, and has technical control over the high parts and easily switch to a lower solo part. She is a well experienced vocalist and that is what you hear on stage: she has totally control and that makes her secure and convincing. It was a short set, but a great introduction to the new Elis.

De Bosuil started much earlier with the package than announced on the website. The consequences are that Triosphere and Elis are playing for an almost empty venue. For both bands not a reason to get more automatic. Elis is still giving all their energy on stage. Especially Sandra is an eye-catcher. She moves fluently and with a charisma that makes you stay interested. Wearing  a Chinese dress, making the well-known Within Temptation movements with her hands, and still manages to get the high notes. She dances like Vibeke Stene used to do for Tristania: totally into to the song, like a trance but still aware of the people around her. The drums are not good to see in the back, but both guitar players are filling up the stage with their movements and poses. It goes all very smoothly and more convinced than before. On the right there is bass player Tom, who also is an important face in the band: he makes connection with the first raw and when he screams people are reacting on him. Together with Sandra he brings more energy on stage. It is important for a band to translate the feelings from the songs into a strong performance. Especially when you have raw metal songs with a strong female vocalist. Than you want to feel the energy in your bones and that is what happened after their gig: Elis brought the energy on this sunny day.

Music: 7.5
Performance: 8.0
Sound: 7.0
Light: 6.5
Total: 7.5

Chris Caffery

One of the co-headliners is Chris Caffery, well-known as guitarist from Savatage. Due to an interview with Elis in the sun behind the venue, I wasn’t able to see the whole set of this band. His new solo album ‘Pins And Needles’ (2007) is more experimental and shows his talent to make some complex heavy metal music. He has a long tour with Doro planned, so it is definitely worth it to see him live as you can. More on:

When I see the blonde man with his cap and torn jeans, he reminds me a bit of Jon Bon Jovi. His voice has something in common with the famous rock artist. It is raw, but clean at the same time and also pleasant to listen at. Together with the catchy songs he immediately has your attention. On his left there is Paul Laplaca, the second guitarist and at the same time the keyboard player. He needs to switch all the time between his keyboard in the front and the guitar on his neck, what gives a dynamic action on stage. After two songs from Chris his solo albums, it is time for Johan Macaluso in the back to have his moment of fame: the stage is all his and behind his drum kit he smoothly shows that audience that drum quality and a good sense of humor can make a good show. Also some well-known Savatage songs are played, but in a special way. ‘Edge of Thorns’ gets a more rock sound. The song ‘Sixty Six’ from his last solo album is catchy and more progressive: many people in the audience easily sing along the lyrics and it is an energetic part of the show. Caffery is such a talented band that after a while all the songs are a bit the same, the level is perfect, but it gets monotone after ten minutes. That is the weakness from good musicians: you have to build an certain tension in the show.

Chris is a special, charismatic artist: unique in his own way. When he enters the stage with a cap covering his eyes, he looks very relaxing and brings up memories from the good old seventies. With his raw rocky voice and long blonde hair Bon Jovi is the first thing what comes in my mind. Not a band thing at all, and when he shows that he also can play some very catchy guitar solos, he can’t do anything wrong anymore. The venue is still not crowded, twenty-five people are standing in the front and most of them are Savatage fans (they all have those grey and old tour shirts) and they will love everything Chris does on stage. He has some really good musicians around him. Especially the drum player John makes a relaxing show, sitting behind his drum kit, making fun with his solo parts and there is time to make jokes with the other members. Chris has a lot of self humor: he likes to be a bit more sarcastic and that saves the show: it is not an automatic performance or anything you will see on a further tour. This is a rare moment on a Sunday afternoon where all the musicians try to make something good from the fact that the tour is cancelled much too early. I was never a huge fan of Savatage, but it was great to meet Chris in a more natural environment, he is a respectful and natural musician who knows how to make a good show besides the musically perfection.

Music: 7.0
Performance: 8.0
Sound: 6.5
Light: 7.0
Total: 7.2


You are the front man from one of the biggest power metal bands in the world, suddenly standing in front of maybe thirty people: fame is something very relative nowadays. The success of this band is their sympathy and talent to stand with both feet on the ground. Maybe it is a Finish thing, but the fact is that some Dutch bands can learn a lot from that attitude. No matter what, you have to go on with all the power you have and be thankful for what you have reached. That is the lesson Kotipelto brings to Weert.

Kotipelto is on tour to promote their brand new album ‘Serenity.’ To my surprise the first song is an older one: ‘Seeds of the Sorrow.’ The first song is always important: you have to bring the energy on stage and grab the attention from the audience. Kotipelto succeed in that very well. When you have Timo Kotipelto as front man you win that very easily: his pure, clean voice and natural charisma is so unique that he leaves many others behind. They say about Ronnie James Dio ‘the little man with the big voice,’ but Timo is definitely the second one. ‘Once Upon A Time’ is the first new song and I am glad that I have the change to hear the new material live. The meaning of the song is more shown when Timo put the emotion in his voice. Also the guitars have more power on stage and it gives a better image. It definitely has some advantages when it is not crowded: you can see everyone on stage (especially when you are not so tall) and the band is more relaxed. I have seen a lot of shows the past few years, but Kotipelto definitely the best in having fun on stage and still keep the technical perfection. Without losing the focus on the songs, there is a jamming part.

Every member gets the space from Timo to play his solo during the set. The first one is drummer Mikko Kaakkuriniemi who plays an up-tempo jazzy part with a big smile on his face. Smoothly he changes it into the next song. The crew and bands from the day are filling up the venue and they are singing along, so the fans sooner get the feeling to become more active. Timo takes the time to look his fans in the eyes and let them know that he is happy to see them. Halfway the set the new single ‘Serenity’ sets in and the crowd is moving immediately. The catchy guitar sound from Tuomas and raw drums are creating a higher adrenaline level. Full force Timo kicked off with the set and still halfway he has the power and energy to walk around and get more out of the high parts. He goes a step further than on the record: there is more a contrast between the lower and high parts. A sign that he doesn’t make it easy for himself on stage.

‘The Last Defender’ is the most emotional moment during the gig. The band left the stage, but returns for the encore. They choose to play this long song with an instrumental part without having the fear that the audience will loose their attention. Only Timo in a blue spotlight, and an acoustic guitar. Timo is emotional and closes his eyes. The whole venue is silent and when the songs grows into a catchier phrase it let us stand with both feet on the ground, the melancholic feeling also has a positive side. It comes close by ‘The End’ from The Doors. The last part with the drum and guitar duet let the groove come back. During that time Timo is standing on the side of the stage to give the rest of the band all the credits and to be in the spotlight. The last one for the night is ‘Reasons’ the well-known single and the audience screams along even before Timo can start: there is a big smile on his face, and also Lauri and Tuomas are winking to each other. When they finally leave the stage there is a simple feeling of happiness and the luck to be a part of this chemistry. The bands and the audience made it special and that is more memorable than a sold-out concert. There is a short after party behind the tour busses, to say goodbye and to celebrate the good days of the tour. Kotipelto deserves much more, but that is what most metal fans already knew.

Timo Kotipelto is a natural front man, what means that he doesn’t need a big performance to be convincing. He just moves his hand, walks around and easily gets the interaction with the audience in the front. Dressed in white he is in huge contrast with the rest of the band. He runs around between Lauri and Tuomas, talks with them and even turns his back to the audience to greet his drum player after his solo. It goes all very smoothly and that is what makes him outstanding in compare with the other bands that day. His blue eyes are looking for interaction and he makes jokes during the announcement of ‘Mr. Know-It-All.’ He dares to be more personal during ‘Sleep Well’ and goes more up-tempo – what means running around, moving the microphone and play with the standard – during ‘Lord Of Eternity.’ One second to an other he can change the atmosphere and he touches everyone with the sensitive song ‘Last Defender.’ When a vocalist is diverse, dares to be open and fragile on stage the performance comes natural and Timo has that knowledge. A minute before the show he can talk about little things in life and than runs to the stage to start this great show: amazing that is what describes the feeling a bit.

An eye catcher is guitarist Tuomas Wäinölä on the left, totally focused on his solos. Standing calm on his side of the stage and than suddenly without a movement playing a solo where Maiden could be jealous at. Not once, but more over he gives the song more body and an extra live element. On the right there is his blood brother Lauri Porra on the bass, who is more running around but knows how to play his instrument. When halfway the set the band leaves the stage he comes back to play an amazing solo, jamming and tapping on the strings. Here he shows that metal is easy and that he has the talent to do something more. Janne is not on this tour, so a friend outside Finland, Robert Engstrand, replaced him in the band. He has a short solo part during ‘Serenity’ but doesn’t have the whole stage for himself like the others had.

In the end Timo discovers that and try to make it up to him, but the big bold piano man smiles and just stops playing. The band act like a family and they just need a half word to understand each other. They love it to make music together and that passion is what you feel in the crowd. The songs are more alive and full of that pleasure. ‘City Of Mysteries’ is catchy and the band plays it much stronger with that adrenaline. In compare with the Kamelot tour the band is grown a lot: became more a family and that is the best thing you can have. They can be themselves on stage without having the feeling that they are loosing control during the set. Kotipelto is in my eyes even more interesting than Stratovarius nowadays, because they still are discovering their borders.

Music: 9.0
Performance: 9.5
Sound: 8.0
Light: 8.0
Total: 9.1

More photos on page 2

Photos of Triosphere, Elis and Chris Caffery by Erik Scheepers (


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