Monday Mania in Prague – Wolfheart, Before The Dawn & Hinayana

This goes to the audience!

Currently, Wolfheart is touring Europe supported by Before The Dawn and Hinayana. It is their first headlining tour in Europe and special on several matters. When reporting about a touring metal band usually you will read a lot about their performance, perhaps some technical issues for example on the sound or gear getting lost. Here, however, the focus will be on the crowd, particularly the finest party crowd any act can have: the audience in Prague’s Futurum Music Club on November 20th, 2023!

The tradition of Monday Mania

The Futurum Club is located quite centrally in Prague in the cellar of a picturesque historic building near the river Moldau. When I arrive, people queue up in two lines heading from opposite sides towards the entrance. It is on Monday. Who would expect this day of the week to pull a decent crowd? Well perhaps, Wolfheart, Before The Dawn, and Hinayana. If so, only because of their memorable Monday gig in London two weeks earlier! Usually, again, Monday almost promises a small and quiet crowd. Well, maybe it is rather a curse than a promise. Usually. 

On the way downstairs we pass the Futuroom 2, the restrooms, and end up right between the merch to the right and the bar to the left. Between several pillars and two stairs up the actual floor level, numerous tables add to the relaxed atmosphere and a better view of the stage. This is rather low and naturally not exactly huge. All the more, I am grateful to see that there is only one drum kit set up on stage. – Honestly, a club stage blocked by the massiveness of two full drum kits can be a killer already as the support bands and special guests are damned to immobility during their gigs. Not so tonight!   

Hinayana – or let the party begin

Hinayana claims the stage is approximately ten minutes before the show is scheduled to kick off. Their performance is wild, their music great but too short. Yet, the gentlemen from Austin, Texas underline good manners and introduce their band members. Thank you for this decent gesture that has become too rare for my liking. 

At that time, the Futurum Music Club was decently filled already, all the more considering the early time, that they were “only” the support act and of course the Monday curse. None of that matters anymore as the first riffs and beats fill the air. The party begins and the Prague metalheads celebrate Hinayana’s performance. They stir up the crowd and warm up the stage. But stop. Does Hinayana warm up? Or is it the audience warming up to their passionate performance? Never mind because the chemistry between crowd and band is amazing and as they pack their gear, everybody needs a cold drink, urgently.  [Click on a photo to get to gallery mode.]

This tour package comes with a special feature. Before The Dawn, as well as Wolfheart, are spiritual babies of the mastermind, composer, and multiinstrumentalist Tuomas Saukkonen. Consequently, he plays a double gig and just to point out has done so for nearly three weeks already when he climbs on stage to adjust the settings of the drum kit to his needs while Hinayana packs. 

Before The Dawn – or the heat is on

Before The Dawn has undergone a massive change of line-up since its rebirth with the current album “Stormbringers”. Vocalist Paavo Laapotti possibly the least-known band member outside of Finland, made second in The Voice of Finland 2022. Guitarist Juho Räihä has played in numerous metal bands such as Swallow The Sun, moreover has gained a reputation as a producer as well. Bass player Pyry Hanski is playing in so many bands that it is hardly possible to attend a metal festival in Finland without him.

The wolf smiles

When Before The Dawn enters the stage, the Futurum Music Club is near to sold out, and the heat is rising. As Paavo proves his frontman qualities impressively, the audience submits to the party. The Prague crowd moshes, bangs, and sings along. The temperature escalates with the musicians pushing the crowd and the crowd pushing the musicians even further. Obviuosly, Tuomas enjoys drumming but even more the incredible atmosphere. He smiles. Mark my words, this does not happen too often on stage! Don’t get me wrong either. Tuomas is a very friendly and humorous person. He smiles a lot whatever Finnish men are said to be like. On stage, however, he deeply focuses on his performance, which leaves not much space for smiling.

The only drumset on stage – a pro-space-on-stage statement.

The change-over marks a thoroughly deserved chance to grab a drink, cool down and relax. An unexpected face appears on stage. Adjusting the drum kit again takes longer than packing and setting up the other gear. With Tuomas, there is Juuso Raatikainen (best known from Swallow The Sun) working on the drums, changing cymbals, and pedals as well as finalizing the in-detail positioning of each part.

The Cauldron of Languages

The city of Prague with all its magnificent historic buildings, opportunities to explore obscurities such as medieval Alchemy laboratories, and scenic spots undoubtedly is one of the major hotspots of city tourism in Europe. Consequently, it is not exactly surprising to overhear conversations in many languages in the audience tonight. The crowd here is just as international as the tourists on the Charles Bridge on Saturday afternoon. We hear groups speaking French and Italian or English. Then there is one fan from Poland who has been touring to attend the tours of Insomnium and Wolfheart all over, for example. Furthermore, the merch in the audience marks numerous as intimate fans of the Finnish metal scene, such as devotees of Bloodred Hourglass or visitors of the Dark River Festival in Kotka.

Wolfheart – or the one mosh pit

Finally, Wolfheart enters the stage. Immediately the party resumes and exceeds the boiling point very soon. There is no need for the musicians to invite the crowd to mosh pit. The audience is a mosh pit. Still, the atmosphere is peaceful and respectful. You can return to your spot after getting a drink; though you better drink it quickly before the pit makes you shower it over your next (wo)man.

Queuing up after the show

At the end of the encore, each and every one is filled to the top with endorphins on and off stage. It is difficult to speak for a moment with any of the musicians as the queue of those who ask for a photo or short chat with them seems to have no end. What I enjoy noticing is that this is not only working for the pack – as the Wolfheart band members call themselves – but also for the guys from Hinayana and Paavo are busy with fan requests.

Drummers matter!

Juuso Raatikainen because drummers rule!

Mainly, due to too much stage fog tonight I had no opportunity to get a clear shot of the drummers tonight. So I am happy to find Juuso taking a moment to speak with me and pose for a shot. The gear is all packed already, nevertheless, no band is complete with a drummer. Juuso has made a great stand-in for Joonas Kauppinen who suffers from a minor injury, as Lauri (guitarist) mentions during the show. It was also Lauri, who thanked the crowd during the show making this the best Monday ever for Wolfheart. Later, I briefly spoke with Tuomas, he emphasized that this insane crowd made it the best day of the tour if not of any Wolfheart tour so far. He tells me that the London crowd – also on a Monday – was nuts [in the best of senses] already. But this was beyond words.

Thank You Prague Crowd

Although naturally, a decently visited show and adequate merch sales are critical for a band to cover the costs of touring and producing music, the experience of the crowd in the Futurum Music Club is priceless for all the musicians who played here tonight.

When last time, I spoke properly with Tuomas, there were profound reasons for pessimism. Apart from the general impact of the war in Ukraine and the pandemic before that, the impact on his life was critical as you can read in our interview. Even in 2023, numerous tours and festivals failed due to financial reasons, literally a lack of income from pre-sale tickets. With rather big names playing in poorly filled venues, the expectations for smaller bands were not too optimistic.

Just then, the most manic Monday in Prague happens! I dare say, that a perfect package of melodic death metal bands pulls a crowd fully committed to partying as if there is no tomorrow. Thank you, Prague! Of course, thank you Hinayana, Before The Dawn, and Wolfheart for this unforgettable experience!  


! The tour is on-going. Get your tickets [here],
or check for merch and music on the bands’ online sites:

Wolfheart    homepage    merch & music

Before The Dawn  homepage    merch & music

Hinayana    homepage    merch & music



A note to our visitors

This website has updated its privacy policy in compliance with changes to European Union data protection law, for all members globally. We’ve also updated our Privacy Policy to give you more information about your rights and responsibilities with respect to your privacy and personal information. Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our updated privacy policy.