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18.11.2018 Awake Again, High School Dropouts & Cyhra @ On The Rocks, Helsinki

Awake Again, High School Dropouts & Cyhra at On The Rocks, Helsinki on 18 November 2018: live report.

On The Rocks is starting to feel like my new home, the venue has surprised me during the fall with a fantastic program of a variety of bands. 18 November another one of these gigs was scheduled at the club: Awake Again, High School Dropouts & Cyhra were all performing for a packed On The Rocks.

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All three bands were very different from one another, but they all had one thing in common: energy. In fact, it was tricky taking photos because everyone was moving like as if they were on a massive sugar rush, especially the starting band Awake Again. The band managed to surprise me with an uplifting energetic set. With their best outfits on, the band warmed up the audience in the best possible way. Personal highlight of the show was “Below”, twice.

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Next up it was time for High School Dropouts. It was the second time that I had seen the band from Tampere live. Last time their energy left a great impression on me, unfortunately, the show back then had some technical difficulties as I remember. Luckily, this time around there were no such things.

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The only setback the band had this time was the foot injury of singer Rowan Rafferty. Nonetheless, he managed to still go totally crazy on the punk rock covers. We got offered the best of the 2000s: Blink 182, The Offspring, Sum41 etc. who doesn’t like a stroll down memory lane? The set flew by like crazy. The audience decided to come closer and was rocking out together with the band. Even though the only request of the evening “Paranoid” wasn’t played, the crowd still had the time of their lives.

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Last act for the night was headliner Cyhra who played a soldout show at Pakkahuone with Amorphis the night before. It’s clear that sometimes I am hiding under a rock since I did miss a lot of these guys, I only got familiar with them during my preparation for the interview I did last summer with Euge Valovirta about his debut solo album. After a couple of listens to the album, I knew what I had missed out on. So, immediately when it was announced the band would march their way into Finland, I knew I had to be part of possibly one of the last shows of this touring cycle.

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The venue was pretty much packed, I guess only a couple of tickets away to being a soldout show. Considering I had reserved myself a spot at the front of the stage, I can tell you that the show was very intense, in a good way. It was intimate, energetic and the crowd loved it.

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Since Jesper couldn’t make it to the show, the band had welcomed Marcus Sunesson (Engel) with open arms into their family, who totally nailed the set. Since we have to wait a little longer for Cyhra’s sophomore album, the band played only songs from “Letters To Myself”, songs that all the fans clearly know by heart. Behind me, I could hear people singing out loud and clearly being impressed with Jake E’s proficiency of Finnish language. Even though the audience’s hero of the evening clearly was Euge Van Halen – as someone bluntly shouted out after a sudden guitar solo!

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I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the entire show, I was aware that Cyhra is a good live band, because of previous live footage I have seen and impressions from people in my circles, but being there myself totally made a difference.

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Never have I seen a drummer leave his drum kit behind as much as Alex Landenburg to rock out in the front of the stage with the others and even dance with Euge. Those shenanigans are perhaps the best part of their entire show, because not only do they play a solid set, with a lot of humor and energy, they also are just a bunch of friends who rock out on the stage together who see their entire fanbase as part of their family! I can tell you that no one left the venue without a smile smeared across their faces.

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Setlist

  1. Dead to Me
  2. Letter to Myself
  3. Here to Save You
  4. Heartrage
  5. Dark Clarity
  6. Drum solo
  7. Black Wings
  8. Inside a Lullaby
  9. Muted Life
  10. Rescue Ride
  11. Guitar Solo
  12. Holding Your Breath
  13. Closure
  14. Karma
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