Story by Logan Corsaut, Live Music Reporter
Photos by Andrew Mather, Editor-in-Chief/Photographer
Classic Metal Done Classical-ish
Hailing from Helsinki, Finland, cello metal (it’s a thing!) group Apocalyptica descended upon the Uptown Theater in Kansas City to celebrate and promote the 22nd anniversary and re-master re-release of their debut record, …Plays Metallica By Four Cellos, originally released May 10, 1996. Sat before four stark, gray backdrops, the quartet played the pieces on that album to a stacked and excited Uptown crowd, played note by note exactly as it was on the record.
Such was the nature of this throwback celebration that Antero Manninen–a founding member of Apocalyptica who left in 1999–joined current members and fellow cellists Eicca Toppinen, Perttu Kivilaakso, and Paavo Lötjönen for the show. Compared to his counterparts’ more conventionally “metal” demeanor and stage presence, Manninen was reserved and seemingly closed-off, but a smile was pried from his face after an extended ovation at the behest of Toppinen.
After the first half of the show, comprising the entirety of …Plays Metallica By Four Cellos, and following a brief intermission, the stark backdrops were gone, replaced by an impressive drum rig, belonging to drummer Mikko Sirén, whose percussory prowess gave the further Metallica covers not on …Plays a little extra oomph.
Vocalist Franky Perez did not join them on this adventure, but instead Toppinen urged the crowd to fill in for vocals, which did not really pan out except for on the tracks everyone knows the words to–Enter Sandman, Master of Puppets et al.–other than a few extremely enthusiastic diehards whose guttural and un-amplified vocalizations managed to occasionally break through the mix.
Indeed, from the demographics of the crowd to the very nature of the music that was played, Apocalyptica’s stop in Kansas City on this victory lap tour was a love letter to the fans.
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All photos © Andrew Mather