As temperatures are starting to drop in Helsinki, the best way to warm up (besides the sauna) is heading out to a nice metal gig. We attended MOKOMA along with warm-up act STONED STATUES on December 4, 2021, at Tavastia. When we arrived, I thought it would take us longer to get in, as there were many people planning to attend the event, but Tavastia had a smooth operation with separate staff scanning tickets and checking Corona Passes. With an almost sold out show, we were lucky the gig was held at Tavastia, as there are multiple bars and extra space on the upper level, so everyone could have a good view of the stage.
The opening band of the night was STONED STATUES. They are a fairly new band, formed in Tampere in 2019. The gig started with drummer Allu Tanskanen coming out on stage and starting the first song. The other two members of the trio, bassist and lead singer Jenna Kosunen and guitarist Markus Hakala, also joined onstage shortly after. Their sound was a mix of rock and punk, mixed with some metal vocals from Markus Hakala. By the midpoint of their set, the audience really started to get into the music and a little mosh pit in front of the stage formed. Throughout the set, their sound was very clear and the audience could definitely hear the skill of each member clearly. Although Jenna’s vocals sound great, some songs have been arranged in a way that are slightly too high; that said, when she sings in her lower register, you can really hear her talent shine through.
It was nice to see that all the members of the band were talking to the audience and to each other between songs. Since talking to the audience between songs is usually a job reserved for the lead singer, it was a nice change of pace to see the whole band involved, as it showed their connection with each other. STONED STATUES showed us how comfortable they were to be on stage when an audience member jumped on the stage in the middle of their set. Instead of freaking out, Jenna gave him a noogie, and let him rock out on stage for a minute before he jumped back into the audience. Overall, STONED STATUES was a fun band to warm up the crowd for MOKOMA.
The headliners, MOKOMA, were up next. Before the show started, the whole floor area was packed – this was the most people I have seen in one small space for a long time. MOKOMA opened the night by playing “Nimensä unohtaneen rukous.” The band came out wearing all black, while singer Marko Annala was wearing white. Marko looked like a skinny version of Santa Claus, so the event really was the perfect way to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season. When they started their next song, “Sydänjuuret,” the entire front row was headbanging in unison. The early part of the set was quite strong, as they played classics, Hei hei heinäkuu” and “Kuollut, kuolleempi, kuollein.” The audience all enjoyed singing along to these songs and were waving their arms together.
The show continued with strong energy for the next few songs, but nothing so over the top as seen at previous gigs. When they started to play “Vade retro, Saatana!” a mosh pit finally started to break out, which would come and go throughout the rest of the show. They played “Kuu saa valtansa auringolta” next and we could tell this was going to be a good one because Marko took the time to tie his shoes extra tight before the vocals kicked in. Other highlights of the show were “Uskalla elää,” “Haudan takaa, Punainen kukko,” and “Mutta minulta puuttuisi rakkaus.” Between these songs, the crowd energy wavered slightly, as with such a long setlist it was difficult for the crowd to be enthusiastic the whole time. Either way, MOKOMA brought the energy on stage no matter what. They sure know exactly how to interact with their audience, especially those in the front row who did have their energy cranked up to the maximum level for the entire show. MOKOMA also had a longer encore, playing three songs. It seemed like the audience got their energy level back up and everyone was having a fun time for the last part of the show. They closed on a high note with “Sinne missä aamu sarastaa.” The audience all seemed happy with the performance at the end.
Overall, the sound was consistently good throughout the night. MOKOMA played a nice mix of older and newer songs. It was cool to see them mix it up a little with the setlist, as it looks like they played a slightly different set at each of their recent gigs. They have so many solid songs to pick from, it’s good that they can rotate them a little. During the pandemic, when everything is so uncertain, it is nice to have a consistent band, where you know what you know what you are going to get- which is a solid performance with great music from a professional band, who know what they do, and how to do it well. This was definitely a fun show to kick off December in good spirits.
Written by Sarah de Wolf
Photos by Juho Jokimies
1. Nimensä unohtaneen rukous
3. Hei hei heinäkuu
4. Kuollut, kuolleempi, kuollein
5. Kasvot kohti itää
6. Vade retro, Satana!
7. Kuu saa valtansa auringolta
8. Uskalla elää
10. Haudan takaa
11. Hujan hajan
12. Punainen kukko
13. Mutta minulta puuttuisi rakkaus
14. Syyttävä sormi
15. Kesytä perkeleet
16. Sinä riität
17. Toinen ihminen
18. Sinne missä aamu sarastaa