I’ll be honest, I completely forgot about this gig by the time it rolled around. I only managed to go by a complete stroke of luck — a friend of mine won a double pass, texted me saying, “Hey, wanna see Orphaned Land?” and took me.
Justin, I love ya.
Anyway, Voyager opening meant this was definitely going to be a sweet gig. We got there just as the first band of the night, Orsome Welles, was just starting.
First things first though, the sound was sublime. I literally do not have words for how good it was. The lighting was also on point. I hadn’t been to the Espy for a long while (not since Ensiferum, in April last year) and I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of their stage production.
Orsome Welles were nothing short of fantastic. After the first song I knew I liked them. Musically, they have a cool mix of alt rock and heavy metal that reminded me of a really cool version of Alter Bridge. The singer’s voice reminds me a lot of Myles Kennedy’s voice, actually. Catchy and headbangable, with a pretty energetic live performance, they really set a high standard for Voyager and Orphaned Land. I really recommend checking them out.
Voyager took to the stage a short while later. I personally love Voyager, so I was pretty stoked to finally see them, and they did not disappoint. Incorporating cheesy existential lyrics, amazing guitar and bass work, a drummer who was on fire (not literally, that would be bad), and outstanding vocal performances, Voyager definitely lived up to my expectations. They even included a medley of popular songs, such as “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, “What is Love?” by Haddaway, “You’re the Voice” by John Farnham, and others. I loved that bit so much, it was great fun and completely unexpected. Combined with brilliant original songs, they put on a brilliant show, highlighted by the fantastic sound quality and light work.
Orphaned Land were on soon after. Their sweet, Middle Eastern-flavoured metal was so good after seeing Absu the day previously. Plus, I love bands of that style, like Myrath, Melechesh, and Aeternam. I just think it’s a beautiful form that metal has taken, and Orphaned Land definitely fitted my tastes to that degree. With some female vocal samples that were just a little too treble-heavy, and harsh on the ears, accompanying the band for some bits, they wove an intricate musical harmony that was full of energy and vitality. Halfway through the set, Kobi Farhi — who was dressed rather like Jesus is depicted, with prayer beads and robes — talked to the crowd about the conflict in the Middle East between the Muslim nations and Israel, and spoke of peace and coexistence, which I think is really important. Of course, his speech was met with applause and agreement, and soon the concert continued.
The entire band was technically brilliant, never missing a beat and keeping everything tight. Their live performance was fantastic, nothing really showy but seeing their energy to be playing such positive music, smiling and genuinely having a good time, was awesome. The spectacular sound quality and lighting kept the sound crisp and painted the band in blues and reds, and really enhanced their performance. The whole experience was enlightening, uplifting, and really inspiring for me. It’s definitely one I won’t soon forget.
You know the drill: check out the bands who played. Definitely check out Orsome Welles and Voyager, because if you don’t already know and love Orphaned Land, why are you here? And definitely go catch Orphaned Land when you can. It was a truly inspiring experience for me, not just as a musician but a person. To be able to put your life philosophies into your music like that is something I’m learning to do, and one day I hope to be that good at it.
As a post script, I want to say rest in peace to Dave Brockie, a.k.a. Oderus Urungus of GWAR. I didn’t know him personally, but at least I managed to catch GWAR live before this horrible day. My heart goes out to his friends, family, and bandmates.
Until next time.
Orphaned Land set list:
1. Through Fire and Water
2. All is One
4. The Kiss of Babylon (The Sins)
5. The Simple Man
7. Birth of the Three (The Unification)
8. Olat Ha’tamid
9. Let the Truce be Known
11. Ocean Land (The Revelation)
12. El Meod Na’Ala
13. Ya Benaye
14. In Thy Never Ending Way
15. The Beloved’s Cry
16. Norra el Norra (Entering the Ark)
17. Ornaments of Gold