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Ankkarock 2008

2.-3.8.2008, Korso, Vantaa, Finland

Neither sun nor ducks (= “ankka”) had a big appearance at Finnish Ankkarock Festival 2008, yet it still turned out to be a nice and peaceful event, although about 30 500 people (17 000 on Saturday and 13 500 on Sunday) had gathered in the central park of Korso.

Interactive gallery / link to Flickr

amorphis (3) Kopie

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mokoma, Korsolava
Already at the Finnish Metal Expo this year Mokoma beat their competitors in a couple of categories, amongst others in Album of the Year and Singer of the Year. This is already evidence of a certain quality of the band and also at the Ankkarock festival the guys knew how the get the crowd excited, with some parts Rübezahl-like singer Marko Annala didn´t even have to sing himself. Hair is flying, on stage and in front of it because the thrash/death metal songs with Finnish lyrics are easy on the ear, even if those ears don´t belong to a native Finn. The a bit more quiet songs like “Marras” and “Kuu Saa Valtansa Auringolta” almost pass for mainstream radio songs and tempt you to maybe take some Finnish lessons again. (KG)

W.A.S.P., Korsolava
Quite early in the afternoon the Oldie-Rockers W.A.S.P played in front of a still rather small Ankka crowd. Despite the fact that this band is again a regular at Finnish festivals, they always offer a new setlist. But one thing is clear, songs like Love Machine, Wild Child and I wanna be somebody have to be on it. Unfortunately they have not chosen well at Ankka, playing all those hits first, in a row, and after that there is not much left to warm up memories and to sing along. So you are forced to focus on the way-too-tight tights worn by Mr. Lawless, and the latex outfit of Doug Blair on guitar, and both appear rather ridiculous and non-sexy wearing something like this in their age. But still a good show with some sound problems and a bitter-sweet after taste: those outfits definitely cause nightmares. (SM)

Hanoi Rocks, Korsolava
Apparently they are good friends of festival organizer Juhani Merimaa and therefore Hanoi Rocks are scheduled to play now for the umpteenth time at Ankkarock/Ruisrock. But still the people just don´t seem to get enough of those ancient rockers and this even though the slightly fresher guys of Amorphis play the second stage. Screaming as if it´s the latest J-Rock band! Mike Monroe once again didn´t hold back with extravagant outfits and bold forays to the boundaries of the stage, like already in the last 100 years of their career. Not being of Finnish heritage this enthusiasm is hard for me to comprehend but it´s nevertheless astonishing where this man gets his energy from. At some point, however, I´ve seen enough and in this spirit off we go to the visually a bit more appealing Tomi Joutsen of Amorphis. (KG)

Amorphis, Puistolava
appeared in very good mood and started with material from their recent CD “Silent Waters”, but besides the “I Of Crimson Blood” and the titletrack of this one, the band offered many classics, like “Into Hiding” or “Against Widows”. It does not matter how often you have seen the band, they always give you the goosebumps, and also this time. After “House Of Sleep” the crowd wanted more, but that song ended their show. (KW)

Tiger Army, Rocklava
Not only Apocalyptica have classical instruments on stage, the guys of Tiger Army brought along a contra bass. Already their gig in April here in Finland did sell out within the shortest amount of time, and as typical Americans it had to be mentioned at least 1000 times how great this gig was and that it is even greater “to be back in Finland” – we got it!!! In an interview before the show singer Nick 13 already made a suggestion for next year´s Ankkarock character – a Roy Orbinson duck. Alright!! Rockabilly sound seems to be quite popular in Finland, maybe because outside of the bigger cities the country has a lot of rural areas? Who knows. For me it was nice strumming at best and did start to bore me after a while, somehow I missed some showman qualities. In a small, sweaty club the music surely comes across a lot better than on a big festival stage outdoors. (KG)

Kotiteollisuus, Puistolava
You either hate them or you love them, there is nothing in between. Probably no other band can afford to cover so many styles, as Kotiteollisuus does. There is also a good portion of humor needed to enjoy this band, as not only the lyrics but also the statements of front man Jouni Hynynen are a piece of cake. He usually picks on some lady in the audience, but Mr. Hairmonster has something appealing, therefore he is easily forgiven. The ladies scream hysterically when Mr. Hynynen enters the stage, and that continues throughout the show. This gig seems rather like an open rehearsal, as there was much more talking than playing and singing. Still, the program was a good choice. (SM)

Kent, Korsolava
created a dramatic opening, a black curtain hid the stage until the vocals started. And somehow that was the most dramatic event of the whole show. The Swedes were on a soft trip, including all their radio hits in their program. Their “bra” (good) audience had definitely a “god kväll” (nice evening), and no fan felt irritated when rain began to fall. And that somehow completed the slightly melancholic mood that Kent´s dreamy songs were creating. (KW)

The Hives, Puistolava
With The Hives the masters of entertainment entered the Puistolava. Especially singer Howlin´ Pelle (aka Per Almqvist) and poodle-haired guitarist Nicholaus Arson (aka Niklas Almqvist) proved to be the linchpins of the show. Howlin´ Pelle constantly shot off his mouth and had the crowd chant the band´s name and because we are here in Finland he counted in Finnish “yksi, kaksi, kolme – The Hives”, he strutted like a peacock and climbed up the stage rack; also brother Nicholaus was nothing short of entertainment skills, he flirted with the girls in the first row, threw his guitar around himself and generally made the Hives song “Walk Idiot Walk” become reality. Midway through a song from their new album the band suddenly stood stock-still and only continued playing when, like those notorious street performers, they got enough attention. That´s brilliant festival entertainment. Awesome! (KG)

Von Hertzen Brothers, Rocklava
“Bring out the Sun” remained a wish unfulfilled, but the big smile of singer/guitar player Mikko had you forget dark clouds and the somewhat higher degree of moisture in the air. A great act that created some even greater songs, like “River”, “Let thy will be done” or “Kiss A Wish”. Still, for my taste the brothers – sic! – should have more rough stuff in their program, as the stage show becomes pretty interesting, too. Mikko is a front person with “ants in his pants”, so to say, who also inspired the rather big crowd. (KW)

HIM, Korsolava
The screeching became unbearable long before the show, understandable as Ville Valo & Co hardly ever play in their home country nowadays. Therefore it was something special, even more as the band – with a very talkative front man – appeared in a very good mood. “Right here In My Arms”, “Wings Of A Butterfly”, “Buried Alive By Love” or “Wicked Game” linitiated a sequence of hits, and Ville enjoyed improvising a bit. Sometimes the audience took over when it came to singing, e.g. classics like “Poison Girl”, “Your Sweet 666” or “Join Me”. Occasionally he put on a “tough guy” attitude, not only concerning his vocal style. I´m not sure if I understood it correctly, but was he indeed mocking the “way too young fresh meat in the front rows”? His – unfortunately only Finnish – comments had something weird anyway, he insisted for example that “Sleepwalking Past Hope” dealt with erection problems, and that “Funeral Of Hearts” was especially for all the lonely men out there. After about 1,5 hours it was once again “Scream For Me, Korso”, before the band said goodbye with “Rebel Yell” and took off to “Lostari” (Lost & Found). (KW)

Mr. Anorexia, Ankkarock 2008


1. Perttu Kivilaakso, Apocalyptica: Disappears completely behind his instrument, even when it´s turned sideways.
2. Ville Valo, HIM
3. Mikko, Von Hertzen Brothers


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Kamelot, Rocklava
were not quite my thing, but still this show was very impressive. Singer Khan is a brilliant performer and charismatic show man. After only 2,3 songs the place in front of Rock stage filled up, Kamelot inspired the crowd with their bombastic power metal, great tunes and cool songs like “When the lights are down” or “The Human Stain”. But why did they leave their background singer Anne-Catrin Märzke exactly there for such a long time? (KW)

Sonata Arctica, Korsolava
The announcement of the band couldn´t have been more exciting, especially for the announcer Jusu Lounela himself because he stood on a bungee tower and jumped the same down shortly after he finished his job. And so Sonata Arctica had to step it up a notch and already with their first song “In Black and White” brought out so big (pyro-) guns that the first rows were at risk of getting hospitalized because of smoke poisoning. Using pyro in daylight might be arguable but it´s definitely always part of a Sonata show and was later also a bit restrained. Otherwise there were no big surprises, the stage setup with the bridge is still the same, the moon backdrop still decorates the back and not much has changed about Tony Kakko´s questionable clothing style either. Business as usual! (KG)

Volbeat, Rocklava
In May they played the sold out Tavastia and now the Elvis-metallers take on the Ankkarock festival. And how! Shortly before the show starts there´s almost no getting through anymore because the guys are playing the smallest stage and it seemed like almost all festival goers had come to have a look at the Danes whose “Radio Girl” is on constant rotation on every, er, radio station. And also live the guys are hard to top, catchy songs, the guys always have a funny story to tell, the audience is animated to shout along after every song and as a climax the Jack Daniels bottle is passed to the crowd – and that at a Finnish festival, at which alcohol is only served in strictly delimited areas with an age limit of 18. Well, the security got their hands full. In any case they have to come back also without JD! (KG)

Mr. Fashion Faux-pas, Ankkarock 2008


1. Blackie Lawless, W.A.S.P.: AAAAAAAARGH!!!
2. Jusu Lounela, Ankkarock host
3. Michael Monroe, Hanoi Rocks

Lauri Tähkä & Elonkerjuu, Korsolava
are a merely Finnish phenomenon that broke a record, finishing a 44 summer gigs tour at Ankkarock Festival. They are rather Pop and presented their many radio hits in a quite appealing way, so the audience totally forgot about the pouring rain. Some extras in their program were cover versions, e.g. Billy Idol´s “White Wedding”, and live guests, like Finnish Rapper Elastinen. (KW)

Soilwork, Rocklava
As a competing event to Apocalyptica Soilwork tried to warm to the crowd in slight drizzle but it wasn´t by far as crammed as with Volbeat before. And that even though the hyperactive bassist of the Swedes once again proved my theory that bass players somehow work differently than everybody else and thus entertained the crowd perfectly. Be it as it may the melodic death metal that reminded a bit too much of their fellow countrymen In Flames came across as quite alright but when their single “Exile” was duly performed the show lost somehow a bit of its appeal and so I rather decided to watch the second half of the cello swingers from Apocalyptica. (KG)

Apocalyptica, Puistolava
Still I have no idea why the intro was the Who-song “Won´t get fooled again”, well known via C.S.I. Miami … but then it took off with “Refuse/Resist” and then “Grace” from the recent Worlds Collide-Album, announced by Eicca Toppinen as “instrumental track”. Well, there had been rumours about a live guest singer, and indeed, Sonata Arctica´s Tony Kakko came on stage to perform “I don´t care” and “I´m not Jesus”. Otherwise there were no surprises, only the rather withdrawn Paavo Lötjönen took to action this time, running across stage and firing up the audience. Apart from the “Bittersweet” ballad the guys rather presented their faible for Speed/Thrash Metal with “Inquisition Symphony”, “Betrayal”, “Last Hope” and those inevitable Metallica covers (Fight Fire With Fire, Seek & Destroy, Enter Sandman), and it seemed they intended to saw their instruments in halves. Edvard Grieg´s “Hall Of The Mountain King” rounded up a way too short gig. (KW)

Opeth, Korsolava
Their new album “Watershed” took Opeth straight to the top of Finnish charts, therefore quite a big crowd had gathered despite the heavy rain, to be taken into another dimension by this Swedish band. Mastermind Mikael Åkerfeldt proved again his sense for dry humor when he announced that Metal was the only remarkable thing coming from Sweden, besides ice hockey, and then he used the longest and most complicated way to introduce the song Deliverance from the album with the same name – even people who did not understand Swedish might have been smiling… Melancholy, Prog and DM punch was a good final for a wet but good Ankkarock-Festival.
Still there is one open question: Why on earth had this Finnish 2-girls-with-rather-thin-voices-act PMMP, playing on Puistolava at the same time, so much more audience than the Swedes??? (KW)

Mr. Hairmonster, Ankkarock 2008


1. Santtu Hämäläinen, representing the complete band Mokoma
2. Jouni Hynynen, Kotiteollisuus
3. Fredrik Åkesson, Opeth

Text und Fotos: Kathleen Gransalke (KG), Sandy Mahrer (SM), Klaudia Weber (KW)




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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