13.5.2009 Sunrise Avenue @ Apollo, Helsinki (Musicalypse Archive)

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Finnish pop-rock phenomenon SUNRISE AVENUE have just recently released their second album in Finland with an enticing name: “Popgasm.” It is still yet to be released in Sweden (27.05.2009) and in Germany (22.05.2009). The album consists of their quite catchy trademark SUNRISE AVENUE songs, as well as a few touching ballads. It has all the prerequisites to follow the success of its predecessor, the band’s first album, “On the Way to Wonderland.” [ed 2021: we’re still looking for this gallery; check back soon for more photos!]

On this occasion, SUNRISE AVENUE decided to give a popgasm to their fans and played a magnificent gig at Apollo in Helsinki on the 13th of May. For yours truly it was a great chance to take a break from all the heavy music and finally enjoy something a person can really dance to.

The place was full of people of different ages, status, nationalities, etc. However, each and every one of them was brought there to get their share of the popgasm. The space near the stage was already crowded, mostly with girls and a few rare men here and there; the balcony was slowly getting packed as well. The announced showtime was 23:00 and I have to give it to the band, they were not late. Sometimes when you are waiting for something really exciting, you try to prolong every moment of it once you finally get it. That’s how Sunrise Avenue went out on stage to all the cheers of the crowd. It felt like they were getting pleasure from every single second of it.

The mix of Apollo‘s grand decorations and the light wall behind the stage – which had the “Popgasm” logo on it – all gave me some kind of MTV feeling and also clearly showed the high quality of the performing band. The sound and lights were flawless. SUNRISE AVENUE are blessed to have a team of technical magicians.

There was something that surprised me a lot at first. After seeing about a million and one different club gigs in Finland, I have never seen so many foreigners at a concert. Apparently SUNRISE AVENUE are one of the few Finnish bands who make people from other countries/parts of the world/parallel dimensions find out that Finland is more than just the place where Santa Claus lives. When Samu Haber (vocals) started speaking English by habit, then stopped and asked how many people are there who are not from Finland, most of the people in the crowd raised their hands. I guess SUNRISE AVENUE are lucky to have such devoted fans that do not hesitate to travel up north to see their favorite band.

The guys started the gig with the songs from the new album and the audience already knew most of the lyrics by heart, which is quite impressive considering that it was less than 10 days since the official release date. The music on “Popgasm” is quite easy listening and the lyrics simply get stuck in your head, so you can sing along even if you’ve heard the album only once. Old known hits like “Fairytale Gone Bad” and “Forever Yours” were not forgotten and sung by everyone present in the club.

Samu was uncatchable. If he wasn’t singing at the microphone, he was running around, rocking his guitar, and interacting with the audience. Thanks to the great sound, you could really feel how deep and intimate his vocals are, especially while he was performing the band’s latest single, “The Whole Story” (which you can hear on most of the Finnish radio stations these days).

The songs were coming and coming, each one better than the last: eccentric “Bad,” lovely and lonely “Sail With Me,” bold “My Girl is Mine,” and so on. All of a sudden, a group of girls behind me lit up sparklers and raised them in the air. It looked magical, but the security guy made them stop. It is always beautiful when fans get united to show their devotion all together.

During the concert, SUNRISE AVENUE introduced their new keyboardist, Osmo Ikonen. Osmo happened to be talented not only in the art of playing keys, but also beatboxing. Samu said they had to use that extra-talent of Osmo‘s, so the guys performed a duo, with Osmo beatboxing the rhythm of “Birds and Bees” and Samu reciting the song’s lyrics. I don’t know whether this was an improvisation or not – most likely it had been rehearsed – but nonetheless it was great fun, even for people who are not into hip-hop.

The whole performance somehow went by in a breeze and before we knew it, the band already left the stage, only to come back for the encore. They performed a few more songs, like the romantic “Something Sweet” and finished the set with a very kinky song, “Nasty.” Samu made the audience sing the chorus a few times and the atmosphere was getting more and more nasty, in that kind of way!

Before going to the gig, I had listened to “Popgasm” a few times to find a song that would catch me and I could look forward to listening to it at the gig. The song I liked the most was “6-0” and it was probably the only song they didn’t sing. It was played as an outro, after the guys had left the stage, and that’s a pity as it seems like it would be great fun live.

The whole event was promoted by Radio Nova and one of their DJs, Jupe Tuomola, was there to greet the band with the release of the new album and announced that “Popgasm” has already sold gold in Finland! Congratulations!

All-in-all, the concert was truly great. SUNRISE AVENUE definitely enjoy what they are doing and make everyone around them enjoy it too. So if you feel you haven’t had any popgasms lately, catch them on tour and they will make you do the dirty things you usually don’t dare.

Written by Tanja Caciur
Musicalypse, 2009
OV: 12,779

Photos by Jana Blomqvist

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