Review: Simon Kneller / Photos: (C) Tero Ahonen
The Von Hertzen Brothers are at the forefront of Prog-Rock right now and their latest album War Is Over has certainly cemented the bands reputation for musical brilliance and songwriting excellence. 17 years into their career and the brothers show no signs whatsoever of resting on their laurels. The Fleece in Bristol, UK is 80% full however, considering it is a Sunday evening, that is not a bad attendance. There was a definite air of expectancy among the audience as the intro tape rolled and the band entered the stage. The Von Hertzen Brothers (Mikko – Vocals, Guitar, Kie – Lead Guitar, Jonne – Bass and Sami Kuoppamäki – Drums with Robert Engstrand on Keyboards) form an absolute world class band and to see them live was a privilege.
Jumping straight into the new albums opener War Is Over they have the audience bouncing and showing everyone the band are on top form tonight. The vocal harmonies and superb musicianship are on show from the off and the pace does not lessen with another new track Jerusalem. Hat wearing Kie takes the lead vocal on the brilliant Coming Home before the crowd favourite Insomniac. Experimentation is a theme running through the bands career and Who Are You? is a testament to that. Sunday Child (My personal favourite) and their most famous song Flowers & Rust keep the momentum going and then they go back to their early days with the anthemic Gloria before finishing the set with the excellent Beyond The Storm.
The audience are screaming for an encore and Mikko walks on stage and starts to sing the beautiful ballad Wanderlust. However he shows he is human by forgetting the words of the second verse but no-one in the crowd is bothered and Mikko calls the rest of the band on stage for the set closer and superb New Day Rising.
This is one of my gigs of the year and to see a band as brilliant as the Von Hertzen Brothers in a relatively small venue was a stroke of good luck. On this performance, and the brilliant new album, I can see the band getting bigger and bigger and performing in much larger venues in the future. Catch this brilliant band while you can!
War Is Over
Who Are You?
Long Lost Sailor
Flowers & Rust
Beyond The Storm
New Day Rising