25.7.2012, kooma, Turku, Finland
It wasn´t certain that this gig is going to happen at all, because some days earlier a show in Lappajärvi had to be cancelled, as J. Ahola wasn´t fit yet after catching a throat infection. Luckily some days of rest after the Tampere gig were enough and the band could confirm this show in the afternoon.
The Kooma Club in Turku usually works as Disco which is clear from the music blasting from the boxes there. Perhaps they should play rock music before a rock show, so that more people drop in earlier and also improve the turnover at the bar. Sound and light wise there´s nothing to wish for, though.
Antti Mäkelä, Antti Karhumaa, Jari Laitinen and J.Ahola entered the stage with a little delay and tried to heat up the slightly shy crowd with their hits from their debut album „Stoneface“, starting with „The Spell“. They played almost the whole album, and although I missed highlichts like „Cold&Lonely“ or „Hurt you“, the setlist was great.
Guitarist Antti Karhumaa and his dreadlocks attracted most attention – he was banging violently, like a wild-child, the others appeared to be a bit calmer. Also as a guitar player he fabricated simply great stuff. His performance had his colleagues look a bit lost. Surely J.Ahola „The Man – The Voice“ presented his usual face-acrobatics. His voice seemed to be back on track, much better than in Tampere. His variety and his skills shifting between extremely high and extremely low notes make clear what a talented singer he is and that you can rank him among the best.
What I miss from that performance is the feeling, on the album there is so much feeling in all the vocals there, and live it´s almost absent. Sure, it´s difficult to focus on playing guitar and singing simultaneously, but there are surely ways to work that out.
Another thing was striking me – neither J. Ahola – he rather looked over the heads of people – nor his band colleagues communicated much with the audience. This could be improved, and there is proof because when the crowd was asked to sing along with „As long as I live (Rock’n’Roll isn‘t dead)“, it worked out great. Still the audience appeared to have fun and cheered to the four on stage, towards the end even more and more. Rounding up the set they played an homage to Jon Lord who recently had passed away, Deep Purple´s biggest hit „Smoke on the Water“, and the crowd went nuts.
Summing up: Ahola have a lot to offer live, catchy songs and entertainment, but there are some details to work on, just like with every band. Perhaps the band needs to become a well-rehearsed team, as they had not played so many concerts yet. Still a band worth to be checked out.