Semifinal, Helsinki, Thursday 3rd March 2016
(photos Sandra Kimonen)
It’s Thursday, and unfortunately as has become the case in recent years, I’ve entered arguably Helsinki’s best known small venue which is virtually empty. It’s a shame because tonight promises to be an interesting evening. Three acoustic acts playing solo (well almost) punk sets. The noticeable thing tonight is that most of the audience are expats, I even managed to meet a guy who comes from my hometown in England!
First up is Lifelong Hangover, the reason I came out. He takes to the stage with a violinist accompanying him and immediately launches into a set of upbeat tunes.
Probably the most subtle of tonight’s line-up (which is ironic considering the hard-edged nature of his other bands), Lifelong Hangover brings his brand of folk to the party and the audience laps it up appreciatively.
Efa Supertramp is a female solo artist, who, having travelled from Wales and across the Baltics, has arrived in Finland for two shows, this being the first. This is a lady who likes to talk, introducing her songs, telling stories and enjoying playing to the small but comfortable crowd.
Initially she seems to be trying to hard, with her vocals seeming almost too gritty, but after a few songs she proves what a great voice she has and by the time she sings “Waiting For The Sun To Rise”, my personal favourite, she is proving her worth. Some sweet, subtle guitar picking also adds to the appeal.
Last to take the stage is Ozzmond (start photo), a man who almost doesn’t take punk seriously. With a witty stand-up routine between softly sung half-punk, the crowd are loving how much he plays around. Usually he does this set in Finnish (the spoken word at least), but as he’s noticed so many foreigners in the audience, tonight is in English. His spoken persona is loud, intense and full of joking around, while his singing voice is generally soft and slightly falsetto (or it would be for most). Well worth checking out if he’s playing somewhere near you.