Mon. Oct 26th, 2020

2.9.2020 Anni Lahe & Herra Ylppö & EX @ Tavastia, Helsinki

The third time’s a charm. Herra Ylppö might have been thinking something along those lines as his newest band EX’s show at Tavastia (and pretty much the whole tour) was first moved from March to June and from June to September. Today would finally be the day to hear the songs from HERRA YLPPÖ & EX’s debut album “Lovi” live and see how the line-up of three musicians would express themselves around the theme of divorce and its different phases.

The choice of artist to warm-up the audience might have felt a bit unusual beforehand. The recorded material of ANNI LAHE, on first listening, sounds more like straightforward pop than rock music. In a live setting, however, it was a positive surprise to hear the band make it sound more organic, which lead singer Anni brought up herself as well. Giving a bit more focus to the lyrics also revealed topics around relationships and other relatable life events. Anni and her band notably enjoyed their 30 minutes on stage, which in the end made them a great warm-up act before Herra Ylppö.

The tension was building up nicely as Herra Ylppö, Hamid Moeini, and Joel Attila took the stage. The show was sold out but with very limited capacity, though this didn’t seem to bother the band, as they started the gig with a calm song from HERRA YLPPÖ & IHMISET catalog, “Nokkostähti.” Even with the more peaceful mood, Ylppö didn’t stick to one spot on the stage but used the space that was available and definitely enjoyed being able to perform live again.

The music of Herra Ylppö has always had strong personal experiences behind it and especially the songs of “Lovi” were no exception. You could see and hear that the lyrics about divorce and related events had a powerful emotional impact on them. The topic and the feelings around it are unfortunately familiar to many people, but that also created some beautiful fragility behind Ylppö’s strong voice.

With all the movement, energy, and being the lead singer, it was easy to keep your focus on Ylppö himself, but there was a lot happening around him. Enja Heikkilä, who’s also singing on the album, gave us an amazing vocal performance on the songs she was featured in, as did Hamid Moeini, who’s a sensational guitar player but never tries to steal the show with his skills. I’m also not quite sure how Joel Attila managed to play the bass and the synthesizer during the same performance.

Closer to the end of the setlist, Ylppö brought up his friend Mika Lätti‘s upcoming poetry book, “Samaan suuntaan taipuvat.” Ylppö had a little smile on his face as he was talking about the book and very soon he asked Mika to join him on stage and recite one poem from his book. Mika briefly described that the book was dedicated to his wife and that HERRA YLPPÖ & EX was at least partially creating their debut album at his place. He recited the title poem of the book “Samaan suuntaan taipuvat” and then headed offstage to the sound of applause.

HERRA YLPPÖ & EX played a total of five songs from IHMISET with some new EX twists to them but was stood out almost comically was the first encore song, “Pojat ei tanssi,” which was heavily modified with some sort of a dance remix. It was absolutely shameless in a good way and you could do nothing but smile and laugh and just enjoy the music. This is the kind of positivity and energy we need to make it through this fall. As Ylppö states on “Parisängyn lakanat,” you can survive anything.

Article and photos by Lassi Saarinen

Setlist

1. Nokkostähti
2. Miten tästä selviää?
3. Kaikki rakastaa sinua
4. Lovi
5. Sata vuotta
6. Rakkaus on raskasta
7. Helsinki ei välitä kyyneleistäni
8. Parisängyn lakanat
9. Mustat hevoset
10. Suomen naiset
11. Loppusointu
12. Se lakkaa sattumasta
13. Pojat ei tanssi (encore)
14. Millaista on vapaus? (encore)

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