28.7.2021 Luna Kills, Blame Me!, & Edge of Haze @ On the Rocks, Helsinki

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If I remember correctly, the last live show I saw was 11 months ago nearly to the date, when TRUE CULT CLUB played at On the Rocks in Helsinki. Now, with vaccinations getting dished out slowly yet surely, we’re starting to be allowed to see a few restricted live shows here and there. One of the most anticipated of these was when LUNA KILLS, BLAME ME, and EDGE OF HAZE all partnered up to celebrate some of their recent releases at On the Rocks on July 28th, 2021. Check out the full gallery here.

As I mentioned, this was my first night back to live shows, so I donned my extremely comfortable WHISPERED mask (what can I say, I breathe better in it than anything else) and headed to On the Rocks, eager to see all three bands, but admittedly, it was the first band that I was most excited about because their new album this year was incredible.

The first band up was LUNA KILLS at 19:30. not to be bitter, but it helps has definitely been one of my most-played albums this year and so far I’m still not sick of it, playing it almost every day since it came out. It’s been a long time since I last came to a show where I was most excited for the opener, so it was fun to get most of my dancing out during the first show, not the last.

As most of these bands have only released less than a handful of albums, their sets were sadly limited to only about 40-50 minutes each. LUNA KILLS played an absolutely wild set in this time and they were tons of fun to watch. All of their music is wild and danceable and every member has a lot of flare and passion. Lotta Ruutiainen was mesmerizing to watch, young and full of passion… so much so, in fact, that she surely didn’t pause for more than a moment throughout the show. If I have one piece of feedback, it was that her mic technique was a bit erratic in some critical moments – I wasn’t sure if this was intentional or if she was just getting lost in the music, but it took the sound away from some of her best notes a few times… and her best notes are insane (in a good way). That said, I’ll gladly forgive this because of the quality of their songs and live portrayal thereof. Lotta also chatted vibrantly with the crowd, though her words came out far too quickly for me to follow. I did pick up a huge amount of enthusiasm at least. Best of all, they played all of my favorite songs from their album, like “DEAD2ME,” “bITTER sONGS cOME eASY,” “liar, liar,” and “old blood” (and more). Ultimately, I loved their set and look forward to following them as they gain more experience on the stage, tighten up their energy, and hopefully take over the world!

Setlist

  1. bITTER sONGS cOME eASY
  2. prove me wrong
  3. violent waters
  4. hazy lines
  5. old blood
  6. liar, liar
  7. DEAD2ME
  8. honey trap

The second band of the night was BLAME ME, who released their debut, The Invisible You,” in June. The band took the stage and before I knew what happened, sweet and gentle-looking Bini Silvennoinen exploded on stage like she was fueled by firecrackers and began a full set of going apeshit in the best sort of way. The crowd had expanded since LUNA KILLS set and were just as happy to dance around and headbang as they had been to the previous band.

The band’s set also included some of the songs – I can’t say even the best songs, because the album is really consistently good – from the new release that were very highly anticipated. The set started strong with the album opener, “Toxic,” which pulled a lot of screams from the crowd. Other big crowd favorites included “Fire, Fuel and Scars,” and of course their cover of T.A.T.U.‘s “All the Things She Said.” As a foreigner in the crowd, Bini‘s Helsinki Finnish was a lot easier to follow than the rapid-fire speeches from Lotta (who is from Kuopio). Most of them were speaking of how grateful they were that there were as many people present as there were. Bassist Juho Jokimies was also quite a showman, chatting with the crowd and announcing songs, continuing the great vibe that LUNA KILLS laid down. They wrapped up their set with “Infected,” winding up their show on a great note. The only real issue with their set was the sound quality, which was a bit of a mess – leading me to abandon my place at the front of the stage to find somewhere more balanced – but otherwise they were fantastic.

Setlist

  1. Toxic
  2. Traces
  3. What a Waste
  4. To Ashes
  5. Black Sheep
  6. Prayers & Dreams
  7. Off the Radar
  8. All the Things She Said (t.A.T.u cover)
  9. Don’t Save Me
  10. Fire, Fuel and Scars
  11. Infected

The final band of the night was EDGE OF HAZE, whom I first heard of at 2017’s Valurauta but have never actually listened to. They started right on time and I was surprised that the crowd wasn’t as big for them as it was for BLAME ME! at first, though it filled out after a song or two. Their stage look was nice as well: uniform, simple but definitely put together with some thought so as to create a stage image.

Admittedly, EDGE OF HAZE did not impress me at first. Opening their set with “Until We Hit the Fire,” the first couple of songs were very mild-mannered and repetitive compared to the vibrancy of the first two bands. However, once they got into it and began to show off the heavier, proggier side of their sound, their show came to life more. Certainly, pairing this group with two alternative metal bands was an odd choice, as EDGE OF HAZE were the headliner, but also felt like the odd ones out of the night.

The other complaint is that the sound remained quite bad in their set, at least if you weren’t standing on the floor, and the floor – as I said – did get crowded after a couple of songs, despite ticket sale restrictions on the event. Their music eventually proved to be quite diverse, with anything from a soft DEAD BY APRIL sound to growling death metal parts. Due to its progressive nature, the music might not be very easily accessible to first-time listeners live, but the enthusiasm of the crowd and the number of shirts that showed up indicated that the band has a pretty solid following. Some of the highlights of their set included “Inside,” “Crushed,” and latest single “Parts of Anything.” They wrapped up the evening with “Black Lakes” to big cheers, with no encore.

Overall, this was a really fun night, apart from the wavering sound balance as the night went on and what appeared to be a complete lack of coronavirus restrictions (apart from limited capacity) as no one was wearing masks or keeping a proper distance on the floor. However, the first two bands completely lived up to the energy and bombast of their debut albums and the final artist is definitely a band that I’ll need to try out and get familiar with in a better space. Ultimately, if any of their albums have appealed to you, make sure you don’t miss out on their live shows… at least when it’s safe to attend again.

Photos by Laureline Tilkin
Written by Bear W.

Setlist

  1. Until We Hit the Water
  2. Trailblazers
  3. Hallucine
  4. Inside
  5. The Other Side
  6. Parts of Anything
  7. Crushed
  8. Black Lakes