When you’ve seen a band uncountable times on stage like I have with Mokoma, at some point you are bound to wonder whether the artist can offer anything you haven’t seen or heard before, apart from totally new songs of course. Accompanied by this rather unpleasant thought I arrived at Tavastia in Helsinki on September the 24th, hoping that this night would take my doubts away.
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My mind was so wrapped up in thoughts of seeing Mokoma that it wasn’t until the day of the gig that I realized there would be an opening act as well. The warm up band was IKINÄ, the newest member of the Sakara Records family. I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed that plenty of people had arrived already at 20:00 to see them.
If you’ve lived to see the dominion of PMMP in the Finnish pop/rock scene, you would not be surprised to see that the resemblance was strong when two female vocalists climbed on Tavastia’s stage with the rest of the band. Soon after, I was shown that the comparison was unjust. If there was something similar between PMMP and IKINÄ, it was the energy that filled the venue from the very start. Otherwise, the opening act showed that they had found their own sound and style.
As a proud choir girl, it is always great to hear two singers singing different parts together. The two vocalists definitely gave IKINÄ’s songs that something special that made them stick in your head. Also, I have nothing but respect for Katariina Sorsa and Tuuli Paju for being able to sing both clean vocals as well as growling parts with strength and attitude.
IKINÄ describes their music as something between pop, rock, and punk. Confusing, some might think, but then again, are there really any bands nowadays who would be content with just one genre? I found myself enjoying the combination. Clean vocals, poppish melodies… and suddenly growling and shredding and heavy drumming. You felt like moshing and dancing, which for me is a good sign.
To summarize, IKINÄ was a pleasant surprise. The band looked comfortable on stage, the speeches got a good response from the audience, and the performance was simultaneously relaxed and energetic. Time will only tell how much potential the band actually has, but based on what I saw at Tavastia, we might hear from IKINÄ again soon enough.
After the youngsters had shown what they were made of, it was time to see if the old gaffers could match them. Juxtapositions aside, it had been a while since I had seen Mokoma, and I had really missed them.
The last time I saw Mokoma was in earlier in the spring, and a rather special occasion. I attended the launch for their music video, ”Mutta minulta puuttuisi rakkaus” in Iivana, Helsinki. The reason for this peculiar venue was that the video was shot and directed by designer Paola Suhonen. Along with seeing the video, Mokoma had performed a few songs.
I didn’t expect to see anything quite as extraordinary in Tavastia, but I was in high spirits and waiting for some good singalong songs to come. I don’t know how many tickets had been sold but the venue looked close to sold out. I managed to get a spot next to the wall with a nice view of the stage. For the next 1.5 hours, I sang my lungs out, wrecked my neck by moshing, and in between had a wide smile on my face.
Just a couple of days before the gig, the band had announced that they would be releasing a new acoustic album, Laulurovio, in November. Since my enthusiasm for Mokoma had truly kicked off after hearing their first acoustic album, Varjopuoli (2011), I can’t wait to get my hands on this one.
Unfortunately, no acoustic tracks were heard during the course of the evening. However, Marko Annala did hint that some of the songs heard during the gig had found their way onto the acoustic album.
Even though I did not get exactly what I wanted, it doesn’t mean that I left Tavastia disappointed; the evening was just as good as you would expect from Mokoma. ”Sinä Riität”, ”Sydänjuuret”, the aforementioned ”Mutta minulta puuttuisi rakkaus”, ”Uhkakuva 6”… Plenty of material from their newest Elävien Kirjoihin album, but there were also blasts from the past like ”Koiruoho” and “Pahaa verta”. And even though the autumn nights are getting darker, there was a place for the summery ”Hei hei heinäkuu”, which is guaranteed to get the audience waving their hands and singing along.
The band was seemingly happy on stage, giving their all to the audience, as usual. The magic of live music was strongly present, especially when Tavastia is full of people shouting “Auttakaa!” [help] from the chorus of “Sinne missä aamu sarastaa”.
Mokoma might not have offered anything new, but then again, sometimes all you need is an old friend, on whom you can always rely… and Mokoma is one of those friends.
1. Sinä riität
6. Pahaa verta
7. Mutta minulta puuttuisi rakkaus
8. Säästä sanasi
9. Uhkakuva 6
12. Hei hei heinäkuu
13. Kuollut, kuolleempi, kuollein
14. Pohja on nähty
15. Itken silmät päästäni
16. Rautaa rinnoista
17. Sinne missä aamu sarastaa
Text: Essi Nummi | Photos: Miia Collander | Ed: Amy Wiseman