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Ruisrock 2007

There can´t be a Finnish summer without Ruisrock, and so on July 6th it was time again for the oldest, still existing Rock festival in the world. This year the festival area was even extended, and so there was a fourth stage, the Tent Stage, in addition to the Beach-, Meadow- and Pavilion stage. Despite the cancellations of Slayer and Stone Sour the festival still attracted a record number of 30.000 people on Saturday to the festival site. And this, although the weather was rather fitful; on Friday it was mostly cloudy but at a pleasant temperature, Saturday, however, was quite inconsistent with sun and occasionally dark rain clouds.
Interactive photo gallery at the end of the text

Friday, July 6 2007
The day already started “nicely”, because when we left our car only for a short while to get our press passes, we had already gotten a parking ticket. An advice for all Turku visitors then: Never ever park your car where it´s not absolutely, explicitly marked that there is, for sure, an official parking place, 40 euros go to the town of Turku, thanks a lot! After we eventually found the waterbus, which should get us to the festival area, it still took forever until the boat was finally ready to go and so we came a little late to Finntroll´s gig.

Finntroll 8 deer
Fast as the wind we ran to the Meadowstage and were just in time for “Trollhammaren” and a crowd who (even without us) had already chanted itself into Viking mood. It was kinda hard to get good pictures from the crowd because all the time there was an arm raised in jubilation. With their new singer, Mathias Lillmåns, the Trolls now not only have musically a lot to offer but also visually, at least for all the Viking ladies. (KG)

Poisonblack 6 deer
On Friday, Poisonblack were the first band to play on the Rantalava-Stage, located on the beach. Poisonblack and their front man Ville Laihiala, with his pleasant and slightly hoarse voice, were just the right choice to get into the right festival mood. The sound was dominated by the guitar and the mainly young audience was ready to rock, but from time to time the guitar was itself dominated by a catchy keyboard melody which reminded me of another popular Finnish band. Guess which? Nevertheless, the audience stood behind them, and even reacted enthusiastically when Ville burped into the mike. (YZ)

The Horrors 2 deer
This band seems to be quite hot right now in the UK, reason enough to check them out on the new Tent Stage. Accompanied by girlie-screams the band enters the stage and lives fully up to their name – absolute horror. Especially, when you, as a photographer, stand on the front line and have to dodge mic stand attacks by singer Faris Badwan. At some point he somehow seems to be more interested in some kind of screws that he just found at the side of the stage than in performing. On their homepage the guys promote their music with the slogan “psychotic sounds for freaks and weirdoes” but I think they rather meant BY freaks and weirdoes. Apart from the totally bonkers performance, musically they don´t get much across. Some kind of Garage Rock comparable maybe to The Strokes but I couldn´t recognize any real song. Those who like to be entertained by a disorientated nutcase will love this band, for all the others – please avoid. (KG)

Pain 8 deer
After Poisonblack I changed the location to see metal made in Sweden on the Niittylava-stage. Pain filled the audience with enthusiasm from the first note they played, and not only was their own hair flying through the air. It was the first time that I saw people jumping and head banging. Peter Tägtgren alias Pain filled the area with a hollow scream and the screaming masses answered immediately. He held his audience under control from the first second on stage and convinced with his knowledge of the Finnish language – perkele.(YZ)

Dead by Gun 6 deer
Finnish Punk is somehow not as popular as Metal and only because of that worth to be checked out. As it should be for a real Punk band, the stage is inside one of those beer areas, in which alcohol-containing drinks are allowed to be served to over 18 year olds, and so the mood is already quite cheerful. The band itself reminds outfit-wise of 70´s Punk but musically I would describe it as Redneck Punk. Somehow I miss the dirtiness and snottiness; everything sounds a bit too nice and good-mood inspired, but still there are some cautious pogo attempts in the second row. Not too bad! (KG)

Disco Ensemble 7 deer
In the early Friday evening Disco Ensemble took to the Niittylava-stage. They played Punk Rock and saved the popular songs for the end of the show. They even played some new material, but the best-received song was „Drop Dead, Casanova“. Front man Miikka Koivisto shot like a ping pong ball across the stage, his movements reminded a bit of Campino from the German Punk band Die Toten Hosen. The result of his stage activity was breath-taking in the very sense of its meaning, so that his introduction of the next song was always accompanied by deep breathes. But last year, there wasn´t so much talking between the songs at all. Maybe it depends on his condition?!? Nevertheless, the performance was rousing and their fans were squeezing in the front row. (YZ)

Juliette Lewis & The Licks 9 deer
Ruisrock welcomes Hollywood! This also attracted some fellow musicians and so the complete Mastodon crew and some members of Billy Talent, who performed later that day, could be seen at the side of the stage. After some stretching moves for warming up, Juliette Lewis was ready to get the crowd fired up. Dynamically, the little lady in her yellow cellular shirt jumped from one side of the stage to the other, crawled over the stage floor and was simply just rocking her ass off. It also seemed to be a great workout because already after the third song Juliette was completely drenched in sweat. This physical approach seemed to pay off because the fans were enthusiastic – Juliette just knows how to entertain people even though the songs not quite tap their full potential. A natural born rock star! (KG)

Mastodon 9 deer
When I see the band shortly before their gig in the backstage area I have the urgent need to kneel down and shout, “I´m not worthy, I´m not worthy”. I can only just contain myself and try to look as professional as possible – Mastodon are just ingenious. The guys appeared to be quite relaxed, shook hands and off they went – to the stage. That´s quite astounding because Mastodon´s music is a complex mix of Jazz, Prog and Sludge Metal. After shooting some pics in the media pit I immediately ran to the crowd, only to find out that the sound was really bad. You couldn´t almost recognize the songs at all because the bass drum was, especially at the beginning, way too loud. The band itself was very focused on their songs and so there´s not much time for in-between-song banter but “Blood And Thunder” was then still dedicated to Children Of Bodom guitarist Roope Latvala. The Mastodon razed Ruisrock to the ground – hallelujah! (KG)

Billy Talent 9 deer
As one of the foreign headliners, Billy Talent from Canada entered at 9:25 pm the Niittylava-stage.
Without a word, they began to play the hits of the current album. Concerning his voice and his energy, singer Ben Kowalewicz was in top condition, after the gigs in Helsinki with My Chemical Romance and at the Tavastia, we were a bit concerned if his voice is able to bear the stress and the efforts. After the first few songs, he introduced the band to the audience, but actually there was no need. Together with the jumping masses, they made the earth shake. A few fans even took the risk of a dive through the masses. Even the hairdo of guitar player Ian D´Sa had to suffer a bit. They also gained some sympathy points by using a few Finnish words to thank the audience and with Ben´s statement, that there are a lot of beautiful girls all over the world, but the Finnish ones have the largest breasts. Well, okay? For all girls outside, it´s in the water. Well, at least all girl shirts were sold out after the gig. Very clever! (YZ)

Children Of Bodom 8 deer
During the whole day young people could be spotted wearing C.O.B. fan shirts, which was not surprising at all. Like at the Tuska festival only a week ago, there was a bar on the stage, at which a “mystery barkeeper” in executioner´s robe served some booze. After the band strengthened itself with a refreshing sip they could kick off the show and the triple “jau, jau, jau” sounded over the festival area. The crowd was of course thrilled and everyone was happy. (KG)

Amorphis 9 deer
The last band entering the stage of the Paviljonkilava on Friday was Amorphis. From every corner of the festival area, people were flocking to the stage. As many other Finnish bands, Amorphis sounds live a lot heavier than on record, and Tomi Joutsen supported this fact with his hair dancing around his head like the snakes on Medusa´s. But he also knows to convince vocally with the slow songs. Like the other bands they played an hour and the last song was “House Of Sleep”. Unfortunately the show was over after that. (YZ)

Saturday, July 7 2007

On Saturday the weather looked a little bit better in the morning, and we even made it on time to the festival area, but couldn´t stay until the end so that we missed The Hives and Hanoi Rocks – which in the case of the latter band wasn´t so tragic, because they play every year at Ruisrock and I think that there´s nothing you haven´t already seen a million times before.

Sahara Hotnights 3 deer
Saturday began inside the tent on the Teltta-stage with the Swedish band Sahara Hotnights. After a dramatic intro some girls and a guy entered the stage in street wear and caught their instruments. Although, it was quite early in the afternoon the audience was quite big to listen to the Swedish Retro Rock. Besides the street wear, there was no real show on offer, they just played one song after the other and all sounded alike. The result was a little bit boring. (YZ)

D´espairsRay 6 deer
Here´s another of those Japanese rock bands who make all teenie girls go crazy, no matter what kind of music they make. It wasn´t any different at Ruisrock either!! Sometimes you wonder if the band (or the fans) care more about image and styling than really about the music. Business-wise, though, it seems to work out. As far as I could find out, the band mostly sings in Japanese, which makes singing along a little bit harder. The girls in the first rows compensated that with heart-piercing screams; at the following signing session it was, however, wondrously quiet. Musically the songs reminded strongly of a rockier version of Marilyn Manson – quite alright but not really world-shattering. (KG)

Marillion 3 deer
The next band on the Teltta-stage were the guys from Marillion, whose singer looks a bit like Alice Cooper. If my knowledge of the Finnish language didn´t leave me, the band exists already for 23 years. Marillion seemed very relaxed and experienced. They´ve played melodic Prog Rock, the guitar player concentrated mostly on his guitar and seemed to forget about the rest. Sometimes they were astonished by the young audience, which wasn´t always completely under their control. (YZ)

Sonata Arctica 9 deer
While the guys from D´espairsRay still signed autographs, the show of Sonata Arctica kicked off explosively on the neighbouring stage. With fireworks and flame columns the band got the masses, who now took up the whole area in front of the stage including the beach, fired up. Singer Tony Kakko proved to be a great entertainer and so he even took some time to pose for the photographers in the media pit. You could see that the guys had great fun on stage and also the crowd had fun with this super-nice band. The unavoidable Vodka at the end wasn´t left out either – mission accomplished! (KG)

The Ark 7 deer
As The Ark entered the stage of the Niittylava, everyone was in expectation of a glamorous show. As the intro began to play, the band slowly walked onto the stage, then front man Ola Salo rushed to the stage. The sexy show reminded a bit of Frank N´ Furter from the Rocky Horror Show and Justin Hawkins from The Darkness. Ola Salo was lounging on the stage and prancing like a peacock, so after the first two songs he was already quite sweaty. Although the songs sound quite alike, they convinced the enthusiastic masses with their energy and the changing outfits. First it was just another jacket, but than he wore golden leggings. Any questions? That´s Glam Rock! (YZ)

In Flames 9 deer
In Flames were for us the last band of the festival, and we had almost missed them, but with a final spurt on the finishing stretch and starting rain we only just made it. The area in front of the meadow stage was crammed and when singer Anders Fridén asked the crowd to “jump the fuck up” one feared that just in this moment an earthquake was triggered in China or at least in the center of Turku. The sound was really good but somehow In Flames sound live more like Korn than on record, which is not a bad thing. Set-closer and for us the last song of the festival was “My sweet shadow” and with that “our sweet Ruisrock” was already over. See you in 2008! (KG)

text & photos: Kathleen Gransalke, Yvonne Zawada
the ark 2 copy


Kathleen Gransalke

Editor for Reviews - translations, reports, photos - - - Favorite genres? - Punk, Rock, Death Metal, Mathcore - - - Favorite bands? - Coheed & Cambria, Black Dahlia Murder, Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon

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