March 23, 2017, On the Rocks, Helsinki, Finland
FemME is a festival in the Netherlands (on 22-24 September 2017 in Eindhoven) which celebrates women playing Metal music, and there’s the opportunity for bands to perform via a competition. Not only on the festival’s home ground, but also in UK, Germany, Belgium and naturally the metal nation Finland. The rules for the participants are simple, they should play Rock/Metal, and at least one band member should be female. The two winners of the Helsinki battle will be allowed to participate in the Dutch metal battle in May 2017. One is chosen by a local jury, the other by the club audience.
The five bands battling it out this evening were Amoth, Dorothy Polonium, Escalane, Evil Drive and Pokerface from Russia. As I could notice, not only the participants seemed a bit nervous, also organizer Veronique Männikkö seemed a bit anxious at first.
No reason to worry, though; the event went smoothly and lured quite a crowd into the On The Rocks club on this Thursday evening, although the majority arrived only towards the end of the first act’s show. Dorothy Polonium from Jyväskylä turned out to be an act that rather to watch than to slam dance to: quite theatrical, a progressive music style difficult to pin down, and perhaps rather to be compared with Kate Bush than e.g. Slayer. A unique mix of Prog, Hardrock and Goth, probably the most original act of this evening. Bandwebsite
Amoth from Helsinki offered a more straight-forward Metal style, reminding me a bit of Iron Maiden, with some Prog influences. Bass woman Anne Latva-Somppi provided a solid powerful basis, and it seemed the limelight shining on her (literally) is not something she is quite used to. Bandwebsite Already at this point I felt a bit sorry for the jury…
And it got even more difficult when Escalane from Jyväskylä delivered their take on Hardrock / Rock / Pop with a touch of Punk. Very young, very energetic and fronted by a likeable and versatile Hanna Uimonen who delivered catchy vocals. Bandwebsite
Evil Drive impressed with tough Thrash Speed Metal and a highly energetic front woman Viktoria Viren, whose growls reminded you of Holy Moses, and of course Arch Enemy. This band, founded in Kotka in 2013, gathered the headbangers (literally) and was indeed very entertaining to watch. Bandwebsite
Yet it was the final act Pokerface from Russia that put on hell of a show. The female fronted and axed thrash/death metal band from Moscow impressed with their combination of old-school thrash riffs and female scream-growling vocals. Not to mention the outfits, and the action on stage… Bandwebsite
As I simply could not make up my mind, all of the bands were really good in their own styles, I did not bother to vote and waited for the results. The audience pick did not really surprise me – Evil Drive took one of the semifinal slots.
The 4 jurors – 2 female musicians, a music journalist and the owner of Hellsinki shop – had decided on Escalane.
Those two bands will play at the Semi-Finals on 20 May at PopEI and on 21 May at Blue Collar Theater (Eindhoven). The Finals will take place in POPEI (Eindhoven, NL) on 10 June 2017. The winners of the Final will get a slot at FemMe 2017. So let’s see what happens there, we will keep you posted!