Krapin Paja, Finland, 16.07.2022
It is a Midsummer Eve, 21st of June, and I am trying to catch a traditional bonfire in Tuusula. I do come there, but the bonfire is canceled due to the forest fire warning. I have to pass through the Tuusula’s Krapin Paja which is a typical countryside place, with an outdoor restaurant, a hotel and a summer theater. Exactly the place to have a relaxed cider at Juhannus. Not exactly a place you’d think you’d come to encounter a metal gig.
My eye catches the list of concerts they plan to have, printed on a funky pink sheet and I stop for a brief moment. Because the list is surprisingly strong and would do good to any medium-size rock festival. There are Apocalyptica, 69 Eyes and Michael Monroe listed, among others. A good reason to return to Krapin Paja later for one of those shows.
You get used to see Apocalyptica in big places, usually late at night and all-black. Last time I saw them performing, it was on Sabaton’s gig on a centrally located arena in Helsinki. With tanks, trenches and an enormous stage. And this time was as far from that as possible.
There was that midsummer-style, flower-adorned, small stage, and many seats on some distance. Apocalyptica was playing in this unusually peaceful and sun-lit setup, and actually it was not their first gig at the location. The setlist was well balanced: some of the last material, some of the classic Metallica songs. Great sunny weather. We get the trademark show tricks, such as Perttu lying on his back and playing his cello with the help of his teeth. But the most special thing was how close the band was. You can experience it in small clubs, when few beginner bands would play for a tiny entrance fee and the band on stage basically intersect with the audience. At some point, as it happens, audience was warmed up enough to leave the seats and come in close contact with the stage, basically reaching out to the musicians. The audience was not just hardcore metal fans, albeit there was one Greek fan who did the cheering on behalf of the rest of the crowd. I could not believe myself but I did see some grandmothers buying merch.
It’s actually a typical Finnish attitude: even famous musicians do not mind to be not too distant. Kudos to Tuusula’s local organizers to make sure that some of the best well known rock stars in the country would play in such a vicinity for the locals, even if the largest venues of the Finnish capital are just a thirty minutes away.
Wondering if it has to do with the fact that the Apo’s very own drummer Mike Siren is actually working at this place.
text & photos: Askar Ibragimov