GALLERY: 12.01.2024 20 000 Hz & Panssarijuna @ Semifinal, Helsinki

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Semifinal took a lengthy break from concerts after the Covid years but is now back on track. When they hosted a two-band night featuring 20 000 HZ and PANSSARIJUNA on Friday, January 12th, 2024, we set out to see if the smaller side of the Tavastia club still had the intensive cave-feel it used to.

The lineup for the night was a somewhat unexpected combination at first glance. 20 000 HZ lined up with four people: bassist Karl Blood, keyboardist Oliver Vierkens, singer/keyboardist Tiina Vanhapelto, and vocalist Sanna Silver. They performed in silver outfits with trademark forehead lights attached to their heads. The music is rooted in electropop and lo-fi with touches of post-punk. It’s like a sci-fi movie made on a shoelace budget.

PANSSARIJUNA is a completely different beast. The five-man band, headed by vocalist-guitarist Johnny Wittu, bases its music on roots and Americana. They call it “trauma blues,” referring to the darkly humorous texts that handle all things shameful and traumatic: sexual mishappenings, terrible accidents, drinking and drugs, or abuse of power, but always with a smirk, as PANSSARIJUNA is never quite serious.

The evening was opened by 20 000 HZ. The crowd was starting to gather and fill the premises when they started, and by the end of the show, Semifinal had filled up nicely. While the place filled, the music – which is quite danceable – started to get to the audience as well. There were enthusiastic applause, and by the end of the show, even some dancing in the front rows.

Most of the crowd seemed to have come for the second offering though. PANSSARIJUNA has not played a whole lot of shows lately, and the crowd seemed eager to see them. There were a couple of new songs in the set, but it was the older songs better known to the audience, such as “Huumeluolaan” or “Nyt sattuu,” that had the crowd singing and dancing.

What really is the secret of PANSSARIJUNA is the feeling of contact between the audience and the band during their shows. This was the case here again, and when the show ended with the band marching to play an acoustic finale “Hullu ja epänormaali” while walking in the audience, there was no better place to be.

20 000 Hz

Panssarijuna

Photos by Arto Alho