THE LOCAL BAND started in 2013 as a fun project that was supposed to last only for one gig. Instead, the group has now played a couple of times in Finland and at least once abroad (in Japan), and has released an EP as well. Now, on August 17th, 2016, the group performed to a sold out Nosturi, bringing some (mostly) ’80s glam to the darkening autumn nights. Check out the full gallery here.
The first time I had heard of THE LOCAL BAND, I couldn’t be more excited: four Finnish rock/metal musicians performing their favorite rock songs from the ’80s. I managed to see them live at Ruisrock 2014 and the gig was one of the most energetic I’ve seen. Thus I had high expectations towards the sold out night in Nosturi 2 years later.
Arriving at the venue around 30 minutes before the announced showtime, both of Nosturi’s floors were already packed. At first glance I spotted some kids with their parents, as well as teenagers and older folks in the audience. Usually a crowd like this might be seen at summer festivals, but now a smaller sample had gathered in Nosturi. I would suggest there were five kinds of people in the audience: fans of THE 69 EYES, CHILDREN OF BODOM, SANTA CRUZ, RECKLESS LOVE – and finally those who just wanted to hear their favorite tunes from the ’80s.
Taking my place in the middle of the floor, I was soon surrounded by other viewers eagerly awaiting the beginning of the gig. And the audience had its share of waiting. I am one of those people who appreciate punctuality, but I’m also used to the fact that gigs tend to start 5 to 10 minutes late. In this case, however, my patience was tested since the band arrived on stage almost 30 minutes late and with no explanation.
In addition to the band being late, the arrangements in Nosturi were partly lacking. Because the band was using pyrotechnics (or fog cannons, since they can’t use fire indoors), the photo pit was not in use – a fact that our photographer, Eliza, found out only on arriving at the venue. A mention beforehand would have surely been nice. Also, this was my first time in a sold-out Nosturi. I didn’t check upstairs but at least the downstairs of the venue was super packed – even a bit too packed for my liking.
Once the guys finally appeared and started the gig, the crowd soon forgot the long wait and showed no sign of fatigue or irritation. The four founders, Olli Herman, Archie Cruz, Alexi Laiho, and Jussi69 were accompanied on stage by Johnny Cruz, who played both keyboards and bass during the gig.
Starting the gig with a BON JOVI song, ”Lay Your Hands on Me” and ”Nightrain” from GUNS N’ ROSES, the band gave the evening an easygoing start. From time-to-time, the songs were maybe even too easygoing. I tried to find that same excitement and enthusiasm that I had in Ruisrock, but something just felt off. I had liked ”Sunglasses at Night” on the EP but I noticed it was way too slow for me when played live. It was not until Archie from SANTA CRUZ took the mic and the band performed ”Monkey Business” that I thought that maybe this gig was going somewhere after all.
I am not ashamed to admit that most of my enthusiasm towards THE LOCAL BAND is thanks to Alexi Laiho presence in it. Laiho was also in charge of the most entertaining moments of the gig. Towards the end of the show, THE LOCAL BAND performed a cover of THE VERONICAS‘ ”Untouched,” which was also released on the band’s EP. The cover is just plain awesome and it was one of the few songs on the gig that actually had some rougher and heavier sound, mostly thanks to Laiho singing the majority of the lyrics. La-la-la-la!
In a project like this, one cannot expect everything to go smoothly. I doubt that the band really had much time to practice the songs together. There were some mistakes here and there (even during my favorite, ”Untouched”), but most of the time the crowd probably didn’t even notice or at least couldn’t be bothered to care. However, I had higher expectations from a group formed by professionals. That’s why it bothered me that Olli Herman kept repeating that they are just a local band so mistakes are bound to happen and the group is just about having fun. There’s nothing wrong with having fun on stage, but knowing the (cover) songs you’re playing would be nice, especially when the audience has paid for it, and particularly when a group this popular has announced that they will do only one gig per year.
Despite my irritation, I’ll have to admit that for some parts of the show, this attitude of just having fun was actually, well… fun. One of the last songs played was OZZY OSBOURNE‘s ”Shot in the Dark.” Olli Herman announced that it was time to really fuck things up, and thus suddenly they had Alexi Laiho on bass. Looks like even one of the best guitarists in the world needs to sit down and really concentrate when given a different, albeit similar, instrument to play.
The gig ended with two classics: ”Panama” from VAN HALEN, and as the encore, ”Livin’ on a Prayer” from BON JOVI. Even though I enjoyed them both, I left the venue with mixed feelings. For the most part, I had enjoyed the gig and even forgotten about the somewhat irritating ”we’re bound to fuck up” -attitude. The energy I had experienced before had been there – from time-to-time. I could not help but wonder whether or not the band had really enjoyed performing. I took note that during the gig, Jussi69 was just sitting behind the drums during the whole set without really interacting with the audience. Olli Herman and Archie did their best to entertain the crowd between songs, whereas Laiho seemed to just enjoy the fact that for once he was not in charge of talking.
In summary, my expectations were higher regarding this gig, even though I did enjoy myself for the most part. Also, the audience seemed to be more enthusiastic than I was, so I cannot say that the evening was a complete letdown. I hope, however, that the next time THE LOCAL BAND performs, it will be at a summer festival where there is sunshine, plenty of space, and the musicians on stage look like they are really having fun – and have practiced a little bit more.
1. Lay Your Hands on Me (Bon Jovi cover)
2. Nightrain (Guns N’ Roses cover)
3. Sunglasses at Night (Corey Hart cover)
4. Lay tt Down (Ratt cover)
5. Born to Be My Baby (Bon Jovi cover)
6. Monkey Business (Skid Row cover)
7. Out of the Darkness (Little Steven cover)
8. The Boys are Back in Town (Thin Lizzy cover)
9. Nothin’ but a Good Time (Poison cover)
10. Untouched (The Veronicas cover)
11. Wanted Dead or Alive (Bon Jovi cover)
12. Shot in the Dark (Ozzy Osbourne cover)
13. Panama (Van Halen cover)
14. Livin’ on a Prayer (Bon Jovi cover) (Encore)
Written by Essi N.
Photos by Eliza Rask