Nightwish / Taberah
The Enmore, Sydney 09/01/2016
Review + Pics: Peter Zaluzny
Sometimes, the only thing a metalhead needs is a retro riff coupled with a good old-fashioned show that doesn’t need the bells and whistles of stadium heavy-hitters. In short, exactly what Tassie outfit Taberah delivered – no muss, no fuss traditional metal with the comedic (and slightly self-depricating) attitude of a pub band, the on-stage confidence of veteran entertainers, and the musical prowess of seasoned professionals. And why not? After all this was a band that was once handpicked by Lemmy to open for Motörhead back in 2011, so they clearly knew their way around their instruments and a larger-than-local-venue stage. Such was their reputation that most of the near sold out Nightwish crowd turned up for their set and frequently threw their horns high for the charismatic, energetic performers. They’re metal in every sense of the term, and a ringing endorsement for Australian music.
Thanks in part to legal restrictions and likely the cost of hauling things across the globe, Nightwish walked on stage without the usual pyro and gargantuan lighting rig that follows them around. These additions may be part of the Nightwish live experience, but they’re hardly essential, a point reinforced about 30 seconds into the band’s brilliant 90-minute set. Years of experience have refined the musical side of their performance, but the hold that the symphonic metallers had over the stage and audience was mesmerising. Frontwoman Floor Jansen’s dynamic presence was equal parts elegant, operatic songstress and roaring heavy metal queen – complete with windmills – while the band bounced around entertaining each other as much as the audience.
A group that’s been around as long as Nightwish can put on stunning shows regardless, but it’s impossible to fake fun and chemistry. This was a band whose members were truly comfortable with one another, which had a palpable impact on the set. The sense of enjoyment kicked things up above a typical gig to a powerhouse performance that grabbed everyone by the hand, swung them around and refused to let go. With six cuts from their latest record, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, and plenty of hits spread about in between, it was a set for all occasions with soft and heavy songs alike including “Stargazers”, “Nemo”, the delightfully over-the-top classic “Ghost Love Score”, and the uplifting epic “Last Ride Of The Day” all drenched in grandiose showmanship.
This year marks the band’s 20th anniversary, yet just two of the original members remain. The Sydney show proved that when the current line-up starts to play, it changes from the sum of its parts, to a single, cohesive entity that can floor any onlookers, whether they’re in front of a European festival or 2000-capacity venue in Sydney. So welcome to 2016, where the live music bar has been set in the stratosphere after just over a week. When Nightwish roll into your city, grab the mic, and scream that they’re so damn happy to be there, believe what they’re telling you because for once, you’re watching a band that means every word.
Nightwish Tour Dates
Wed Jan 13th – HQ Complex, Adelaide (18+)
Fri Jan 15th – Metropolis, Fremantle (18+)