GALLERY: 16.2.2023 The Vantages, Us, Majesties, & Pretty @ Tiivistämö, Helsinki


On Thursday, February 16th, 20203, we headed out to Tiivistämö for a Valentine’s themed concert night, named L.U.V. The setting was fine: four rising names from the Helsinki underground rock scene playing under the bright lights of Tiivistämö. On the other hand, challenges were evident of course: a weekday night show lasting until midnight is difficult to pull off, even more so without big name artists. Also, Tiivistämö is maybe a size or two too big for bands more used to pulling good showings on weekend shows at smaller rock clubs. Nevertheless, it’s great that there is a place like the Helsinki city run Tiivistämö, where smaller bands can get a feel of playing at a bigger venue without too much economical pressure.

As the night rolled to a start, first out were THE VANTAGES. The Goth inspired Brit rock approach of the band is enchanting, and although the band haven’t been active for very long, they seem to have found their own way. The band still has some of their own material to write, as there are a few covers on their list, but who wouldn’t like to listen to nice takes of classics like SUEDE’s “Animal Nitrate”? Their own material, such as “Leather Jacket” – the only song actually released so far – shows that the band can indeed write good music. Hopefully we’ll hear more of it sooner than later.

Maybe the best known band of the evening was US, who played second. The R’n’B punk group, formerly known as GRANDMOTHER CORN, has been hugely active for a few years now, playing live everywhere: in Helsinki, in Sweden, in France, and the last year or two especially in the UK. Their most remarkable feat so far was at last summer’s Glastonbury Festival, where they played several club gigs and got their name to the prestigious Mojo Magazine. US hit the stage with their trademark live energy, devilishly fast tempo, and a genuine joy of playing rock on stage. Meanwhile, the crowd had grown to a half-full Tiivistämö, and one could even witness some dance moves in the crowd. Too bad a lot of the audience had apparently come to see US, as after their show, the crowd had notably shrunk.

Third out were MAJESTIES – the psychedelia influenced garage rock trio have been one of the more active names in the Helsinki scene for some years now, and especially bassist/singer Jaakko Mäkiniemi can be spotted somewhere playing almost every weekend. If it’s not MAJESTIES, then its LOVERS LEFT ALIVE or maybe STAR MARCS SOUND EXPLOSION BAND or another of his projects. The MAJESTIES show at Tiivistämö did suffer somewhat from the smaller audience who looming in the shadows while the band tried to pump up the energy on stage. Even without much support from the crowd, the band did manage to put on a good rock show. Their songs have nice, hypnotic rhythms and some clever melodies, and the band is surprisingly versatile for a simple guitar-bass-drums -trio. It would still seem that MAJESTIES are better experienced at a sweaty and full packed club stage, than a concert hall with an audience keeping a polite distance.

Last up were PRETTY. The grunge-based band with more than a twist of metal has been making a name for themselves playing with bands like URSUS FACTORY, and their debut EP, “Crawl,” has also caught some positive attention. Although the evening was growing late and the audience was starting to wear out, PRETTY came on the stage asking nothing for free. They had their few devotees lined up against the metal fence set up before the stage and played their hearts out. The band created some nice walls of sound and well thought compositions, from the more heavy metal approach of “CRAWL” to the more grungeish mellow verses and big choruses of “Under The Water.” Again there’s an air here, that the band might have even more to give with a closer contact to their crowd, but even as it was, we witnessed a nice rock show.

The Vantages