It’s been nearly a year since ENTWINE had their “Chaotic Nation” release gig in Lahti, but they’ve been doing enough local shows since then that they’ve managed to stay fresh in our minds. However, these guys were shockingly absent from the summer festivals, so it felt like a necessity to head over to Tavastia on October 6th, 2016, to see how the music holds up a year after the album was released. As well, they were accompanied by RED ELEVEN, who popped onto our radar during John Smith Festival this summer, so all-in-all it was a good opportunity to check out an old favorite and a new potential in the same go. Check out the gallery here!
Arriving at Tavastia, there was a rather reasonable handful of people already present to see the opener, RED ELEVEN, whom I was not familiar with. The mix was better closer to the sound booth, so I stepped back so I could see the stage front-and-center to watch a bit of their set. I tend to have a hard time appreciating bands that I’m unfamiliar with, but this was one of those rare moments where I was very happy to have showed up in time to catch a warm-up set. Vocalist Tony Kaikkonen has a lot of power and versatility to sing clean, a bit grungy (think ALICE IN CHAINS), and even to throw some growls in here and there. Ex-SWALLOW THE SUN drummer Pasi Pasanen also proved to be a strong element in their music, keeping an appropriately energetic pace throughout their set. As well, Teemu Liekkala (guitar) harmonized very nicely in many songs with Kaikkonen. Under their own fancy backing lights in the shape of an “11,” the band had a very nice, professional gig, and I would be happy to get the chance to see them again sometime after familiarizing myself with their music.
With the stage changeover complete, it was ENTWINE‘s turn. When the red lights hit the stage, their ominous intro track began to play and Aksu Hanttu was the first to be seen, taking his place at the drum stand. They started things off with “Saint of Sorrow,” the standard starter song from the shows that have promoted “Chaotic Nation.” There were still a few mixing errors that needed to be sorted out before everything was crystal clear, but it didn’t take more than a song or two for them to get things up to snuff, and by the end of “End of Silence,” things were more or less in order.
If I’m comparing to their last show at Virgin Oil, I would say that the performance was stronger on this night. It was just a little bit tighter, in a bit better tune, with a bit more comfort, and naturally, far far better sound quality. The show had everything that you would expect from ENTWINE, from Mika Tauriainen spraying water, to Hanttu‘s unique flare on the drum kit. It also turned out that Jaani Kähkönen has been absent this entire tour, with Tomi Luoma (MACHINAE SUPREMACY) having been his substitute in all the gigs for the “Chaotic Nation” shows.
After the first two songs, Tauriainen greeted the crowd, joked around in a weird voice, and ultimately had to ask Tom Mikkola (guitar) to see his setlist because he couldn’t remember what came next, before announcing “Out of You.” What I really enjoyed about this show was how laid-back the performance was. Luoma did the solos and shred with ease, the interaction on stage was goofy and comfortable, and the singing was strong but Tauriainen didn’t hesitate to have fun and play around with the vocals – the show seemed meant to be a good time, not to be perfect, and I mean that in a good way. These guys don’t take themselves too seriously, as seen when Hanttu stood up and, to the beat of his drum, chugged some Jägermeister. As well, the blend of nostalgia from older songs like “Chameleon Halo,” “Bitter Sweet,” or “Fatal Design” feel great mixed in with the mature newer songs – and they’ve still got some of the best material from “Chaotic Nation” in their shows, as you can see from the setlist below.
When they closed the set out with “As We Arise,” the band was raucously called back and Tauriainen couldn’t contain his cheeky grin when the audience screamed when the first notes of “Break Me” began to play. Equally enthusiastic screaming followed when “Surrender” began to play next, and they naturally finished the night with the ever-popular first release from the latest album, “Plastic World.”
Before the show, I had a chance to speak to Tauriainen for a moment about the year since the release of “Chaotic Nation,” and I was sad to learn that things had been “weird” and that the future of the band was uncertain. It could be seen, for example, in the absence of Kähkönen, as well as in their lack of summer festival gigs. Though it certainly wasn’t a discussion about how this was the end for ENTWINE, it does seem as though these guys might need some extra encouragement to keep on with music. While I would hate to see a band call it quits after such a strong comeback album, I also can’t deny that “Chaotic Nation” would be a great album to go out on (not unlike KIUAS and “Lustdriven”). However, I for one would like to encourage these guys to search once more for the magic before letting ENTWINE go for good. They’ve got a great thing going and it would be hard to say goodbye.
1. Saint of Sorrow
2. End of Silence
3. Out of You
4. Chameleon Halo
5. Bleeding for the Cure
6. Bitter Sweet
8. Frozen by the Sun
9. Fortune Falls
10. The Evil Lives in the Shadows
11. Fatal Design
13. Revolt for Redemption
14. Lost, but Still Alive
15. As We Arise
16. Break Me (encore)
17. Surrender (encore)
18. Plastic World (encore)
Written by Bear Wiseman
Photos by Miia Collander
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