A few months ago, LiveNation announced a collection of upcoming local live acts, including bands like Elastinen. It’s been a long time since Musicalypse has gone out to a non-rock or metal show, so we thought we’d send our resident metal expert out to see how she felt about the local hip-hop scene. Bear went to The Circus on May 1st, 2015, which is Vappu (May Day) in Finland, to see how the springtime holiday would be celebrated.
I have to admit that I have a bit of a weak spot for ELASTINEN. Hip-hop is very far from my favorite genre of music, but after watching parts of the last season of Vain Elämä, I can’t deny that Kimmo Laiho’s big goofy smile and generally positive attitude fills me with child-like joy. Plus, I found the versions of the songs that he did were really catchy and cleverly written, and I can appreciate someone who doesn’t just mimic the original when doing a cover, but takes the idea and gets creative (see SIGN’s version of “Run to the Hills” for a good example of this). This was bound to be an interesting experience for me, because I’ve never been to a hip-hop gig before and I had no idea what to expect from the music or the crowd, or anything really.
I was surprised to see that the doors were only opening at 21:00 and the show itself didn’t start until 23:00. That was way too early, and we were admittedly a little annoyed that the website didn’t state the start time, so we showed up right at 21:00 and had to wait around for a few hours. For future reference, venues, it would be nice for a show to start one hour after the doors open as a general rule, unless otherwise stated. We did manage to pass this time with one of the ELASTINEN face masks they were giving out for Vappu by trying to take pictures of it looking as terrifying as possible. This was not remotely difficult to accomplish.
As the crowd slowly trickled in, I began to wonder if The Circus was a great venue for this type of show. I’ve heard so many metalheads say that don’t like The Circus because most of the staff aren’t part of the scene and the atmosphere isn’t right for them. Since The Circus is more of a club than anything, it was interesting to see how it was set up. The back bar was closed but both side bars opened up, and dance music was playing (“Uptown Funk,” anyone?). I was a little disappointed to see that no one was actually dancing though. It almost seems like a waste to have people just waiting up front when you could be getting a couple free hours of clubbing out of the venue before the show. The crowd was, to my surprise, from all walks of life. There were plenty of older people there, though it was mostly dominated by young adults, and even then, more women than men. I learned that there are pretty much 100% more touchy-feely bros at a hip-hop show, and that drunk people are just as obnoxious. The more you know!
I had asked at the bar when we should expect things to get going, and I thought the answer was 23:00, so either I was misinformed or they were 30 minutes late getting started. The stage had guitar, bass, drums, but also a brass trio reading from iPads and a DJ/backup rapper (DJ Ewok), which was not a thing that I knew existed, nor was necessary. I was particularly excited about the brass band because I love hearing non-standard instruments.
When the show started at last, my very first thought was: he should’ve been called Energinen. He was bouncing around the stage so fast that I couldn’t imagine that anyone could get a good picture of him. He was all of the smiles and happiness that I hoped he would be though, and he sounds great live. I can see why he’s gotten so much work on other shows because he’s so very charismatic and fun to watch.
He proceeded to hope that everyone was having the best Vappu ever on more than one occasion. Again with the happiness, he was well-wishing everyone throughout the show. I began to wonder if he’s actually that nice and cheerful in person, or if he’s more like… a normal Finnish person? Just kidding. He introduced his band maybe three quarters of the way through the show, and didn’t do too much chatting during the song breaks, though I recall him mentioning how sweaty he was getting at one point. He also asked who was going to some of the summer music festivals. It looks like he’ll be performing at plenty of them, from Ruisrock to Pipefest, and Wanaja to Porisphere.
This could have been an album-release gig as far as I know, because a large percentage of the songs played were from “Iso Kuva”: “Kaiken,” “Mikään muu ei merkkaa,” “Super,” “Eteen ja Ylös,” “Tuulettaa,” and “Koko yö.” You’ll have to forgive me if my setlist isn’t 100% accurate because I’m not great with Finnish song titles in bands I’m not overly familiar with. But it was a great set and I was especially happy to get a couple of his cover versions from Vain Elämä – “Oo siellä jossain mun” (PMMP), “Peggy” (Samuli Edelmann), and “Naurava kulkuri” (Vesa-Matti Loiri). The crowd cheered him back for an encore with “E-L-A” and he played “Anna soida” with PMMP’s big hit, “Rusketusraidat,” mixed into it.
I can’t deny that I really enjoyed the show. My only real complaint was the usual one: that Snoop Dog was only present in the backing track for “Koko yö,” and they hadn’t gotten, for example, the DJ to sing his parts or something along those lines. Otherwise, I don’t dance very often because few things inspire me to do so, but it was a nice change from the usual fist-in-the-air feel. The energy was great, the lighting pretty good, the performance was solid, and the show really benefited from a great live band and those three guys with the saxophone, trumpet, and trombone. And hey, since his songs are a bit shorter than metal songs on average, you get more songs out of the gig. So, there are a lot of opportunities to see him this summer, and if you’re into Finnish hip-hop, I’d definitely recommend him.
3. Mikään muu ei merkkaa
6. Ovet paukkuu
7. Eteen ja ylös
8. Mad Max solo
9. Oo siellä jossain mun (PMMP cover – Vain Elämä)
12. Veri vetää
13. Peggy (Samuli Edelmann cover – Vain Elämä)
14. Brass jam
15. Naurava kulkuri (Vesa-Matti Loiri cover – Vain Elämä)
16. Koko yö
17. Anna soida ft. Rusketusraidat (PMMP cover), medley (encore)
Written by Bear Wiseman
Photos by Bear Wiseman
Elvenking to reissue classic albums “Heathenreel” and “The Winter Wake“ for the first time ever on Vinyl this March on AFM Records