Finnish hard rock/heavy metal band Lordi, the costumed men responsible for Hard Rock Hallelujah and many other hits, FINALLY returned on Thursday night to the US for the first time since 2010, and teamed up with Brooklyn’s own metal band Anaka for a combined 2 1/2 hour performance in a venue known more for being a hip hop club rather than a haven for hard rock and heavy metal. Let’s get this out of the way front and center – Stage 48 is not a good venue. Doors opened late, security had no idea what time the show started or when Lordi was scheduled to go on, and there was about a 10 minute delay due to technical difficulties at the start of Anaka’s set.
But, that didn’t stop the boys from Brooklyn from kicking ass for about 30 minutes or so. It’s hard to believe there’s a metal band from Brooklyn that I haven’t seen, but Anaka was it and it was nice to cross them off the list, especially when they were opening for a band I fell in love with years ago when I randomly came across Lordi on YouTube. Anaka describe themselves as intense, brutal and uncompromising, and that pretty well sums up the band in my opinion. They have a great stage presence, singer Jimmy Pallis is in your face (literally, in the case of stage 48) and his brother Peter on guitar is an absolute beast who can shred with the best of them and comes complete with a biker vest and obligatory matching obnoxious (and awesome) beard.
I wish they had more time, but the technical difficulties cut into the band’s stage time and Stage 48 turns into a pumpkin if it’s not a hip hop club by 11, so Anaka had enough time for 7 songs. Those 7 were, in order, Doomsday Divide, Deathborn, Ominous Visions, Erase, The Glorified Crusade, The Unwavering, and Voice of the Facless. If I had to pick a favorite I’d go with Deathborn or Voice of the Faceless. Suffice it to say, Anaka, who have opened for more metal bands than I care to count, are an excellent act and put on a killer show with more energy than some headliners. Why they’re an opening act, I don’t know, but go see these guys when you can. They’re worth it and you’re supporting a great local band.
And then, roughly two hours after I had arrived – the earliest I’ve been at a show since I’ve been in this business, specifically to see Anaka – it was time for Lordi. If you don’t know Lordi, they’re a hard rock/heavy metal group clad in costumes ranging from Mr. Lordi’s getup as “The Hulk From Hell and guitarist Amen, who is a guitar playing mummy. Yes, a mummy. Yes, these guys are awesome. No, I have no idea how they don’t sweat to death under stage lights. Mr. Lordi designs all the band’s costumes, so that should tell you how creative the guy is outside of writing the band’s songs.
I stumbled across Lordi many years ago completely by accident, and I’ve been listening to them ever since. They don’t really get the recognition they deserve here in the States, as evidenced by the sad turnout out Stage 48. Not the band’s fault, I blame the venue for not being a place anyone wants to go to for a concert, but being the true professionals that they are, Lordi came out and kicked ass as if they were playing to a capacity crowd, offering up a set that was more than twice as long as Anaka’s.
Thursday night at Stage 48 was “create your own photo pit” night, with us photographers essentially jumping the barricade and climbing over tables to shoot Lordi’s first 3 songs. Because why move the tables so the photographers can do their jobs? But I digress, and Lordi kicked things off with one of their many weirdly-named songs, Let’s Go Slaughter He-Man and followed that with Babez For Breakfast and The Riff. Lordi’s act features many solos, and included in their set was not only a drum solo, but also a keyboard solo and a bass solo.
As you might have guessed, Lordi’s music is demon-themed, or hell-themed, and, well, it shouldn’t be a surprise that their set also included tracks such as It Snows in Hell, Down With the Devil, Blood Red Sandman and Devil Is A Loser. Of course, one of the band’s most popular songs and the song that turned me on to Lordi, Hard Rock Hallelujah, was included near the end of the night. The band’s encore saw two songs, Who’s Your Daddy? and Would You Love Monsterman?
All told, 17 songs later those in attendance were ushered out of the venue happy and raving about Lordi’s first show in NYC since 2010. And rightfully so, they waited 7 years for a band to come back, and that band did not disappoint in the least. Lordi kicks ass live and Stage 48 is not worthy of their presence, but the underwhelming turnout in a small venue on a beautiful day will likely relegate them to such atrocities in the future. Please, for the love of god – or in Lordi’s case, for the love of the devil – see these guys. Sell out their shows, show up at the venue and rock out to a bunch of demons from Finland so they can play in places that deserve to have them.