This was the umpteenth time that we have seen T. JARVA & THE DARK PLACE performing a live show, but it was the very first time that this happened in a cinema! Long story short: the location where this event was held was extremely classy and it surely had a big impact on the overall atmosphere and vibe. We are talking about Keuda-Talo in Kerava, which looks nothing like the average venue. The lineup itself was quite unusual, compared to the gigs we usually write reports about: a weird combination indeed, if we take into account the big differences in music genre and the lack of a proper headliner, since the three acts were pretty much on the same level, so to speak.
The first band, T. JARVA & THE DARK PLACE, as some you may know, is an acoustic duo formed in 2018 by Taneli Jarva [ex-SENTENCED, ex-IMPALED NAZARENE, etc.; he has recently published a debut album with supergroup FRIENDS OF HELL] and Sami Hassinen, who happens to be the main composer and guitarist in Gothic-rock band, SLEEP OF MONSTERS. This time, there were two guests on stage: drummer Sami Käyhkö and double-bass player Ari Lampinen, who added extra depth to the outcome, making the whole thing even more classy, without giving up on the simple and bare beauty you usually find in an acoustic set. The band took the chance to play some new songs, which will be published in the near future, and believe us, the atmosphere was warm and intimate. Jarva’s voiceprint, as iconic as it can be, matched perfectly in such an environment, and the alchemy with Hassinen was touchable – he usually provides some backing vocals, making the whole thing quite intense.
The four-piece left the stage, but shortly after, Jarva and Hassinen came back to play one more song: “One Way Street” by Mark Lanegan, who recently passed away. The American singer, formerly in SCREAMING TREES, was and still is a big source of inspiration for them, and this cover they played did really sound like a heartfelt tribute.
The second act took the stage after a short break. SYDÄNYÖN RYTMI is a 5-piece band from Kerava, whose musical style is a blend of blues rock with prog vibes, mainly provided by the skillful use of several wind instruments (traverse flute and clarinet, amongst others). The thick and intense bluesy sound sung in Finnish, along with the band members’ jovial but classy attitude on stage totally blew our minds: it felt like we all were having a trip in the past, in the glorious days of R&B, as if the ‘60s and ‘70s vibe has been preserved and transformed into a timeless and always-effective way to make music. We could not believe our ears when they played a cover of BLACK SABBATH’s “The Wizard”: obviously the lyrics were in Finnish and of course multi-instrumentalist Pasi Puolakka provided the harmonica parts on it – it was as magical as a song having such a title should be. They also played “Locomotive Breath” by JETHRO TULL, and it seemed that the audience truly enjoyed that as well. The slow yet energetic vibe in their songs did not get unnoticed, and their ability as entertainers was immense. The bystanders reacted accordingly during the whole 13-song set, which lasted approximately one hour.
The third act was UZU NOIR, which is Antti Uusimäki’s solo project. He is a producer and sound engineer, and has been working with several artists, such as BRIAN ENO and ULVER, among others. His project is mainly based on the use of synthesizers, but he also explores different paths in electronic music by using percussion instruments and guitars. The performance immediately felt very immersive, some sort of an extra-sensorial kind of an experience where the lights on stage played a big role. Guitarist Pekka Jääskeläinen at some point started using a screwdriver as a guitar slide – unexpected and fascinating at the same time. He is quite comfortable with experimental approaches, being that he has been playing in several acts such as CIRCLE and PHARAOH OVERLORD, among others.
From the familiar, comforting vibes of the previous act to this, it felt like we were floating in outer space, something that is pretty much unknown but also inspires curiosity. We felt incredibly relaxed, cradled in these dark-ambient sea of sound.
We can easily say that it was a quite unusual combination of different musical styles to experience in a bunch of hours, and the peculiar location definitely had an impact on our perception of the whole thing, in a good way.
Written by Licia Mapelli
Photos by Mirko Luparelli