Once a year Hakunila, that lovely suburb in eastern Vantaa turns alive as the annual Myötätuulirock starts. Being a 3-day festival it’s always a trial to people cause like many finnish summer festivals, it’s highly motivated by alcohol and drinking 3 days in a roll is always an achievement Luckily I was working so drinking was a luxury I couldn’t afford, nor in fact even wanted.
Since I have other priorities on daily basis I was only able to arrive there just before Viikate started playing. I got kinda surprised to see there was only one stage cause the last time I was in Myötätuulirock (was it 2007?) they had 2 stages there and transforming between acts was so much faster since while the bands played in one stage, the other was being prepared ready. But even now with only one stage, things were very smooth so we didn’t have to wait very long between bands.
Viikate in a band I grew to like slowly. In the past I used to hate them really but when I started to listen more and more, I sort of went inside the band. It is just about as finnish as it gets. But they have always been in my a-list and therefore weeing them was a treat. And they sure delivered. Many of the songs were familiar to most of the crowd watching them and there was only one song I sort of missed, that being of course “Me olemme myöhäiset” from Marraskuun Lauluja 2-album. But all in all Viikate served an excellent show.
Next up was Tarot. Tarot is (sad really) these days known more from the fact that they have Marco Hietala (Nightwish) there. Tarot has been in the scene since 80′s and they’ve gone a long way from big success to moderate success to pretty much no success yet they always kept on going doing their own thing. How respectful is that? Their last couple of albums have given them lift again and I don’t think there is any band I would grant that success more than Tarot. Their setlist contained songs from newer albums which to me was a shame since I am more into their older stuff. Not a single song from their first 3 albums was a disgrace especially since I wasn’t the only dinosaur in the crowd who probably expected to hear perhaps “Spell Of Iron” or “To Live Forever“.
But I guess they have played those songs so often that it was time to do newer stuff. Marco Hietala is still one of the best vocalists out there but what was really surprising was to hear their other vocalist Tommi Salmela. The dude sounds just like Marco! Nice angle It wasn’t the best day for Pecu Cinnari cause from time to time he sounded more like a popcorn machine than a drummer. But they gave all and that was enough for me.
Ensiferum started about 10 minutes late which was fine cause they still are bit of unknown to me. Of course I know the band and lots of their songs too but I have never got into them. But props to Ensiferum cause people really considered them as the headliners on friday although there was still the headliner to come. Not much to say about the gig itself, they play half nude and the body of a finnish man surely is beautiful But they played very well and the audience loved it so nothing to complain there.
Last but definately not least on friday was Exodus. Unfortunately the schedules were off and they started about 20 minutes late. It seemed like people had enough after Ensiferum and some of them started to leave the festival area. Too bad for Exodus cause I bet they would’ve hoped a better reception than what they did. Although people started leaving, the gig was very good. Exodus is a very entertaining band and their thrash metal really sinks in to me. Majority of the songs I never heard before so I take it that they played mostly their newer material. But even so, it was a very nice experience.
I missed the 2 first bands on saturday. Not because of hangover but because I had to have some sleep dammit! Anyways I heard that The Milestones suffered from lack of people which is understandable if the festival area opens at midday and the band starts plaing 10 minutes past midday…not very good. So the first band played their show to half empty area. But the gig itself was very good I heard. I do hope to catch these guys later cause I think they are very good band.
So my saturday started by watching Kiuas. Must admit that they were very good. I haven’t listened to their new album “Lustdriven” yet but their older material is familiar to me. During the first few songs the vocalist sounded a bit rusty but turned better and better as the gig went on. And their guitarist Mikko Salovaara is simply awesome. Well the whole band played like a well oiled machine so it was a feast for me. But Kiuas was just an appetizer for what was going to come next.
Diablo…band that I have waited to see live for so long. Somehow I have always been somewhere when they’ve played around Helsinki. But finally I was able to see them cause I’ve heard from so many people that they simply kick ass live. Man were those people right! Their setlist contained all the songs I wanted to hear, Read My Scars, Queen of Entity, Mimic 47, Icaros, Living Dead Superstar, Resign From Life, Into The Sea etc. And it was hard to believe that they hadn’t played a single gig in 8 months. Rainer (guitarist, vocalist) said that their drummer Heikki Malmberg wanted to practise a bit before Myötätuulirock but Rainer had told him that practising is for non gifted people Their playing was like clockwork yet not too clean. I dislike bands who try to play the songs live exactly as they are in the album. Luckily this wasn’t the case with Diablo. On ne vaan äijiä perkele!
After Diablo it was time for another band that I waited a lot…Mokoma. I have seen them 4 times live already but this was the first gig after their amazing “Sydänjuuret” -album and there certainly were some songs I wanted to hear from that album. But what happened right after they started their gig? The sky turned the faucet and it started raining. Well this wasn’t my first “summer” festival so having some rain really didn’t come as a surprise. And I was optimistic that it was just a short shower anyway…yeah…like that happens with me and my luck. But Marko Annala (vocalist) empathized the crows by saying “If it’s any consolation, we are on stage and we are getting wet as well so let’s just try to make the best of it”. And people were going bananas…there was even a moshpit of young dudes and some older ones too…and couple of girls Well the pit already started during Diablo but only grew bigger during Mokoma. Mokoma played many of their classics but one song that would have suited the weather would have been “Takatalvi”. But the absolute highlight of the gig was when they played the title track “Sydänjuuret”. It is simply an awesome song. Ones that has Spotify, click the link and listen: (http://open.spotify.com/track/03PhutkHu5Q1M7a9x6jXaP). And of course they had to play their song Marras (http://open.spotify.com/track/2CgBRBFi3WGDjrzbO0aoKm) which is a slowtempo “ballad” in their standards. And this was the way Annala spoke the song in “Most of us are already wet and now it’s time to get the rest wet too” Although the weather was horrible the gig was in my opinion the best Mokoma gig I have seen so far.
After Mokoma it was time to seek some shelter from the rain cause it was starting pour down more and more heavily. So the logical place is the drinking area and the small covered area they had there. It was there where I watched Korpiklaani, those happy little boozers from Finland. It was a shame really cause the gig was excellent and people were totally with them. Korpiklaani is the type of music that makes you happy and it’s excellent partymusic. Even in pouring rain and coldness it seems. See us Finns we are extremely stubborn nation and if we have decided to sit down and have a beer, we will have that beer even if it would snow! Don’t believe me? Well below is a picture taken from the drinking area of Myötätuulirock while Korpiklaani was playing in the distance…when we drink, we drink dammit!
Next up…Swallow The Sun. I think the weather was summoned by this particular band cause it’s moodyness and depressiveness work like a charm in rainy, windy and dark weather. Must say that when I saw them in Finnish Metal Expo, they were better. Was it cause I was inside and felt warm? Perhaps but the constant pouring rain takes the best out of everyone. So I was pretty much trying to stay warm and pay attention…and failed miserably.
There was only one thing left to do…go home…I wasn’t dressed to this type of weather god dammit! And it pissed me off royally cause there was still Stam1na and Turisas coming…and also the surprise act which in my opinion was ridiculous. Hevisaurus? In Myötätuulirock, saturday at 10:15 pm? Their target audience afterall are young children and kindergarden people! This was a failure from the festival organizers. Hevisaurus would have worked very well for instance being the first band on saturday or even sunday but not on saturday evening. Enough ranting. I didn’t see them anyway cause I headed home.
Sunday was a hangaround day for me in Myötätuulirock. I didn’t in fact pay attention to any bands in particular. Weird for me was that usually sundays are the days of major headliners in festivals but on that case Myötätuulirock was an exception. Or how would you describe the sundays roster: Reckless Love, Raaka-aine, Peer Günt, Royal Republic, Suburban Tribe, Mustasch and Amorphis. Since I really didn’t pay attention to the bands more closely I won’t get into any of those bands other than saying that they worked as background music just fine.
As a whole I would still give Myötätuulirock a good grade. Saturday was such a treat that it alone put a smile on my face…despite the weather. Can you imagine how much better it would have been in warm weather? But like every so often in finnish festivals…there is no summer.
Facilities worked well, plenty of bathrooms, lots of places to buy food, merchandise and drinks. And the mobile Alepa worked very well too! But one thing I would hope Myötätuulirock should change for the next time, bring back the second stage. Cause now the transition between bands was too long. I know that those festivals aren’t organized for us press creeps and it’s easier to take the waiting between bands when you have beer can in your mouth. But being in festivals where they practise the 2 stage plan it just works so much more better. The transitions are quick and if you really are there just to see the bands you can move from one stage to another and get basically nonstop music experience throughout the weekend.