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TUSKA 2009 - Kaisaniemi, Helsinki (FI), 26.-28.06.2009
Tuska ’09 fucked the sun!
Gallery link:Tuska 2009
More reports from the 2009 festival season: Ruisrock and Ankkarock
Tuska festival is by no means one of the most important summer festivals in Finland; a must-attend for all metalheads around the country. Every summer for three days the centre of Helsinki is being taken over by a crowd freaky enough to make the local grannies stay home. The mascot for Tuska 2009 was a penguin, which naturally brought up quite many sarcastic comments regarding the headliners of the first day – the Norwegian band Immortal . But let’s start from the very beginning..
Day 1 – 26.06
The French band Gojira were the ones to open up the first day of the festival. This is always a challenge for any band – most of the people are either still standing at the entrance line or simply don’t bother to show up that early. Gojira were more or less lucky enough to get at least somewhat of a crowd, although the stream of people was still flowing. The band might’ve deserved better, however the songs from their latest release “The Way Of All Flesh” have been welcomed quite warmly. Next stop on the main stage was the metalcore band All That Remains mostly to the sheer joy of the younger part of the crowd. They surely knew how to shake the stage and the audience with their insane rhythms and melodies. After that it was time for us to check out the Dutch thrash metallers Legion of The Damned . The major part of Tuska-people preferred to bang their heads to the music played by these guys instead of the Finnish grindcore band Rotten Sound , who were playing at the same time on Inferno stage. Legion of The Damned are quite frequent guests on the Finnish soil, which means they have their recognition here. Yours truly didn’t share this opinion – the band’s performance seemed quite mediocre, the music was on a good level, but the band should definitely be more dynamic on stage.
Then Neurosis got on the main stage and I almost got a real neurosis. Despite the band being a known and respected name, they definitely didn’t make a very good impression on someone who saw them for the first time. Being an undoubtedly indoor band, their slow, brain-fucking depressive doom definitely didn’t work out very well with the hot weather and the burning sun. After being killed by Neurosis , we got back to life with Ensiferum at Sue stage. These Finns will definitely make you jump up to their music. The tent was packed, people were dancing, inflatable Viking axes have been thrown around – the jolly good atmosphere of any Ensiferum gig. The band’s vocalist Petri Lindroos was actively indulging himself in liquid refreshments during the show. At some point he encountered a truly Shakespearean choice of drinks – beer or lonkero (long drink-auth.)? In the end both seemed to work.
As the day was coming to its finale, the Norwegian black metal monsters Immortal entered the main stage. The unsuspicious sun was still happily shining in the sky (the period of white nights in Finland), but little did it know that the band’s legendary vocalist Abbath wasn’t quite keen on it. If you have ever got the chan?e to encounter Abbath personally, you would know that this is the guy you don’t really want to mess with. So once he ordered from the stage “Fuck the sun!” and blasted “The Sun No Longer Rises” – the shiny star quickly got covered by a cloud. This was a true story, my dear readers; I am not trying to joke here. What I would like to joke about is the band itself. These honourable gentlemen were wearing leggings on stage – how can their black metal themes be taken seriously? Without trying to undermine their status – they have definitely deserved it – this could be the right time to retire to a hut in the deep Norwegian woods.
Day 2 – 27.06
The 2nd day started a bit later for us, because the recovery from the previous night’s afterparty took quite some time. We showed up just on time when the Americans from Faceless switched the places with the Swedes from Sabaton on the main stage, thus leading to Sabaton ’s performance starting a lot earlier than previously scheduled. The Swedes climbed on the main stage and unleashed hell. They literally blew up the stage with their pyrotechnics and their insane energy. Soon after that we went to see the Finnish band Profane Omen playing on the Inferno-stage. The tent didn’t have enough space for all the people who wanted to check these guys out, and it was steaming hot to be inside this crowd. No surprise, Profane Omen ’s performance definitely smashed everyone off their feet and was undoubtedly one of the best sets at Tuska 2009.
The Finns from Korpiklaani almost trashed the Inferno-tent. Most of the audience couldn’t even get in the tent and had to stay outside. The band’s setlist included some of their all-time favourites, such as “Vodka”, “Korpiklaani” and “Happy Little Boozer”. There was quite some moshing going on in the tent and I can only hope that each of the participants of this entertaining activity got out in one piece. Meanwhile a large crowd was gathering in front of the main stage as it was time for Amorphis to blast their epic metal. This band doesn’t need any introduction, they are always warmly welcomed everywhere. Without any doubt Amorphis are one of the most precious pearls decorating the crown of the Finnish metal. I can’t even point out which Amorphis song is a hit, because somehow all of them are equally great. Just to name a few that were played at Tuska: “Silver Bride”, “Alone”, “House Of Sleep”, “The Castaway”, etc.
At the end of the day the legendary Suicidal Tendencies got on the main stage. This must have been one of the greatest moments for anyone who likes crossover. The music was quite upbeat, but the band’s vocalist Mike Muir resembled more of a crazy hamster running in the wheel. It was unbelievable to watch this, thinking where does he get all this energy from. Yet the strange barking man in white stockings, constantly running around the stage in circles, failed to impress us and we left the festival area before the end of the ST set. Later that evening we got in a heated argument about whether Suicidal Tendencies kicked ass or were a boring piece of poop. The 2nd option got the majority of votes, however, I do agree that this is only a matter of taste and give the band their deserved homage.
Day 3 – 28.06
The first band worthy of checking out on the 3rd day was Stam1na . These Finns made sure that everyone would definitely remember their performance. They went on stage wearing corpse paint which was nicely mixed with the pink elements in the band’s attire. Hyrde (vocals) immediately got under a black umbrella that was attached to one of the mic stands on stage, and declared in a growling voice “We’re Stamina from Norway!” This was a sarcastic salutation to the headliners of the 1st day and Stam1na brilliantly pulled it off. Unfortunately the band had to finish their set 10 minutes earlier thanks to someone who decided that throwing a bottle at the drummer was a great thing to do.
After Stam1na ’s insane performance, the Swiss folkers from Eluveitie seemed quite dull. Maybe with another mood and another atmosphere their music could’ve made a different impression, but not this time. Even the use of some unusual and exotic instruments for heavy music has proved that such a band works much better in a closed space. However, if I thought that Eluveitie were dull, when My Dying Bride entered the main stage, it was clearly time to die. Despite their status of doom/gothic legends, they look more than ridiculous on stage with bright sun shining all over them. Those of us, who still appreciate the little joys of life and don’t have the habit of cutting ourselves, didn’t know where to hide from the sepulchral sounds of this orchestra.
The Danish band Volbeat was closing the festival this year. These guys seem to be quite popular nowadays with their some kind of rockabilly music with a mix of too many genres to outline. All these elements make them sound maybe a little too commercial and tacky for my taste, yet they definitely have what it takes to make you shake that booty. Volbeat absolutely fulfilled their role as the festival’s headliners, bringing quite a crowd to the main stage. We left all the happy people dance to the sound of the modern heavy version of Elvis and retired for the last afterparty.
Tuska 2009 was definitely blessed to have appropriate summer weather, although the festival lineup was reasonably weaker than that of 2008. However, Tuska is definitely one of the most respected metal festivals and has its high status and a kite-mark, which means that its heaviness and greatness are an axiom. Be there next year and you won’t regret it.
Pictures: Jana Blomqvist | Report: Tanja Caciur
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