August 20th, Koisotie 4, Vantaa, Finland
Definitely the cosiest festival I’ve visited this summer, the history of this festival and it’s bands span 5 decades! This free festival brings out the most diverse audience I’ve seen for a long time and they are all happy to slip around in the mud and/or sit on the range of boats, pallets and inflatables provided by the festival. Over 2 stages, 16 acts play the festival, mainly rock, but some acoustic, reggae and hip-hop fill out the line-up.
Photo – The Nordic Tones
First up is The Nordic Tones, a young female trio lacking the drummer department. They all have good voices, but this appears to be a show early in their time together and they lack something (other than a drummer) which I can’t quite put my finger on.
Photo – Haudan takaa Pasanen
Over to the smaller (Silke) stage for Haudan takaa Pasanen, a death metal band playing far too early in the day for anyone to really notice their presence. The front-man/bassist dressed in tiny pink shorts, guitarist in a gas mask, and drummer wearing a Lycra bodysuit and mask, the singer soon introduces fake blood and thing become noticeably theatrical. A decent set of short punchy tunes, but they play for under 20 minutes and unfortunately not many people notice.
Photo – Mojo Waves
Back to the main stage and it’s time for Mojo Waves, a band I’ve seen many times and another band playing way too early to be seen. They plough through their upbeat set like a runaway train, hair flying, voices wailing and occasional drumstick dropping. These guys have so much energy, it’s a shame the crowds still haven’t enough to drag them out to the festival!
Photo – Morkkis
Morkkis are next (Silke stage), bringing Finnish acoustic rock as their offering. They are good at what they do, slightly melancholy and slow, but following a death-metal band on this stage and Mojo Waves, they seem out of place.
Photo – Lauantai
Lauantai seems to be the first band to have motivated people out of their beds. The sun is shining and summer pop meets rap with this young local band. 6 members, a comfortable acoustic sound and a little swagger give this band the edge over what we’ve seen thus far.
Photo – Jussi Pitkänen
Jussi Pitkänen is the only act playing solo today. He’s playing covers, and starts with a Johnny Cash-style version of the Nine Inch Nails classic Hurt. He’s quite good, but continuing his line of depression with Wicked Game etc. didn’t help his cause in the summer sun.
Photo – Octopie
Octopie take to the main stage, and they are on fire. 70’s prog is back and it has a live trumpet player! This band have perfectly crafted their style and alongside traditional prog styling they have more swagger and a singer/bass player who struts around the stage owning every moment of the bands’ stage time.
Photo – Damage Limit
Damage Limit do rock. There are many bands that sound like 80’s rock bands in Finland, but not many have the focus of attention drawn away by their bass player. He’s really up for this, posing, pouting and generally playing to the crowd in a mirror rock way! Having since heard the bands recordings, I have to say the sound wasn’t too good for these guys and had I been able to hear the two guitars clearly I might have enjoyed their set more. It was also at this stage that bands started to play 2 shorter sets on the Silke stage, something I think too away from the bands’ performances.
Photo – Have You Ever Seen The Jane Fonda Aerobics VHS?
Back on the main stage is Have You Ever Seen The Jane Fonda Aerobics VHS?, a band I tried to catch at last years’ Flow Festival but they were in a cramped smaller room and space was at a premium. Here they are then in a field playing to the ever growing crowd, and they lapped it up. A trio comprised of keyboard, bass and drums, these guys have been making their name on the scene for quite some time with their quirky electronic pop-punk, and they are great fun.
Photo – The Empire Strikes
The Empire Strikes, a “proper” rock band, full on riffs, the right styling and some catchy tunes are next. This 4-piece saunter through their set showing off the rock in rock ‘n’ roll. They enjoy what they do, the crowd enjoy what they do, a definite win for these rockers.
Photo – Pasianssimies
Back to the Silke stage for Pasianssimies who I last saw three years ago (almost to the day). Now a three piece (2 guitars and percussion and all singing), this band does covers with a difference, straight translations from English to Finnish (and vice-versa). The vocals are a little unclear, so the humour is lost a little, but they put on a pretty well appreciated show.
Photo – The Valkyrians
The band that gets the prize for getting everyone (and yes, I mean everyone) moving today is The Valkyrians. A ska/reggae band from the capital, this band is tight. The front-man is insane on stage, leaping, climbing, shouting, jumping into the crowd for sing-alongs and much more, exactly what is required at this stage in the day. Definitely one to add to the list of “must-see” bands for anyone who hasn’t already.
Photo – Pelan
Pelan are introduced as a folk band, and it isn’t untrue…it just doesn’t explain the full story. Grasping a bodiless acoustic the singer launches into a folk/rap crossover which goes down well with the crowd. Catchy tunes and fun is had by all involved.
Photo – Projack
Projack are the final band on the Silke stage. The singer looks a little like the singer from Maroon 5, but this band sound nothing them (thank goodness!). Rock with some metal riffs thrown in, this band have an edge and should probably be better known that they are. The small stage is rather limiting, I can imagine the singer like to move around more, but overall a good experience.
Photo – Punky Reggae Band
The Punky Reggae Band are the penultimate act on the main stage. They have guests, a wide range of musical influences and the ability to party. The crowd dance, the band too and the party continues. There is nothing you can dislike about this band, their blend of reggae and a slight undertone of iskelmä is a welcome distraction from the darkness which is beginning to draw in.
Photo – The Mutants
And finally The Mutants. I saw (and reviewed) this band at Ilosaarirock, so can they live up to the “crowd pleaser” tag I labelled them with then…hell yes. After impatiently waiting for their introduction they launch straight into their set of punk ‘n’ roll with maximum force, leaving the audience with no reason to leave before the end of the night.
A great small festival experience with some crazy bands and a great atmosphere, definitely a day I won’t forget in a hurry.