TUSKA Open Air 2015
Day #1 – 26.06.2015
The festival’s ground is open space and has 3 stages, two in open space (Radio Rock Main Stage and Stage Hell, more or less in opposite each other but slightly skewed to the left side of the room) and another in enclosed space (Club Stage more into the inside of enclosure, in the background, and smaller). The area of the festival also presents a “bar area” where you can only enter if you’re older than 18 years old and can not get out of this area (have security guards on the bars) with any glasses or beer cans in your hand to see the concerts closer to the stage, exactly for older do not offer alcoholic drinks to younger, since the prohibition on children under 18 in drinking alcohol in Finland is to be fulfilled. Another thing that was told to us is that it’s forbidden to crowdsurf (forbidden at a metal festival ????).
A common denominator in the three stages during the whole three days was the sound that, generally, was very good, except one or another case that needed more work when necessary.
For logistical reasons and because the festival began quite early, we were not allowed to see the first opening band on every day.
GHOST BRIGADE – The singer with a cap on his head was energetic and tried to captivate the crowd, but maybe because it was the second band there was not a lot of people in the area. It was a good but short performance, they played four songs from the last album in 2014, like “Into the Black Light” from the “Isolation Songs” album and “Breakwater” from “Until Fear No Longer Define Us” album.
ARCHITECTS – The public’s support to this British Metalcore band was more noticeable. Maybe because the sonority would lead more to headbanging. What is certain is that we saw more movement in the crowd who attended the concert. The sound was impeccable. Songs like the “Naysayer”, “Castles in the Air” or “Gravedigger” were part of the setlist and caused the first moshpits in the audience.
BLUES PILLS – This Swedish psychedelic Blues Rock band of presented its 2014 debut album, performing songs such as “High Class Woman”, “Black Smoke”, “Little Sun Devil” or “Man Counting” with the friendly Elin Larsson’s voice. The quartet played a good show, although in the last two songs the concert became a little more intimate as the music was more into a blues/soul approach instead of rock. A little relaxation before LAMB OF GOD’s concert that was to follow on the main stage.
ENFORCER began 20 minutes late due to late changes of instruments including drums on stage. This concert took place on the small Stage Club. Only a few people were watching because most were watching Lamb of God simultaneously, but the concert was very intense. These Swedish played a speed / heavy metal like there’s no tomorrow and as if they were playing to 10,000 people. That’s attitude! “Destroyer”, “Undying Evil”, “Live for the Night”, “From Beyond”, “Run for Your Life” and even a Venom cover in the shape of “Countess Bathory”, showed that the Finns, even being few, they move around pretty well.
EXODUS – Thrash bay area at its best. Sound was also very good while some classics were reviewed, as the time for action was short to spend the more than 30-year career of this band. They began by playing 2 songs from latest album “Blood In Blood Out”, followed by classics like “Piranha”, “Black List”, “Bounded by Blood”,” The Toxic Waltz” or the last “Strike of the Beast” delighted everyone. The audience proved to be excited with the 80’s oldschool Thrash metal performance.
SABATON was without a doubt the best concert of the first day. The intro to the sound of Final Countdown by Europe, while some stage elements withdrew the coverage of the new tank, Walther’s the name, which was used for the first time on stage and in which the drums were installed in the tank’s cockpit. After the intro “The March to War” started the hostilities followed by “Ghost Division”. Unfortunately the vocals couldn’t be heard very well, only at the very end we started to understand what the singer was saying. In this song, firecrackers and other pyrotechnics gave the show another dimension and prepared the audience for what was coming next. Before “Carolus Rex” there has been a little shyster between a soldier with a mine detector and the singer on stage, next to a sign saying “Achtung Minen”. Before the 4th song, the “Swedish Pagans”, there was still time to tell a joke about Michael Jackson, about having been in contact with him as a child and had been hired to play at its reunion. During the entire concert there was a lot of fun with small brief talks in the middle, flamethrowers, and a huge interaction between all the elements of the band. “Resist and Bite”, “The Art of War”, and “Gott mit uns” sung in Swedish, after the public vote who preferred this version in detriment of the English version, “White Death”, “Talvisota” and “Primo Victoria” (this last made the whole audience jump like crazy) were part of the setlist. They ended with “Metal Crüe” while the public watched the fireworks off the stage.
Day #2 – 27.06.2015
BOMBUS was a nice surprise to start the day with. Practitioners of a heavy metal / hard rock sound, their performance was quite energetic, although the grounds in front of the stage were still a little empty of public. The concert itself was very good, with great sound. One of the highlights was the beginning of the second song: a brilliant drum solo.
The unique and distinctive sound of progressive Australian black metal band NE OBLIVISCARIS took the stage in the third act (missed Bloodbath for the reasons stated in the intro) in the afternoon. The people were starting to gather in front of the stage and it may be said that it was almost full for that specific hour, because they were one of the bands that the public was anxiously waiting to see. And the hosts did not discourage the fans. Although the first song vocals didn’t sound very good (clean voice was too loud in relation to the harsh vocals and sometimes with lots of delay), the band grabbed the audience with a powerful performance. The singer’s clean voice along with his violin lead the band to interact with the public, which generated great empathy. “Devour Me, Colossus (Part I)”, Of Petrichor Weaves Black Noise”, “Painters of The Tempest (part II)”, “Pyrrhic” were played. During the last song “And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope” Tim Charles, despite of the banning of crowdsurfing, went to the middle of the public walking on their back driven by the audience.
After such a powerful concert, the three elements of Viking metal EINHERJER put up a reasonable performance aggravated by some technical problems, particularly with the 2nd voice, making it impossible to sing and arrange proper choirs. Perhaps due to some fatigue of those who witnessed Ne Obliviscaris or the need of a few beers, there was only an average turnout of people. “Dragons of the North”, “Nidston”, “Varden Brennen”, “Ironbound” and “Far Far North” were among the songs that were played.
The legendary Japanese band LOUDNESS brought old school heavy metal to Helsinki. The sound was perfect and vocalist wearing a cap just like Brian Johnson was very friendly and communicative. The band reviewed some of its most classical compositions (the first four songs were taken from the 1985 album, “Thunder In The East”; “Crazy Doctor” from 1984 and the song “In the Mirror” goes back to 1983), having only played a song from his latest album, “The Sun Will Rise Again”, a detail which didn’t seem to upset anyone. The place was full and the crowd went wild over these guys!
ATOMIROTTA was definitely the “outsider act” of this year’s edition of Tuska Open Air. Their musical style made a lot of people question why a band of hip-hop / rap / funk was invited to play in a metal festival. Nevertheless, there were people having fun and dancing. Adding this act was a risky move from the organizers, but seemed to result in positive reception by the festival goers.
Time had come for the highly awaited AMORPHIS. The crowd waited anxiously to witness the classic album “Tales From the Thousand Lakes” from beginning to end and their expectations were matched. They played the whole thing, with a perfect sound. In between, we also saw a fireworks show with flames coming out from the stage. After playing the full album, they played the cover “Vulgar Necrolatry” by Abhorrence, the songs “Better Unborn” and “My Kantele”, leaving the instrumental “Folk of the North” to end the show while saying goodbye to the public. Many sang the emblematic songs in chorus with the singer. A fantastic show by these veterans!
Throughout the day we saw dozens of people painted with corpse paint passing by in the festival area, indicating that the former lead singer and guitarist from Immortal ABBATH was the reason for staying in the festival grounds that day. After a short intro, the concert was based on the songs of I, another project of Abbath which is more oriented to classical Heavy Metal/Hard Rock sounds than the traditional black metal genre (the songs “Warriors”, “Battalions”, “Cursed We Are”), and songs from Immortal (“One by One”, “Tyrants”, “Nebular Ravens Winter”, “In My Kingdom Cold”, “Hordes to War”), and a new track entitled “Fenrir Hunts”, that resembled the Immortal repertoire. Some firecrackers could be heard during the performance and Abbath presented everyone with his usual good mood and funny dance moves.
From one crowded concert to another, full house to see IN FLAMES as well. Another veteran band who showed why they were famous for their energy on stage. Overall it was a very intense performance which featured a lot of participation from the public. The concert began with the “Only for the Weak” and “Everything’s Gone” and the motto was unleashed for a concert that was believed to be anything but not boring. During the third song, “The Bullet Ride”, the singer said he knew it was forbidden to do crowdsurfing at Tuska, yet he wanted to “smell the public”. And the crowd proved they were not shy and many, in defiance of prohibition, spent the whole concert crowdsurfing (many more than once). Maybe in the future the organization will need to review that status of prohibiting crowdsurfing in a metal concert. It’s part of it and it doesn’t make sense to be banned. Halfway through the concert there was still time for Anders Fridén to get off stage and go along the bars taking selfies with the audience while singing, and also told a few jokes: about how One Direction are playing that day in Helsinki and asking the public if they hadn’t mistaken the concert; or that since he arrived in Finland he hadn’t yet proven “Lonkero“, a popular Finnish drink a mix of gin and grapefruit juice (despite being forbidden to drink out of the room for the bar, a Lonkero tin appeared coming from somewhere and was thrown to the stage, and the singer did not beg to drink it). Before started singing “Drifter”, Anders encouraged the public to make a “giant circle pit”, which the crowd did. The concert ended with the “My Sweet Shadow”, leaving a bitter taste in the mouth by the hour and half of the concert have passed so quickly.
Day 3 – 28.06.2015
WARMEN was the second band to take the stage on this day. It’s the project from the Children of Bodom keyboardist. Its melodic power metal had a median influx of public. After an intro named “Intromental”, the vocalist took the stage and sang the first 3 first songs: “Pasi Rantanen”, including “My Fallen Angel” and a Journeys cover song “Separates Ways”. There was another instrumental and then Jonna Geagea took the stage to sing another three songs. After “The Red Letter” Alexi Laiho showed up to sing “Suck My Attitude”. And really, his attitude on stage did justice to the name of the song, as the boy kept spitting into the air. In the last song the three vocalists to sing together “Somebody’s Watching Me”, closing song. The sound of keyboards, the key to this musical genre, was well audible and perfect.
OKOMA – this Finnish thrash metal band already has a few years (enough to have noticed the vocalist’s gray-bearded). It seemed that they are a cult band in Finland despite being the first time I heard them. The song lyrics in Finnish were sung almost in chorus by the audience, revealing they knew very well the repertoire of the band, while watching a very energetic and dynamic concert between the band and the audience. Singing, jumping or getting the hands up at the request of the singer, the audience was receptive and participative. Humorous late moment was when the lead singer and one of guitar players, changing position on stage, stumbled into each other and fell, and guitarist stood up flexing their legs and propelling the body without stop playing. Very good concert.
THE SIRENS – After the discharge that was the Mokoma concert, it was time for everyone to calm down a bit with the concert of The Sirens, a common project of singers Anneke van Giersbergen, Liv Kristine and Kari Rueslatten. The concert was based on covers from their musical projects where both singers were inserted, and it was good to hear “Saturnine” and “Strange Machines” of The Gathering, “Venus and Image” of Theatre of Tragedy or an ancient song with more than 20 years of The 3rd and the Mortal “Death Hymn”. Still heard some songs from more personal projects, ending the performance with the “Sisters of the Earth”, this an original from both. The sound was reasonable, only during the first song the voices of Liv and Kari were facing issues to be clearly heard. Very good interaction between the three singers, like three twin sisters doing what they love to do. Was asked more public to see these ladies.
OPETH – This band doesn’t need any introductions so it wasn’t a surprise to see the completely crowded area in front of the state. Perfect sound once again. The six songs that made to the setlist were very intense and well chosen. “Eternal Rains Will Come” and “Cusp Of Eternity” of the last album “Heritage” were chosen to start the concert, followed by “The Drapery Falls”, “The Devil’s Orchard”, “The Grand Conjuration” and “Deliverance” gave a very short review after the year 2000 discography. The albums lead singer continues to bombard the public with humorous and provocative taken as: “We are Opeth and we come from Stockholm, the capital of Scandinavia“; “Sorry, today I wore the wrong shoes (he wore footwear adidas sneakers )”; “Many are here to see Alice Cooper, but who has the Constrictor album?“; “We have some good bands in the capital of Scandinavia, one of them is us“ and “we only have one more song to play, but lasts 3 whole days.” A very lively and participative interaction between the band and the audience.
STRATOVARIUS brought an even more melodic approach. The band performed to the pubic the Visions album in full length. With only different song order in relation to the order of the album songs. It seemed a lukewarm concert since the middle many people already beginning to profiling on the other stage to see the headstar Alice Cooper. And also the sound was not the best, for example, during the second song the microphone failed. Still, they did their best but there was not much reaction from the public. Only some excitement was seen in the latest song “Black Diamond”.
ALICE COOPER has to be the greatest spectacle on Earth. Alice Cooper gave a concert that will hardly be forgotten by those who were there. The classics were reviewed, since the start of the concert. After an intro and a small cover of Judy Collins, parade of hits by Mr. Alice Cooper began. “House of Fire”, “No More Mr. Nice Guy”, “Under My Wheels”, “Billion Dollar Babies”, “Lost in America”, “Hey Stoopid”, “Dirty Diamonds” (this with a brilliant guitar solo from Nita Strauss), “Welcome to My Nightmare”, “Go To Hell”, “He’s Back”, “Feed My Frankenstein” were all there. Mr. Cooper was constantly changing coat and clothing accessories in open stage for the action that was pursuing. Following Dirty Diamonds, Mr. Alice Cooper goes backstage to reappear with a snake wrapped around him to sing “Welcome to My Nightmare”. In “Go to Hell” he appeared in a military uniform and in “He’s Back (The Man Beyond the Mask)” we saw on stage a role of Jason (from horror movie Friday the 13th) chasing a young tourist; in “Feed My Frankenstein” came on stage a giant Frankenstein to enhance the performance. The next song there was a giant guillotine simulating the decapitation Cooper. After “I love the Dead” they played four covers from: The Doors, Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and The Who. The show ended with “Poison”, as it should be. In the encore, the song “School’s Out”, between bubble soap leaving the side of the stage, confetti’s falling from the top of the stage and giant balloons jumping between the crowd, took the stage a heavy-weight guest, Mr. Michael Monroe to sing along with Alice Cooper the festival farewell music. Perfect closure.
And the next year there are more Tuska. Once again, this year’s edition was great, and for sure 2016 will be even better. And we hope to be there, to tell you how it was, once again!