Twice in 5 months! We caught Elastinen’s vappu show back on May 1st, and now he’s back and has upgraded from The Circus to Hartwall Arena! We were fascinated to see such a big star play such a small venue back then, so now that he’s gone up several venue levels, Bear went back to see Kimmo “Elastinen” Laiho play the first of two ELA-Shows at Hartwall Arena on October 9th, 2015.
You should know from my last report that, while hip-hop isn’t exactly my genre of choice, I have a weak spot for Elastinen. I was convinced that he was a worthwhile live act back on a smaller stage in May, so when the ELA-show was announced, I was really curious to see how things would change, moving from a venue that hosts one or two thousand up to tens of thousands!
Mirroring the last show, the doors to Hartwall opened at 18:30 but ELA didn’t hit the stage until 21:00. He had DJ Mista S, Brädi, and Mikael Gabriel to get the party started for him, but we showed up at 20:30 just to see the main event. The stage had a big banner-like screen across the top and a curtain covering the stage, so we didn’t get any hints as to what was coming. The lights dimmed three minutes early and a short video played on the banner. We were then teased with a short bit of music and a silhouette of Elastinen on the screen, followed by a long pause. It came again, and the curtain dropped to some massive crowd cheers and he went straight into “Eteen ja ylös,” which is a pretty solid starting song, greeted the crowd, and followed it with “Kaiken.”
I think the first comment I had about him last time was his energy, and this time I could say the same thing, but it was a different type of energy. For one, the stage was probably at least twice as big, so he had a lot more ground to cover for a lot more time. We certainly didn’t want him to be out of breath during the show, so less running was completely understandable. In spite of not running and bouncing all over the place this time, he was still really into it, engaging the crowd and moving all over the place. Also, during “Kaiken” the dancers came out, and they certainly help to fill up the stage… and it was a big stage! There was an upper platform with the four-piece brass (again, yes!) and two drummers, and on the lower half, two keyboard stations, a guitarist, bassist, and DJ Ewok, who apparently has been with Ela at every single show – ever!
There’s one thing I want to say right now, before I get into the rest of this. There is a concert etiquette that is pretty much universal (unless you’re drunk) at most metal gigs – if you’re moving to the front and people are packed in like sardines, they are allowed to push you back if you’re trying to cram yourself into their spot. If you’re elbowing people for any other reason (that isn’t a moshpit), you’re an asshole. About three songs in I took a dive into the crowd to check things out. Mostly it was made up of pleasant dancing people, but there were a couple people who were shoving me or elbowing me for just trying to move around, and one girl (who had plenty of open space around her and wasn’t even that close to the front) elbowed me and shoved me repeatedly just for trying to get around her. Compare this with one girl that I stepped in front of for a moment who said quickly, “Hey sorry, I can’t see now,” – I moved on. Acting like a total fuckwad is not a necessary measure to keep your spot at a show as any metalhead would know, and if you’re being a complete dick to people needlessly when you’ve got plenty of room around you… honestly, I think you’re missing a lot of the messages that Elastinen has about being positive and nice to one another.
Anyways. Straight from “Kaiken,” he told us that he’d like to bring some superlatives into our lives, which led nicely into “Super.” Not wanting to deal with crazies in the crowd, I ducked out afterwards because the next song was “Vahva” and I had a suspicion that Robin might make an appearance. I was right, and the girls got scream-y, so I headed back to my spot. It was really great that Robin actually played the song – I always complain about backing tracks for guest spots in live shows, and the ultimate (though admittedly difficult-to-achieve) situation is to have your guest with you on stage. I thought it was kind of cute that they did Elastinen ft. Robin, and followed it with Robin ft. Elastinen, by playing “Kipinän hetki” right afterwards.
The dancers came back after Robin took his leave and brought a much stronger hip-hop/break-dance style with them, doing a couple tosses, and Ela joined in with them. He disappeared for a while and the stadium’s attention turned to a black box towards the back of the floor. The curtains dropped there to reveal Ela and Iso H, which meant it was time for FINTELLIGENS! They did at least three songs together, including “Mikä boogie,” in their “Fintelligens Forever” shirts, and had a big appreciative hug at the end. I think Ela had said something about always remembering where you come from to help appreciate where you are, which was pretty sweet of him. They walked through the crowd to the stage together for the last song or two, but it was also cool that the people at the back of the stadium got a better view for a little while – cool that they placed the little stage so far back.
After an acoustic version of “Anna mun,” I noticed some cushy armchairs appear in the darkness of the upper stage and wondered who would be joining him next. Admittedly, Cheek was not who I was expecting, but the crowd sure wasn’t disappointed to see him! I believe the song they played was “Profeetat,” which is again, technically Cheek ft. Elastinen, not the other way around.
This more or less kicked off “guest appearance hour” as we got a whole collective from Rähinä Records. I think every artist, or at least almost every artist signed to Rähinä Records came out on stage for the next few songs. The dancers were waving the big R flags during these songs, like “Loppuviikko,” which featured Uniikki, Spekti, Tasis, and TPH, and “Pojat on poikii,” which is an Uniikki song. Iso H was back for “Rotko” as well. It was really incredible and totally cool that they managed to get all or almost all of them together for the occasion.
The guests didn’t end there, as Ela followed the Rähinä songs with his Vain Elämää version of “Peggy” with Samuli Edelmann (who was incredibly cute mimicking the most basic of basic hip-hop dance moves). After that, Paula Vesala popped up on the small stage to sing to him across the room as they did “Oo siellä jossain mun” (PMMP). She joined Ela and Iso H on the stage afterwards for “Sori,” which I believe she had covered on Vain Elämää. Unfortunately, Vesa-Matti Loiri wasn’t there for “Naurava kulkuri,” nor was Snoop Dog present for “Koko yö,” but I think we can excuse that. I actually wasn’t very happy that they played “Koko yö” with Snoop’s backing track. It’s a bit of a gimmicky song to begin with, seeing as how Snoop doesn’t exactly pronounce “elastinen” correctly – I guess they played it because it’s a big hit, but it was not a great choice for a live show. It’s a common complaint from me, but I think they should have taken Snoop’s part off the track for it it had to be in the set.
It had been two and a half hours when he closed out the whole night with “Anna soida” (with the same “Rusketusraidat” interlude we remembered from the last show). It was a great show, a great performance with a great band, great dancers, a vast plethora of guests, and you can’t deny that these pop/hip-hop guys know how to put on a show.
Overall, this show was nothing short of fantastic. It had a bit of everything – dancers, fog, flares, brass band (still love it), and more guests than you see at a small festival half the time. Even though this is a huge step away from my favorite genre, you can’t deny that these guys make their shows worth seeing. And hey, the music’s catchy, so if you just like to see live music, you can’t go wrong with this guy. If I didn’t have another gig to go to the following day, I might’ve gone back for another round! After hearing about it, I was actually sorry I had missed it. After he sang “Iisii,” he said that Friday night actually had been the best night of his life (“eilen oli elämäni hienoin ilta”) and he hoped Saturday might even beat it. I guess he also did a shirtless stage dive as well – fan service! But in truth, Friday night was incredible and word on the street was that Saturday was as good, so if you are a fan of Elastinen and didn’t go, you clearly missed out!
The sets for both nights were the same, save for one song.
1. Eteen ja ylös
4. Vahva (ft. Robin)
5. Kipinän hetki (w/Robin)
6. Veri vetää
7. Mikään muu ei merkkaa
8. Voittamaton (Fintelligens song w/Iso H)
9. Kellaireiden kasvatit (Fintelligens song w/Iso H)
10. Heruusk? (Fintelligens song w/Iso H)
11. Kaikki peliin (Fintelligens song w/Iso H)
12. Stockholm-Helsinki (Fintelligens song w/Iso H & Petter) [Saturday gig only]
13. Mikä boogie (Fintelligens song w/Iso H)
14. Anna mun (acoustic)
16. Ovet paukkuu
20. Profeetat (Cheek song w/Cheek)
22. Loppuviikko (w/Rähinä collective)
23. Pojat on poikii (Uniikki song w/Rähinä collective)
24. Rotko (Fintelligens song w/Rähinä collective)
25. Peggy (Samuli Edelmann song w/Samuli Edelmann)
26. Oo siellä jossain mun (PMMP song w/Paula Vesala)
27. Sori (Fintelligens song w/Paula Vesala & Iso H)
28. Naurava kulkuri (Vesa-Matti Loiri song)
29. Koko yö
30. Anna soida w/Rusketusraidat (PMMP) interlude
Photos & text by Bear Wiseman
Interview with Scar of the Sun — “I was angry, I was really angry, and that’s why my vocals came out like that.”