Every opportunity to see MACHINAE SUPREMACY live feels like a treat. The last few times we’ve seen them were at the small island festival, SaariHelvetti, and during a Finnish tour that skipped Helsinki, but this tour brought them back to the capital. Sadly, their usual venue (Nosturi) is no longer an option, putting them in the far-too-small On the Rocks, but that didn’t matter, knowing that MASU would be a great first band to see this year, on January 9th, 2020. Check out the gallery here.
Atte: For the first three shows of this tour, MASU‘s opener was SOMEHOW JO from Tampere. The band released their sophomore album, “Tusk,” in October of last year, but neither of us were very familiar with their material beforehand. Despite this being their second show on the tour, the band cracked off almost a bit shyly, but the tension seemed to ease once the show went on. The crowd was pretty decent-sized already when SOMEHOW JO started, and the influx of people was steady. There seemed to be lots of good vibes on stage, as guitarists Christian Saurén and Sakari Karjalainen were constantly making faces at each other, and bassist Eero Aaltonen did a lot of slapping bass. Their drummer, Lassi Peiponen, really couldn’t stand out other than musically, since he had had to cram his kit partly behind MACHINAE SUPREMACY‘s stage-side roll-ups (MASU‘s drummer had an electrical drum set in the middle of the stage).
SOMEHOW JO ended up being one of those bands that are really hard to describe with just a few words – there were a LOT of mood changes and influences throughout the set. The foundation was definitely alternative rock of sorts, but there was AOR, funk, or even bits of thrash crammed in there. The bass work even reminded us of PRIMUS, which is always a good thing. Listening through SOMEHOW JO‘s material beforehand would have been an enormous help in trying to keep up with the band’s fluctuating nature, but we definitely didn’t feel bummed out – more intrigued, really. If you find bands like LAPKO too boring, you should give SOMEHOW JO a listen.
Bear (& Atte): MACHINAE SUPREMACY was set to take the stage at 21:30, though we were admittedly skeptical if they’d make it since SOMEHOW JO was still playing at 21:08. Magically, they were only 2 minutes late as drummer Nicky Karvonen appeared with his LED drumsticks that we loved so much at SaariHelvetti last year. I didn’t recognize their intro at the time, the “Boss 2” theme from Gianna Sisters: Twisted Dreams, but as the band came out on stage they opened with “A View from the End of the World“; you’ve got to love the line, “I want some flying cars / a ticket to the stars / or even just a world without religious wars.” They took a surprise turn by following a classic opener with the rarer “Fury” and Jonas Rörling did a marvelous job of his solo. “Conveyor” was another surprise inclusion but wasn’t the tightest of tracks – not that the crowd minded.
Robert Stjärnström greeted the crowd happily and amiably, saying that without the crowd that it would just be the band and that would be boring, and then they went right into their cover of “Gimme More” by Britney Spears. The small size of the stage might have been a serious limiting factor in their stage energy, as they had very little room to rock out, but they nevertheless did everything they could with the limited space.
A disturbing alarm and vocal narration introduced “Truth of Tomorrow,” and “Renegades” is a definite personal favorite. The crowd was really amped up and the packed floor were all more than willing to get their fists up at every opportunity. This followed the traditional path straight into “Nova Prospekt,” which of course had mandatory fists beating to “go, go, go.” Super speedy “Laser Speed Force” is always an easy fan favorite with the unique dual vocals between Stjärnström and Rörling. “Persona” was another solid choice, slowing down the tempo a touch and was one of the most balanced songs of the evening, sound-wise.
The sound was unusually problematic this time around, with the delay not showing up until halfway through the show, making Stjärnström sound a bit flat until then, and Andreas Gerdin was pretty much lost most of the night. Even though we couldn’t hear him, we could see him though and he appeared to be having a good time. On the flipside, we couldn’t see guitarist Tomi Luoma from where we were standing, but we could hear him killing it. We traversed the venue and sadly couldn’t find anywhere where the sound was very clear for “All of My Angels.” Seems we should’ve gone down onto the floor before it filled to capacity.
Stjärnström spoke briefly about the state of net neutrality to introduce “Force Feedback” and “Radio Future” was another treat for the long-term fans. At this point one of the guitars died, so Rob told a shamefully bad “dad joke” before talking about how murder is sometimes fun, which introduced the Finns’ favorite NASU song, “Indiscriminate Murder is Counterproductive.”
The band did some shots on stage before “Rise of a Digital Nation” and the main set began to wrap up with “Rocket Dragon” and “Player One.” Their de facto closer is their big radio hit, “Through the looking Glass,” but Stjärnström promised that they would come to the bar to hang out afterwards.
It’s always nice to see MASU live. They’re such kind and connected people and their music is always great to hear. Even if the sound quality on this night lacked, it’s hard to not have fun at one of their shows. As well, you can always count on these guys for some conversation and/or an autograph afterwards, which is always great to see. Truly, it’s hard to imagine being bummed out after one of MACHINAE SUPREMACY‘s shows. Why don’t the bigger festivals ever pick these guys up?
Intro: GSTD Boss 2
1. A View from the End of the World
4. Truth of Tomorrow
5. Gimme More (Britney Spears cover)
7. Nova Prospekt
8. Laser Speed Force
10. All of My Angels
11. Force Feedback
12. Radio Future
13. Indiscriminate Murder is Counterproductive
14. Rise of a Digital Nation
15. Rocket Dragon
16. Player One
17. Through the Looking Glass
Written by Bear Wiseman
Photos by Miia Collander