SABATON with BATTLE BEAST and LEAVES EYES
The Underground at the Fillmore Charlotte || Charlotte, NC || 21 May 2017
The Swedish War Machine Conquers Charlotte, NC
For me it seems like every time I make the trip to cover shows at The Fillmore and its sister club The Underground, it rains and not just a light rain, it pours, leaving me confused on whether I need to build a boat or grow gills just to make it through the check in process.
Fans of Sabaton braved the drenching downpours for two hours as they waited in line for the doors to open which were delayed due to travel issues with the band’s bus. Once the doors did open, the sold-out crowd eagerly rushed the merchandise tables to commandeer dry garments for the remainder of the night. It’s not often that the Swedish War Machine makes a stop in North Carolina, the last time they were even in this area for a tour was two years ago when they traveled to the United States in support of Nightwish. However, with this tour, “The Last Tour”, Sabaton headlined and they brought a few of their friends with them, Battle Beast and Leaves Eyes. Tickets sold out months before the date of the show due to the strong fan base in the area.
The first band to take the stage in the muggy venue was symphonic metal act, Leaves Eyes. The band’s high energy and interactions with the fans in the crowd, helped make the attendees forget all about the damp garments on their bodies. This was the band’s sixth tour to the States, after their horrific experience with their first tour that lead them stateside due to management issues, the band saw this as an opportunity to put on the show that they wanted to that first time they were here and the fans loved it.
The main support act for the night Battle Beast took the stage shortly after 9pm. This was the band’s first tour in the United States and they used this as an opportunity to help win fans over with their live show. Concertgoers knew who the band were as they began chanting “Battle Beast” before they even walked out onto the stage. Members of the band filled the small stage at The Underground at the Fillmore, interacting with each other and the crowd through their performance, leaving everything on stage and making everyone in the venue an immediate fan.
After the dust settled from Battle Beast’s performance, the crowd grew eager for the headliners Sabaton, chanting “Sabaton! Sabaton!” while the stagehands prepared the stage more than a half-hour before the performance. Once Sabaton’s introduction began to play, the venue erupted into screams and cheers, the lights dimmed and the War Machine took the stage. The thing that I have always loved about Sabaton, especially live, is the fact that they show that they enjoy what they do. After being in the industry for 18 years, the band still seems as if this is their first tour. They have fun on stage, interacting with each other and just having fun, which radiates to the crowd. I was a little let down that they left the tank back in Sweden, but the spectacular light show and the band’s energy made up for the lack of stage props. Sabaton will always be one of those bands that even if I am not working the show as a journalist I will still attend it as a fan, because it is just a great concert experience and they always make it a memorable one.
Even though this was the second to last show on the tour, all the bands had energy like it was the first show on the tour, which will always make the live performances better. All the bands on “The Last Tour” are currently heading back to Europe for the start of festival season. Sabaton will be performing at Download in the United Kingdom, Battle Beast and Leaves Eyes are set for a plethora of other festivals, as well as breaks from touring and performing to work their way back into the studio to focus on new music, which for Leaves Eyes is a daunting task. No word yet on when Sabaton will return to recording a new album, but the band says, “we’re always working on new music and our fans are the greatest inspiration for us to keep creating.”