GALLERY: 5.4.2024 Tallinn Music Week – Blow Up @ Paavli Kultuurivabrik, Tallinn


This year, as part of Tallinn Music Week, featuring a series of events for people in the music industry and a whole lot of live shows of different styles, Damn.Loud Agency and Blow Up That Gramophone teamed up to offer a display of interesting bands. Some local acts like BUZHOLD and KESKKOOL, alongside Finnish bands such as VIRTA, MOSHIMOSHI, and DOME RUNNER, were joined by a couple of foreign acts, namely MERYL STREEK and PLATTENBAU. We didn’t want to miss the opportunity since in a few months our beloved Blow Up Festival will be held for the first time in Tallinn in the same venue (joining forces also with the guys from Sonic Rites), just a testament to the good spirit and collaboration between these passionate people. Knowing that Paavli Kultuurivabrik, even though quite a new venue, has already received a lot of praise from all directions, was also one more reason for this quick sortie in this unknown area northwest of Tallinn.

Once there, and not having been in the area before, it was a bit confusing at first. The location has a very DIY feel to it, having been built inside of a former factory, and it has a really nice potential. While not terribly big, it has a pretty nice capacity, and it has the potential to evolve further with the nearby buildings and the courtyard. However, the courtyard, was not so nice to be at during this event with all the snow and cold, unless you really couldn’t do without a smoke.

So it was in this setting that KESKKOOL (or “high school”) opened the evening. Every band had a pretty short set, strictly set to 30 minutes with a countdown displayed on stage, very much in a showcase style. As one could have guessed from the name, the band was made of angry youngsters expressing their hate towards society, which they did in a punk fashion. Wearing yellow safety vests, they jumped around the stage with the vocalist screaming her lungs at the audience, among which some eventually started a small circle pit.

Making waves wherever they go, DOME RUNNER left a mark here at Paavli as well. Was it their first show out of Finland? The industrial Tampere-based trio, while giving a clear nod to bands such as GODFLESH and taking their sound from those early ’90s that are always further away than we actually think, has this great raw energy on stage that becomes infectious for the audience, and tonight surely they made some new fans among the people present.

MOSHIMOSHI is a strange creature that merges emo, post-hardcore punk, and math rock. The band has gained praise and received attention with their fresh debut record “Green LP,” which was of course the focus of their show tonight. With a completely different vibe, they showed they knew what they were doing through their compositions and an execution that clearly captured the attention of the growing crowd.

German ensemble PLATTENBAU offered a vivid post-punk, synth mix with a splash of noise pop, resulting in the most engaging show of the night so far. Born from the crude architectural style made of big prefabricated slabs of concrete that has characterized their hometown Berlin in the post-WWII, the band’s energy also slapped you in the face with the same force, but at the same time everything was very dynamic and the sheer intensity of their gig was thoroughly appreciated by the spectators, with the frontman eventually jumping down on the stage and performing right in their face.

Ambient, experimental trio VIRTA was the last of the Finnish acts. The members are childhood friends, and the performance they created was incredibly immersive and introspective, especially in comparison to what was seen previously. Even the trumpet felt almost subtle in the atmosphere created by the Kuopio-based band, which gave the impression of sometimes going a bit off-script like in an improvised jazz show. Definitely an intriguing presence tonight and something unique.

Suddenly the average height of the people in the audience went very much down, and once BUZHOLD took over the stage it all made sense. Another young up-and-coming local act, the guys had a matching crowd. Different vibes compared to their compatriots who performed earlier, they surely grabbed the attention of their equally young fans with their grungey garage vibes and groovy slacker rock, which to the older audience might have felt almost nostalgic. It’s hard to believe they only released their debut album a couple of months before.

To conclude this tightly-packed night of varied music styles, it was MERYL STREEK‘s turn to captivate the crowd with his frenetic show, never standing in one place, and always moving on stage, off the stage, in between the fans, making the fans raise their hands, form a circle… The artist really commanded the room, all the while hanging around with his torchlight and yelling rants about the abuse and corruption in our society. Self-described as “Politically-outspoken avant-garde punk,” the definition seems to fit like a glove, and the performance – while captivating as hell – made one also reflect on important themes and all the wrong there is in the world. This kind of level of interaction with the audience, as well as the torchlight rotating in his hands, were somehow reminiscent of LINGUA IGNOTA‘s show at the 2018 edition of Blow Up festival, although in a very different atmosphere, the effect was a similar feeling of not just witnessing a show, as much as being an integral part of it, and this made it pretty much the highlight of the night.

Looking forward to new opportunities to visit this interesting venue, which has recently been gaining international fame in promoting music and culture, we honestly can’t wait for the return of Blow Up Festival – Tallinn edition, this upcoming October (11-12.10). Surely we are not the only ones.