Live Review: Von Hertzen Brothers with support from Ethyrfield at Thekla, Bristol on 11-05-22

Von Hertzen Brothers Red Alert Tour with Ethyrfield opens at Thekla

Written By: Steve Kendrick

Photos By: Pacific Curd Photography

The sun has come out on this May Wednesday on the Thekla, an old cargo boat in Bristol harbour that tonight is home to progressive rock entertainment. 

Bristol is the first night of this 8-date UK tour for headlining band the Von Hertzen Brothers, and it’s five long years since the Finns were last on these shores. To say the crowd are up for it is an understatement.

First to hit the stage tonight it’s Ethyfield, they have serious potential to be the next big thing to come from Devon. The dynamic trio are from Newton Abbot, just down the road from the Teignmouth hometown of MUSE. Bagging the support slot on this this tour is a stepping stone for the lads as it marks their first UK tour.

And, without further ado, the stage is most definitely hit, as a loud and clear “Hello Bristol!” is heard. With strong vocals from bassist Zach Cornish and harmonies from guitarist brother Ben, plus thrashing on the drums from Dan Aston, the first song of the evening in Sunstroke, taken from the current album In Delirium. Following this, it’s straight into Feed The Dog, an upbeat rock/ metal track from their amalgamated Black Sky CD (made up of their two EPs), which really gets the crowd going. Latest video release The Hunter is up next then the fine tune of Serenity, which allows Ben and Zach to show off some harmonising talent, and Ben also showcases his meticulous guitar solo. All too soon, the last from Ethyrfield this evening is Bitter Wishbone, its meaty, powerful riffs impacting the crowd, who respond with huge applause and a few whistles. 

It’s clear from the queue at the band’s merch stand after their set that more than a few new fans were made tonight as a result of their tremendous talent and quietly confident stage presence. This is just the beginning for Zach, Ben, and Dan. If you’re in need of a boost of natural dopamine then the huge sound of Ethyfield can do this! Put them on your ‘to see live’ list if you’ve not already done so. 

From the amount of Von Hertzen Brothers t-shirts in the audience, you can tell this is a much-revered band. From the almost hypnotic and mystical sounds, with lighting to match, the scene is very much set as the loud cheers begin and the band make their way onto the stage. Brothers Kie, Mikko and Jonne von Hertzen are joined by Sami Kuoppamäki on drums and Robert Engstrand on keyboard. 

 Day Of Reckoning serves as an introduction and has a definite folk rock style. It’s a creative collaboration of tranquil vocal harmonies and is played with superb keyboard skills and guitars. The band fairly tore through their set, mesmerising and thrilling the crowd in equal measure. The four combined vocal harmonies, accompanied by two keyboards certain gives the little boat some flourishing sounds. These guys certainly know how to have fun on stage and are consummate entertainers.

Leading up to Jerusalem, Mikko makes a point of saying “We don’t have an idea what is around the corner, and we have had plenty of shit times recently.” The audience cannot agree more and the song gets the reaction it deserves! The band continue to wow the Thekla crowd as they head towards the penultimate Peace Patrol from new album Red Alert In The Blue Forest, a groovy, upbeat tune that lasts almost ten minutes and is extremely worthy of the crowd applause that follows. 

Encore is New Day Rising that receives a rapturous response. These Scandinavians certainly rocked the boat this evening; I was pleasantly surprised at the full-on big performance on the small stage.

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