There is sun, great music and beautiful people:
Let Tuska 2017 begin!
After our hiking trip in Finland, about which we will report later, and a sightseeing tour in the beautiful city of Helsinki, we were super excited to visit Tuska Festival. The first time for both of us – Steffi and me.
Most of all, I was looking forward to see Anneke van Giersbergen with her new project VUUR, which is the Dutch for ‘fire’ and fits Anneke perfectly. I was lucky to have an interview with her before the show and after that, the real festival began.
As an early afternoon wake-up call, ROTTEN SOUND played first: Fast and loud and showing no mercy. So whoever didn’t realize being at a metal festival at this moment, now it’s quite obvious. So, hello everybody!
TUSKA FESTIVAL – day 1: Too many big names to mention! Surprise after surprise.
After that, a very familiar guy entered the main stage with his side-project: NIGHTWISH’s Emppu Vuorinen played with BROTHER FIRETRIBE, a band that sounds a bit like STRATOVARIUS with fast melodies and clean vocals.
During their show, we had the opportunity to do a kind of festival sightseeing tour: Eeka Mäkynen, CEO of the festival, showed us around and we were also allowed to stand on the stage and see the festival from the musicians’ perspective. Tuska has it’s own sauna, a diner in which you can order champagne, tons of interesting food booths and a whisky bar. Plus a very beautiful VIP area with handmade iron decorations. Because of the wind, the monitors for the audience were placed a bit lower, Eeka tells us.
It’s always amazing to see Anneke on stage. She has a very special aura of positivity and rocks like hell on high heels. Her bandmates in VUUR also turn the gig into a party. Anneke says more than once how much she likes Finland and the Finnish people and that she really enjoys being in Helsinki. Close to the end of the gig, it looks like she’s crying: “It’s just the high fever – I must look like a little school girl now!” Anneke, you are cute as ever! Don’t worry. After some THE GATHERING-songs, she closes the gig but not without announcing she’ll be back on stage later at the Devin Townsend gig. Some lucky people also had the opportunity to see an acoustic gig of hers later.
Legends and locals.
There are some bands on a festival which you definetly have to see! SUICIDAL TENDENCIES are one of those bands, because they have been active like – forever? And it’s one of the few bands I know who wear their own merch on stage. Indeed, they look very relaxed in their old school punk outfits. Vocalist Mike Muir smiles his ass off during the whole gig and the crowd has a big party with a neverending circle pit. It’s so much fun to see the band live! During their last song, they invite their fans to join them on stage and it gets really crowded up their. The musicians get kisses from some female fans and the fans are having a good time up there. Respect!
“The light of day faded (it’s Helsinki, so it’s still bright…) and what’s a better soundtrack than INSOMNIUM? The Finnish guys are masters in catching melancholy into sound. Nontheless the crowd had a good party and built a huge audience in the purple ‘Milka’-tent to ignore the daylight in the afternoon. The many “Tuska“-calls of fronter Niilo Sevänen seemed somehow unnecessary, but how we learned “Tuska” is the Finnish word for pain and that fits definitly very well to the INSOMNIUM music.” – Steffi
We had joy, we had fun, we had black metal in the sun.
At the main stage, DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT kicked off with Anneke on stage. Devin made it clear right from the beginning: “This gig is about fucking penis jokes.” I love his humour. Unfortunately, there is no screen in the background showing his alter ego rocking to the music, but nevertheless, the kind of prog metal thrilled everybody. There are few people as charismatic as Devin. He says, one of the songs is about forcing his children to do their homework. “I’m just a normal guy like you” is the message. Anneke, who joins for a couple of songs from time to time, can’t help but smile all the time and even had to laugh while singing. In the end, she sang a love song with more or less an “A-E” in the chorus. “It doesn’t have a meaning. It’s just a donkey sound.” – thank you for the comedy, Devin!
The contrust between SUICIDAL TENDENCIES and INSOMNIUM was a big one, but now we go from the really humourful Devin to black metal gods MAYHEM. Luckily, they play on the tent stage – black metal in the sun is always kind of weird. But the tent stage has a good atmosphere and their fans really support the band on stage. In fact, I saw a lot of people with corpse paint during the whole day. The sound was also very good – black metal with a bad sound is weirder than black metal in the sun.
The tank has come to Helsinki!
Should I make even more NIGHTWISH connections and mention that Floor Jansen is married to SABATON’s Hannes van Dahl? Well, I think I just keep that out, in order not to over-NIGHTWISH Finland in general. But there can’t be a SABATON report without managing the tank! So let’s start with this: The tank arrived at Tuska with a big bang and since then, Helsinki celebrated that not too serious power metal. In fact, one can hear the sound from a longer distance, which we already recognized during the sound check. Joakim Brodén knows how to inflame an audience and since the last Finnish guy attending the festival should have weekend by now, there was no reason not to have a good time. Finnish regulations seem to be very strict, so at midnight, the gig was over. Thank you, Tuska, thank you, SABATON – that was a good start! Looking forward to the other two thirds with HIM, SONATA ARCTICA, AMORPHIS, BATTLE BEAST, AVATARIUM, SLEEP OF MONSTERS, and, and, and…
TUSKA FESTIVAL – day 2: love the noise of soundcheck in the morning!
I love the noise of soundcheck in the morning! From our apartment, we are able to hear the stages – and were happy to have some live sound during breakfast. The mornings at Tuska are pretty relaxed, because the festival starts about 2 p.m. First band for us was AVATARIUM.
“The Swedish Doom-Rock band AVATARIUM played the first time in Finland and presented a wide mix of their previously released material. Two songs were from AVATARIUM‘s latest album “Hurricanes And Halos”. Sadly, Jennie-Ann’s live performance seemed a bit too artificial. Maybe the high heels were the reason, which she wore on stage for the first time (she told us that in our interview). The sound itself was superb, like on the albums. Because of the early stage time, the crowd wasn’t as full as AVATARIUM deserve, so check out their tour dates for autumn!” – Steffi
Finnish legends and the occult from Helsinki.
After that, some black metal. IMPALED NAZARENE have been around for a long time (since about 1990) and people like Alexi Laiho (CHILDREN OF BODOM) and Marco Hietala (NIGHTWISH) have played in the band. I couldn’t name a lot of classic black metal bands from Finland, to be honest, but IMPALED NAZARENE pop up immediately. So everyone who didn’t watch AVATARIUM got their ake-up ring now with a big blast.
Up next on the main stage: TIMO RAUTIAINEN & TRIO NISKALAUKAUS. I remember having seen them as an opener for NIGHTWISH, when Tarja Turunen still was in the band and I think, they translated their lyrics into German back then… Not so today, of course. The guys know how to rock and how to motivate their audience. They are kind of living legends and even though I didn’t understand a word this time, the gig was super cool!
Want some occult rock? Then SLEEP OF MONSTERS at the Inferno Stage was the place to go! The band around vocalist Ike Vil has a kind of girl choir and their music is a contrast to everything I’ve heard at this edition of Tuska: a weird mixture of stoner and rock’n’roll with inspiring lyrics and a horror punk attitude… That’s how I would describe it, but just find out for yourself! Many band members come from Helsinki, so SLEEP OF MONSTERS are well-known here and many people want to see their gig – Inferno Stage is almost crowded.
Atmosphere with a little break of super melodic death metal.
I was really looking forward to SOILWORK, but because of a busy interview schedule, I just managed to see and hear short parts of their gig now and then. But let me tell you: they sounded good! Great live band, great music. Hopefully, I can see more of them next time! After our last interview and a burger to calm down, we at least saw part of the ELECTRIC WIZARD gig. The British band plays kind of psychedelic/stoner/doom rock/metal – relaxing and inspiring. Fitting to the music, there was a lot of fog on stage combined with red and blue light and a video show with parts of old movies, animations and an atomic explosion. Did I mention the tons of naked bodies? All in all, it was a self-consistent concept and fun to watch.
“AMORPHIS is a very popular band in Finland and so the audience was huge and motivated to see them. The light rain and dark clouds did not stop the party in front of the stage. AMORPHIS’ Death Pop is so easy to listen and sing-along and was performed in album quality. When will we get a live DVD from them??” – Steffi
After that, again some black metal in the Tent Stage, which was turned into the „Church of Darkness“. TRIPTYKON is the not-so-new-anymore project/band of Thomas Gabriel (ex-CELTIC FROST). So they know how to create an atmosphere! So AMORPHIS kind of broke up the concept of atmospheric, thoughtful bands… Anyway, TRIPTYKON played a good show and somehow separated the black metal audience from the love metallers, who were already waiting in front of the main stage to see…
A headliner saying farewell.
HIM! The Saturday night headliner played one of it’s last shows ever – ever! The band will do a small tour this year and then it’s over. Over and out. No Ville Valo anymore after 20 years of love metal. To be honest, the musicians looked old, but at least, guitar player Mikko Lindström and bass player Mikko Paananen still know how to rock. And Ville Valo is a league on his own with his special kind of charisma and a variety in his voice that we will miss a lot, for sure! There is still hope, he might be part of other projects – we will see! Keyboardist Jani Purttinen didn’t seem to be motivated at all, at least at the beginning of the gig.
Even though, Ville had some problems with the sound, we could hear him loud and clear. And the fans were getting what they expected: A best-of show with all the songs you would wish to hear at your probably last HIM concert: ‘The Sacrament‘, ‘Wings Of A Butterfly‘, ‘Killing Loneliness‘, ‚Heartkiller‘, ‚Join Me In Death‘ and even a cover of Billy Idol’s ‘Rebel Yell‘. The audience sang along every song and Ville sometimes stopped singing to listen to them.
The show was almost 2 hours long and the musicians didn’t have a single break, drum solo or anything to have a pause for at least some of them. Respect! I never was a fan of the band, but this concert was definetly worth seeing. Professional people, charismatic frontman and amazing fans. As a worthy end, there were fireworks. Good bye, HIM! Take care and thank you for tons of dark romantic songs.
TUSKA FESTIVAL – day 3: Tuska Festival is almost over -that was quick!
Before we start into day 3, let’s talk about Tuska in general now: The venue was some kind of industry park before; right in the middle – also the logo of this year’s edition – is a gasometer and if you live in Kallio, a district of Helsinki, you can hear the stage sound in your flat. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the city centre by foot. So if you feel like doing some sightseeing, eat at a normal restaurant or just see ships, you can do that.But at Tuska, there are three stages (this year one in a building, one in a tent and one open air) and a lot of other activities, so there is no need to leave the venue. As I mentioned before, you even have a restaurant at the festival site. There is also a supermarket, an outdoor shop, washing
But at Tuska, there are three stages (this year one in a building, one in a tent and one open air) and a lot of other activities, so there is no need to leave the venue. As I mentioned before, you even have a restaurant at the festival site. There is also a supermarket, an outdoor shop, washing mashines free to use, barbecues and a sauna. In Finland, laws are very strict, so every area in which alcohol is sold is fenced-in and security is placed at the entrance. The audience is patient and even though I’m used to German fans can be really enthusiastic, the Finnish support the bands on stage, if also diffident. Nevertheless, it’s obvious that they enjoy the gig and they’ll let you be your own party, if you want to. In sum, Tuska is a relaxed festival and different from what I know from other European festivals, so definetly worth a visit!
Parallel to the gigs, there were, again, discussions, for example with Finnish tennis star Jakko Nieminen! And now, Steffi will report about the BATTLE BEAST gig!
“Well, that’s easy: It was a fucking great party!! Noora and the guys seemed to have as much fun on stage as the audience in front of it! It was early for the last festival day, nonetheless a lot of people came to join BATTLE BEAST’s metal party. The charm of the band is, that it plays with so many metal clichés and stereotypes without being serious. This irony is rooted in the songs as well as in the live performance. Especially Noora’s crazy make up and behaviour let her look like a real metal (battle) beast.” – Steffi
On the main stage, a pretty familiar guy started his gig: Udo DIRKSCHNEIDER, former singer of ACCEPT and his project U.D.O. Now, for this project’s name he took his last name. Musicwise it’s business as usual – balls to the wall! I hope, this guy will be around for many more years!
It’s always impressive to see APOCALYPTICA on stage. Everyone who thought celli were quiet instruments, was proved wrong by the band. I don’t know how old the METALLICA cover album actually is, but the songs never get old and to be honest – I prefer the APOCALYPTICA sound (not a big fan of METALLICA…).
Party metal alert!
Rush, rush to the tent stage! Because SONATA ARCTICA are playing! I know many, many people who have mixed feelings towards their music, because it is soooooooo cheesy. But their gigs always are big parties, so it’s always worth attending. They start with some new stuff, but of course, the audience wants songs like ‘Full Moon’, the even more cheesy ballad ‘Tallulah’, ‘Black Sheep’, ‘Misplaced’ and ‘Don’t Say A Word’. Somehow, the children’s rights song ‘I Have A Right’ made it into many live sets of SONATA ARCTICA, and that’s the only moment where singer Tony Kakko gets serious. I’ve never been a fan of his live vocals, but his time, he really made it! No mistakes, no growling, everything was fine. Cool! The show contained of a lot of pyro effects and, of course, musicians running around. As the great final, SONATA ARCTICA played their party song ‘Vodka’. Unfortunately, the party is almost over.
There was just one big name left on the list: MASTODON! With ‘Sultan’s Curse’ they start their gig and, hell yeah, they know how to do it! The sound was a blast and the songs rocked like hell. How can you stand still, when they play ‘Megadolon’? So the audience supported the band from Atlanta pretty well and had a great time with a great final headliner at a great Tuska Festival 2017. After the sounds from ‘Blood And Thunder’, we have to say goodbye and hope to come back next year.
Stay updated for our interviews with Anneke van Giersbergen, Sonata Arctica, Amorphis, Battle Beast, Sleep of Monsters, Avatarium, Tuska-CEO Eeka Mäkynen and researcher Toni-Matti Karjalainen.