02-07-2017 Tuska Open Air

02-07-2017 Tuska Open Air
Starts: 02-07-2017
Ends: 02-07-2017

The winners of the competition between the Tuska finalists and so earning their spot on the main stage, Where’s My Bible opened the festival’s final day with some glorious sunshine beaming onto their faces.

This is such a good opportunity that Tuska provides every year for up-and-coming artists and they are always met with loads of support and a great boost for such impactful exposure. It is a great tradition that makes the weekend both equal and inclusive, and once again they had a great result. Oozing energy, the band took on their role of main-stagers and threw their metal into the faces of Sunday’s early crowd. Soon they will be playing again in Ravintola Seiväs in Lahti if you think you could make it for a show on the 21st of July, because apparently, according to Tuska, these guys have been earmarked!

This three-piece, known for taking pride in their do-it-yourself approach to all things music, greeted us on Sunday at the Inferno stage with confidence and vigour like no other. The progressive-metal-meets-alt-rock lads hailing from Tampere really have a reputation already for knowing their stuff, so I fully expected to be blown away. The bassist Ville Siivonen firstly caught my eye, not taking his eyes off the audience and making sure they were having as good a time as he was.

There was something just very easy about these guys, so even if their genre and approach isn’t your thing, they’re still good – something I call “metal easy-listening”. I thought the vocals were super strong live and just when you think they’re on the brink of too clean, you’re dragged back in with a minor scream. They’re hard to fault, let’s see where this group goes.

Battle Beast is a formation we have seen several times at Tuska and every time it turns into a party. It makes sense to have them celebrate this anniversary with us and although they are rather early, many people made sure not to miss this party and get hyped up by the Heavy Metal they deliver.

And not much of a surprise here, we get an excellent performance once again. They warm up the audience with great joy, yet we lack a bit of the fire we see with them usually. Maybe this set was a bit early for them as well.

Earlier this year the band released a new album called “Bringer of Pain” which they highlighted through their performance. A nice show of them, always good to get energized with Battle Beast. Better than any Battery/Red Bull/ Monster/ etc.

The Raven Age is starting in the Inferno stage and slowly the place gets a bit more full. Curious minds are around and the band seems very enthusiastic. The band has been touring quite a bit and with the album “Darkness Will Rise” they manage to reach out to many. Their Melodic Death is quite uprising, they are putting a lot of energy in their playing and the sound they have is quite ‘in your face’ no mimics, what you see is what you get.

They seem eager to win the hearts of the Finns, but it must be said that the response is a bit mellow. It appears that their music is not known enough for people to have that connection just yet. However, most of the people wait before the end up their set before they rush out so the curiosity keeps them there at least. Although guys played a good show, the connection was not there yet. A pity.

Udo Dirkschneider is one of those voices that just can’t be mistaken for any other. Playing an eleven-song long set of the Accept classics, he and his band were met with a crowd even bigger than I had expected. In fact, fan or not, one of the highlights of the festival was the favoured Für Elise guitar solo performed with the best of showmanship – igniting an attention span in the crowd to revel in the moment.

Dirkshneider himself seemed to be struggling in the melting sunshine, but his co-stagers battled on with lively stunts and spellbinding ease; they were as much a part of the show as Udo himself. His current tour – performing under simply “Dirkschneider” rather than “U.D.O.” – will be the last chance to catch him singing from the Accept catalog, but prepare for your jaw to drop at how many dates he has coming up. You’re guaranteed to be able to catch him before the end!

Ok, being fair… I had not much of an expectation by Jimsonweed when I went to see them. But sometimes that is the way you can get the largest surprises . It appears to be that this band has had some local fame in the 90’s and retuning now makes the stage theirs once again. At least for Tuska they prepared an interesting set and kicking that legs up and down, jumping around the band shows they are energetic and much alive.

Sure, they did not draw the largest crowd but they were entertaining the people that showed up very well. Their psychedelic hint is not too overly present, keeping the heaviness more upfront and when the guys are finishing their set it seems like they convinced some people to keep an eye on them. Whether something new will be coming from them is yet unknown, time will learn.

The last time this American quartet were on a Tuska lineup, they didn’t know that they were headed for a disastrous bus accident just a month later. Suffering injuries that don’t even bare thinking about, we are so lucky to have them back to show us how strong they are; now more than ever.

Their latest album Purple has been critically acclaimed and tracks like Kerosene and Shock Me were among the best of their set list. John Baizley’s voice is one that I just can’t get enough of – so powerful, on point, expressive and all the right kinds of rough when it needs to be. In fact I would have absolutely loved a longer set from them, they were one of my number one bands to see over the whole weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of them.

Hopefully everything on their first European tour with new guitarist Gina Gleason has gone smoothly and we’ll be seeing much more of them soon.

Oranssi Pazuzu – essentially meaning an orange wine demon – come to the Inferno stage after first forming ten years ago. Claiming themselves as black metal/psychedelic and space rock, they definitely attempted some scene-setting in the hall with a sea of darkness, moody faces and some of the more wildly eccentric stage antics of the whole weekend.

As an established group of experimental artists, it was actually quite cool seeing how they realise their quirky elements and abstract techniques in the flesh. The guitars, the keys, the voices like screams from outer-space; it was all enthralling and sometimes it felt like you were watching people perform a spell together. They are currently continuing their European tour in the likes of Lithuania, Romania, Norway, Germany, France, and of course a few dates for their native Finland thrown in amongst them too. It’s worth catching them if you can – these guys give a new meaning to the word “unique”!

Cello metal formation Apocalyptica has something to celebrate as well, their famous “Plays Metallica By Four Cello’s” album is having an anniversary and they are taking it on a tour. Of course they now also included the band’s drummer, but the start of their set is for the four of them only.

The fans from the early year are enjoying the band in its dressed down shape. No vocals, no big chairs, simply them playing their songs like they used to. And so they do with joy. A smile on their faces, the faces they make to each other inform us that they are having a good time going back to basics.

The only thing that seems to be a bit more extravagant are the drums. An enormous imposing drumkit is behind the guys and Mikko is giving us a little show of its own every now and then. It appears that the band is having much joy with these Metallica songs that brought them their success, but the audience was enjoying it just as much. In the sun people are watching and singing along. After all, Eicca told the audience that they are the voice today. So it was.

Sonata Arctica has changed quite a bit through the years. From the early days on with “Ecliptica” out the band has gathered a large fanbase. Many albums later they are playing the Tuska Tent stage at prime time and with many of these new songs on hand, they still give the audience a hand of what they fell in love with the first place.

From ballads to the more uptempo tracks, the guys are not holding back and when a ballad passes by, frontman Tony Kakko sits down on his monitor, being close and intimate with his audience letting them occasionally sing some of the words for him. Yet, the whole band is eager to connect with the audience and all of them take some time to shine, for Sonata Arctica has never been about ego’s but always perform like a solid team. Their set is well chosen, the good old classics have a good part of it and so the band has no problem keeping the audience engaged. Sonata Arctica simply always delivers.

Mastodon is the very last band playing at this year’s Tuska. A remarkable choice, the band’s prog music is rather different than HIM or Sabaton which had a whole show around them. Mastodon let’s the music do the work and take their time to reach that highlight, the spectacle that makes Mastodon a worthy headliner.

Earlier this year the band has released a new full length album called “Emperor of Sand” but the set the guys were playing is diverse. And quite long, the guys had plenty of time to play these songs for the fans and even though the band already had a long set, an extra encore was added there as well.
What a bonus on this great year of Tuska.

Twenty years of metal, being at Tuska is like visiting a family reunion of family you handpicked yourself. Those who share with you the love of great music, a good beer… a sauna… some grillsquare or who knows what more?! Well this was a party! We were blessed to part of it and we hope to have many years of Tuska ahead!

09 July 2017