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Lost in Music: Neljä Ruusua / Poets Of The Fall / Don Johnson Big Band / Kotipelto&Liimatainen Duo

Lost in Music is a music festival annually held in October in Tampere as part of the Music & Media Finland conference. In it’s sixth year, the festival gives the opportunity to new as well as established artists from a variety of genres to introduce their music. This year from October 17th to 20th almost 100 artists played in different venues in Tampere.

For me the night took place at the Pakkahuone and next door Klubi where I saw four bands: Don Johnson Big Band, Poets of the Fall, Neljä Ruusua (all at the Pakkahuone) and Kotipelto and Liimatainen Duo at the Klubi.

I had no idea what to expect from Don Johnson Big Band at all, but figured I might as well check them out. The programme described them as a mix of hip hop, electronic music, funk, rock and jazz, not general genres I listen to except for rock.

They really surprised me though. As soon as they walked out, the party started. Their music just got everyone in a good mood. They had quite a few people and instruments on stage (a banjo and a clarinet among others) which made it interesting. A few guest came to sing with them too. I especially liked Felix Zenger beatboxing, but they also had Noah Kin on stage, who played a concert at the Klubi the same night. I soon forgot that this is not generally my type of music and enjoyed it. When they played ´”Hit the Road, Jack”, singer Tommi asked everyone to squat down and stay there. The audience followed suit and only got back up after he told us to. He also jumped off stage to sing directly to us. All in all their 45 minute set was lots of fun.

Next up were Poets of the Fall, the band I had come for. Their music has been described as Alternative Rock, Post-Grunge and Gothic among others. When asked, they coined the term „Cinematic Rock“ and it suits them well. They are an amazing live band who not only play great music, but are also fun to watch with singer Marko often adding a bit of a theatrical performance to the evening.

The show kicked of with “Running out of Time”, the opening song of their latest album “Temple of Thought”, and kept in high gear for most of their 45 minute set. It did not take them long to win over the audience and latest with their hit single “Cradled in Love” they had most of them singing along. The sound was good that night and the big stage fully utilized. guiatrists Olli and Jaska as well as bassist Jani traded places all the time, often playing together for a while, at other times dueling with each other. Their solos were among the high points of an energetic show. Captain, the magician behind the keyboards added intros, autros and other sound effects to the show while drummer Jar built the songs’ foundation from subtle beats to powerful ones. It was palpable how much they enjoyed playing and the audience reacted to the good vibes from stage.

For much o the night all eyes were on Marko, who was dressed in top hat and feather boar and wore black and white make up, reminiscent of The Joker or the movie “The Crow”. He easily connected with the audience, sending a smile this way and blowing some feathers from his boa in that direction. During one song he was handed a baseball cap from a fan and wore it for a bit before he gave it back.

Their set that night focused on the rockier songs that kept the audience on their feet. They mixed new and old songs nicely, including the brand new “Signs of Life” as well as the hits “Lift” and “Carnival of Rust”. The latter started out as a quote from R.E.M.’s “The one I love” so it took the audience a while before they recognized the song, but as soon as they did they cheered wildly. The 45 minutes Poets of the Fall played went by in a heartbeat, but included everything that makes their concerts so great: Amazing music, great singing, an energetic performance and lots of good vibes.

Nejä Ruusua, the headliner for the night, is a Finnish pop-rock band that has been around four 30 years and has fans of all ages. After the Poets of the Fall fans had left, the place in front of the stage soon filled up again and everyone was waiting for the concert to start. I have known their music for a while but I had never seen them live so I was curious what they had to offer.

They came, they played and they won me over. It was obvious that they had fun and just as obvious that the audience loved them. They sang along to most of the songs from Hits like “Popmuseo” to songs of their current album “Katkera Kuu”. Even though my Finnish is very limited, I still enjoyed the music. The band rocked a lot more than I had expected and they even played two acoustic sets where drummer Kari came to the front and played on a drumbox and bassist Jari played the xylophone. Singer Ilkka was all over the stage, always asking the audience to sing along and dancing about quite a lot. At one point he kicked over the mic stand and send the microphone flying. Until someone picked it up, he just used Jari’s mik. Overall they played a great set and left me with a smile on my face.

The night was not over yet. At the Klubi there was a duo on stage that consisted of Stratovarius’ frontman Timo Kotipelto on vocals and guitarist Jani Liimatainen, formerly of Sonata Arctica. The first thing that struck about them was the singer’s amazing voice. I loved listening to him.

They played songs of their own, but also a lot of well known cover songs from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Europe’s “The Final Countdown”. The small but enthusiastic audience loved them and sang along too. They were a good band to end the night.

Stefanie Oepen

GastmitarbeiterInnen / guest contributions

Regular guest contributors e.g. Melanie Kircher, Tatjana Tattis Murschel, Grit Kabiersch, Marina Minkler, Jasmine Frey, Maria Levin, Elvira Visser, Nina Ratavaara, John Wisniewski