By Sarah Kitteringham
April 18, 2015
CALGARY — Canadian metal icon Jon Mikl Thor is unrepentantly earnest. Plainly put, he unabashedly and clearly loves being in the spotlight and is devoid of pretensions or an unsavoury past. Instead, he works extremely hard and cares about his fans more than seems possible. As such, his performance in Calgary as part of the Calgary Underground Film Festival and late-night performance at the Palomino was hard not to love. It was goofy and celebratory, big and loud and brash and plain old fun.
The night began at the Globe Cinema, where a screening of I Am Thor ran. Following a similar narrative arc as 2008’s Anvil! The Story of Anvil, the film chronicled the mismanagement the project endured while simultaneously depicting the life of Jon Mikl Thor. Affectionate, droll and DIY, the documentary illustrated the struggle of surviving as an obscure metal icon, eventually ending on a triumphant note as the audience intermittently giggled and howled. Although the film failed to contextualize or explore Thor’s claim he was kidnapped due to disagreements between his management and record company, the film was interesting and enjoyable. When the man himself took the stage for a brief Q&A following the film, the audience once more hollered their approval.
After a quick jaunt to the Palomino and some much needed street meat and beers, Thor took the stage as a quartet. Holy hell…. the performance was FUN. Thanks to an excellent greatest hits set list, the entire crowd was singing and dancing along while the colossal vocalist changed costumes numerous times. Monster masks, superhero outfits and swords were donned and shed as guitars wailed and drums were pounded. Although Thor’s songs are fairly simple sing-alongs that border on three-chord punk with a grittier, muscular edge, they are catchy as hell and hits like “Lightning Strikes Again,” “We Live to Rock” and “Let the Blood Run Red” sounded excellent. The crowd ate it all up; even when the quartet broke out the cheesy amalgamation of songs including the word “wild” everyone was shouting and dancing. A rousing sing-along of the Manowar-esque late era single “Warriors of the Universe” closed the set, as the band handed out microphones to the elated front row as we all screamed “WE ARE WARRIORS OF THE UNIVERSE, WE LIVE BY THE SWORD, WE DIE BY THE EDGE OF THE BLADDDDDDDEEEEEEEEE” until the final notes rang out. Only the strong survive, only the strong shall see Thor live!AB, Alberta, Calgary Underground Film Festival, CUFF, CUFF 2015, Globe Cinema, I Am Thor, Jon Mikl Thor, Palomino, Thor