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Heathen hammers high

Steve found out that Tyr was playing in Ramona, about 45 minutes northeast of here. Birgit and Liz resolved to go as soon as he made this announcement, and another couple we know, Heather and Rusty, found a babysitter and made it a date night.

We drove up to very-hot Ramona at about 5:30. Ramona Main Stage is an old theatre with wonderful painted beams overhead and nice details in the construction. The old guy who runs it is funny and makes jokes. "Seven tickets, is that right?" he asked me deadpan when I went to collect the two for myself and Steve. He totally got me.

There were two opening bands. We missed most of the first, the second was local and tried WAY too hard to be brutal. The third was Metsatoll from Estonia, a metal band that featured a musician who was multi-instrumental on that old flame of mine, traditional instruments. He had a dudelsack (northern European bagpipe), a couple of recorders, a bowed psalter and a kind of lyre thing I'd never seen before. I could tell they could all play their instruments, but their timing was off terribly. I figured that they suffered from Linkin Park syndrome in that they were probably better on CD than live, so I bought one of their CDs to find out.

Tyr did a disappointingly short set, about 45 minutes most, and none of their older material. The oldest song they did was "Hold the Heathen Hammer High", which is okay. We didn't have their latest CD, so we have it now, along with two t-shirts.

Moonsorrow are another Finnish metal band, but they were excellent. Steve got a t-shirt.

Korpiklaani were AMAZING. I'd liked their old stuff like "Wooden Pints", but they've gone to all-Finnish language now and seem much happier in it. The fiddle player has his own CD, "Shaman Violin" which I need to add to the collection. The lead singer had really comfortable and strong stage presence and they all looked like they were having fun. They were one of the most professional-sounding bands I've seen, even in that small venue.

The lead singer even smoked two cigarettes while performing, which is verboten im Kalifornia, but nobody was going to stop him.

Birgit and Liz tried to be on the floor during Tyr. Steve and I refer to them as "Ivan's and Lalat's Crazy Aunties" because they are both in their early 60s and come across as, well, crazy aunties. They're wonderful. But they were both badly scared by the mosh pit, which seemed to have lost its memory of what the mosh pit rules are, so we retreated with them after Steve got rabbit-punched during the maelstrom. And as I said elsewhere, it's always fun and games until someone lets the Samoan into the mosh pit. And the white pride skinhead, who got hostile, but not to the point that anyone tossed him out. (At Flogging Molly he would have been refused entrance just because of his red boots with white laces that is a White Power tribal marking.)

Anyway, good time was had by all. We learned not to take the 78 at night; it's twistier and more nerveracking than the 67 which nonetheless has some twists and uncomfortable moments too. But it was a good little venue and the show just rocked.

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