28.10.2023 Merta & Machinae Supremacy @ On the Rocks, Helsinki

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For fans of MACHINAE SUPREMACY who weren’t able to get to Dark River Festival to see them this year, luckily, they scheduled a short fall tour for the end of October, starting in Oulu on the 25th, Tampere on the 26th, Tallinn on the 27th, and finishing up in Helsinki on the 28th! Naturally, we had to be there for the final show!

Machinae Supremacy, 2022

MACHINAE SUPREMACY are known for touring Finland more than pretty much anywhere else, lucky for us! The band have been pretty quiet in recent years, dropping a couple singles during the pandemic and more recently, on October 20th, a new single called “WARRIORS, pt. 1 (Final Stage)” that sounded pretty good, so there was reason for excitement for these shows.

However, this night opened with a local up-and-coming act, MERTA, whom I have heard of a few times and had caught a glimpse of for the first time back in April when they opened for ARION in Tampere. They had put on a pretty good show, so I was fairly intrigued to see them again half a year later.

The venue was decked out in Halloween attire, with the odd devil and/or wizard seen in the crowd, which had already packed the venue quite full for MERTA‘s set. While I have yet to listen to their albums and I’m simply no good at gauging Finnish lyrics on the fly, I did find the energy to be quite impassioned and the music to be heavy and catchy, and there was some creative use of electronic elements to flesh out their sound, making this a really intriguing show and I’ll have to keep an eye on them in the future!

I’m usually complaining about people not moving at shows in Finland, so I was pleased to see a lot of wiggling around in the crowd. In fact, they were quite willing to respond to the band’s prompts, be it to put their hands up or turn on their phone lights for a ballad, and even singing along to the lyrics in the last song – not bad! In fact, in a moment so rare that it’s something I’ve maybe never seen in a club in 14 years, the crowd called for an opening band encore, though there wasn’t time for the band to oblige, unfortunately.

Samsung Galaxy S20

The floor was outright packed well before it was time for MACHINAE SUPREMACY to hit the stage – it seems as though the show sold out not long before it started – perhaps it’s time for them to go up a venue size? In fact, I would encourage it, because a packed-to-capacity On the Rocks is a bit of a nightmare when it comes to both comfort, sound, and temperature. Changing things up a little from the norm, they started out with “Truth of Tomorrow,” greeted the crowd, and then went into their cover of ESSENGER‘s “Empire of Steel,” which I was pleased to see move up in the setlist, as Robert Stjärnström was sounding great. The crowd rewarded the performance with raucous applause, as was well deserved.

“Laser Speed Force” is a surefire banger live, so it naturally got the crowd moving, while “Renegades” (which goes straight into “Nova Prospekt”) had them put their fists up, chanting along – the crowd was indeed pretty wild on this night! The sound guy, Mika Tyni, got a shout-out for fixing an issue with the drums before they continued with “Player One,” a classic fan favorite, and people were jumping up and down during “All of My Angels.” “Dark City” had a pretty magical guitar part, where Jonas Rörling, Andreas “Gordon” Gerdin, and Tomi Luoma told a pretty slick story with their instruments. This was then followed by a Finnish favorite, “Indiscriminate Murder is Counterproductive,” which made the crowd go full bananas.

An album was announced for release in the near future, with the new track, “WARRIORS pt. 1 (Final Stage),” acting as the flagship single from 2023. It made for a great live track and all the digital elements and chiptunes are wonderfully executed. Those with a keen eye might have also spotted Ingeborg Ekeland in the crowd, who made an appearance on stage during “Pendulum” and fortunately didn’t leave until the end of the show, meaning that she stuck around to sing along with “Force Feedback” and “Through the Looking Glass.” This was a rare treat, as the last time she performed at a show with them was when Nosturi was still around, back in 2017.

Other notes? Well, I certainly can’t say I was expecting to see a hippy dance circle, but that definitely happened! Overall, this was a really solid show, dampened only by On the Rocks‘ bad lights and suboptimal sound system, which just can’t handle good loud music. Otherwise, this was a well-chosen selection of songs that were equally well-performed, with a little something special at the end, so hopefully the sold-out crowd enjoyed themselves as much as we did!

Samsung Galaxy S20

Written by Bear Wiseman

Setlist

  1. Truth of Tomorrow
  2. Empire of Steel
  3. Laser Speed Force
  4. Renegades
  5. Nova Prospekt
  6. Player One
  7. All of My Angels
  8. Dark City
  9. Indiscriminate Murder is Counterproductive
  10. Rise of a Digital Nation
  11. WARRIORS pt. 1 (Final Stage)
  12. Pendulum (encore) ft. Ingeborg Ekeland
  13. Force Feedback (encore) ft. Ingeborg Ekeland
  14. Through the Looking Glass (encore) ft. Ingeborg Ekeland