It may not surprise you, but we’ve been to see Ember Falls. Again. But we had to! With the recent release of Welcome to Ember Falls, and with the promise of special guest Jake E (ex-Amaranthe, CyHra), the allure of the album release party at Jack the Rooster in Tampere on March 11th was simply too strong for us. Along with the show, we also caught Thomas, Ace, and Jake for an interview, which you can read HERE!
This was my first time watching a gig at Jack the Rooster, which was exciting in a sense, because I’ve heard rather mixed things about it as a venue – either that it’s wonderful, or that it has issues with sound quality. What was special about it in a sense though, was that they frequently make burgers for certain bands, and during the week of this event, they were offering The Burger You Need – an Ember Falls -themed burger. I’m not sure what about it exactly related it to Ember Falls, but it was a great burger.
With a crazy number of pre-sale reservations, it was soon evident that this would be a sold-out show. As we had our burgers, it was becoming somewhat evident that there was an issue with the soundcheck. We never found out exactly what was wrong, but it did affect the show. It was a hectic night for the band, and as such, the showtime was pushed back to 00:30, which is perhaps the latest start time I’ve ever seen a show. It was cool to see the venue slowly and surely pack to capacity, and I was pretty shocked to see a few people present who looked well past their 60s – how cool is that?
Finally, at the aforementioned time, it was time to get things going. A really cool electronic intro track played and they kicked things off with “The Cost of Doing Business” – maybe they’ve been reading my reviews, because the play order for this show was far superior to the set at Virgin Oil last month, putting songs into optimal positions for the right flow of energy. Already by the first song, the crowd was clapping along and enthusiastic. It lasted beyond the first song as well, as when they went into “The Enemy You Need”, the whole crowd was still dancing and clapping.
Next up was “Open Your Eyes” – Nc Enroe (Niko Moilanen, Blind Channel) was initially supposed to be a secret guest for the song, but alas, Blind Channel business interfered with the schedule and he had to cancel his appearance. Fingers crossed that he’ll do it at the Amaranthe show next month, since both Blind Channel and Ember Falls will be opening. It seems that Thomas Grove has been practicing the song, because it felt far less like ‘I can’t rap but I’m doing my best, let’s all laugh together’ than it had at Virgin Oil – he actually did a pretty good job of it this time, and I again applaud him for taking the job unto himself, rather than relying on a backing track. I maintain my stance, that I’d rather see a vocalist try and fail to make another singer’s part their own, than use a backing track. However, as I said, I’d hardly consider this a failure either.
Grove greeted the crowd properly at this point, thanking them for having sold out the venue, and then the “Welcome to Ember Falls” track played before they started “Of Letting Go.” At this point, the issues with the sound booth seemed to be a bit problematic. However, the band far made up for the imbalances with their exceptional enthusiasm, with Grove and Calu (guitars, growls) taking full advantage of the small amount of space they had available, even getting up to the ceiling. I’m really looking forward to seeing these guys on a much bigger stage, and I think Amaranthe’s show will be that opportunity!
Another thing I appreciated about this show was that it was less about performing perfectly and more about having fun with their fans. They’ve done more precise shows while opening for other bands, focusing on showcasing themselves and reeling in new fans. This was clearly a show for the existing fans, centered around fun and energy and good times, rather than precision playing (which I also suspect is tricky on such a tiny stage with so many people). “COE” had Calu in particular really getting into it, as high up and as energetic as can be.
After “COE”, it was time to introduce their very special guest, Jake E (ex-Amaranthe). He was introduced in English, seeing as he is Swedish, and he took the stage like a proud parent and proceeded to get the crowd revved up with his knowledge of various Finnish words, which were, of course, nearly exclusively curse words. “I’m honored to be here tonight! Give a warm fucking applause to Ember Falls!” Jake shouted as they started “Rising Tide.” He joined in to harmonize in the vocals of the chorus, and I was quite disappointed that this is when the sound issues were most noticeable, as he was nearly impossible to hear. They then played “One More Time”, and I was pleased to hear more emphasis on Calu’s growling, particularly in the “we have crossed the borderline” verse, as that is perhaps the poppiest song on the album and it really shines with the extra heaviness in a live setting.
Jake then shouted out, “Kiitos saatana perkele voi vittu!” and then said another stream of Finnish curse words and said that the band had told him that it means “I love you guys.” “Hi, I’m Jake E. I don’t know if you know me butI used to be in a band called Amaranthe from Sweden, but I’m not anymore. I had the great honor to produce these guys’ album, Welcome to Ember Falls. They’re such a fucking amazing band and they will eat all your love, so give them some more!” he continued. He then said that he’d be announcing something on Monday, and would sing two more songs. Grove said the next one was for the ladies, and they went into “Freedom.” They had skipped it at Virgin Oil last month, so I was glad to see that it made a comeback in this show, because it’s a perfect track to slow things down and have a quick breather – perfect placement in this show as well! They then ended Jake’s guest performance with “Falling Rain”, and from what I could barely hear, the harmonization was really cool. I’m glad that track was moved closer to the end of the set, because it remains a personal favorite and I like to have it built up a bit more. Grove then asked the crowd to, “Give your most handsome applause to Jake E,” who then shouted, “Kippis suomi Finland perkele, thank you guys!” before heading down from the stage. The band thanked him again before playing “The Lamb Lies Down in Sacrifice.” Again, love that thrash jazz, but it needs a bigger stage so they can have more fun with the jazz interludes. The sound had also improved a bit by this point, though there was a bit of feedback now and then. The song ended with a wonderful drum-heavy outro.
Then, with all of the album’s songs played, there was only one song left. The band (minus Oswald on bass and Jay V on guitar) donned sunglasses for “Shut Down with Me.” This song remains a classic party anthem and got an earth-shaking response from the crowd. Even the feedback noises didn’t tear down the wall of energy this song created. It was great fun and as a few people began to trickle out and make more room, it was clear that everyone had had an incredible time.
And so, Ember Falls has officially celebrated their album release. This is officially my seventh show seeing them (that seems insane) in the last year and I’m still listening through to the entirety of their album on a near-daily basis, so that really goes to show how enthusiastic I am about these guys. I really hope that the upcoming tour with Amaranthe helps to break them into some new fanbases! These guys are definitely a force to be reckoned with and I will probably continue to go to their shows at every opportunity. I suggest you do the same!
1. The Cost of Doing Business
2. The Enemy You Need
3. Open Your Eyes
4. Of Letting Go
6. Rising Tide
7. One More Time
9. Falling Rain
10. The Lamb Lies Down in Sacrifice
11. Shut Down with Me
Photos: Lene L.