CONCERT REVIEW: Týr – Trollfest – Æther Realm – The Dread Crew of Oddwood Live at Sanctuary


The illustrious Nordic act, Týr brought their Battle Ballads headlining tour to North America and Motor City was one of their stops. The band is out promoting their new full-length album bringing along Trollfest, Æther Realm, and The Dread Crew of Oddwood with them. This highly anticipated month-long run designated the Sanctuary in Hamtramck, a neighboring borough of Detroit, to share all their fabulous folk festivities with.

The evening’s entertainment got started with California’s theatrical outfit, The Dread Crew of Oddwood. Their perky playing of piratey themes had folks tapping toes. The five-piece proved how even acoustic acts can rock out. The southern, rustic Æther Realm took the stage next. They boomed into their set with keen agility and viciousness. Their uncommon blend of genres, like folk and melodic death made for a spellbinding set. They gave a technical, speedy, and animated performance that all onlookers appreciated. These flannel-wearing backwoodsmen prepped the enthusiastic crowd for the tomfoolery to come.

Laughter erupted when the Norwegian gang, Trollfest arrived in all pink attire, makeup, and flamingo masks. Acclaimed for their absurdity, this many-membered gang lived up to the hype. The accordion was the darling of their folksy, kooky sound, but each one of their songs went in many different directions. Their genre-bending ways took one on a roller-coaster of sound. From the pop/grindcore-like work on, “Dance like a Pink Flamingo” to the islander number, “Pina Colada” to the classic bar tune, “All Drinks on Me”. Pink feathers fell from the slapdash costumes as the gleeful players used the little stage space they had to prance about. There was perpetual goof and a carefree air about the performance making the band irresistibly likable. Vocalist Trollmannen bantered with the crowd and kept the jokes coming as they boogied through their set. Everyone jived with the jolly jams and it is refreshing to observe a band that doesn’t take themselves too seriously.

The anticipation was palpable as the sold-out room waited for the headliners. The folk metal titans, Týr soon arrived and jumped into their battle anthem, “By the Sword in My Hand”. Fists were raised and eyes squeezed tight as attendees belted out lyrics on all the band’s beloved hits. Heri Joensen’s frontman abilities were delivered with command, conviction, and care. His unwavering gaze held the hall as he transported everyone to days gone by. Each member of the band were storytellers. They thoughtfully conveyed their country’s tales through vehement and meticulous playing. They delivered a technical knack without losing heart. The prowess of passion and perception was a wonder to witness live.

They played multiple songs off their album, Battle Ballads (Metal Blade Records, read our review here) that comes out this week. The weighty rambunctiousness, catchy choruses, and folksy fortitude of these new numbers made everyone feel like warriors getting ready to raid. Teddy bear-like bassist Gunnar Thomsen whipped his long locks over the front row as he leaned into the crowd to show off his string skills. Each member was artful and undeterred in their delivery of epic, compelling Viking/folk/traditional metal. Their furious riffs and full harmonies captivated the crowd and all were moved by the depth of this Danish quartet. The night ended with the fan favorite, “Hold the Heathen Hammer High”. Hair flailed and battle cries were shared as the novel Nordic night wrapped up. Týr’s acclaimed music-making, profound playing and genuine love for their fans proves why they are so revered.

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WORDS AND PHOTOS BY RAGIN ROSIE