Because not everybody can be Slash…
There is no doubt that Gogol Bordello has been able to gather a good legion of fans during last years, due in great part to the charisma of their vocalist Eugene Hütz. This fact is also noticeable in Helsinki, where the venue, being the concert originally projected to happen at Tavastia, had to be moved to Kulttuuritalo to hold a bigger audience.
Actually, it would have been much better in a smaller venue with a more “underground” tone, like Tavastia or Nosturi. Kultturitalo looks very cold to hold concert that are not about classical music, and besides, the acoustic there usually sucks.
We arrived on time to see the opening band Devotchka, and I have to say that although I enjoyed their music, it is not the kind of band that suits for opening a Gogol Bordello gig. Their music turned to be too slow and “intellectual”, but the audience was receiving it quite coldly.
After going for a couple of beers, during the start of Gogol Bordello concert, one could have imagined that had been magically moved to a different venue. The place was crowded, and the audience got totally crazy during the opening song Tribal Connection. Hürtz is a magician when about connecting with the public, and Gogol Bordello, with his catchy mix of ska, punk and gypsy riffs and their multicultural and multilingual messages, turned this cold venue into a big party, with the people singing and jumping like there is no tomorrow, enjoying especially in classics like Wonderlust King or American Wedding. I don’t know about the people sitting behind on the seat rows, but it is almost a crime to go to a Gogol Bordello show and not to be in front of stage jumping like crazy, although a few teenagers took that to the extreme of thinking that every riff was worthy of acting like being in the middle of a mosh pit in a death metal concert, and turned to be a bit annoying for the people close to them.
Hürtz invited some fellow Finnish musicians to join him on stage, and all together ended a very long encore, that resumed the concert in more than 2 hours of great music and fun. Audience really got back the price of the ticket, with Eugene having no problem in staying a few more minutes on stage greeting people and shaking hands.
Gogol Bordello gave a very consistent show, transmitting the message of a band that has fun on stage, and make people have fun with them. You cannot ask for more than that when assisting to a gig!
GOGOL BORDELLO SETLIST HELSINKI 6 DECEMBER 2010
1. Tribal Connection
2. Not A Crime
3. Wonderlust King
4. My Companjera
5. Last One Goes the Hope
6. Trans-Continental Hustle
7. Immigraniada (We Comin’ Rougher)
8. Break the Spell
9. Raise the Knowledge
10. When Universes Collide
11. American Wedding
12. Lela Pala Tute
13. Start Wearing Purple
14. Sun Is On My Side
15. Ghost Riders in the Sky
17. Baro Foro / Undestructable
Photos: Andriy Kozyura
If last year we saw Benicio del Toro as Che Guevara, now French director Olivier Assayas brings us the story of one of the most wanted fighters (for others he would be called just terrorist), the Venezuelan Illich Ramírez Sanchez aka Carlos The Jackal.
The movie certainly hooks you up from the beginning. Edgard Ramirez as Carlos gives a great perfomance that exhales a similar aura than the real Carlos should must have had: he can be charming, but also dangerous and merciless when an idea is placed inside his head besides narcissist.
Assayas gives a great portrait of the difficult political board between East and West in the 70s and 80s, as well as how the character of Carlos develops into a shadow of what he used to be with the age and the alcohol; a person lost in older years while the world keeps changing around him.
Although you cannot take all what happens in the movie as true history, Carlos is a good entertainment to understand some important times or our recent history.
The best: Edgard Ramirez
The worst: Rythm goes up and down too much, maybe some scenes could have been deleted to make the film a bit shorter.
The detail: The real Carlos, who is nowadays in a prison in France, got to read the script of this movie and had quite oppose opinions against it.
Carlos The Jackal – Trailer
Text by Maila-Kaarina
The first day of the biggest metal festival of Finland came out and all those who attended had to be ready for something really big: 34 bands, 8 hours a day from 2-4 of July. Do you think it´s easy? Well, I say it´s not! Specially under a boiling sun and average temperature of 28 degrees Celsius which means a lot when talking about Finland and its very dry air. But I am not complaining, opposite! This is exactly the kind of tough days all metalheads would love to have.
But now let´s talk about rock because this is why I´m here for!
The 2 first bands of the day were Barren Earth on the Sue Stage and The Arson Project on the Inferno Stage, since I had to choose one and Barren Earth really caught my attention, I apologize to The Arson Project ´s folks but I could´t watch their performance.
BARREN EARTH – 13:45, Sue Stage
Barren Earth was my starting choice and they got on stage punctually at 13:45 giving me absolute no remorse for choosing them. Since the gates were opened at 13:00 and it was Friday, I really thought they would play for almost nobody. I was quite surprised to see the opposite, the entire venue wasn´t yet crowded but many people ran to see Barren Earth and every minute they seemed to get the attention of more and more people. It is a very good band playing progressive death metal with some folk influences (nothing exaggerated) and some psychedelic moments where the atmosphere of the songs may recall even Pink Floyd. Another very interesting thing about this Finnish band is that the line-up is formed by former members of very important bands such as bass player Oli-Pekka Laine (Amorphis) and guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö (Kreator), Janne Petillä (guitar) and Marko Tarvonen (drums), both coming from Moonsorrow, vocalist Mikko Kotamäki from Swallow the Sun and keyboard player Kasper Måterson, who also makes good clean vocals.
Mikko sings guttural and clean and has a very powerful voice, songs are full of punch gathering very heavy moments with melancholic and atmospheric keyboards. Barren Earth was able to really set me up and connect all the audience to the right mood of Tuska. Everybody who watched them surely enjoyed a very professional, well played and heavy concert. In my opinion, together with Insomnium (review coming soon), Barren Earth is one of the big promises of the Finnish metal to achieve worldwide recognition.
Check them out!
TESTAMENT – 14:30, Radio Rock Stage
At 14:23, almost 10 minutes before the scheduled time for the concert, the audience was already screaming TESTAMENT, TESTAMENT, excited waiting for the kings of thrash to set fire in Kaisaniemi park. And they did it! At 14:31 Paul Bostaph was the first to get on stage saluting the audience pointing the drumsticks to the air and getting loads of loud screaming. Then Eric Peterson, Greg Christian, Alex Skolnick and Chuck Billy came starting what I considered the best concert of the entire festival among the 20 concerts I saw at Tuska Open Air.
”More than Meets the Eye” from their most recent album The Formation of Damnation (2008) opened the concert followed by the classics ”The Preacher” and ”The New Order”, both from The New Order album (1988). Then it was time for ”The Persecuted Won´t Forget” also from The Formation of Damnation and another classic from the same 1988 album introduced by Chuck Billy: ”You guys have to show us that you have improved since the last time we were here, you have to show us that you Practice what you Preach!”, next song to be played. One curiosity is that in the band´s bio it´s written that The Formation of Damnation can be considered as The New Order´s young sibling but even sharped and heavier. Listening to this beginning of concert mixing songs of these two albums you can assure it, they complete each other perfectly.
Testament was able to make us forget the strong sun frying our backs and heads in front of the main stage showing a great performance full of presence and charisma coming from all members who didn´t stop moving any moment. Eric Peterson and Chuck Billy are responsible for Testament´s legacy since without them everything would have been over when Greg, Louie and Alex left the band years ago, and now, more than 20 years later, it´s great to see them together again with almost the original line-up – only the drummer Louie Clemente didn´t come back and with all my respect to Louie´s work, I am not crazy to complain since Paul Bostaph is JUST one of the best drummers of the world (and this is not only my personal opinion). Eric Peterson´s guitar is pure pressure and Alex Skolnick is just not able to play average, he´s always much more than anybody can expect with his different way of playing, particular guitar timbre and wonderful solos abusing of jazz scales without losing the essence of thrash metal. Greg Christian cannot be left behind in these comments since his fast fingers and great slap suit Paul´s double kick perfectly.
Some more songs? ”Over the Wall”, ”Henchmen Ride”, ”Disciples of the Watch”, ”Into the Pit”, offered by Chuck to ”the guy with the pink hat”, actually mentioned by Mr. Billy at least 3 times during the concert, almost becoming a Tuska Celebrity. D.N.R (Do not Resuscitate) and the last piece of this amazing concert, The Formation of Damnation bringing the biggest moshpit I´ve ever seen started by Chuck with words that for a moment made me a little scared (I forgot for some seconds that I am in Finland and here these things work because people usually understand the meaning of the word LIMIT).
Chuck divided the audience in two and said to the right side: ”I want these guys over here to kill those guys over there!” – pointing to the left side – ”And those guys over here to kill those guys over there!” – pointing to the right side. ”Wait!” everybody obeyed and at this moment I kept my camera, pen and notebook in my purse and was sure that I wouldn´t be able to escape from that moshpit even if I wanted, it was to late to run… Paul Bostaph started the drumming and Chuck said the words: ”NOW KILL, KILL, KILL, KILL”. The moshpit started and many, really many people got in it but to my surprise, nobody pushed those who wanted to stay out. My scared face changed to smiling in a blink and this was a very special moment bringing back some of the best memories of my life, and if I weren´t wearing high-hill boots I would have gotten in that moshpit with no lack of doubt forgetting that my teens were over many years ago…
Just to finish, I started my journalistic career in a Testament´s concert during the reunion tour in Brazil, in 2006. I´ve been a fan since 1989 and they never ever disappointed me.
Hail Gods of thrash!
INSOMNIUM – 15:30, Sue Stage
After Testament´s perfect concert I was so excited that I thought of having a break, drinking something and resting for 45 minutes in the press area just thinking about the best moments and maybe starting to write my review before Tarot´s concert. These are those moments when giving the wrong step and braking your face are so easy to happen…but it´s good that it didn´t this time. Photographer Jussi Ratilainen had already told me about Insomnium and made really curious about the guys so when I met him backstage we just headed for Sue Stage to check the boys out. Missing this concert would have been really something to regret. The band is very professional and surely deserves to be heard and known by every metal fan in the world. One more band to get into my hall of ”Finnish metal pride”.
The band was formed in 1997 and the lineup counts on Niilo Sevänen (vocals/bass), Ville Freeman (guitars), Ville Vänni (guitars) and Markus Hirvonen (drums). Insomnium music shows us the scent of the melodic Scandinavian death metal spiced with some old school doom metal influences and also some thrash metal, which for me is really a plus since most of the bands of this style nowadays spice their music only with Gothic and epic stuff not leaving space for something rawer. I feel a lot of difference when watching bands who are proud to be influenced by the old school styles and are able to still sound new and unique, there is more passion in the way they play and we can feel the music much deeper. It was a pity that their concert lasted only 45 minutes ´cause everybody was really into it and surely willing for more.
Niilo has a powerful voice and looks quite wild on stage with all his headbanging, actually the entire band has a great stage presence and made most of the audience headbang and scream. The guitars are played with a lot of punch and personality and we can feel the influences of Paradise Lost (Shades of God, Icon and Draconian Times, no new stuff), My Dying Bride, Dark Tranquility but also something of Metallica from the Black Album era, and I don´t know if I´m crazy or what, but something of Iron Maiden also came to my mind although there is nothing related to Maiden on their music.
So, after Insomnium´s concert I was really delighted and almost sure that the first day of Tuska Open Air would bring me the best sequence of concerts of all days, even though that was just the beginning.
TAROT – 16:15, Radio Rock Stage
Resting? Who said this word? I-M-P-O-S-S-I-B-L-E! Right after Insomnium I just headed for the main stage (Radio Rock) to watch my 4th show of the day, 6th of the festival – as mentioned, Sue Stage and Inferno Stage played simultaneously.
Precisely at 16:15 Tarot got on stage and I was really curious to see them alive. Hietala brothers´metal band (yes, Nightwish´s Marcu Hietala and his brother Zachary) I´d say is one of the most competent in Finland and maybe, among those that have already a good place in the mainstream, one of the best of the moment. Best of the moment sounds quite weird when the subject is Tarot, a band that has been around since the early 80´s having Marcu Hietala (voice/bass), Zachary Hietala (guitar) and Pecu Cinnari (drums) together since then and 6 albums released. But music business is never something fair and achieving a place in the sun is always hard. Although the band has never been unknown in Finland and had quite good moments in Japan (they have albums released only there), only now the doors of the world are really opened to this great band. Besides Marcu on vocals, Tarot counts on another lead singer, Tommi Salmela, who also plays the sampler. This vocal sharing makes the music even richer since Marcu´s and Tommi´s voices suit perfectly and both have a great vocal range.
Tommi has a very good singing style and his voice reminds me very different stuff and hard to put together such as Bruce Dickinson, Ozzy Osbourne (Bark at the Moon mainly) and some real rock n´roll stuff as Lynyrd Skynyrd. Difficult to understand? Well, you have to check it out…
Marcu Hietala is always that great guy everybody feels like having a beer with. As a big fan of his playing and singing – actually I prefer Nightwish a thousand times now because he sings more (oops, maybe I´ve just lost some readers but I´m not a big Tarja ”owl” Turunen ´s fan, sorry) – is very nice to watch him doing his thing as the leader of his band. He sings A LOT and his charisma in undeniable.
Tarot songs are definitely metal in the European, most precisely Scandinavian, way of doing it but the hard rock influences are very strong, specially if we think of bands like Deep Purple (Coverdale era), Journey and Survivor. But don´t think the band is old fashioned, NO WAY! Important to mention the presence of the keyboard player Janne Tolsa (that Korg CX3 is something I really envy), great musician. Tarot did a very special performance at Tuska Open Air, opening the concert with ”Sleep in the Dark”, followed by their biggest hit ”I Walk Forever” and a big surprise, a choir led by the crazy conductor Mika Ryhänen, who uses a whip instead of a baton. This choir got second place on the TV show ”Clash of the Choirs” in Finland, and Marcu was their leader in the competition. They were part of the concert for around 6 songs and made a big difference to the performance. ”Satan is Dead”, ”Crows Fly Black”, ”Tides”, ”Calling Down the Rain” – one of the best moments of the concert and I don´t know if it was coincidence or not, but exactly in this song the bouncers started to sprinkle water in the audience, exactly as if it were raining since it was very hot and sunny – ”Hell Knows”, ”Pyre of the Gods”, ”Rider of the Last Day” and ”Traitor” were the pearls of this very good set list and excellent show. Tarot rules!
PAIN – 17:45, Sue Stage
One more band in the row, the Swedish Industrial Metal band which is actually one more project of the talented workaholic musician and producer Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy), the man who never sleeps, and if he does, he is probably able to split himself in two. Peter is that kind of person who is always doing several things simultaneously and only at Tuska, we could see him on stage with Pain and Hypocrisy, his main project and excellent melodic death metal band.
One very interesting thing is that Pain sounds very different from all things we are used to seeing coming from Tägtgren. It isn´t so heavy as his usual projects more backed to death and black metal and grind core. Pain has even something of pop and is a band you can easily listen to on rock radios and sing along the songs, the music is not actually underground although it´s very deep with lyrics that you should pay attention and think about. Peter Tägtgren knows the formula and never gets lost, he chooses the path, builds the way and will not walk unnoticeable, one of the big names in which concerns to music in our era who will surely leave a very big mark in rock history. Pain sounds great and is not at all a cliche band.
They played on Sue Stage right after Tarot, at 17:15, and the tent was so crowded that I could barely watch the band (my height doesn´t help much in these situations) but of course I could listen and stayed there during the entire concert trying to get a piece of look. ”Supersonic Bitch” was the first song followed by Dancing With the Dead, one of my favorites, written by Peter after the experience of having his heartbeats stopped for a couple of minutes during the same name album production. ”Zombie Slam” came next and is also a very good song in which the atmosphere reminds me a mix o punk rock with Sisters of Mercy, full of very different vocal styles. Actually this is a big plus in which concerns to Pain´s songs. There is a vast range of vocal styles from Guttural to more melodic, more punk, more Gothic, none of the songs sound the same. ”Walking on Glass”, ”It´s Only Them”, ”End of the Line”, ”I´m Going In”, ”Monkey Business”, ”On and On”, ”Don´t Care”, and of course the encore, ´cause nobody wanted them to leave the stage: ”Same old Song”, one of the moment´s radio hit in Finland and most played video clips in the music TV channel, ”Shut Your Mouth”, and pity, the end…
Pain´s concert at Tuska Open Air really left me with that ”I want more taste” in my mouth and this is a guy I really have to meet and talk someday.
The entire band that played with Peter deserves all congrats, excellent musicians who made everybody have fun and get wasted in the music.
Check them out and feel the pain!
DEVIN TOWNSEND – ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT – 20:30, Radio Rock Stage
Last band of the day, one of the projects of the Canadian musician and music producer Devin Townsend, bringing a debut concert to Finland, performing songs of the conceptual album Ziltoid the Omniscient with the entire story on video during the show.
Devin got known in music world in 1993 when he toured and recorded the vocals on Steve Vai´s album Sex & Religion. With Ziltoid the Omniscient, he brings the audience an incredible show full of interaction and a very funny and intelligent story. Ziltoid is a 4th dimensional alien who has come to Earth to beam messages in the shape of videos and music. Ziltoid can bend time but to do it he requires the perfect fuel: the finest black coffee beans that can be found only in Planet Earth. It´s a great concert and this interaction audience/video/Devin is quite of an experience. It isn´t a concert for headbanging or screaming, it´s a performance to be watched and enjoyed. Townsend is a very charismatic guy and performs full of body expression and eye contact. His voice is powerful and he also has a great voice range doing several vocal styles without losing the tone even once.
To know more about Ziltoid the Omniscient you can check out his MySpace profile but really, watch the videos, they are great and funny. I recommend.
The second day of Tuska Open Air was also the hottest of the last 50 years in Finland. All day long the sun was shining and the temperature was over 30 degrees Celsius, so watching the concerts placed on Sue Stage and Inferno Stage was quite hard (Inferno stage mainly).
The first band of the day started at 13:45 at Sue Stage and it was the Finnish metal band Blake, inspired by the 70´s style riff tradition, showing some blues and progressive roots in spite of the modern and post 90´s style which can be much more felt here. I didn´t watch the concert but got quite curious after listening to very good comments coming from the audience, and although their style doesn´t catch me that much, they seem to have done a great concert. If you are interested in checking them out, the homepage address is http://blake.fi . I also missed the death metal band Sotajumala (http://www.sotajumala.com/) and Torure Killer (http://torturekiller.com/), this one I actually tried to watch but Inferno Stage was like a real hell on fire. The temperature under the tent was probably over 40 degrees Celsius and there was quite a lot of people, I just couldn´t handle it.
HYPOCRISY – Radio Rock Stage,15:50
Time to watch my first concert and really begin to enjoy one more true metal day with the Swedish death metal band HYPOCRISY, the main project of Peter Tägtgren, before mentioned on the day one review part II with the band PAIN (http://www.hardblast.com/resenha/tuskad2.asp).
Hypocrisy is formed by Peter on guitar and vocals, Mikael Hedlund on bass and Horgh on drums. Its master mind Tägtgren, who lived many years in Florida, was inspired by the best in the style: (bands like Morbid Angel, Deicide, Death and Obituary). Well, if you think of Hypocrisy also as being the main project of the man in charge for producing some of the best bands in the world in which concerns to death and black metal, such as CHILDREN OF BODOM, DIMMU BORGIR, THERION, CELTIC FROST, DARK FUNERAL, DESTRUCTION and IMMORTAL, you would probably agree that words mean nothing here. YOU HAVE TO WATCH AND LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND and I promise! Enjoy it!
Hypocrisy is at the moment the best death metal band in my opinion and they did an excellent concert at Tuska Open Air. My mistake here? Not to follow the set list as I should have. To be really honest I haven´t been a Hypocrisy fan for a long time, I got curious about them after reading Peter´s bio, which I was studying for an interview he was supposed to give me at Finnish metal expo in February of this year (which unfortunately didn´t happen due to technical problems before their concert FXXX!), but as far as I remember, Hypocrisy played some great stuff as “Pleasure of Molestation”, “Fire in the Sky”, “Let the knife do the talking”, a love song according to Peter´s words (NOT!), Warpath, Eraser, most of the songs of the album Catch 22 and Penetralia. It was a perfect start and a great concert.
Check more about Hypocrisy: http://www.hypocrisy.tv/
CROWBAR – 16:15, Sue Stage
Just THE BEST concert of the day and one of the top 5 in the entire Tuska Open Air for me. Showing what they were there for, frontman Kirk Windstein gave the order: “Hey Finland, I´m 45 and have been doing it for 25 years so, can you scream a little bit louder ´cause I can´t hear you very well?”
Of course everybody obeyed this metal veteran from New Orleans and his band formed by Steve Gibb, also on guitar, Pat Bruders, bass, and Tomy Bucklet, drums, a bunch of guys who know exactly what it means to play heavy and loud. They kick ass absolutely!
Crowbar is one of those bands I consider a big inequity for never being well known all over the world. They´ve been around for over 20 years, have 8 records released, one DVD and a long list of concerts all over the world. The only pity here is not to see them on mainstream charts.
Their music is a combination of heavy styles with a lot o thrash metal and hardcore influence and in this concert they dedicated songs to Peter Steele, Type o Negative vocalist who passed away at the beginning of this year, and of course, to our forever metal god Dio (R.I.P.). The concert lasted 45 minutes and all of us in the audience asked for and wanted more but unfortunately it wasn´t possible due to the festival tight schedule. It was impossible for me to follow the set list since I was really packed in the crowd and didn´t have how to take a note. Couldn´t find it on the net either, sorry…
Check them out and promote their work!
Next concert, Devin Townsend Project, the only artist to perform in two days of Tuska but with different concerts, on the first day with Ziltoid the Omniscient (http://www.hardblast.com/resenha/tuskad2.asp ) and on the second day playing a varied set list of his career. The concert was ok but I don´t have much to add here.
SURVIVORS ZERO – 18:00, Sue Stage
Finnish modern death metal band Survivors Zero was my next choice and once more a good one. Although I´ve heard a lot about them, a quite popular band in the scene, I hadn´t heard them before and enjoyed quite much. Vocalist Tommi Virranta screams very well and the guitars of Sami Jämsen and Janni Luttinen are full of power. My highlight here, though, goes to the drummer Seppo Tarvainen who kicks that double kick in a way that I was paying attention more to him that anyone or anything else during the entire concert. Excellent! Bass player Tapio Wilska also did an excellent job and Survivors Zero deserves the attention given. One more Finnish band to kick ass in the world of metal.
Check them out:
KAMELOT – 18:45, Radio Rock Stage
Ok, now it´s time to lose some readers and start to have some people hating me, of course among 12 headliners there would be one or two that I just CAN´T say good things about for several reasons…
I am not taking my personal taste in consideration here and this is really how I work whenever I write about a band: impartially, but dear reader, this one was not good, not at all, and I mean Kamelot.
I was deeply disappointed since Kamelot has an admirable work, very good line-up formed by top musicians and for many years in summer festivals has been a band I have only read good things about. I apologize here but however Roy Khan was extremely kind with the audience and sang very well, for me the concert was slow, with no punch, no emotion, and totally feelingless. Bad is not a fair word for a band counting besides Roy on Thomas Youngblood, lead guitar, Sean Tibbets, bass, Casey Grillo on drums and Oliver Palotai on the keyboards but that black heavy outfit under that 32 degrees Celsius sun cool the band´s feeling off. Nothing to say…
OVERKILL – 19:45, Sue Stage
Remorse, repent and sadness are the words that should permeate these next lines. I MISSED OVERKILL!!!! And if you already hate me for saying those words about Kamelot, now you should just torture me before killing. Overkill has been around since 1985, playing the real and truth thrash metal which I so deeply love. I had the opportunity of being 10 meters away from them, watching the concert in the front row and what happened? I just didn´t see them.
After watching Kamelot my back started aching so bad that I had to sit for a while. End of story…please hit me!
And if by any chance you don´t know what I´m talking about, check them out!
NEVERMORE – 20:45, Radio Rock Stage
Last band of the evening, another one I was really expecting: NEVERMORE.
Warrel Dane is one of my idols not only for his voice but for all work he´s done in the name of heavy metal since the 80´s with Sanctuary, then with Nevermore and his solo career, which I consider even better than the bands. Very good composer and lyricist, together with Jeff Loomis, a real guitar hero, Jim Sheppard on bass and Van Williams on drums he is the leader of this great band. Important to mention the presence of another guitarist, Attila Vörös, from Hungary, who is touring with the band this year.
But ok, I said before that I know how to be impartial and put my personal taste aside while writing a review, so here I am ensuring my words talking about this band I love: the concert was feelingless and quite disappointing. Most of the words I wrote about Kamelot would be suitable here and not even god nor the devil know how hard it is for me to say that.
Photos by Jussi Ratilainen
A new teenage comedy is here, directed Miguel Arteta, and starred by the new king of the genre, Michael Cera. When I saw the cover of the DVD, I had high expectations. The cast was looking superb, but honestly, I had to say I was disappointed. Great actors like Zach Galifianakis, Ray Liotta, Justin Long or Steve Buscemii are just wasted here, with a few minutes on screen that hardly add anything to the plot of the movie.
The plot focuses pretty much on Michael Cera and his double personality as sweet innocent virgin teenager in love, and his dark side as mischievous trying to gain the love of the girl he met on summer. Well, Cera is credible in that role, because basically he plays the same role again and again in almost every movie, but maybe it would be about time for him to change a bit the register. Many people compare him to Jesse Eisenberg, but I think the latter one is making a better choice in his appearances lately, with little jewels like Adventureland, Zombieland or The Social Network, and a wider variety or registers to show.
Apart from a couple of situations, the movie is not funny, when pretends to be. The chemistry between Cera and Portia Doubleday does not work on screen, I would have personally prefer to center the plot at the initial steps, with a shy Cera overwhelmed by the cheeky new beautiful girl, but when the couple is separated, magic is missing.
Although the new wave of teenage comedy is trying to explore deeper humor than the easy jokes about sex and eschatological moments of American Pie, here the makers fail. A pity! It could have given much more to the spectator with such a cast!
The best: The car falling into not so deep water when Cera is trying to escape from police.
The worst: Galifianakis role could have given much more if he had been allowed more minutes on screen.
The detail: Do you also confuse Cera and Eissenberg when you see them on screen? It seems that happens to many watchers who express themselves
Youth in Revolt – Trailer
I discovered by chance this video a couple of days ago, and I cannot take it out of my mind. The photography of Scottish landscapes is amazingly beautiful, the songs by The Jezabels and Loch Lomond are superb, I have been listening to them again and again, and the tricks from Danny on his bike are amazing to watch. A must see!
Danny MacAskill – Way Back Home
Ask your average English-speaking layman to play a game of Word Association, and the chances are, if you say Finland, that if they don’t opt for ‘cold’, or ‘depressed’, the word ‘sauna’ will come up. I’ve always found it amusing that the Swedes and Finns both lay claim to the advent of the Sauna, and in the excellent coming-of-age novel Popular Music in Vittula, by Mikael Niemi, set on the border of the two countries, there is a wonderful argument between the elders on the virtues of a Swedish sauna versus a Finnish version, and, God forbid, a Norwegian equivalent. There is nothing comparable in any European culture I can think of that is so central as the Sauna is to the Nordic countries, and, in particular, to Finnish men.
Miesten Vuoro serves as a celebration of the sauna while exploring ground hitherto relatively unknown – emotional tenderness beneath that most hardened veneer of macho stoicism, the Finnish male psyche. Far from the emotionally retarded, monosyllabic stereotype that is generally accepted, the many subjects of this excellent documentary all have stories to tell, which are in turn heartbreaking, endearing, and often compelling. The directorial duo of Joonas Berghäll and Mika Hotakainen have stated in interview that, during the ten years in which they dreamed up a formula, ‘there have been loads of documentaries and discussions in the [Finnish] media about women’s emotions and lives. We thought it was time to show that there is a tender and emotional side to men also.’ (1)
The film takes the form of a series of vignettes, set in saunas all across Finland, with interludes depicting panoramic landscapes of the country to set the context. Domestic strife is a theme that comes up more than once, and many of the subjects of conversation are universal enough for an international audience to relate to. However, they also tell us a great deal about Finnish society, such as certain characters’ battles with alcoholism and solitude. Not all the scenes are everyday tales of the average Joe – one man gives a lengthy account of his paternal relationship with a fully-grown grizzly bear, and a group of off-duty Santa Claus’ are amongst those placed for comic relief. Sometimes the documentary form is betrayed by set pieces like this – a scene featuring a man taking a sauna in a converted telephone box, and another of a couple who have altered a clapped-out car to enjoy a cleansing seem unlikely, and the fact that the Santas wear full dress in the changing room is playing to the camera in a rather more staged manner than might befit a true ‘documentary’. Nevertheless, these are minor quibbles. When the film finished at the cinema I was at, the audience trailed out the theatre in a sober fashion, but I saw several with moist eyes, and quiet, warm smiles, which I imagine is exactly the reaction the film set out to achieve.
Swallow The Sun is a Finnish melodic death/doom metal band formed in 2000 by guitarist Juha Raivio. So far they have released 4 albums, 2 singles, 3 music videos and 1 EP that contains a song with the lenght of 30min. Their last album New Moon came out in 2009 and they have spent the last year touring.
Swallow The Sun also played at Tuska Open Air 2010 – so I got a great oppurtunity to interview them. The interview is a bit short due to the fact that it was conducted before their show and they didn’t have very much time. The interview is with the band’s guitarist and music-writer Juha Raivio and the bassist Matti Honkonen.
How have you been? How has been the summer for you?
JR: It’s been great. We’ve been doing few festivals so far and we’ve been playing Israel for the first time and we also played this big festival in France – Hellfest. That was fantastic. And Nummirock more up north in Finland. It’s been good and I have to say that after this Tuska gig we have a month long free time, no more gigs, and in fact I’m really happy about it.
MH: Yeah, a little break for us. Next month is going to be full of festivals and then a tour to US with Katatonia. So, it’s going to be a little break.
It’s great to have a month long break before the other long tour in the US.
JR: Yeah. When I was younger I was like – Oh yeah, it’s going to be a gig and now I’m more like – yeah, it’s not going to be a gig in one month. We love playing gigs and all the festivals but “New Moon” came about six months ago and we’ve been touring for almost 4 months now. So, it has been a lot of gigs. A little break is good and I’m happy that it’s the summer time.
How was the acceptance of the album New Moon? Are you happy with it?
MH: And it seems that the audience seems to like it. It’s all that matters.
JR: It’s definitely a bit different album, some new kind of things there. We always have little bit of new things with every album but still try to keep it sounding like Swallow The Sun. I’m really happy about the album and I’m happy how it sounds like. There are many good live songs.
Regarding the live songs – I’ve always thought about your last album Plague of Butterflies ; it’s basically a 30min. song. It must be pretty hard to play it live?
MH: Yeah, but we have done it here in Finland. But we don’t have that much time in festivals or if we are a support band in the US – we only have limited time. So we can’t play that live often. It’s a little bit of shame because we have done it in Finland and it works very well – one song that is 30min and then the show starts.
JR: But we usually play one part of this song. And I think we will play one part of this song even today but not the full song.
But at first when you started writing it, was it like a concept or a thought to write such a song or did it came naturally in writing process?
JR: It supposed to be a metal ballet. We got an offer to make music for a ballet and I was like yes, of course. They had used our music in their shows before also. I was like – this is a great idea. I can make this long story in this one song. It was ordered from us. But the ballet never happened, there were money issues at the end – surprise, surprise. But we got the music anyways.
I’ve always thought that your music would suit this kind of horror movie or something like it. What do you think about it? Would you want it to be a soundtrack to some movie?
JR: You know, somebody has been using our music in a horror movie or something like this. Many of our songs are set musically in a way that they’d suit on a movie. And actually the lyrics are also quite suitable. Many of our songs have this movie kind of vibe/feeling. At least for me.
What about performing in Estonia?
MH: Of course we want to play in Estonia. We want to go everywhere we can. Well, almost everywhere. It’s not always up to us – it’s up to the organizers and everything connected with that.
Talking about Estonia. Do you know any Estonian metal bands?
MH: Not particualry…
Maybe for example Metsatöll – also under Spinefarm records?
MH: Yeah, I’ve seen them live. We played with them in one festival in Vana-Vigala (Hard Rock Lager – annual metal festival in Estonia). I think it was Metsatöll. But I know we played with them. But I didn’t know they were from Estonia.
Yeah, they were recently signed with Spinefarm.
MH: Yeah, I’ve heard the news.
I’m really happy that Estonian metal is finally breaking out to Europe also.
MH: Yeah, of course, that’s a very good thing.
A lot of bands and artists have released their autobiographies. Will there some day be a Swallow The Sun biography?
JR: Yeah, it’s gonna be and it’s going to be two pages long (laughs).
What kind of bands are you going to see in Tuska yourself?
JR: Satyricon is playing right after us so I’m gonna miss it. But Devin Townsend Ziltoid Project – I’m really waiting for that. What else – of course Megadeth.
Regarding Megadeth. Did you see maybe the Big Four concert? It was brodcasted over satellite to cinemas everywhere?
JR: Yeah, I heard about it. But we didn’t see it. But it would have been great to see it.
So, thank you for the interview. It was great talking to you.
JR and MH: No problem, thank you
There are not many books published in English language that tell the experience of a foreigner living in Finland. So Elks Do Not Speak English, by English author John Murolo, is a very refreshing publication for those of you who want to know more about the Nordic country.
But this is not a book that maybe would delight all kind of audiences interested in Finland. I have experienced myself in the last decade how more and more foreigners, not only political refugees as some Finns may think, but hordes of exchange students or workers for mainly IT companies choose Finland to stay for some period of time, and in many cases the stay stretches for many more years. If you are expecting to read a book about wild University parties with drunken students dressed in colorful overalls, amazing anecdotes where people wake up not remembering what wild party went on the previous night or hints about the main cities nightlife and nightclubs, Elks Do Not Speak English is maybe not for you.
John Murolo narrates his experiences together with his wife Celia during 15 years visiting and living in Finland, coming from England, his home country. But they represent another sector of foreign population, those who after many years of hard work want to get a piece of land in this quiet country, far from main cities, and who prefer to tell anecdotes about their grandchildren than going out to the local bar. Sometimes he spends long paragraphs amazed of little details of current Finnish life. But maybe that is what makes this book slow but delightful at the same time: in the end, not only in the big things but the little details of everyday life is where you most notice the difference of living abroad.
Murolo does not give you advice about the hottest metal bands from Tampere or Helsinki, but you will find very entertaining chapters that have to do with living in isolated communities of Finland: gardening, solving small household problems, the communication with the Finns, who are friendly but with different patterns of behavior than in many other countries, how to drink coffee always together with a pulla, how is life near a lake, sauna, fishing in frozen waters… It is also pretty interesting to see how Finland has evolved during the last decade and a half, and how some behaviors from Finns that Murolo contemplates in his book do not take place so often, at least in bigger cities, while some others remain the same with the past of time
Remember that this is a very objective narration of the author´s own experiences in Finland, so some comments and behaviors of amazement towards Finnish customs could be taken the wrong way. All in all, he manages to explain himself his love for this nation very clearly, and be honest, when you care about something or someone, there is always a small portion of healthy criticism involved here and there. Maybe the only chapter where people can feel really not comfortable is the one dedicated to Russians; there Murolo shares the widespread views of Finns about their not so beloved Russian neighbors, but let´s not forget that not all the Russians in Finland walk in Helsinki with full wallets and noses up.
If you are looking forward to stories of young blonde girls and boys drinking until losing their senses, rock and metal bands and crazy nights surrounded by snow, you are not going to find it here. But if you are interested in Finland, and especially what is to buy a property or live there outside the biggest metropolitan areas, you are going to find that Finnish Elks can be pretty entertaining, although they still will not be able to speak English with you.
Swedish literature is living a golden age, not only because of the Millennium trilogy by Stig Larsson, but by many other interesting novelists such as the current one: Johan Theorin, awarded with the Glass Key prize for the best Nordic crime novel in 2008.
Theorin introduced us in his latest novel, The Darkest Room, the island of Öland, in the Baltic Sea, an island where the author has lived himself, collecting stories from the popular folklore. There, in a house by the sea, we encounter mystery when one member of the new family that had just moved in few months ago appears dead in strange circumstances. This is his second novel of a quarter located in Öland, having previously published Echoes from the Dead in 2007.
The past and the present of the island is mixed with talent by Theorin, and you can really feel immersed in what would be the routine of living in an isolated community in a Nordic country: the contrast between summer and winter, the hard storms and the sudden changes of weather conditions that can endanger lives, how news fly fast among neighbors, the solidarity, the sense of loneliness, the sea as friend and foe… Undoubtedly Theorin loves Öland, and can build the right atmosphere for the story.
Theorin is able to build an interesting plot that leads you page after page wanting to know the truth. However, from my point of view, the final is a bit disappointing, like written in a rush. The novel ends up in a middle way between being a “mystery” with some traces of horror novel (it reminds me in some passages The Amityville Horror), but it leaves you in a middle way, expecting that something “more” exciting could have happened in the end. Not the best climax after having a great tension been built up in previous chapters. But all in all, worthy to read if you want to enjoy a well written mystery book that can take you closer to the life of a little islanded community of Sweden.
Satyricon is a Norwegian black metal band that was formed in 1990. Mainly the band consists of two members – Satyr and Frost. Satyricon are in a way an exception in black metal- they never cared for trends, for the latest fashion in how one is supposed to present oneself and they always abhorred the tried and tested genre stereotypes. The result is a notable career, spanning eight albums that always put the music first, often as a surprise and challenge to the listener. Satyricon’s last album The Age Of Nero came out in 2008.
They also played at Tuska Open Air 2010 and I had a great opportunity to talk with Satyr. Here is what we talked about.
So to start off, how are you?
I’m in a good mood today. I had a really nice time yesterday. This is an off year for the band. It was our second show this year and we don’t have any more shows scheduled. We made a decision in August (2009) to take a touring brake for 2010. We did only two Helsinki shows – one in February in MetalExpo and the second here in Tuska. They were booked before we made a decision to take a break in 2010. So, it’s nice for us that even if we are on a tour-brake we can still do a couple of shows. And when you do a couple of shows it becomes all the more important that the shows you give are very good shows. Yesterday it was a very vigorous crowd, real fighting spirit. I will leave Helsinki feeling inspired.
Your last album was out in 2008 – The Age Of Nero. How do you feel about this album now? Are you happy with it – commercially and music-wise?
For me it’s most important that I’m happy with it musically. Everything else comes as a result of this hopefully. If you make a good record and you do good tours most of the time it will result in good record sales. That’s nice. This record for example was our best selling record in some countries and overall the sales have been very good. Especially taking into account the Internet downloading and everything. I’m very happy with it but then again the most important thing is that we are musically satisfied with The Age Of Nero. Its commercial success is a bonus for us.
You have only one video from this album – Black Crow On A Tombstone. Will there be other videos maybe?
We did some live footage of “The Wolfpack” because we wanted to do a video for that. But I wasn’t really satisfied with the footage. For me it was a logical song to do a video for and I wanted it to be a live video as I felt that Satyricon is a good live band and the exchange of energy between our listeners and the band has become a very important part of the spirit of Satyricon. So, I wanted to do a video where you can see that and feel that. But I wasn’t happy with the camera angles and the footage and it was just the band on the stage. And for me videos like that are boring. I wanted it to be like you where there. For me it’s – if you can’t make it right then don’t make it. But I was very happy with the Black Crow On A Tombstone video.
And regarding Black Crow On A Tombstone – I read in an interview where you said that you got the inspiration for the song when you were writing and saw a crow sitting on a tombstone watching you. Have you had any other such obvious inspirations?
Yeah, many. My Skin Is Cold is based on a dream. What’s interesting about that is that basically in the dream I was hearing the song and I had not yet written the song. It was interesting because I was hearing a Satyricon song that did not exist. And I could hear the melodies and I could hear my own voice singing words that I had not written. I remember waking up that night 4 or 5 in the morning, it was a crazy feeling. Thankfully I was awake enough to understand that it was very important to write down all the words that I could remember and then I fell asleep again and the same dream continued. So as soon as I woke up I called – this was in Tokyo in an hotel room – one of our crew and told them to bring the guitar to my hotel room. And I started to try to play the melodies that I had been dreaming. And this was basically the essence of the song My Skin Is Cold.
Yeah, I like to think that these experiences make good stories but the most important thing is if you can use them artistically. For example with the Black Crow On A Tombstone – that was the same thing. It was a very bizarre happening because it was this crow sitting on a tombstone and if I would move somewhere it would sit there and it would move his head, turn away and as soon as I looked at it, it would turn back at me. So wherever I looked or moved it was always sitting still and its look followed me everywhere. It was very much like – I’m watching you. It was a simple thing but still very powerful because it didn’t feel like a coincidence because it didn’t went on like few seconds, it was more like 10min. Then I wanted to tell my colleagues what had happened but then I thought I could use this story artistically instead of just telling it.
I wanted to ask about the music writing process. Is it like you said – you get inspiration from somewhere and start writing or do you go to a studio and think – I’m now going to write something.?
We don’t really write music in a studio situation. It’s different. Sometimes it’s a bizarre thing like “My Skin Is Cold” but with other songs sometimes I could experience something – for example when I wrote “To The Mountains” for “Now, Diabolical” I was up in the mountains and I had spent some hours getting to the mountain top and when you get up there you can see many other famous Norway’s mountains – you look in one direction it’s that mountain or the other directions it’s this mountain. It was very impressive. And after I went back I wanted to write about something that gave me that grand feeling I had on top of that mountain. That’s very hard. But seeing all this made me make other stuff also gigantic.
So I thought let’s try to make a song that has the gigantic feeling that I was seeing and how the mountains made me feel inside. But other times it’s very simple – you just sit and play guitar and you just mess around and all of a sudden you have a melody. Then you think that’s cool and you start working on that. And there’s nothing special about it. It’s just a very good melody. So, it can be very complex or it could be very simple.
I’d say that Satyricon is not a typical black metal band, it’s a bit different.
I think we feel ourselves that we are a band that has chosen a certain lonely path. It’s kind of like – instead of walking in already stomped path we make our own path and leave a trail. That’s been the philosophy of the band. I feel like as we have done that. It’s my impression that the majority of bands and the music community around the world can like us or not but I know we are a unique band. And I also hope that we are an important band.
Whenever I hear Satyricon I can right away say that it’s you playing. Sometimes with other black metal bands you get a bit confused but you have a such a unique sound that I can say definitely that it’s Satyricon.
Thank you. Well, I mean that should be every artist’s goal to create a distinctive and recognizable sound that has your fingerprint on it.
I read somewhere that your album Volcano got the Norwegian Grammy for best “Best Metal Album”. How important are such awards to you?
Not important at all. I mean, the show yesterday with the way crowd responded – that’s the real world. Awards are more like a thing where business partners; colleagues and friends are like “congratulations” and other blablabla. And maybe for the record company sometimes it could be like a good sales argument. Maybe in some records stores – if they don’t want to sell your records, they can say that its records have gotten many awards. And maybe it could make them change their mind. It can help a little bit but for me artistically I know what it is – it’s like 4-5 people in a committee that will decide. And I think that there have been several times where we should’ve won or there have been times when we even weren’t nominated. And other times where we have won award for like something I think is just ok. I think that for any band the real reality check of where you are at is really on stage. If you don’t have people coming to shows that’s bad – but it could happen to any band if the show is badly promoted. But if you have only few people at the show or aren’t getting a response from the crowd then you are doing something wrong. Overall we have good attendance and people respond to our music in a favorable way.
When we do signing sessions like today a lot of the time it’s just people shaking hands saying it was a good show but for every five people there is always someone that will tell me that you’re music means a lot to me personally and you can tell if there are people who are not that shy people, more open people they can talk about how (in what way) it means something more to them. And so it is for me also – some music is enjoyable music but at other times music can almost be like a medicine for the soul and the mind. And for other people who want to be creative music is like art, same as painting or writing. Music can be an inspiration to bring out the best inside of them. I’m very conscious of the fact that our music can have strong impact on people and it’s an honor and I also look about it as responsibility.
Regarding the audience do you prefer smaller more intimate places or bigger venues like this festival?
Like most bands I’d say it’s both. It’s very simple – if you have your own gig everything is prepared the way you want it and you have enough time to prepare for the show. You’re inside, you get the full lights show and everything and you get to be more accurate and pay more attention to detail because you don’t have to do things so fast. All the equipment is yours. But if you play festivals it’s more rentals, like here. In your own show you get very close to the crowd, you know that everyone is there because of you. Then again at festivals, I think Satyricon is a band that is good at playing in the big stages. Sometimes it can be seen when a band comes on to a big stage that they are uncomfortable there. But we are a band who loves playing big stages. It’s not something we are afraid of, it’s more like – bring it on.
It was seen yesterday at your show also. I saw that all the people were going along with the music and were very happy at the gig. And were very satisfied with the gig.
I like a powerful crowd reaction. If you have a good festival like yesterday it’s more massive then a club show. It’s more massive, everything is louder, more people and more hands in the air.
Regarding the live shows I wanted to ask about Estonia. I’m actually from Estonia, not from Finland. And I know that Satyricon played in Estonia in 2006. Do you remember anything about it?
Yeah, I remember it quite clearly. It was far out in the forest and there was a river running right past. My main memory of it was when we were on stage and it got dark I could see the fog coming up from the river. And it was very atmospheric. I remember seeing that on stage. Sometimes in festivals you have a much better view than the crowd because you are on stage, you are higher up and if it’s in nice scenery you can see some special things. I had similar experience one year later in 2007 in Norway when we were playing at a festival near a big lake with huge mountains in the background. The crowd was watching the stage, I was on the stage and it was a full moon and you couldn’t see the mountain but you could see the shadow of the mountain and the moon sending the light down to the lake up to where people were standing. So it was like a good place to play black metal.
So, will you be performing in Estonia again?
These things always come down to the demand. Even if a band wants to come and play in Argentina but if no agent in Argentina wants to book the band then there will not be a show. That’s basically the way it is. Whenever we have offers coming in we are serious with all of them and as far as Estonia goes – we’ve only been offered to play there once and we did it. And since that we never have had an offer. If there is another offer, we’ll do as we always do – we’ll consider it and if it makes sense then we will come. So it really depends on the people who organize the concert in Estonia.
What do you think about the fact that black metal bands have gotten more popular in recent years? For example Satyricon, Dimmu Borgir etc. Have the people changed or has the genre of black metal changed?
I think that black metal has evolved. Good bands are able to evolve musically and to progress, not change but progress and be subject to evolution. I think the most important thing is – I can speak on behalf of our band only – we say that if we keep doing what we do and we do it well and again and again then people at one point will learn to like what we do. It’s like if you do something well and people see it once they can like it but forget about it but if there are enough good bands, good records and shows then more and more people will start to recognize it. The underground genres – like death metal was for death meal people, black for black metal people etc. have evolved because everything has become more exposed. Maybe some people who would only listen to bands like AC/DC and Motörhead start getting into Slayer or Slipknot or whatever. And then maybe they start listening to Morbid Angel or Satyricon or something like that. They make the next step.
Thank you so much for the interview!
Megadeth is an American heavy metal band formed in 1983 by guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson following Mustaine’s departure from Metallica. The band has released 12 studio albums, 3 live albums, 2 EPs, 26 singles, 32 music videos, 4 compilations and 1 box set. Megadeth along with Metallica, Anthrax and Slayer form The Big Four – four bands that were trash metal pioneers. Megadeth’s last album Endgame was released in 2009.
Megadeth will be playing in Haapsalu Castle in Estonia the 16 of July, and surely it is going to be a hell of a show! So for all the metal fans in Estonia, do not miss that one! Our collaborator Kadri had the chance to interview their drummer Shawn Drover some days earlier, while they performed at Tuska festival in Helsinki, Finland, and here is how it went:
How are you?
I’m good, thank you. And you?
I’m good also.
To start off – I know you’re playing in Estonia on 16th of July. Since I’m from Estonia I wanted to ask – do you know anything about Estonia?
No, absolutely not. If you want me to be totally honest then no. I’m really excited about going there. I’ve never been to Russia; I’ve never been to Estonia. Actually several countries in Europe I’ve never been to. That’s why touring is also really great – you can experience new places, get to see different countries. I’m really excited about it.
That’s great because you are playing in a very beautiful place.
Yeah, it should be an awesome gig for you.
Plus it’s the last show. So, it’s going to be fun and I’m really excited about it.
I saw your concert that was broadcasted through satellite. The Big Four concert. How was that experience for you?
Did you see it in the movie theatre?
Yeah, it was an interesting experience.
I’m sure it was, I’ve would have wanted to see it too if I weren’t playing. But it was fun. We all had a lot of fun. Of course during our gig it started to rain as crazy but still it was fun and we had a good time. And of course the big thing we did at the end (performing Diamond Head “Am I Evil?”). That was a lot of fun. And I think the whole thing was a really good experience for me and for the band. We had a really great time.
That’s great. It was seen that even through the cinema you were all enjoying yourselves.
Yeah, you can’t fake that. You can see all these metal bands with smiles on their faces so it was truly great.
What about your last album “Endgame”? How happy are you with it – musically and commercial wise?
We’re very happy with it. In terms of success – the way things are with the Internet downloading and stealing music it can’t be compared to earlier time when records sold platinum – times have changed. That’s the way life is and how the music industry is right now. Bands don’t sell as much as they used do which sucks but its (the “Endgame” album”) very critically acclaimed record, many people really love it, our fans love it. As long as we have fans there actually isn’t anything to worry about. And we get new fans every time. We just keep doing our best and hoping for the best. And the sales have been down for everybody. But I still consider this album a success.
I read that you are working on a new album and it should be out in 2011. Is that right?
We’re talking about it. We have been in a tour mode at the moment but we have started to work on a couple of ideas. But just very few ideas only. During a sound check we recorded a few ideas but we’re going to finish this world tour and then come together and start working out these ideas. We hope it will be out next year but we’ll see how things will go.
You have received many awards. How important are these awards to you?
Well, I’ve never gotten a Grammy award (laughs). I’ve been in the band for six years (since 2004) and we were nominated with the song “Headcrusher” but we lost that to Judas Priest. It’s cool to be recognized by the industry, it’s nice to have been offered awards, to have been nominated. We appreciate it a lot. It’s like 25 years later and Megadeth still gets nominated. So, I think it’s a really good thing. We just try to make good music with every record. People still like us after 25 years so we have to do something right.
You have been to Megadeth since 2004 so you have played mostly to bigger audiences. But maybe you have also played to smaller audiences. Which is a better place to play – to more intimate and smaller places or big audiences like this festival?
I think they are both good for various reasons. When you play at a smaller place it’s fun because you can pretty much almost see everybody and it’s closer. But playing like this festival is fun too because you can see all your friends and other bands. You know the Cannibal Corpse guys are here and we’re very good friends with them. They are all fun for different reasons. The Big Four stuff with Metallica and Anthrax was a lot of fun too.
You said that you are in the band since 2004. How did you become a part of this band?
My brother was in the band first – Glen Drover. They called me up and asked if I wanted to be a part of the band. And of course I said yes. It happened pretty fast, Nick Menza was brought back to the band and for some reason it didn’t work out and so they turned to me. But Glen is not in the band anymore; he got tired of the touring and left the band. So then we got Chris, which is great.
I read also that you play the guitar. Maybe you wanted to be a guitarist in Megadeth?
No, no. Not this band (laughs). This band is way too hard for me. But I did write the song “Headcrusher” with Dave on the guitar. I’ve been playing guitar for years. But I’m not that good to be a Megadeth guitarist. So, I’ll stick to the drums.
Regarding the guitar – many Megadeth songs are featured on Guitar Hero. Have you played Guitar Hero yourself?
No. I suck at that stuff. I’m not good at those games. My son actually is really good at it. But I think it’s cool for kids to get into the music and also a new way of people getting in touch with our music. That’s a good thing if they go and buy the Guitar Hero and actually they are buying our music also. But I’m not good at that and I’ve never played any Megadeth stuff.
I once saw a clip where Arch Enemy’s Michael Amott tried playing his own song in Japan on Guitar Hero and failed.
Yeah, it’s different. It seems that the kids know how to do it but we fail so we let them do it (laughs)
Megadeth is famous for it’s political lyrics (some songs). But how do you feel about politics? Are you interested in politics?
No. Dave’s very intelligent in very different ways and he’s very educated with politics. He writes about many things he knows and politics is just one thing. He’s very educated, very smart and he writes good lyrics. Every time we have a song, the lyrics are very good. Politics is a cool heavy metal thing to write about. It’s good to write about many things not just one subject all the time.
Many artists and bands have released their official biographies. Megadeth doesn’t have an official biography. Could it happen one day?
There is the “Behind The Music” that is on VH1 in America but it went only until 2001. So much has happened after that so I think that at some point the whole story should also be told. We haven’t done that yet – this year has been very busy, we’ve been touring, then the Big Four thing and we also have a DVD coming out and also new record coming out so we haven’t had the time to think about it. At some point it would be nice to do an official video-biography from the beginning until this day. I hope we do that some day but right now we are quite busy. There are a lot of interesting things to talk about.
Did you have time to see some band here at Tuska?
No, we just flew in and pretty much just got here. We saw W.A.S.P for like 10 min. But overall we’ve been here like an hour. But after we are going to see Cannibal Corpse play a bit and afterwards we get on stage. Festivals are weird in a way – sometimes you have a lot of time but other times you have less time, like today we have 2 hours until the gig and we have to practice, do interviews and stuff. It sucks sometimes.
Isn’t it tiring sometimes? Like now we are also doing an interview.
Nah, it’s not. It’s part of what we do. It’s part of spreading the word, it’s part of our job. And I love doing it anyway. It’s better than being a construction worker. And it’s good for the band – fans see that we talk about our stuff openly. I think that interviews are always good because it helps to get the word out and contributes to people coming to our shows. It’s communication and it doesn’t bother me at all, I enjoy it.
I think that nowadays the live shows are important because your music gets more attention than only with the records (with all the Internet downloading and stuff).
Yeah. But the Internet is good for many things also. It’s good to get the word out. You can put this interview to Blabbermouth and the whole world can read it.
Thank you so much for the interview!
No problem. Thank you.
Pictures by Kadri Pärna taken at Tuska Festival.
The 16th and 17th of July will be celebrated in Salacgriva, a beautiful Latvian town just 10 kilometers from the Estonian border, a new edition of Positivus Festival, that was founded in the year 2007.
Its location in a 30 hectare park makes it perfect for visitors approaching from all over the Baltic States, and due to the cancellation of Rabarock festival in Estonia this summer, this is undoubtedly one of the most exciting festivals to visit during the current year in the Baltics. The musical offer is very attractive, cause you can both discover some of the hottest bands from the Baltic countries such as Triana Park or Goran Gora from Latvia, Happyendless from Lithuania or the eccentric Popidiot from Estonia at the same time than checking some big international names like Unkle and Stornoway from UK, Scissor Sisters from USA and putting the cherry on top of the cake Muse, possibly one of the most exciting bands in the world to see live nowadays, due to their spectacular performances on stage.
Positivus festival is nevertheless not only about the music, but about enjoying a good vibe in a paradisiacal location, a forest close to a beach. The forecasts announces very good weather for this week end, so between concert and concert, you can also just take a nap under the shadow of a tree or enjoy a refreshing bath when not making new friends with the other visitors. You can experiment how the inhabitants of the Baltic countries transform into much warmer and more friendly people when they have the chance to enjoy the sunlight and take from their wardrobes their bikinis and swimsuits! There are also movies, art exhibitions and other cultural events taking place around the festival area.
If those were not good enough reasons, another reason to assist is the great price of the festival. Having access to both days including camping is only 45 euro, and 1 day ticket is 35 euro. Take into account that for example, watching recently Muse playing in Finland was double that price, not mentioning that here you will have dozens of more bands to enjoy in an amazing natural landscape. So be positive and visit Positivus festival! I will be there checking it out for first time, so hope to see you around!
For more information, visit:
Muse – The Resistance album review: http://www.freemagazine.fi/muse-the-resistance/
Interview with Popidiot: http://www.freemagazine.fi/the-funniest-side-of-estonian-pop-interview-with-hendrik-of-popidiot/
Going for first time to see Greenday live was a kind of sentimental experience for me. Greenday and Offspring were those bands that introduced me and my friends to punk rock (or at least the softer side of punk rock). Being honest, although I own their latest album 21st Century Breakdown, I have not paid them any special attention through the last years. And being also honest, I was gladly surprised with their performance in Helsinki. I dare to say that it is the best gig I have seen so far this year, so it is a real pity that en the end several thousand of tickets remained unsold. At least the first 2/3 of the concert, where the band was powerful, fun, with a great sound and very interactive with the audience.
Greenday invited people from the first rows to share the stage singing, jumping from the stage, kissing, hugging… even the most tender moment was when singer Billie Joe Armstrong got on his knees to declare his love for a little Finnish child who got scared with the fireworks around. Armstrong did not lose the chance to fire the audience with water guns or throw t-shirts with air guns 100 meters away. And of course, among the interaction, a great collection of tunes. After 15 years not visiting the Finnish capital, the band was feeling like they owned something, and they went full steam to make the audience happy. Classics like Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Longview, Basket Case… and also time for teasing the fans with covers like Ironman from Black Sabbath, Highway to Hell, Sweet Child of Mine, Hey Jude, Shout (where the band appeared disguised, with drummer Tré Cool switching positions with Armstrong and stealing the show with a very funny dance).
The only thing that I would have changed is not playing the acoustic part of the show at the end in the second encore, reserving for example some more powerful classic for putting the cherry on top of the cake. All in all, Greenday showed during the almost 3 hours of an amazing show that they know how to connect with their fans (at least with those who can forgive them to have switched to more commercial melodies), and make it worth the money spent on the ticket.
GREENDAY SETLIST HELSINKI 9 JUNE 2010
1. Song Of The Century
2. 21st Century Breakdown
3. Know Your Enemy
4. East Jesus Nowhere
6. The Static Age
7. Give Me Novacaine
8. Are We The Waiting
9. St. Jimmy
10. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
11. Hitchin’ A Ride
12. Welcome To Paradise
13. When I Come Around
14. Brain Stew
15. Iron Man/Sweet Child of Mine/Highway to Hell Remix
18. Basket Case
20. King For A Day
21. Shout/Hey Jude Remix
22. 21 Guns
24. American Idiot
25. Jesus Of Suburbia
26. When It’s Time
27. Wake Me Up When September Ends
28. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)