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Euro champions!!!

Although this website focuses on culture in Finland and neighboring countries, I cannot less that put a patriotic note today telling: we won the football Eurocup! 

It was about time for our soccer national team to win something important. 44 years later, we finally were able to win the European Championship again. A title well deserved, with a team that played better than ever and finally was able to go through quarterfinals defeating Italy in penalties. Maybe I was expecting a bit more from Germany in the last minutes of the final, but they were totally over passed by Spanish midfielders. A championship that brings our national team again to a privileged place. We still have the pending subject of winning a world cup…but that is another story…

Spanish sport is living a sweet moment. Just some minutes ago Nadal won the final of Wimbledon in tennis after having got few weeks ago Roland Garros. Cyclist Alberto Contador won the Giro de Italia and we have chances to win the Tour de France this year. Our basketball team is the present World Champion, and we also have a strong handball team.

Olympic Games are getting close, starting the 8th of August, and I hope that the good strike of victories can continue. And overall, that everybody will enjoy and have fun in a nice atmosphere, out of political and violent issues. Because in the end, it is just about playing a game and having fun. 

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Great Mark!

 I take the train from Tampere on a boring Friday afternoon that soon will turn into an exciting one with the perspective of watching for first time live to Mark Knopfler, the legendary guitarist ex member of Dire Straits.

Already in my same wagon I hear and later join the conversation of two Spanish students who are heading also to the concert. Once in the capital, I head first to salute a friend who works as a waiter in Bar Loose. If you like rock music, you cannot miss this particular bar located in Fredrikinkatu, in the heart of Helsinki. It has a special atmosphere like not so many in Finland, a bohemian place where you can chat with interesting people from all over the world and from time to time share table with a rock star. Anyway, my visit (friends always go first) makes me arrive a bit late to the gig at Hartwall Arena, but once I am able to find my place in the middle of the dark (not particularly helped by the Finnish sense of amiability…) I am ready to enjoy a great show by the Scottish guitar hero, kindly surprised that he does not focus on his last record, Kill to get Crimson, although some of the most remarkable themes like True Love Will Never Fade are part of the set list, but makes a good tour to all over his discography, from his previous solo work, playing Sailing to Philadelphia, to the most expected classics: Romeo and Juliet and Sultans of Swing, with the audience totally on the edge of paroxysm at that point. 

Knopfler is accompanied by a selected group of excellent professional musicians and instrumentalists, and with a not very complex but effective scenario and lightning, is able to put the audience in his pocket.  During the encore, new vibrant moments with Brothers in Arms and So Far Away (at this time of the concert people forget about their seats and run to enjoy the song as close to the stage as possible) and the end that could not be missed, the instrumental Theme from Local Hero to put the cherry on top of the cake. A satisfied audience leaves the Arena, and for me, there is a boring trip of 2:30 hours waiting in the last train (not to Brooklyn but back to Tampere) at Pasila railway station.

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10 Average answers

While doing albums reviews, here goes nonsense like any other I could have written. A compilation of average answers we receive when making interviews. For you, young musician who can face in the future the questions of FREE! Magazine!

1. This is the best album we have ever done.

2. Last gig was excellent! ; full of energy.

3. The audience is not cold. They just have a different approach to the music.

4. We do not have any influence from other bands. We just create the music we want.

5. I like all the songs of the new album equally. They are all my babies.

6. The record company is doing an amazing job.

7. We do not pay attention to the copies sold of the album.

8. I find inspiration from the things that happen around me.

9. We have not changed our style.

10. People did not understand that album when it was released. But it was a great album. 

Now I only need to learn to play guitar, and I am ready to hit the road!

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Rock Show. Blow into here, please.

The gig was behind Tampere Talo, and It seems that the concert was aimed at promoting the fight against drugs and alcohol and a healthier life for the youngsters. So the point is that not only was forbidden to buy any alcoholic drinks from inside, but they made everybody blow into an alcohol test at the entrance! And they supposedly did not let anybody enter if they had drunk before! At this point, when I realize about the situation, there is this interesting dialogue between me and the person of the organization who handles me the little plastic tube to blow into:

Me:  “Mutta… olen toimittaja…” (But…I am a journalist…)

Organization Guy:  *“Ja Mitä? “ (So what?)

*(Finnish diplomacy at its best!)

I don´t really have any idea how these little machines work, since it was the first time in my life that they made me use one…and  funnily enough, not driving! I had just happily drunk 2 cans of half a liter of beer before walking to the concert and they let me pass. But I found quite stupid that even journalists who go there to cover the concert had to go through the filter. In any case, my point is: are these solutions really effective? For me Rock has always been, and will be about sex, drugs, alcohol… resuming, everything considered as rule breaker. Because rock has always been dangerous, that is the essence of rock. Imaging rock fans and rock musicians behaving like model citizens would be like eating salad everyday with no salt, oil or vinegar to season.

I am already pretty pissed off with the general “amazing” ideas of the concerts organizers in Finland, that isolate the audience in stupid closed areas to drink that are usually half a kilometer away from the stage (so you have to decide between sacrificing half of a concert to get one beer…or no drinking at all) and now I assist to another “excellent idea”. The consequences is that the venue was half empty, since many people just found boring to go to a “dry rock concert” that starts so early in the evening to be surrounded just by teenagers.

Are these kinds of concerts the solution to teach the young Finnish generations how to have a healthier life? Sorry but I don´t think so. I am surely not the biggest expert to analyze the drinking problems of the Finns. You can find many theories: the weather, the darkness, the solitude, the big spaces that separate the houses, the shyness that needs to be broken with alcohol consumption… there are many explanations, and maybe no one is valid, or maybe they all have to do with the truth. But I would advice authorities to show youngsters other ways of fighting against alcoholism that screwing the atmosphere of a rock concert. The habits and culture of drinking and eating could be highly improved in many other ways:  teaching youngsters to enjoy food while drinking, selling alcohol in smaller glasses that in pints (in my native Spain we have small glasses of beer, that we call “cañas” perfect to eat with some tapas) or making the point that drinking could be much funnier as a social habit that can be taken easy and moderated, instead of extended national trend of trying to end up wasted as quick as possible, alone at home, before hitting the nightclub. Meanwhile, please, let there be rock without blowing at the entrance any stupid plastic tube!!! 

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Make up, toilets and sexy death metal

The venue where the interview took place was not very sexy: one small and not very well illuminated room close to the showers of Jäähalli, where the ice hockey players can get rid of the sweat after hard matches. The singer looked tired, most certainly with hangover after the previous night show in Helsinki, but he kindly answered my questions for half an hour before getting ready for the show.  After their second album, the Swedish are getting a huge number of female fans, since their “glamdeath” could be catalogued in the same league of sexy music as HIM. But a couple of hours before the show, Whiplasher does not look any glamorous at all in front of my eyes. I just see a tired guy trying to recover the hangover with a glass of wine, looking a bit sick while protecting his throat with a scarf, feeling bored if answering the same typical questions about his band and just showing more shine in his eyes when other issues are discussed during the interview far from merely music business. If I let my imagination fly, and I think about Ville Valo, and about how many fans, women (and men) would like to sleep with him all over the world, it is funny to think about the concept of glamour, don´t you think? Imagine that you would meet a rock star while peeing in the toilet, or while he would be wasted and puking in a dark corner…and…glamour is dead.

Probably, that is the good thing about music: just a theater, a big circus, pure fantasy that makes us evade for some hours from our worries. And certainly, the magic works for Deathstars, that with some more grams of make up on their faces are able to deliver a more than decent performance during the short time that they are allowed to play on stage. I stay to see the American band Korn, which is heading the night show. I have encountered feelings for them, since I associate Nu Metal with a period of crisis for my beloved and classic heavy metal. On the other hand, the band gives a good show and I can feel, mixed with the audience in the first rows, that people are really having fun. I can look back without anger to those years when bands like Korn irrupted in the metal scene and see that mixing some styles can be always healthier for the music in general. Nonetheless, it is something that my beloved Aerosmith did many years ago when recording Walk this Way with Run DMC.

In any case, if Ville Valo ever comes to the toilet to pee close to me, I will try to erase that image from my mind and just remember his glamour on stage. That is where the truly rock stars really belong to. For the rest of the occasions…we are all just human beings with tired eyes.

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Back to old Tampere


For several reasons, it happens that
the editorial team of FREE! Magazine has moved to
Tampere for some time. Tampere was the first Finnish city where I have
lived; I came back for first time here in Autumn 2001, so it will always have a
special place in my heart. I get impressed about how fast the city has changed.
Now there are many more foreign students here and more pubs and discos,
although the essence of the city centre remains almost the same.
Tampere does not have the advantage of sea
access like
Helsinki or Turku, and its architecture is honestly
quite ugly: just brick buildings that shows clearly the working class origins
of the city. But those same origins make Tampere people quite open and
friendly, maybe not so nose-up as in some of the other biggest Finnish cities.
Although also being located in the geographical south,
Tampere is a kind of Finnish heart that
puts in contact most of the important regions in
Finland. And it even has space for a decent
industry. Although obviously far from the big
Helsinki area, Tampere is still more attractive than Turku for industries, specially IT
companies, that have opened headquarters in Hervanta area surrounding the giant
of the giants: Nokia. Hervanta is the zone of Tampere that has grown more
brutally in just 6-7 years. Before there were just some buildings around the
Technical University, and nowadays the visitor cannot
almost recognize it. And expansion goes on…

Maybe, if you are looking for a
beautiful city with amazing architecture,
Tampere is not for you, but if you are
student and you are deciding a good destiny, this city has a lot to offer.
Tampere is buzzing with student activities,
parties, courses, etc. It is big enough not to be boring but also small to have
easy access to everything, and student life is organized, but relaxed. If you
can visit here, do not miss the chance to visit Telakka, a peculiar place in
the whole
Finland: a wooden house with two floors,
having been founded and ruled by actors. In the first floor you can enjoy a
nice coffee or a delicious meal, while in the second there are often theatre
plays. One of my favourite places to kill time, with a great atmosphere.

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The pick and the stick


Foreigner gave an excellent show, although I thought that they could
have chosen a better repertoire, taking into account that it was their first
visit to
Estonia. In any case, every time I go to a
rock concert and wander around the first rows, the idea of catching a guitar
pick crosses my mind. It must be my collector’s side, but I find these small
rewards almost as good as interviewing bands face to face. I was surprised
about the huge amount of young girls in the first rows; I was kind of expecting
older heavy metal guys in leather jackets, but that made easier the movements
to reach the precious pick. To catch a guitar pick in a concert is a bit of an
art: you have to analyze the situation and the artists´atittudes. There are the
kinds of musicians who throw one hundred guitar picks in every show (like Malmsteem or the members of Whitesnake). In that case, the strategy
is just to reach first rows, be alert, and soon or later a pick will be in your
hand. But there is nothing so rewarding like getting one pick where only a few
chosen ones can have the good luck. That was the case with Foreigner. I waited
until the end of the show, gazed at the roadie giving a handful of 3-4 picks to
the guitar player located in front of me, advanced using my elbows a bit in
front of him…and Bingo! The pick is mine! A taste of rock glory in my pocket!

Later, it was the turn of Alice Cooper. I seem to be doomed when it is
about Alice Cooper’s concerts. 3 years ago I missed them in
Tampere when I already had bought my
ticket, and this time I could see only half of the show, since we had to catch
a bus at night. The point is that there I am, in fourth or fifth row, preparing
my girlfriend’s camera to take an excellent picture, concentrated that no arms
are in the middle between Alice and me…and, bang! I noticed something hitting my
head. He had thrown his stick directly to the zone where I was, and I did not
notice. So no picture and no stick… It must be that burnt witches do not like
much to be captured in photographies. Behind me, a total war was taking place,
with people fighting, pushing, almost punching, beers flying around… so it
was totally impossible to take the stick. Well, fortunately no big damage in my
forehead, but I had the glory so close…

It was time to leave, and all in all, 2 excellent rock shows and one
more guitar pick to add to my small but cosy collection. If you have the chance
to go and see Foreigner next Thursday in
Helsinki, just go ahead!

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The cigarette of Anna Abreu

The evening was promising at the
beginning. Lots of free drinks and food and a warm reception at the pub close
to the venue. But organization turned into a chaos due to the tight schedule
and I was really afraid that I would leave the place without my desired
interview. We were move in a rush to the zone close to the dressing rooms. Artists
were coming from the backstage for a short photo session and back to the
restricted area. There I could see Jenni
(who was looking astonishing and taller than I imagined)
together with Tidjan, the male
member of Kwan, and some other
popular people like Antti Tuisku (who
was looking shorter than I imagined) or the guys from The Giant Leap. Tarja
Turunen was a prey for the photographers, very elegant in a Marimekko black
dress, while I was not able to contact the person from her record company. The
interview seemed lost, so we went to take a look at the rehearsals. And there
was the little Anna Abreu: splendid
and sensual, with a vitality that should not surprise since she is only 17.

Being half Portuguese, it was clear that she could understand some Spanish, and
there we went with a surrealistic conversation where four different languages
were mixed in 5 minutes. As she explained, no time for after party for our
young lady; she had to come back home early after her performance to study for
an exam. But she still had time to break the rules and smoke a cigarette inside
Jäähälli under the passive supervision of the security man before the crowd
started to arrive to enjoy the show. Anna Abreu gave us good luck, since just
when we came back inside we got a short but fruitful interview with a very
friendly Tarja Turunen. The show had good and bad moments, and Anna and Tarja
were undoubtedly the most awaited ones by the audience. Time to go, and there
on the floor of Jäähälli lies the cigarette that Anna Abreu smoked some minutes
before. Even the tight rules in
Finland get a bit more flexible with the
charming personality of this little volcano. There will be always some
privileged ones. Our dear Anna shone on and off stage like a little flame
coming from a languid cigarette breaking the cold darkness of an empty sport


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Tell me why I DO like Mondays

Time ago, when I was working or
studying, Monday was (like i suppose for most of the people in the same
situation) the most hated day of the week.

Saturday was great and relaxed; on
Sunday I started to feel a particular stomach ache while assimilating the
connection again with the harsh reality and to feel the anxiety that the good
free time was over…and on Monday morning the same resignation to face a long
and monotonous week, until Thursday (…I am in Love), when the light at the end
of the tunnel was visible again.

But now, being unemployed in
Finland, I am looking forward Mondays with the same anxiety with which not a
long time ago I was waiting for Fridays. Monday is a great day: new job offers
in the recruiting websites, people answering emails and phonecalls at their
office, a new hope that the luck will be with me this time. And when Friday
comes…oh my god!, Finnish start not to answer emails, to leave early from their
jobs with their minds full of week end plans at the cottage or at the nearest
pub and my last hope of getting a job interview, a couple of lines that could make me feel like a worthy human being again, and not like a person whose profile is not suitable for the required position, fades away.

3 days of agony and desperation
until Monday comes and the cycle starts again. So I can only wait and pray to
get a job soon for starting to hate Mondays (like any other civilized human
being) again.

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Finland capital of Norway

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Good and bad promotion

I was having a
cup of coffee this afternoon with Andres,
one of the members of Bullfrog Brown,
the most internationally recognized Estonian blues band. Andres belongs to that
selected and admiring group of people with a very good background and
journalistic and musical knowledge, but difficulties to find a good job that
really could reward his skills. Even though, he dedicates a lot of effort
 even his own money to his passion:
his band and the music.

s one of the
creators of FREE! Magazine, a
publication that walks on the thin line of the professionalism (by studies and
background of the editors) and amateurism (since we do not get basically any
economical reward for doing this, neither any official support), I find a
special pleasure and connection when chatting with another person who shares a
similar vision of life and circumstances. There is almost a special kind of
guilty pleasure in putting all the efforts in something that maybe will never
bring recognition (at least in economical terms).

The point is
that we go through many topics and stories, and one that comes is the lack of
professionalism of some promoters. I don´t want to give any particular names,
but sometimes you must really make an effort to understand how bands so much
needed of promotiong and help by the journalists ignore the basic rules of the
game. Few weeks ago I was denied by a promoter the possibility to meet for a
face to face interview with a band that was exceptionally geographically very
near me , while some days later their label company, whose responsible is
usually more accurate and effective professional, offered me the chance to meet
them, writing me… from far England. Well, too late, I had just sent a
questionnarie, the basic solution in these cases…that was sent back by the
promoter quite late, giving some vague exuses and provoked more than one
problem for the editorial team. A perfect example of throwing stones against
your own house.

If something I
learn day after day, is that you should show respect and interest for
everybody, no matters the first impression that can give to you, since you
never know whom you can offend with a non right atittude. Baltic or
Scandinavian countries are not so big, and often you meet the same people from
the same industry sooner or later. But well, I want to believe that it is a
question of time that attitudes will improve. My advice for the so many new
bands trying to find their space in the market: if you have a promoter or
manager, try that he gets the shit properly done. And a nice relation with the
media is essential. Sometimes a couple of nicely sentences in an email can make
the difference for a future business and promotion relation.

Another issue
that I discussed with Andres is that I do not understand the attitude of some
DVD distributors in Finland, with their “palautus” (return) policy for the film
sample copies. That means you have to review a film and send it back to the
house in a few days. FREE! Magazine cannot track or send the dvds back, since
the collaborators take care of them, and even though keeping the copies is
needed in most of the cases for future articles. But I wonder : what is the big
deal for companies that spend thousand of euros in promotion, not making the
little effort to give some more copies of dvds that can cost 10-15 euro per
unit? For me, it is an awesome good deal for those companies, that get
promotion and potential customers for that minimum cost. The record companies,
thanks god, do not follow the same trend. A good digipak edition of a cd can
cost perfectly around 20-25 euro in any shop, more than many dvds, but so far,
the film companies are the only ones following that policy. Once more, I just
advice the people to invest a bit of time and energy in good relations and
smooth communication with the new media, instead of  the silence for an answer.

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The Princess Bride and other tales


In any case, watching the Princess Bride
took me into the old habit of making a top ten about some aspect of cinema
(something we did during the printed edition of FREE! Magazine), so this time I
wanted to write my top ten of princesses in movies. If you think of other names
to add to the list, feel free to drop a line and write a comment in the blogs

{mosimage}Princesses in Movies:

  1. Princess Leia in Star Wars (1977). Maybe Jabba the Hutt was not the most
    handsome being in the galaxy, but he had an excellent taste when dressing
    Leia in a sexy metal bikini.
  2. Elora Danan in Willow ((1988). The cutest smile from a very special baby.
  3. Buttercup in The Princess Bride (1987). She made Westley have a
    hard time to recover her, but they had what most of couples miss soon or
    later: True love.
  4. Helene in Troy (2004). The beauty of Diana Kruger demolished the walls of Troy.
  5. Ariel in The Little Mermaid (1989). My favourite Disney´s
    princess. Maybe because she is a wild red haired…
  6. Princess Isabelle in Braveheart (1995). Sophie Marceau knew how
    to recognize the bravery of William Wallace.
  7. Princess Fiona in Shrek (2001). When an animation character has
    the voice of Cameron Díaz, she can be able even to throw kicks in the best
    “Matrix style”.
  8. Princess Moana in Pan´s Labyrinth (2006). Young  Ivana Baquero was one of the best
    revelations during last year.
  9. Princess Shakiko in Highlander (1986). Ok, she does not appear
    in the movie, only when Sean Connery tells the story, but don’t you feel
    like you had loved to watch how Ramirez stole her from her father’s arms?
  10. Xena: The Princess Warrior (1995). Well, she comes from a TV
    series, but the wild dreams of many men after watching her adventures make
    her worthy to appear in the top ten
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That forgotten album

When writing for FREE! I often suffer of
nostalgic moments looking back to my younger years when living in a suburb near
Madrid. And I
remember, in 1996, to have listened dozens of times the original cassette that
I bought from the Germans Scorpions: Animal Instinct.

Scorpions, as many other rock/heavy bands
with great success in the 80s were not going through their best moment,
although there were still big. It would be in their next work,when recording
their classics tunes with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, that they would
come back to main positions in the media coverage and charts.

{sidebar id=7}I remember being 16 and running wild in the
streets with my gang of friends, heading to the fair where we could spot some
chicks, jumping and singing Wild Child, or feeling a shadow of sadness
every time I listened to the last track alone at my room: Daddy’s girl;
emotive son about a girl harassed by her father. But I could hardly tell you a
song I did not like from that album. For rock and Scorpions fans, the work was
released without a great success, but for me, that will be always “my Scorpions
album”. Something similar happened with Aerosmith, when I received as a
present from my sister and my mother the cassette of Done with Mirrors,
but the Americans still save one song from that work in some concerts and
special occasions: Let the Music do the Talking. How wise Aerosmith are!
A question of age, definitely.

Do you remember what albums that never got
big success made you feel great when you were younger? Write a comment and let
the reader share the experience. Maybe there is a great album out there waiting
to be re-discovered.

Finally, for motor sports and F1 lovers, and
being a follower of Alonso, I show you here a funny link that my friends
sent me some days ago, with a very special “Finnish touch” at the end of it.
Enjoy it!

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From rainy Tartu with love!

I assisted to Tuska festival in Helsinki at the beginning of June; the
streets of the capital were literally taken by an army of metal fans dressed in
black. There I had the chance to talk for almost one hour in the backstage with
Fernando Ribeiro, the singer of Moonspell (interview will appear
in our pages pretty soon) while outside Stratovarius was totally blowing
the audience. Fernando and the rest of the band were very friendly with me and
it was a pleasure to spend some time with them before they left to their hotels
to celebrate the amazing gig they offered to the public. One of the best
performance at Tuska this year. Also the festival made me remember what a good
band Stratovarius is! I sadly had the chance to see only the first half an hour
of concert before the call of duty leaded me to the backstage, but what I saw
is the powerful coming back of one of the best metal bands of the last decade.
They sounded tight, aggressive and in excellent shape, which really makes me
very happy. Stratovarius reminds me of my younger years where together with Blind
, they were absolutely my gods! The Germans were also present at
the festival, so this was like a flashback to one decade ago, but I did not
enjoy their set list and sound so much.

Among the huge list of bands I want to highlight a couple more of
names: 45 Degree Woman that exhales tones of quality, great lyrics and a
great voice for their singer Mikko Viman (It is a pity that the
audience’s response is not so massive like with some other bands) and the
exoticness of the Japanese D'spairsRay that counted with many fans, specially
among the young female teenage audience.

Well, but if we really want to complain about the weather, nothing
better like looking back at the first day at Roskilde festival in Denmark. It
rained cats and dogs over there! That was literally a battlefield, and people
could not survive without rubber boots. I was quite a privileged since I
arrived the second day, and could stay every night at friend's place in Copenhagen, where a nice
hot shower awaited me. But I suppose that more than one regretted to get the
ticket for finding themselves surrounded by so difficult conditions. In any
case, the festival atmosphere was nice and more relaxed that in the Finnish
ones, thing that surprised me pretty much. Musically, I received the, maybe,
greatest disappointment of the summer due to the poor show of Red Hot Chili
. What was the problem with those guys? They did around 10 solos all
over the show, they were not able to link one song after another, and the
singer hardly spoke 3 words to the audience, hiding his face with a hat that
covered half of his head. Maybe they did not take care of themselves too much
before the late show at night (it started at 1:00 a.m.), but, come on guys!…you have to be more
professional when coming to play to Roskilde in front of such a huge audience.
In the bright side of the festival, the Swedes The Ark, gave another magnificent
concert. Ola Salo is really a great showman who knows how to entertain
the audience, with his funny speeches or with his voice, and they showed what a
good concert is about, while featuring old and new songs from their last
recently released album A Prayer for the Weekend. The Muse and Arctic
also came to Denmark
meaning business, while during Beastie Boys and Queens of the Stone Ages
shows I was more interesting in the research of the quality of the Spanish wine
sold in the supermarkets of Denmark.
Also to remark the big amount of Finnish who assist to the festival, you can
meet groups of them quite easily all over Roskilde.

About books recently read, I was totally hooked to A World Apart,
the odyssey by the Polish writer Gustaw Herling in the Communism work
camps, years before The Gulag Archipelago 
was published. Pretty recommended, although not suggested for sensitive
people. Hard stories about a hard life and how human values can get so twisted
during war times. Second World War continues present in my present literature,
since I am now embarked in the reading of Mephisto by the German Klaus
. And on Wednesday a quick visit to Helsinki. The reason: I can’t get no
satisfaction!!! Their satanic majesties, The Rolling Stones, are coming
to town !!!

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Summer of music

I look back in time and remember my summer times in Spain.
Temperatures of 40 degrees, ventilators trying to suffocate the baking hot, the
excursions to the beach (not to the beach in Madrid…obviously…so I mean really
long excursions driving many hours…), the ice creams melting 10 seconds after
you bought them… Now here in Finland
you never know what the new day will bring. Will it be warm? Should I wear
shorts or should I take a pullover with me?. And honestly, who the fuck cares?

Summer is here, and you have an amazing offer of concerts in small and big
venues for all kind of tastes. And if you do not want to stay all the time in
Finland, take a break = take a boat, and visit some of our Baltic countries
such as Estonia or Latvia; Tallinn and Riga are developing their own amazing
scene for concerts step by step, and more and more bands are visiting there.
Last year I was lucky enough to see Depeche Mode and Metallica in
Tallinn, and
this year my beloved Aerosmith will have the chance to taste a bit of
Vana Tallinn to mix with Finlandia vodka during their European tour… So if you
are not dead, you are not broke, and there are still tickets available, what
are you waiting to choose your summer concerts and festivals before it is too
late? Aerosmith

During last weeks, I have started to have my own share of action. FREE!
Magazine heavy metal fan section (meaning… me) was in Sauna Open Air
listening to Dave Mustaine and friends. Megadeth gave a great concert
and it was an excellent end for the first day of festival. It was also very
nice to see the good health that Sonata Arctica keeps showing on live
gigs. We had the interview with them a few weeks ago, and they really can
connect with big audiences. No wonder why they are one of the biggest Finnish
bands at the moment, their new album Unia sounds powerful and with very nice melodies.
At the end of the festival I reached my maximum state of happinnes for two
reasons: I sneaked off some food from the backstage area, and I saw Heaven
and Hell
. Dio looks like falling into pieces, but the power of his
voice remains the same. In any case, too short concert, I must say, they did
not even play until the electricity had to be cut off. Less than 2 hours of
concert… it could have been better, it could have been worse…

Last week I also had the chance to assist to Genesis concert at the
Olympic Stadium. I have never been a great fan (in a way I should feel relieved
not to be such a big fan as Bateman's character in American Psycho), but
I truly enjoyed the show. Phil Collins is a great frontman and knows how
to entertaint the audience, and I also really liked the the design of the
stage, simulating a kind of futuristic city of machines expelling smoke all
over the audience.

And this week end more and more… Tuska festival is coming…   (a friend of mine from Spain keeps reminding
me that Tuska sounds like a dog´s name… 
What do you think, guys? Then Roskilde
in Denmark…
and then I will have to run away to New Zealand to pick up strawberries
to recover from such an intensive summer!